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Popular YouTuber MrBeast strikes Amazon deal for competition reality show

New York CNN  —  MrBeast, the popular video creator known for big philanthropic gestures and extreme stunts, is making the leap from YouTube to Amazon Prime with a new reality competition show, Amazon announced Monday in a news release. The show, called “Beast Games,” will be released on Prime Video and feature “over 1,000 contestants, $5,000,000 prize, and many other world records,” the creator, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, said Monday in a post of X, formerly known as Twitter. It will be “the largest game show in history” with the most contestants and the biggest cash prize, he said in a podcast interview with “The Colin and Samir Show.” Netflix previously claimed both records for its “Squid Game: The Challenge” reality competition series based on the massively popular dystopian show by the same name. The show, which was released in November, featured 456 participants vying for a cash prize of $4.56 million. Donaldson said that his decision to host his show on Amazon stemmed in part because other platforms wouldn’t give him the same level of creative control. He is set to both host and executive produce the show, according to Amazon. James Stephen Donaldson, known professionally as MrBeast on YouTube Steven Kahn Related article MrBeast tested Elon Musk’s theory and took home $250,000 “MrBeast has captured the attention and imagination of fans of all ages, from all walks of life, and all over the world,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon MGM Studios, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with Jimmy and his talented team to bring his brilliant, high production, and stakes-raising concepts to Beast Games for our global customers to experience.” While the show will feature upwards of six hours of content, Donaldson wants to bring a sense of YouTube-like authenticity to the non-scripted show. “It will look nothing like a normal game-show. It will have the Beast feel but just make it more high-budget,” he said in the interview. MrBeast is one of the most popular YouTube channels on the platform, with 245 million subscribers. In recent years, each of his videos easily surpasses 100 million views, and at times has pushed half a billion. In addition to his stunt videos, Donaldson has garnered attention for his unique method of philanthropy: in one video, called “1,000 blind people see for the first time,” he pays for patients’ cataract surgery. As the patients emerge from cataract eye surgery, some in tears, he hands some of them a suitcase filled with cash. “Here’s $10,000 to make your day better,” he tells one woman. In recent years, Donaldson has expanded into ventures beyond content creation and philanthropy. In November 2020, he opened his first burger restaurant, MrBeast Burger, near his hometown of Greenville, North Carolina. Since then, the chain has expanded to nearly every US state and several Canadian provinces. Donaldson told Time Magazine in February that he brings in about $600 million to $700 million annually, but reinvests this income into creating his high-budget videos. CNN’s Faith Karimi contributed to this report.