The Sims will make its reality show debut in Spark'd on TBS

Tonight's Sims TV debut is a creative storytelling competition with $100,000 on the line.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read

It's all about storytelling and creativity on Spark'd. 

The Sims/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Spark'd, the four-episode TV series where 12 contestants play popular life simulation game The Sims for a chance to win $100,000, premieres tonight on  TBS . Simmers will compete in timed challenges and present creative characters in an original Sims story to a panel of three celebrity judges. 

Bringing The Sims to TV is a result of player feedback, Andrea Hopelain, vice president of global brand management and marketing at The Sims' developer studio Electronic Arts told CNET. Simmers wanted more ways to push creativity and add challenge to the game, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in February.  

"It's so cool to see how creative these contestants are -- and how they use the game to bring their stories to life," Hopelain said.


What the wildest story you've come up with in The Sims?

The Sims/ Screenshot by Shelby Brown/ CNET

In the trailer, Spark'd looks like a mashup of YouTube LetsPlay videos and classic reality competition shows like Top Chef. While the first season features familiar YouTube personalities as competitors, the show is incorporating a Spark'd Challenge Program where other creators can win a chance to be on future seasons of the show.  

Hopelain said that the show hopes to keep the game's spirit of inclusion and diversity. The Sims also hosted a virtual Pride Parade in June on Twitch amid the pandemic restrictions

"Representation is so important and we are thrilled for these players to share their personal stories and creations so that other video gamers and a wider audience see themselves in entertainment and in The Sims," Hopelain said.

The Sims

In the last two months, amid coronavirus quarantines and restrictions, more than 2.5 million new people started playing The Sims, with a peak high of nearly 10 million playing the game monthly in the past quarter, Hopelain said.

"The game continues to be a source of great fun and joy for players looking to recreate life's special moments," Hopelain said. "For example, we've seen a couple have their wedding in the game. They've created graduations and birthday parties too."

The Sims Spark'd, presented by ELeague, airs tonight at 11 p.m. ET on TBS. Episodes will air every Friday night with encores on Saturday at 8 a.m. ET. You can also stream episodes of Spark'd on the Buzzfeed Multiplayer YouTube channel the following Monday.

The judging panel consists of Kelsey Impicciche (the Buzzfeed Multiplayer YouTuber known for creating the Sims 100 Baby Challenge), Tayla Parx (a voice actor in the game) and Dave Miotke (a game developer for Maxis, the division of EA Games that develops The Sims). Spark'd is hosted by former American Idol finalist Rayvon Owen. 

Though The Sims is now 20 years old, the game hasn't showed signs of slowing down. With a steady release of expansion and stuff packs (the latest being Eco Lifestyle and the upcoming Nifty Knitting), dozens of challenges, mods for more realistic gameplay and classic cheat codes, it's hard to imagine players getting bored. 

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