LeBron James has officially added another franchise to his empire, as Million Dollar Mile, executive produced by James and Maverick Carter, premiered on CBS on Wednesday night.
Though James does not make an appearance on the television show, it is hosted by former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, while ESPN's Maria Taylor and L.A. sports personality Matt "Money" Smith serve as commentators.
Throughout the streets of downtown Los Angeles, contestants are tasked with running through a mile-long obstacle course while being chased by world-class athletes, which the show labels Defenders.
If the world-class athlete catches up to the contestant, who gets a two-minute head start, it's game over. If the contestant makes it to the finish line unscathed, they win $1 million.
The first contestant was 36-year-old Nikki Key from Studio City, California.
Key is a former competitive weightlifter, named Miss Figure California in 2008, and played women's football as well. Outside of her athletic credentials, Key told viewers that her main focus should she win the $1 million would be starting a nonprofit for battered women and "young women who just don't know what they're doing or what their purpose is."
Key was introduced to the five obstacles placed throughout her mile. Then, she was introduced to the Defender assigned to chase after her: Emma Chapman, the current Tough Mudder X world champion.
Obstacle No. 1 for Key was the Bamboo Forest. She completed it and banked $10,000.
Once Chapman made it through Bamboo Forest, Key's lead was chopped to 1:25. However, Key decided to go to the second obstacle called Spiraling Up. While Key was making her way up the spiral, Chapman was hot on her heels. By completing the obstacle before Chapman, Key claimed $25,000.
With Chapman now just 45 seconds behind Key, the show's first-ever contestant raced to the exit obstacle rather than trying to continue through the entire mile to $1 million. The exit obstacle required Key to climb up a 15-story building and then zip-line to safety.
Key made it back to Tebow 10 seconds before Chapman, and she left the competition with $25,000.
Up next was 27-year-old Kenny Bennett from Clarksville, Tennessee. Bennett's inspiration for taking on the Million Dollar Mile is his father, who was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"The opportunity to win money in this competition would mean the world to me," Bennett said. "Being able to help my dad out, that's my main motivation."
The Defender tasked with keeping Bennett away from the $1 million was 25-year-old Isaiah Vidal, who described himself as one of the top American obstacle course racers in the entire country."
Bennett took off two minutes before Vidal and opted to try the 100-foot Energy Bars obstacle first. Bennett made his way through the intense monkey bars-type challenge for $10,000, with Vidal only shaving five seconds off Bennett's lead before Bennett made it to Flies on the Wall.
However, Bennett fell while maneuvering Flies on the Wall and had to start over. Because of his misstep, Vidal was able to enter Flies on the Wall while Bennett was still in the middle of it. Bennett was able to complete the obstacle for $25,000, but his lead dwindled to just 33 seconds.
With that in mind, Bennett headed to the exit obstacle. As Bennett tried to muster up the energy to climb up 15 stories, Vidal took the lead. Bennett was screaming in frustration, but ultimately, he came up just short and went home empty-handed.
Third to take the course was Rhandi Orme, 35, of San Marcos, California. Orme is an ultramarathon runner and told the audience she was on the show to perform in memory of her late mother and to show her children and other moms "that they can do incredible things."
The Defender in her way was 29-year-old "Canadian Crusher" Faye Stenning, a professional obstacle course racer.
Orme pumped up the crowd, who began chanting her name, before taking off toward Spiraling Up. Orme completed her first obstacle to nab $10,000. Orme then headed toward her second obstacle while Stenning finished Spiraling Up in less than a minute. Orme's lead was cut to 1:16 as she entered Momentum.
Orme slipped on the spinning balance beam and tumbled to the ground. As she went to start over, she tried to pep herself back up by saying, "That's all right."
However, it was not all right.
Stenning arrived at Momentum with Orme's lead only being five seconds. Orme fell a second time and was eliminated when Stenning completed the second obstacle before her.
Finishing out the show's premiere was 40-year-old police officer Timothy Minnick from Bethalto, Illinois. His daughter and wife served as his inspiration, but Defender Robert Killian, 36, was not phased. Killian is a former Green Beret and Ironman champion.
Minnick dove into Deep Water Solo first and finished the obstacle so quickly that he increased his lead to 2:19 while banking $10,000. Even so, Minnick wasn't confident enough to take on another obstacle and instead ran toward the exit obstacle.
With Minnick still wet from the Deep Water Solo win, Killian cut Minnick's lead to a mere 25 seconds once he arrived at the 15-story wall. Luckily for Minnick, his lead was just enough to make it back to Tebow before Killian—taking $10,000 back home.
"Well this was an epic night," Tebow said while signing off. It was certainly unlike anything on television.
Million Dollar Mile will return next Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.