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NBC Revs Up to Launch ‘Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge’ image

NBC Revs Up to Launch ‘Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge’

TV Personality and Car Aficionado Rutledge Wood to Host Epic Car Makeover Competition Series Inspired by #1 Selling Toy in the World

Series Produced by Endemol Shine North America, Workerbee and Mattel Television 

Universal City, CA – NBC gets the show on the road with a series order of “Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge,” an epic car makeover competition series based on one of the world’s most popular toys.

Hosted by Rutledge Wood (“Top Gear US,” “Floor Is Lava”), who will also serve as one of the show’s judges, the 10-episode series will give Hot Wheels® superfans the opportunity of a lifetime – turning a nostalgic car from their past into the life-sized Hot Wheels of their dreams. The season-finale winning creation will spin its wheels by launching as an official Hot Wheels die-cast car.

“Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge” is an original format developed and produced by Endemol Shine North America in association with Workerbee under license from Mattel Inc. Executive producers are showrunner Tim Warren, along with Andy Thomas, Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre and Michael Heyerman from Endemol Shine North America; Rick Murray and Chris Hale from Workerbee (a Banijay UK Company); and Fred Soulie and Phil Breman from Mattel Television.

“Everyone remembers their first car, the life experiences they had and the friends who came along for the ride. Hot Wheels is a legendary brand that has created a space for imaginations to run free,” said Corie Henson, EVP, Unscripted Programming, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “Our prolific partners at Endemol Shine North America and Mattel have created larger-than-life family viewing with edge and humor all led by car enthusiast Rutledge Wood, whose creativity, credibility and passion for Hot Wheels makes him the perfect person to drive this wild competition.”

Each episode will invite two passionate car fans and Hot Wheels lovers into the Chrome Zone, where they will each face off in transforming an ordinary vehicle into an extraordinary Hot Wheels showstopper, inspired by personal stories and pop culture touchstones. Working alongside a team of automotive magicians known as “The Car Pool,” the two Superfans will create their designs in high-tech, decked-out garages. Raising the stakes of the competition is the Inspirationator 5000, a larger-than-life vending machine that will rev up in each episode to present the Superfans with a twist in the road.

Riding shotgun will be a rotating panel of celebrity guest judges joining resident experts Hertrech (“Hert”) Eugene Jr., an influencer in car culture and the drift scene, and Dalal Elsheikh, designer for the Ford Motor Company and Hot Wheels Brand Ambassador. Wood, Eugene and Elsheikh, along with the celebrity guests, will review the transformations and crown a winner. The winner of each episode will take home $25,000 and the chance to get into the finale, where three lucky finalists will transform another car in hopes of winning a legendary prize – an additional $50,000 and the honor of having their design made into an official Hot Wheels die-cast car.

More than 16 Hot Wheels cars are sold per second across the globe, and this all-new “Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge” die-cast car will join the ranks of the 8 billion+ Hot Wheels that have been produced to date.

Rutledge Wood’s passion for cars and motorsports started at an early age, learning from his father the business of buying, restoring and selling vehicles both new and old. After moving from Birmingham, Ala., to Peachtree City, Ga., in 1995 and completing high school, Rutledge went on to graduate from the University of Georgia with a degree in marketing.

Rutledge has 16 years of experience of NASCAR coverage and support. His first experience in NASCAR came during his first job in entertainment: traveling with the NASCAR circuit for Country Music Television’s mobile marketing activation. Soon after, Rutledge was hired by SPEED TV, (now Fox Sports 1) where he worked for 10 seasons covering NASCAR. He was a correspondent for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR Race Day, and has hosted or co-hosted various NASCAR shows and events for Fox Sports, including SPEED Road Tour Challenge, NASCAR Smarts and NASCAR Live, as well as the annual NASCAR Awards Banquet.

He served as a features reporter for NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR coverage, contributing reports on the storied raceways, unique towns and enthusiastic fans that make NASCAR an American treasure. He made his Olympic debut as a reporter during the 2016 Olympic Games and reprised his role for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Wood has gone on to host the hit game show “Floor Is Lava” as well as “Hyperdrive” and “American BBQ Showdown” on Netflix and “Southern and Hungry” on the Cooking Channel. He was also a host for 6 seasons of “Top Gear US” for BBC and History Channel, reaching audiences around the world with 72 episodes.

Endemol Shine North America delivers world-class content and compelling storytelling to multiple platforms in the U.S. and across the globe. A division of Banijay Americas, home to some of the biggest brands in television in the United States and Latin America, Endemol Shine North America is behind hit series “Big Brother” (CBS), “MasterChef” (FOX), “MasterChef Junior” (FOX), “LEGO Masters” (FOX) “Wipeout” (TBS) and upcoming competition series “Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge” (NBC) and drama “Ripley” (Netflix).

Workerbee, part of Banijay UK, is a Manchester-based production company making a diverse range of non-scripted content for both UK and global channels and platforms. Recent productions include “The Bridge” (Channel 4 & HBO Max); Idris Elba’s “Fight School” (BBC Two), “Janet” (Lifetime, A&E and Hulu), “Save Our Beautiful Game” (Discovery+) and “Bruno v Tyson” (Sky). Workerbee is run by CEO Rick Murray and Managing Director Michelle Chappell, with Ben Mitchell as Creative Director.

Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain, and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO®, Masters of the Universe®, Monster High® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming and digital experiences, music, and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. Visit us online at

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