National Geographic Announces Exciting, Star-Studded Guest Lineup For Reimagined Season Of ‘Brain Games’ Hosted By Keegan-Michael Key

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‘Brain Games’ Premieres Dec. 1, 2019, on National Geographic

Get ready for celebrities to get cerebral! National Geographic announced today its star-studded lineup of celebrity guests, spanning actors and musicians to entrepreneurs and athletes, for the reboot of its Emmy-nominated series, BRAIN GAMES. The eight-episode season, produced by Magical Elves, with Alfred Street Industries, adds a Hollywood twist to its classic mind-bending format by challenging the world’s biggest celebrities to realize their exceptional brain power through fun and highly entertaining interactive games, illusions and social experiments.

In each episode, host Keegan-Michael Key (“Friends From College,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King” and the Emmy Award-winning “Key & Peele”), along with world-famous mentalist Lior Suchard and field correspondent and science communicator Cara Santa Maria, guide celebrities, including Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell, Jack Black, Mark Cuban, Ted Danson, Tiffany Haddish, Dax Shepard, Megan Trainor and Rebel Wilson, through fun and exciting experiments, illusions and demonstrations that will help them realize their untapped brain power. The results are hilarious, surprising and interactive, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Stacked with A-list celebrities, science and shocking revelations, this new season of BRAIN GAMES is the perfect television event for the whole family. BRAIN GAMES premieres Dec. 1, 2019, on National Geographic and will air globally in 172 countries and 43 languages. For more information visit our press site,

Filmed in front of a studio audience, BRAIN GAMES merges brain power with star power as celebrities perform challenges that reveal the science behind what makes us tick. The in-studio audience, and the viewers at home, can play along as Key and master mentalist Suchard lead these A-listers through mind-bending neuroscience. Also in each episode, Santa Maria takes cerebral challenges on the road across the U.S.

In addition to Key and the celebrity guests, many of the fun and shocking moments this season are provided by Suchard, whom many consider the best mentalist in the world. Watch as he wows celebrities, and leaves them speechless, in each episode with his incredible demonstrations. Performing amazing mental feats, Suchard takes guests on an incredible journey through the wonders of the human brain. Suchard’s act builds on drama and astonishment and includes lots of humor and full audience participation.

Episodes from this season include (episode titles are not final):

  • BATTLE OF THE SEXES: Actors and real-life spouses Kristen Bell (“Veronica Mars,” “The Good Place”) and Dax Shepard (“Bless This Mess”) put their minds to the test in a battle of the sexes — finding out how men’s and women’s brains problem solve in contrasting ways.
  • KIDS VS. GROWN-UPS: Co-stars on the hit ABC sitcom “Blackish­,” Anthony Anderson and Marsai Martin (“Little”) go head-to-head to see how kids’ and grown-ups’ brains work differently.
  • ATTRACTION: Actress Rebel Wilson (“The Hustle,” “Pitch Perfect”) explores the laws of attraction and the neuroscience behind finding the perfect partner.
  • OPTICAL DELUSIONS: Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Ted Danson (“The Good Place”), with the help of the Blue Man Group, investigate the science behind fake news.
  • POWER AND PERSUASION: Entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban tackles some of the brain science behind memory and memorization and the tricks behind successfully marketing both a business and a product.
  • MUSIC: Jack Black and Kyle Gass of comic-rock duo Tenacious D, along with Grammy Award-winning singer Meghan Trainor, test the ways in which music affects our brains.
  • MOVIE MAGIC: Actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish (“The Kitchen,” “The Last O.G.”) delves into the science of filmmaking and the magic of Hollywood, and how our favorite films get us to suspend reality and believe the unbelievable.
  • PERFORMANCE: New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl champion Drew Brees tests the brain science behind athletic performance.

In addition to the guests featured in each episode, other celebrities will be making cameo appearances throughout the season, including Tim Allen, Colin Hanks, Tom Hanks, Kevin Hart, Gillian Jacobs, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Ben Schwartz and Marcus Scribner. The new season includes a mixture of in-studio and in-the-field game components; physical and mental games; and the introduction of “The Gauntlet,” a series of simple, yet challenging, brain games, faced by each celebrity guest, that delight and confound.

This August, fans will get a first look at the all-new Brain Games at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, during Power Up Your Brain With Keegan-Michael Key on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. PST. For more information, visit

BRAIN GAMES is produced for National Geographic by Magical Elves with Alfred Street Industries. For Magical Elves, executive producers are Toby Gorman, Casey Kriley, James Rowley and Lauren Williams; Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz are executive producers for Alfred Street Industries. Elisa Key and Keegan-Michael Key are also executive producers on the series. For National Geographic, Matt Renner is executive producer and vice president, original programming and production; Alan Eyres is senior vice president of production and development; and Geoff Daniels is executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment.

About National Geographic Partners

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between Disney and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 131 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About Magical Elves

Magical Elves is a leading producer of award-winning, nonfiction content for domestic and international television markets. Known for Emmy award-winning hits like “Top Chef” (Bravo) and “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen” (Bravo), as well as Peabody Award-winning “Project Runway” (Bravo), Magical Elves is a veteran production company with a long track record of consistently delivering the highest-quality programming. In addition to the forthcoming Brain Games reboot (National Geographic Channel), and its recent streaming successes “Nailed It!” (Netflix) and “Sugar Rush” (Netflix), Magical Elves’ wide range of credits includes “Braxton Family Values” (WEtv), “Shine On With Reese” (DirectTV), “All In With Cam Newton” (Nickelodeon), “Cold Justice” (Oxygen) and “Top Chef Junior” (Universal Kids), among many others. The company’s expansive slate has included music documentaries like “Tim & Faith: Soul2Soul” (Showtime); “Under the Electric Sky,” which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival; “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” the fifth-highest-grossing concert film of all time; and “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” which earned critical acclaim and nearly million at the box office. Magical Elves is a part of The Tinopolis Group’s portfolio of production companies.

About Alfred Street Industries

Alfred Street Industries is a full-service media and content venture formed in 2019 by Emmy-winning producers, entrepreneurs and longtime business partners Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. A producing team for more than 20 years, Cutforth and Lipsitz are among television’s most respected and lauded producers, creating culture-shifting shows that have garnered fierce audience loyalty, and myriad awards including numerous Emmys, as well as a Peabody Award; IDA Award; SXSW Audience Award; and a James Beard Award. Currently executive producing Brain Games for National Geographic, their renowned series include the seminal Project Runway (currently in production on season 18); Top Chef; Nailed It! (both nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award); Project Greenlight; and the auspicious Bands on the Run, the series that launched their collaboration. Their creative acumen extends to feature film: Cutforth and Lipsitz produced 2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and made their directorial debut in 2012 with Katy Perry: Part of Me (both for Paramount Pictures). They have also produced and directed documentaries that have premiered at the SXSW and Sundance Film Festivals. Cutforth and Lipsitz created their first company, Magical Elves, in 2001 (acquired by Tinopolis Group in 2014) and earlier this year announced the formation of Alfred Street Industries as a return to their entrepreneurial roots as independent producers.

Media Contacts

Molly Mulrain, 202-912-6745,; Stephanie Silva, 212-456-5788,