MTV revived its cult classic prank show Punk’d in the winter, making the major announcement during its annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Instead of Ashton Kutcher hosting the show, a different celebrity took over duties each week. Infamous pranks from the newest season included Miley Cyrus pranking her now fiancee Liam Hensworth and Justin Bieber getting some laughs.
Katalyst Network (owned and operated by Kutcher and Jason Goldberg since 2000), the production company behind Punk’d, is now partnering with online outlet Machima to bring a new series of pranks to the Internet. Prank Lab is intended to air on Machima Prime, but focuses more on “real life” pranks than celebrities doing the deed. The networks hope the relativity of the show will inspire viewers to complete and submit their own pranks.
"The idea is to take the audience inside how you do these pranks so they become co-conspirators," Kataylist President Anthony Batt told The Wrap. "We're going to allow them to comment on the action and we're going to have our actors respond to the comments. That's something you can't do on television, and it allows the show to become more integrated into the audience's world."
Much like Punk’d brought back an interest to practical jokes where America’s Funniest Home Video fails, Katalyst hopes that Prank Lab will work as a gateway for additional prank-style shows on Machima Prime. If viewers execute well-crafted pranks, it could be an outlet for this type of entertainment outside of free social networks. However, if the show does not monitor exactly what can be submitted or aired, the show could easily fall flat.
Kutcher will not appear on Prank Lab, only serve as a producer. He will however return to his acting gig on Two and a Half Men this fall.