Nickelodeon, Russell Wilson Set to Give Away $50K in Cash Prizes at ‘Kids Choice Sports 2016’ (Exclusive)

“It gives real kids the chance to be superstar athletes for a night,” Nickelodeon SVP Jay Schmalholz tells TheWrap

Russell Wilson and Mone Davis at Nickelodeon Kids Choice Sports
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Nickelodeon is giving three kids an opportunity to win $50,000 each at the upcoming “Kids’ Choice Sports 2016.”

During the show hosted by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, each contestant will be given a chance to complete a task from the “Triple Shot Challenge” during the third annual slime-filled event held this July.

Nickelodeon SVP of Live Events and “Kids’ Choice Sports” executive producer Jay Schmalholz thinks the competition will be the highlight of the event, which will be taped live from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 14, and premieres on Sunday, July 17, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

“It gives real kids the chance to be superstar athletes for a night,” he told TheWrap.

“It’s the place in the show where we’ll get to celebrate real kids and I think for our audience, they watch these kids and wish it could be them,” Schmalholz continued. “They have an opportunity to win some real money and show off their amazing skill set.”

Former Super Bowl champion Wilson, who also hosted last year’s event, returns to host this year’s show. Michael Strahan, who is still an executive producer and instrumental in the planning stages, hosted the inaugural edition in 2014.

“It’s really important for us to stay authentic to the sports. The games that we play, the language that we use needs to all be true to sports,” Schmalholz said. “Michael keeps us on that right path.”

Schmalholz attends a lot of sporting events and came up with the idea after noticing that the crowd goes wild when a “regular person” is given the opportunity to win cash with a half-court shot.

“That was inspiring and also watching my own son play basketball was really the kicker,” Schmalholz said before explaining that his son’s coach allows them to skip sprints if they sink a half-court shot after practice.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or what the setting is, when you hit a half-court shot, everybody goes nuts,” Schmalholz said.

The kids competing for cash are roughly aged 12-15 and Schmalholz assures us that the money won’t get blown on candy and video games.

“We follow all of the laws with parental guidance and control until they hit a certain age,” Schmalholz said. “That’s between them and their families.”

During the show, each youngster will be tasked with completing one of the sports challenges — a Half-Court Shot, the Crossbar Challenge and the Perfect Pass — to win the money and bragging rights. The three participants will be chosen through a series of tryouts, beginning Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

Nickelodeon has partnered with professional teams across the country to host the tryouts, including the Portland Timbers, New York Giants, New York Red Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Fire, Charlotte Hornets and San Francisco 49ers.

The nine kids chosen from the tryouts will be flown to L.A. for the semi-final event, taking place the week of “Kids’ Choice Sports,” which will determine the three kids that will compete during the telecast.