Coming off his starring role in The Suicide Squad, one of Idris Elba’s side projects is being added to Roku’s slate of original programming.
Elba vs. Block, featuring the actor and rally car driver Ken Block, is one of 23 programs being added to The Roku Channel’s catalog of content. The show pits the actor and driver against one another in racing stunt challenges, such as jumping monster trucks, racing through obstacle courses, and balancing vehicles on two wheels.
Those who feel like they’ve heard of this show before aren’t imagining things. Though Roku is branding this as an “original,” Elba vs. Block is one of more than two dozen programs that were created for the now-defunct Quibi, the short-form streaming platform aimed at mobile viewers that shut down barely six months into its existence.
The majority of those shows, divided up into “quick bites” (which is where the “Quibi” name comes from) running seven to 10 minutes, were acquired by Roku to provide content for its original programming channel. Within two weeks, the streaming player’s network drew more viewers to those shows than in the entirety of Quibi’s existence.
Unfortunately, there’s not much sports programming among the Roku Originals catalog. The most notable of what’s available is Blackballed, the documentary chronicling the 2014 scandal involving then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and racist remarks of his that were recorded and released to the public.
Altogether, the documentary is 93 minutes and worth watching — if only as a reminder of how much has changed during the past seven NBA seasons — but it is kind of annoying to view the 12 “episodes” eight minutes at a time.
But if Elba vs. Block proves popular enough with Roku viewers, perhaps the company will produce more sports programming. Obviously, acquiring original programming versus producing it is quite different — and more expensive — but Roku is moving forward in that regard. Four entirely new shows are launching on The Roku Channel, including What Happens in Hollywood, a docuseries from Marina Zenovich (who directed the ESPN 30 for 30 films, Fantastic Lies and Lance).
Elba vs. Block premieres Aug. 13 on The Roku Channel.