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'Hip Hop Squares' updates 'Hollywood Squares' game

A photo from MTV's

A photo from MTV's "Hip Hop Squares," hosted by Peter Rosenberg. Credit: MTV

Early on, in one of the first episodes of MTV2's "Hip Hop Squares" (Tuesday night at 11) -- a reboot of the classic game show, "Hollywood Squares" -- rapper Fat Joe is asked a question about a pig's private parts that would make a mother blush.

In that moment, it immediately becomes clear that "Hip Hop Squares" is going to be a bit different from its iconic predecessor.

"What we tried to do is really create a vibe on set that didn't feel like a game show and that felt more like anything could happen," said Paul Ricci, senior vice president of programming/production for MTV2 and the show's executive producer. MTV2 targets the much coveted 12-34 male millennials, or as the network calls them, "malennials."

It may be hard to imagine that a show created in the '60s and given a few new spins in the '80s and '90s could have any retreads left. But Ricci said it wasn't difficult to see the possibilities.

"The simplicity of it was key, the visual nature of it was key, and when we thought about updating it and putting hip-hop talent in those boxes, it sort of became a no-brainer for us," he said. "It's such a simple thing, that when you tell people what it is, they immediately get it."

WHERE'S CHARLES NELSON REILLY? The game show will feature a revolving cast of stars from hip-hop, TV and stand-up comedy -- including Wu Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah, Common, Ralphie May, Nick Cannon, Bam Margera, Miss Info and Childish Gambino (the nerdy hip-hop alter ego of comedian and "Community" star Donald Glover).

Like the original series, two contestants play tick-tac-toe and earn X's and O's by agreeing or disagreeing with a celebrity's answer to trivia questions. The stars are prepped in advance; whether they tell the truth or not is completely up to them. What gives the show its entertainment value is how the stars use humor and swagger to convince the contestants they know the answers. The trivia questions are edgier than in the past (see the pig question) and cover music, sports, pop culture and even politics. Sample question: "Who's more likely to become president -- Justin Bieber or Flavor Flav?" (Hint: Bieber is Canadian.)

"We set out to make this a comedy first and foremost and a game show second," Ricci said. "The game show is just a loose construct to get a lot of really funny and big personalities in the room and let the hilarity ensue."

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