Thanks to a difficult economy, television networks have been scrambling to find new bankable shows that are cheap to produce but are still highly entertaining and although it’s a lot to ask for, in poker, NBC seems to believe they’ve found their “Ace” in the hole.

According to numerous sources, including entertainment industry leader Variety (, NBC has ordered seven episodes of a new poker show called “Face the Ace,” which seeks to pit average players against top poker pros, in an exciting game show like format.

The show will be hosted by Steve Schirripa formerly of HBO’s “The Sopranos” and is currently set to premiere Aug 1st, during prime time at 9 p.m. (though it is eventually expected to be moved to Saturday afternoons). It will feature contestants scooped off of, which is helping to produce the show. Once there, contestants will have a chance to play heads-up poker against different poker pros and will win cash for each one they beat.

Similar to other game shows, after each victory players will have a choice of keeping their winnings or risking it all, and playing against the next pro to potentially win even more. According to reports, the pros in question will be hidden behind smoked glass and wont be revealed until the contestant decides to continue. If the player is able to beat three pros in a row, they will walk away with $1,000,000.

NBC seems hopeful this show will do at least as well as their other two poker ventures, “Poker After Dark” and “The National Heads-Up Poker Championship” which are both apparently still performing nicely for the “Must See” network.

Story by Mark Anderson