Fear Factor

Fear Factor

Infobox Television
bgcolour =
show_name =Fear Factor

format = Reality TV
Game Show
runtime = 60 minutes
creator =
executive_producer = Matt Kunitz
director = J. Rupert Thompson
starring = Joe Rogan (Host)
country = Netherlands
network = NBC
first_aired = June 11 2001
last_aired = September 12 2006
num_seasons = 6
num_episodes = 142
website = http://www.nbc.com/Fear_Factor/
imdb_id = 0278191
tv_com_id = 4674

:"This article refers to the American television show by this title. For other uses, see Fear factor (disambiguation)."

"Fear Factor" was an American stunt/dare reality game show. It was originally created by Endemol Netherlands in the Netherlands and first aired on June 11, 2001.

The original Dutch version was called "Now or Neverland". When Endemol USA and NBC adapted it to the American market in 2001, they changed the name to "Fear Factor".

The show pits contestants against each other to complete a series of stunts better and/or quicker than all the other contestants, by doing this in the fastest time, for a grand prize of US$50,000. From Seasons One to Five, the contestants were generally three men and three women, all playing for themselves, but in Season Six, the show moved to a permanent format of four teams of two people, each with a pre-existing relationship with one another, all playing for a shared prize of the same amount. The show is hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, executive produced by Matt Kunitz and directed by J. Rupert Thompson. The theme music is composed and written by Russ Landau, while its incidental music is composed of rhythmic themes and cues most notably ripped from the popular game "Half-Life".

As NBC's answer to the successful series "Survivor", the show was initially a hit for the network in the summer of 2001, and built strong ratings for the next couple of seasons, but as the years passed, the ratings declined. In 2006, "Fear Factor" faced tough competition with TV ratings champion, the Fox talent series "American Idol" on Tuesday nights, and once again the ratings still declined. Despite much publicity concerning an improved format and better stunts for Season Six, NBC put the struggling program on hiatus for the remainder of the season to make room for the sitcom "Joey", which was removed from the NBC lineup a few weeks later. NBC then canceled "Fear Factor" in May. The network began airing the remainder of the season on June 13, 2006, with the remaining episodes to be burned throughout the summer. [http://medialifemagazine.com/artman/publish/article_2914.asp] [http://www.nbc.com/Fear_Factor/] In 2004, Fear Factor became the first network reality show to be syndicated. Over its six seasons, Fear Factor earned NBC a reported $600 million in advertising revenue.

how format

Normal format

The normal format involves three men and three women, or four teams of two people with a pre-existing relationship, who must complete three stunts in the fastest time to win US$50,000. If a contestant/team does not attempt a stunt, does not complete a stunt, or (in some cases) does not perform it better or quicker than any of the other contestants/teams, they are eliminated from the competition. If only one contestant/team successfully completes the first or the second stunt, they automatically win $25,000, and the other contestants eliminated in the stunt will return for the next stunt to compete for the remaining $25,000. If no one successfully completes the first or the second stunt, then all of the contestants/teams eliminated in the stunt will return to the next stunt to compete for a reduced $25,000. (In season one, if one person completed the stunt, then the completer wins $10,000 and everyone returns on the next stunt for $50,000.)

Only once in the history of Fear Factor has the $50,000 top prize gone unclaimed in an episode. This happened on a Best Friends edition on September 27, 2004, when neither of the remaining teams was able to complete the final stunt. In the stunt, one member of each team had to drive a ramp car, while the other member had to drive a sports car. The one driving the sports car had to drive it onto the truck bed of the ramp car. If the sports car fell off of the truck bed at any time, the team was automatically eliminated. Had it been successfully completed, the team who did this the fastest would have won.

After the acquisition of Universal Studios of Vivendi Universal by NBC's parent company General Electric in 2004, contestants could get vacations, in order to promote the theme park division of NBC Universal, at Universal Orlando or get trips to Universal Studios in Hollywood.

The order of the stunts on a typical episode of "Fear Factor" is as follows:

First stunt

The first stunt is designed to physically test each of the contestants, like jumping off a building to the next. Usually, the two men and the two women - or the three teams - that complete the stunt the best under whichever restrictions (such as the fastest, or furthest distance, or number of flags collected in under a certain time) would move on to the second stunt. The rest would be eliminated.

econd stunt

The second stunt is meant to challenge the contestants mentally. It usually involves ingesting a revolting animal, such as a cockroach. It could also involve getting close to an animal which many people would find scary. Contestants were typically not eliminated after this stunt unless they could not (or refused to) complete it. In the case of teams, one team may be eliminated for performing the worst. There once was an episode where contestants did not have to eat anything, but the "stunt" was to stand inside of a gas chamber as long as they could; another stunt involved getting a "Fear Factor" style haircut.

In later episodes, a common (but not always used) rule was that no one would be eliminated after the second stunt; instead, the contestant or team performing the best would receive a prize, such as a car or a prize package similar in value.

Third stunt

The third and final stunt is usually something from a movie. It usually involves doing an extreme type stunt, such as flipping a car or escaping from a sinking aircraft fuselage. The player who wins this round wins the prize, usually fifty thousand U.S. Dollars.

Other formats

Tournament of Champions

The second and third seasons concluded with a Tournament of Champions featuring the winners of each show in that season and a $100,000 grand prize.

In Season 2, the thirteen non-celebrity winners were divided into groups of eight men and five women. For the first two stunts, men competed amongst men and women competed amongst women, dividing the group from eight and five to four to two. The final four contestants, two men and two women, competed against each other for the grand prize.

In Season 3, the twenty-four winners were divided into two groups of twelve, each containing seven men and five women. In the first semifinal episode, the group was cut from twelve to six to three to two finalists. In the second semifinal episode, the group was cut from twelve to six in the first stunt, then the men competed amongst the men and the women competed amongst the women in the second stunt, and then the final four contestants, two men and two women, were cut to two finalists. Each finalist won a 2004 Mazda RX-8 and a chance at the $100,000. In the finals, the four finalists competed in three stunts. Each stunt eliminated one contestant, and the final stunt determined the winner.

pecial episode formats

Naked Fear Factor (Season 2): The first "stunt" wasn't really a stunt at all. Six contestants, three male and three female, were forced to strip naked and parade down a fashion style runway in front of over a hundred people for three minutes while photographers took pictures. All six successfully completed this stunt and moved on to the next round.

Four Stunt Show (Season 3):This was a 90-minute episode where four stunts instead of three were required to win the $50,000. This episode was notable for the stunt involving body piercing.

All-Gross Show (Season 3):All three stunts on this show followed the format of the second (gross) stunt as described above. The first stunt on this episode, which involved blood, caused possibly the most intense contestant reaction to a stunt in the history of the show.

Las Vegas Show (Seasons 3-5):Stunts took place at various hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. The show's winner was required to bet at least half their winnings on one hand of Blackjack, with the chance to continue gambling if successful.

Second Chance (Season 4):Losing contestants from previous seasons come back for a second chance at winning $50,000.

Favorite Winners (Season 5):Winning contestants from previous seasons who lost in the Tournament of Champions come back for a chance at winning another $50,000.

Couples (Seasons 3-5):Four couples competed in three stunts, with the winning team dividing the prize and sending one player to the Tournament of Champions.

In Season 4, nine couples competed over seven weeks and 17 stunts for $1,000,000. Along the way, they competed for various other prizes, including $10,000, cars, vacations, credit cards, and a chance to steal a desired prize from another team. In Season 5, eight couples competed for the million dollar prize.

Twins (Season 4):Four pairs of twins competed in three stunts, with the winning team dividing the prize.

Best Friends (Season 5):Four pairs of best friends competed in three stunts, with the winning team dividing the prize.

Family (Seasons 4 and 6):Four teams of one parent and one child competed in three stunts for the prize. In the second stunt, the team with the best performance received a bonus prize such as a car or a vacation.

$1 Million (Season 4):Twelve contestants competed in six stunts. The one player who survived all six won a $1,000,000 annuity.

Models (Seasons 4 and 5):Played in the normal format with models or entirely female contestants. The fifth season had one episode with male and female models.

Fear Factor Super Bowl Halftime Show (Season 2):Played in the normal format with Playboy Playmates.

Miss USA (Seasons 3-5):Played in the normal format with Miss USA contestants, with the winning contestant keeping $25,000 and giving $25,000 to a charity of their choice. There was no Miss USA edition in the sixth season of "Fear Factor", as NBC produced a Miss USA edition of "Deal or No Deal" instead; the Miss USA contestants were the briefcase models for the entire episode.

WWE/F Stars (Season 2):Six WWE/F stars played for $50,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. It was won by Matt Hardy.

Reality Stars (Seasons 5 and 6):Contestants from other reality shows, like "The Amazing Race", "Survivor", "American Idol", "The Apprentice", and "The Real World", played for a grand prize and other bonus prizes such as cars and vacations. In Season Five, six contestants played for $50,000, and in the sixth season, five teams of two played for $150,000.

Military (Season 6):Contestants from the Air Force, the Army, the Marines and the Navy competed.

Psycho (Season 6):Contestants performed stunts which where centered around the Bates Motel on the set of the original Psycho horror movie from NBC Universal's movie division Universal Pictures.

Newlyweds (Season 5):Four sets of Newlyweds came to compete for $50,000 to split with the winning team. The 1st stunt had a rope to cut the wall. The second stunt had a wedding cake "fear factor style". The winners of that stunt won the trip to New Zealand. The final stunt involved a convertible escape which contestants had to escape.

Home Invasion: This was included at the end of each episode in Season 6. It involved Joe Rogan going to different homes across America and challenging the family to compete in a stunt. Each stunt was usually the format of the "Second Day Stunt" which involved eating (or drinking) something foul. In the drinking stunt, they would have to drink a certain number of shots to get the keys, which each opened 2 safes, both containing a credit card with money in them. The family usually won a $5,000 credit card from Capital One.

International versions

*The Netherlands was home to the original version of Fear Factor, "Now or Neverland", which premiered in 1998 on the Veronica channel. The top prize is €100,000 per episode. The US show is set to run in the Netherlands as well.

*In the U.S., "Fear Factor" premiered in 2001 on NBC. It entered off-network syndication in 2004 by distributor NBC Universal Television Distribution, and left it in 2006. Reruns are now shown every weekday on cable's FX channel. Telemundo aired the USA version (dubbed in Spanish) as "Factor Miedo".

*In the UK as well as broadcasting Fear Factor USA, Sky One decided to broadcast their own version "Fear Factor UK". The nature of the stunts were similar to the US version, but the contestants were divided into two teams of three, who banked prize money according to their success or failure in the first two stunts. The winner of the third stunt took away the money they had banked (which could be up to £15,000) plus a £5,000 bonus (a max of £20,000). The UK host was Ed Sanders, now on "". Challenge is now showing Fear Factor UK every day at 9pm, or on challenge +1 at 10pm. They have also acquired the rights to air the US series and soon in 2008 the South African series.

*In Australia, the Nine Network broadcasted a version of the show. It was similar to the American version, except that the contestants would initially compete for a place in a final instead of prize money. In the finals, they and other winning contestants would compete for AU$$50,000 (US$41,459). The host was Marc Yellin. Only two episodes were aired before the show was withdrawn from schedules.

*In Poland, Polsat broadcasted "Fear Factor - Nieustraszeni". Three hundred people from all around Poland participated in the first stunt, ninety qualified for the second stunt, and five qualified for the final stunt. One contestant won 50,000 (US$21,720). The host was Roman Polko, a Polish army commander. Only one season was aired before the show was withdrawn from schedules.

*The Middle East had its own version of "Fear Factor" which was broadcast on the MBC 1 channel.

*In Malaysia on ntv7, which also currently airs the US version of "Fear Factor", recently announced the creation of "Fear Factor Malaysia". Out of over a thousand applicants, 78 successful candidates from all over Malaysia were picked to participate in it. Production for the 13-episode show is currently underway, with the launch at Sunway Lagoon Resort on August 27, 2005. The host of the show was Shamser Sidhu. The grand prize is RM10,000 (US$2,911). The show was a hit and it is set to return for a second season either at the end of 2006 or early 2007.

*In Indonesia, the local version, "Fear Factor Indonesia," airs on RCTI. The host of the show is Agatsya Kandau, a popular film actor. The grand prize is 50 juta (Rp50,000,000 [US$5,320] ), not much by international standards.

*In Mexico, the format is the same, except that stunts one and three are swapped, so they do the height/car stunt first, then the gross one, and the water/helicopter stunt last. The grand prize is Mex$150,000 (US$13,913). It airs on Televisa and is hosted by Julio Bracho.

*In Sweden, Paolo Roberto, a Swedish boxer, was the host but the show never got any good ratings and was cancelled after only a few episodes on TV4. The US show is set to run on TV6.

*In Germany, "Fear Factor" was hosted by Sonja Zietlow and aired on RTL in 2004.

*In Finland, Finnish version of "Fear Factor" started on September 13 2008. It aired on Nelonen and was hosted by Aleksi Valavuori. Despite being the Finnish Fear Factor, it was shot in Argentina. The grand prize is €10,000.

*In France, "Fear Factor" was shown on TF1, but was withdrawn from schedules.

*In Greece, "Fear Factor" is broadcasted on Makedonia TV. As of June 2006 rumored to be the new host for the show is actor Kostas Sommer. []

*In Belgium, the show airs on VTM and is hosted by Walter Grootaers.

*In Croatia, the show airs on RTL Televizija and is hosted by Antonija Blaće.

*Norway has its own version of the show on TV3.

*South Africa had a version on M-Net. The second season is scheduled to air on e.tv with a top prize of R300,000 (US$36,883). The host is Thapelo Mokoena. [ [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117956314.html?categoryid=14&cs=1 'Fear' factors in for 2nd run at e.tv - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety ] ]

*Turkey also has one for Show TV which is hosted by Acun Ilıcalı. Each episode's winner gets YTL50,000 (US$40,678).

*In Hungary "Fear Factor" called A Rettegés Foka. It has started in 2005. The show aired two seasons on RTL Klub.

*Bulgaria was to air a local version on Nova Television after the end of Big Brother 3 in the end of 2006, but the pilot didn't sell. Now bTV has acquired the rights for a possible run.Now Fear Factor airs on GTV (the original American Show) every Sunday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m

*In Romania, Pro TV acquired the rights to air their own version of the show.

*Vizion + in Albania has picked up the rights to the show for a local version.

*TET in Ukraine has picked up the rights to the show for a local version.

*ABS-CBN in the Philippines has picked up the rights to the show for a local version, entitled Pinoy Fear Factor, that will be filmed in South America. The series will be shot entirely in the entire in Argentina like what was written in a broadsheet. As of now, its format has not been confirmed, but early teasers for the show hint a major revision from the common three stunt, one winner per episode format. Its top prize is expected to be P2,000,000. The new host of this local version is actor/host Ryan Agoncillo. [ [http://www.pep.ph/news/18584/Ryan-Agoncillo-to-host-Pinoy-Fear-Factor,-trains-for-his-role-in-Pieta Ryan Agoncillo to host "Pinoy Fear Factor," trains for his role in "Pieta"] ]

*India, "Fear Factor - Khatron Ke Khiladi" on Colors TV.

*Portugal, Fear Factor - Desafio Total, on TVI, Presenter was Leonor Poeiras.


"Fear Factor" has received criticism from the general public mainly because of the show's second stunt, which intends to disgust its viewers. More seriously, the American Humane Association expressed concerns for allowing animals and insects to get injured and even killing insects by eating them alive during the videotaping of the show. The association also revealed that professional animal trainers have refused to work on the show because the producers of "Fear Factor" have demanded stunts which violate the association's guidelines.

American Humane believes that shows like Fear Factor are on a slippery slope of animal mistreatment and provide poor examples of animal treatment and humane ethics. As we work diligently to expand voluntary compliance with animal safety guidelines, organisations like Endemol who blatantly demonstrate complete disregard for animal welfare — or even that of their human contestants — are producing unacceptable programming. — Karen Rosa (Communications Manager of AHA Film and TV Unit) [http://www.nspca.co.za/Media-Miscellaneous-2.htm]
In January 2005, an episode featuring a stunt involving blended rats aired in its normal prime time slot. Austin Aitken, a part-time paralegal from Cleveland, sued NBC for $2.5 million USD for airing the show, claiming that he felt so disgusted from watching the stunt, his blood pressure rose until he felt dizzy and bumped his head into the doorway. In March 2005, U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells threw out the lawsuit. [Joe Milicia, [http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1104759364675 Viewer Sues NBC Over 'Fear Factor' Rat-Eating Episode] Accessed March 3, 2008]

Fear Factor was also criticized by major U.S. electrical utilities for an episode that required contestants to climb through a simulated electrical substation with "electrified wires" replete with simulated sparks and electrical sounds added in post-processing. The Edison Electric Institute issued a warning regarding the episode, fearing that viewers might attempt to climb through a real substation with more fatal results. [ [http://emol.org/tv/fearfactor/ 'Shocking' Television Stunt Spurs ComEd Warning about Electrical Safety] ]

Spin-off products

"Fear Factor" has also resulted in various spin-off products:

*A game called "Fear Factor: Unleashed" was by Hip Interactive for the Game Boy Advance. [ [http://gameboy.gamezone.com/gzreviews/r22392.htm Fear Factor Unleashed Review - Game Boy Advance ] ]
*A board game called Fear Factor Game was published by Master Pieces. [ [http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19606 Fear Factor Game | BoardGameGeek ] ]
*There are a few books based on "Fear Factor", such as "The Fear Factor Cookbook" and "Fear Factor Mad Libs".
*Brand New Candy, LLC. makes several novelty candies that are based on "Fear Factor".


* UKGameshows.com [http://www.ukgameshows.com/index.php/Fear_Factor Fear Factor - UKGameshows] . Retrieved Oct 19, 2004.

External links

* [http://www.nbc.com/Fear_Factor/ Official Fear Factor website]
* [http://www.ukgameshows.com/index.php/Fear_Factor UK Gameshows Page: "Fear Factor"] (about the UK version)
* [http://www.tf1.fr/fearfactor/ Fear Factor - France on TF1]
* [http://www.fearfactor.co.in Fear Factor India]
* [http://www.showtvnet.com/fearfactor/ Fear Factor Turkey]
* [http://www.challenge.co.uk/fearfactor/ Challenge TV Fear Factor website]
* [http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlighthealth/2004-01-16-fear-factor_x.htm 'Fear Factor' not afraid of the doctor] (article on the sanitary factors)

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