NBC is reviving 'Fear Factor'! -- EXCLUSIVE


Image Credit: Brian Kension

Fear of reviving reality hits is not a factor for NBC. After spiking their ratings impressively with singing competition The Voice, the Peacock is now rebooting action classic Fear Factor.

NBC’s head of alternative programming Paul Telegdy says the notion first came to the network’s attention when sister cable channel Chiller saw high ratings for near decade-old Fear Factor repeats. Telegdy watched some of the encores himself and was impressed how well the action held up.

“No one has come close to doing what they’ve done on that show,” Telegdy exclusively tells EW. “You go back and they’ve stood the test of time. It always had this incredible spectacle to it.”

Telegdy conferred with Fear Factor producer, Endemol North America, and discussed doing a few specials with the company’s chairman David Goldberg. Then they decided to go bigger.

“I said, ‘Let’s apply everything we’ve learned since then and put together the team,'” Telegdy says. The team includes original executive producers David Hurwitz along with Matt Kunitz, who later went on to launch ABC’s stunt-driven hit Wipeout.

“The stunt and camera technologies have evolved since then, we’re going to be able to make it even bigger,” Telegdy said. “We’re going to make it more visually arresting.”

Fear Factor ran for five years on the network starting in 2001.When it launched, the series was a rallying point for NBC’s critics. At the time, the network was best known for prestige shows like The West Wing and Friends, while reality TV was considered a tawdry genre stealing attention from scripted shows, with Fear Factor pushing the gross-out envelope beyond what had ever been seen on TV.

Telegdy says that although the new show will go even bigger, “we don’t necessarily need to do the stuff with maximum shock value.”

“In the brave new world of reality TV it was deemed symptomatic of a problem — ‘we want our West Wing, why are you doing this?'” Telegdy said. “Now the ecology has changed, the top shows are reality TV. For consumers, it will be a fond reunion.”

During Fear Factor’s final year, some accused the network of over-exposing the show — running 39 original episodes on NBC, plus airing episodes on the broadcaster’s cable networks, plus the show was running in syndication.

Fear Factor is one of those iconic bands that set the table for a lot of reality in this country,” Goldberg says. “We felt it went off the air prematurely due to incredible overexposure. There’s some shows that make it into the vernacular — you still see it in headlines and you still see it used by pundits and journalists. It’s nice to see a TV show cancelled and then come back.”

News of the production company’s Fear Factor casting notice was first reported by Reality Blurred. Original host Joe Rogan added plenty of personality to the first series, but it’s not yet clear who will host the revamp, or when the show will launch (midseason or next summer would be safe bets).

RELATED: Joe Rogan ‘very high on the list’ for ‘Fear Factor’ reboot host

Comments (132 total) Add your comment
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  • Ryan

    Great, now the bloody networks can’t even come up with new reality ****, so they bring old crap back from the dead.

    • Flip

      I loved this show! It should never have gone off the air in the first place.

      • Carrie

        I also loved this show i hope they keep with the really gross stuff. I like to see how much i can stand to watch haha

    • Sam J

      A true sign of the Apocalypse. The End is…..NOW!!!

      • pie thrower

        Your right Sam. Maybe the rapture did in fact happen and we are now subjected to a hell fraught with “Fear Factor.”

      • your cheating heart

        the world is not ending until october 21 or december 23. we made it through the rapture this past may

    • Lunna

      I liked this show, but it had already run its course. It’s time for new ideas.

      • chris

        well the nice thing about Fear Factor is the stunts will be new and the concept is basic, if it’s a new show like that 101 ways to leave a show than it’s too much.

    • SNL Funny?

      If you don’t like it don’t watch! This show should have never been off the air. If that crappy Survivor show can be on for 20 seasons than so should Fear Factor!!

      • All I Want Is Everything

        exactly. survivor is the worst

      • monee

        i feel ya!

    • Carl

      Oh MY GOD! This is the WORST thing NBC could have done. This is not the original reality show, it’s Jackass to the Nth degree! I will NOT waste my Monday with this piece of garbage…EVER!

  • Z.

    Yuck. What a terrible idea–the opposite of the direction NBC should be moving in.

    • Andy

      Agreed, they should work on breeding better scripted shows. The Thursday night comedy block has gems in Parks & Rec and Community but they get very little adverts so they are languishing in the ratings. Same with Parenthood. A lot of their scripted shows get 0 advert space while reality shows get all the money for exposure. NBC stop trying to be like the other networks and do what you do.

      • Ryan

        And the three shows you mentioned are amazing, well-acted, hilarious and touching, perfectly written and emotional connective… and struggling to find audiences for some ridiculous reason.

      • Kate

        Always love this comment. If people tuned into the shows you suggest, we’d see more of them. If people don’t tune in in numbers large enough to sustain the production costs, then the network has no choice but to drop the show. So networks produce what people watch, it might not be what you’d prefer to watch but you’re in the minority ratings wise. TV is business, not a friend or story teller at a library.

  • Ryan

    the fact they’re bringing this show back shows they’re out of ideas.

    • tony

      i dont think so

  • Brandi

    I used to love this show as a kid! haha, I used to watch it obsessively. I don’t think I’d watch obsessively now but I’m sure I’ll tune in.

  • JJ

    NBC can’t even handle The Voice very well.

  • Mark

    I can’t wait. I loved Fear Factor and look forward to seeing it on the air again. Nothing has compared to it since it left the air.

    • Flip


    • hecks yeah

      Fear Factor always had the hottest male contestants too!

  • Fortune

    Lame. Original ideas please. Just for once.

    • brian

      You realize your comment is one of the least original on the internet, right? You should be asking for good ideas.

    • tony

      get a life

  • Hermione

    Please just don’t have that same douchebag host.

    • Lucy

      seth rogan

      • Buffy Freak

        Joe Rogan…

    • brian

      Seth Rogan died in a thresher accident.

      • @brian

        One could only hope…

  • Scott

    leave it alone guys! this show rocked and was cool and when its evenbigger and better, it’ll be more awesome,,,bring back Fear Factor!

    • Carl

      Sorry, but …HELL NO! This show sucked big time! Leave this crap where it was!

  • Jethro

    NBC finally did something right with The Voice, so instead of continuing the trend of innovation as the Voice is, they take 2 steps back! If they have to bring back the old, how about that show with the lady in black who threw rapid fire questions to the contestants who then voted off one of their own.

    That show was awesome!!

    • Eric P

      “The Voice” and innovation in the same sentence…really???

    • Gemz

      Do you mean Anne Robinson from the weakest link? She’d always insult and banter with the contestants. I find her hilarious.

      I’d personally love to see Fear Factor come back. I think Joe Rogan’s great and I love stunt game shows, but there’s not many of them. The only others that come to mind are Survivor and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. But Fear Factor will always be my favourite.

  • Jolt

    So, if they don’t have a host, is it too late for me to throw my hat in the ring?

  • JBD

    Fear Factor is classic! Really glad they’re bringing it back. There’s positives and negatives with bringing Joe Rogan back. Personally, I liked him as the host.

  • Ian

    I used to enjoy the hell out of this show.

    Why? Because despite the reality show label, it was actually a GAME show. And a fun one at that.

    • TQB

      As did I, but towards the end it got lame – the physical stunts got dumber and the gross stunts just got ridiculous. Plus they started casting only hot LA people, whereas in the beginning they had lots of cops, construction workers – the weekend warrior types. I’m all for eye candy but it was more interesting when you had people who were actually rather brave and strong.

  • Sarah El


  • Coco Diaz

    My man Joe Rogan should be the host – ain’t nobody better than him, c@cksucker. If you ain’t high by 2:00, go f&ck yourself!

    • Joey Karate

      I agree. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast rules! Redban is giving Baba Boey a run for his money producing-wise.

    • Black Helicopters

      I am a frequent listener of the Joe Rogan experience. He is so funny and very smart. I don’t know if he would host but it would be great if he did.

      Oh YouTube. Joey diaz joe rogan on alex jones. Its so crazy but amazing.

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