9 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Fear Factor’
Reality TV competition series are all the rage now, and it seems Fear Factor was too early for its time. Airing from 2001 to 2006, the stunt/dare series put contestants up against not only each other, but also their worst fears, making for some truly unbelievable and adrenaline-pumping episodes. Now that the series is officially coming back with Ludacris as host fans can only expect bigger, badder, more dangerous and absolutely crazy stunts for the competitors. Ahead of the revival take a look back on the series with 9 things you didn’t know about Fear Factor:
9. The Beginning
The idea for Fear Factor began when NBC needed a competitor for CBS’ huge hit series Survivor. Fear Factor was created by Endemol who brought on comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan to host, and it didn’t take long for its popularity to take off. Unfortunately its success was fleeting as Fox’s American Idol soon took over Tuesday nights ratings, and despite a new format and even bigger stunts, Fear Factor was struggling by season six.
8. Doctors Orders
On-screen all viewers see is competitors eating crazy food and completing unbelievable stunts, but way more prep goes into getting the competitors ready than many realize. In fact the extensive testing they undergo by medical personnel has alerted many to medical conditions they didn’t know they had. “The physical stunts are demanding, so we do a thorough medical history and check basic vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. The primary things are heart and lung function, and then we use the history to identify possible phobias – like claustrophobia or fear of heights. These have to be self-reported obviously. People tend to minimize their medical history, so we have to be careful,” Jason Toth who served as a medical consultant on Fear Factor explained. He added, “We do an electrocardiogram, and we have identified people who either on physical examination had a murmur they were not aware of or they’ve had some suspicious changes in their electrocardiogram that they were not aware of. And we do a basic dip analysis that tests for sugar in the urine. On one show, we identified someone who didn’t know they had borderline diabetes. We’ve actually found nearly half dozen young men who had no idea they had heart problems. Obviously, they can’t be on the show, but more importantly we alerted them to a potentially serious medical condition. It happened just recently, and we had to replace the selected contestant with an alternate.”