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Fear Factor

At the conclusion of the 2003-2004 television season, the show business trade publication Daily Variety proclaimed: “‘Fear Factor’ remained the genre’s unsung hero.”

The action-packed reality series (Mondays 8-9 p.m. ET) landed in the Top 20 and often was in the Top 10. It placed 18th in total viewers out of 161 shows and was the sixth-highest rated show on NBC with an average 13.6 million viewers. Enjoying its most dominant season ever, “Fear Factor” became the only reality series last season to demonstrate growth in the all-important 18-49 demographic

Now in production on a fifth season with Joe Rogan (“NewsRadio”) as host, the series will celebrate it’s landmark 100th episode, which has enabled the enduring program to become the first reality series to be sold into syndication.

“The odds are more in your favor for getting into Harvard than being chosen to appear on ‘Fear Factor,'” says Executive Producer Matt Kunitz (“The Real World”), musing over the more than 50,000 submissions the hit NBC reality series receives annually from applicants hoping for a chance to compete against each other — and themselves — and possibly take home a cash prize of up to $50,000 at the end of each one hour episode. “‘Fear Factor'” is about ordinary people in extraordinary situations,” adds Kunitz. “The audience experiences the thrills and emotions, along with our contestants, as they challenge and possibly conquer their fears.”

In each pulse-racing “Fear Factor” episode, contestants (sometimes solo, often paired with spouses, siblings or best friends) recruited from across the nation must decide if they have the guts and determination to face their most primal fears. Under the supervision of professional Hollywood stunt coordinators, contestants are confronted with a series of challenging stunts. If they complete their task they advance; if fear stops them from completing a stunt or they fail the mission, they are immediately eliminated. The contestant who wins the final challenge takes home the prize.

This season the highlights include a spectacular 100th episode set in New York City; family feuds featuring siblings – some of them twins; teams of best friends; a competition among male and felmale models, and another of the show’s successful couples competitions. Other new episodes will include all newlyweds taped at Universal Studios-Orlando, an all-female and an all-Miss USA contestant episode, a return to Las Vegas — plus Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes a la “Fear Factor” style.

“Fear Factor” has received a VH1 “Big in 2001” Award, a 2003 Teen Choice Award and has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award, a 2004 Teen Choice Award and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2004, while host Rogan was nominated for a 2003 Teen Choice Award for Favorite Reality/Variety Host.

Rogan, a former co-host of “The Man Show” on Comedy Central, co-starred on the series “NewsRadio,” “Hardball” in addition to appearing in the specials “Caroline’s Comedy Hour,” “MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour,” “Comedy from the Danger Zone,” “Keeping America Funny,” “Buster’s Happy Hour,” “Stand-Up Spotlight” and “Spotlight Cafe.” He recorded some of his standup comedy performances on his debut comedy album, “I’m Gonna Be Dead Someday,” for Warner Bros. Records.

“Fear Factor” is a production of Endemol USA. The executive producers are Matt Kunitz and David A. Hurwitz.

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