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ABC developing new 'Wipe Out' obstacle course reality series


By Christopher Rocchio, 03/28/2008 

ABC is apparently taking the reality competition series format to a potentially painful extreme.

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ABC is developing Wipe Out, a new reality series that will follow contestants as they make their way through obstacle courses designed to produce what the network described as "the most crashes, face plants, impacts and wipeouts ever seen on television," Daily Variety reported Thursday.

The series is being developed by Endemol USA, which was responsible for NBC's Fear Factor reality series.

"There's just something inherently funny about watching someone wipe out, as long as they're not seriously hurt," Endemol USA president David Goldberg told Variety. "It's why we watch Charlie Chaplin or cartoons."

Each Wipe Out episode will begin with 24 contestant attempting to navigate obstacle courses that --according to Goldberg -- weren't exactly designed to be a walk in the park.

"The courses are designed to make people crash and burn," he told Variety.  "[There will be wipeouts] from the minute the show starts."

Following a series of elimination rounds, Variety reported four finalists will compete in the "Wipe Out Zone," with each episode's winner receiving $50,000.

Goldberg told Variety Endemol has been "trying to create a high-octane competition show" since Fear Factor last aired in 2006.

"We think this show represents the next generation," he told Variety. "It shares some of Fear Factor's DNA, but unlike Fear Factor -- which focused more on danger and grossouts, Wipe Out is not about scaring the hell out of people."

ESPN SportsCenter anchor John Anderson will reportedly serve as Wipe Out's host, with actress Jill Wagner serving as co-host. 

Former Fear Factor executive producer Matt Kunitz is developing Wipe Out with ABC, according to Variety, and he will also serve as executive producer.

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