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"Let The Games Begin" - NBC Throws Final 'Fear' Episode Against 'Race' Premiere

By Reality TV World staff, 08/26/2001 

NBC is looking to strike a little 'Fear' into the premiere of CBS' highly-touted action reality series 'The Amazing Race.' The network will use an original episode of hot shock reality series 'Fear Factor' to combat 'Race's' Sept. 5 debut.

"Let the games begin," said NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker.

The fresh edition of 'Fear Factor' will air at 9 p.m. that night -- opposite 'Race' and right after the premiere of another NBC nonscripted series, 'Lost.' By scheduling a one-two reality roadblock punch, NBC hopes to blunt the debut of 'Race,' which garnered much buzz when previewed for advertisers last May.

NBC had ordered nine episodes of 'Fear Factor,' but ran only eight episodes in the show's Monday night time period. The ninth episode, originally slated to air Aug. 6, was replaced by a "best-of" edition in order to hold it back for strategic purposes. "We had one 'Fear Factor' left and wanted to make sure we made the most judicious use of it," Zucker said. "It should provide a stronger opponent than a 'West Wing' repeat, so it made sense for us."

After learning of the counterprogramming move, CBS execs pointed the 'Fear' finger back at the Peacock. "The title 'Fear Factor' is an appropriate description of this desperate move," said CBS spokesman Chris Ender. "It's obvious that they're very, very afraid of 'The Amazing Race.'"

Source: Reuters/Variety

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