It is safe to say that Fear Factor wasn’t for the weak. The stunt game reality TV show featured some over-the-top stunts and contests. The show even disgusted some of the show’s contestants, who dropped out of the race when it came to eating challenges.
Although the prize for completing all the obstacles was $50,000, some challenges were too tough to stomach. In particular, one episode was too much even for the showrunners to air that it almost didn’t make it to TV.
‘Fear Factor’ capitalized on extreme stunts
Fear Factor was an adaptation of a similar Dutch show called Now or Neverland. The show aired on NBC from 2001 and was hosted by UFC commentator Joe Rogan until its cancelation in 2006.
The show was picked up again by MTV for 1 season in 2017 and ultimately canceled. Rapper Ludacris hosted the show’s reboot from 2017 to 2018.
When the show begins, a voiceover comes on, setting the theme for that episode. The voiceover notified people about the stunts’ extremity in the show and informed viewers of the elimination process for the grand prize of $50,000.
Before all the contestants are introduced, another voiceover comes on. This time, he informs viewers that the show is filmed by professionals, and every stunt is well coordinated. The host continues to issue a disclaimer that viewers shouldn’t try to replicate any of the stunts they see.
The show’s format involved pitting contestants against each other in a series of 3 challenges for the prize money. The first five seasons involved three men and three women who were taking each other on solely. However, in the sixth season, the format changed to include teams of people with a preexisting relationship.
The show enjoyed high ratings in the early 2000s due to its cringe factor. Fear Factor capitalized on its ability to make people awe, cringe, and laugh at the extreme stunts. The daredevil stunts put the show at the top in its first seasons. However, the stunts became the show’s undoing later on.
The show didn’t fall short of controversy
Although people tuned in to watch the foolhardy stunts, viewers soon began finding them too much to take. The second challenge mainly banked on its ability to disgust viewers. It involved consuming gross food items, including eating buffalo testicles or eating live worms or insects.
The American Humane Association criticized the show for allowing the inhumane treatment of animals and insects. The organization expressed its concerns over the shows continued injuring and harming of live animals. The AHA also revealed that licensed animal trainers had refused to work with Fear Factor due to the show’s violation of the AHA’s guidelines.
In 2005 the series aired an episode that featured the contestants drinking blended rat juice. That particular episode exposed the show to what would have been an otherwise costly lawsuit. One of the show’s viewers, a paralegal from Ohio, sued NBC for $2.5 million, citing injury from watching the show.
The show was also criticized heavily by the Edison Electrical Institute. The institute warned Fear Factor from encouraging electrified wire simulations as viewers would think it was okay to try such stunts from home, thus exposing them to potentially harmful situations.
One episode was too much even for the show producers to air
If you were an avid Fear Factor fan, you would be excused for thinking that nothing was too gross for the contestants. After all, the participants have ever consumed buffalo testicles meaning they can eat anything.
However, this wasn’t the case for one episode that involved drinking donkey urine and semen.
According to Screen Rant, the episode was too gross that it almost didn’t get aired. The contestants were required to drink either donkey urine or donkey semen, depending on a horseshoe toss.
The episode titled Hee Haw! Hee Haw was reportedly too gross even for showrunners to air but was eventually aired as a rerun. It is interesting to think that the USDA marked the fluids safe for consumption.