What’s that, you say? You feel that television has been lacking something lately? Missing a little gag reflex-inducing game show action in which regular people are reduced to horrific stunts in the name of entertainment? If so, don’t worry: the Internet has you covered. NBC’s Fear Factor is coming back (again!) only, this time, it’ll be a YouTube channel mixing archive material from the existing shows with all new videos of people doing what’s described as “weird and wonderful things.”
Tim Hincks, the president of Fear Factor producers Endemol, announced the comeback during a keynote presentation at the MipTV conference in Cannes. Hincks said that he believed that the idea of treating YouTube “as an alternative to a broadcaster” is not right. “At least not the whole story,” he said.
Currently, Endemol has more than 100 separate channels on YouTube for its various international properties, but now the company is looking at how to bring them all together under a larger Endemol branding. “It’s not how much you’ve got, it’s what you so with them,” Hincks explained. “It’s tying them together and marketing to the consumers and YouTubers on the different channels. One of the things we’re tying to get access to is the advertising dollar, and to do that you have to scale.”
His answer is a fuse in creative and marketing, taking advantage of digital space to provide more content. Hence the plan to expand on one of the company’s best-known brands by leveraging existing video as well as new episodes.
This will be a third revival of Fear Factor; The shows’ initial U.S. run lasted six seasons from 2001 through 2006 before NBC pulled the plug due to falling ratings. Following successful re-runs on NBC’s cable sibling Chiller, the series was revived in 2011 as a potential replacement for NBC Sunday Night Football during the NFL Lockout of that year. Unfortunately, for fans of truly dangerous and/or disgusting viewing, the NFL Lockout ended, and Fear Factor‘s television career ended up being cut shorter than anticipated. The final episode of the season didn’t even air on NBC.
Now, the show is back online, albeit in a new format. With Internet-exclusive television now featuring reality shows like this, can we consider this the start of a new era, or a sign that Internet TV will make the same mistakes as regular TV? Or is the third time the charm for Fear Factor? You can soon find out, if you’ve got a brave stomach.