Our days of being able to watch real people eat real bugs on TV are thankfully not yet over. MTV debuted its Fear Factor reboot on May 30, and the relaunch has proven successful thus far. In fact, Nielsen data shows the series premiere was the network’s biggest in two years, Variety reports.
Fear Factor has switched up some elements since it last aired. Instead of bringing back host Joe Rogan, the MTV reboot is hosted by Chris Bridges, better known as the rapper Ludacris and one of the stars of the Fast and Furious franchise. The show’s usual “ick” factor remains, though, and the premiere was appropriately cringe-worthy. Sibling teams had to participate in “Roachella,” go to the morgue, and be trapped under ice.
The reality competition show originally premiered in 2001, airing on NBC. The show was canceled in 2006, but the network decided to relaunch it in 2011. That run, however, was short-lived, and it was axed again in 2012.
In spite of its two previous cancellations, MTV’s Fear Factor is off to a strong start. The series premiere earned solid ratings, especially in the network’s target demo, the age 18 to 34 crowd. Its 0.8 rating in that category is 164 percent above the average for the 10 p.m. Tuesday time slot. It was also enough to make the episode Tuesday’s highest performing unscripted series on cable for the demo. In total, there were almost 1 million viewers.
MTV has made no secret of the fact that it is trying to tap into a younger audience, and reality shows have been a big part of its push. If Fear Factor continues to perform, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the network bring back other popular shows from years past as part of its strategy. So far, the relaunch of Fear Factor looks promising.