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Thread: This bug's for you: 'Fear Factor' goes live at Universal

  1. #1
    FORT Fan ChgoBurbs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    This bug's for you: 'Fear Factor' goes live at Universal

    Don't like this show, but saw this article in the paper. Thought somebody might find this "amusing".


    This bug's for you: 'Fear Factor' goes live at Universal

    By Vincent J. Schodolski
    Tribune national correspondent
    Published April 24, 2005

    UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Have you ever watched the reality show "Fear Factor" and said to yourself: "I wonder if I could do that?"

    Well, come this summer, the Universal Studios theme parks here in California and in Orlando will give you the chance to find out.

    Starting in early June both parks will debut their latest attraction—"Fear Factor Live"—where visitors will be given the opportunity to put themselves through a series of experiences that, well, let's just say for now that one involves diving into a vat of live eels.

    Cooperation between the theme park creative staff and the producers of the NBC television show has produced a new experience that they hope will bring out the risk-taking side of guests who want to go beyond hanging out with the Lucy impersonators.

    "It really is going to take ordinary people and put them in extraordinary situations," said Scott Trowbridge, worldwide creative vice president for Universal parks and resorts.

    So what is he talking about?

    The first test will have all six of the starting contestants standing on a platform 30 feet in the air with a thin trapeze style bar suspended just in front of them. After a count of three the platform falls and the six have to hang on to the bar for as long as possible. While they are hanging midair, audience members will fire volleyballs at them from air cannons to enhance the experience.

    The first two to fall are eliminated.

    Eliminated from the contest, that is, since everybody will be attached to a cable to stop their falls before they break their necks.

    The lucky four who survive that test go on to what Universal calls Recipe for Disaster—where the remaining players are locked in shackles and attached to an overhead bolt.

    The first thing they have to do is disengage from the bolt by spinning as fast as possible.

    Once that is done they have to race across a giant turntable to reach the vat of slithering eels and dive in to grab one of the yellow Fear Factor flags at the bottom of the pit.

    Not done yet.

    Then they have to take the flag and attach it to a nearby pole suspended over the revolving turntable.

    Still not done.

    The final step in the challenge is to drink the Fear Factor Smoothie, a blend of "secret ingredients" chosen by members of the audience when the par- ticipants aren't looking.

    Trowbridge said the ingredients will change, perhaps even being seasonally adjusted.

    "We are going to find the grossest stuff," he said.

    Among the ingredients being experimented with at the moment: sour milk; peanut butter; octopus; pigs' knuckles; mayonnaise and Vegemite.

    "These are all FDA-approved products," he reassured.

    The first two to quench their thirst go onto the third and final test—Shock and Roll.

    In this round the final two contenders find themselves connected to a shock console that starts sending 10-foot bolts of arcing electricity in the air.

    Trowbridge said 3,000 volts will be produced, but at very low amperage. He assured that this and all the other situations are carried out under strict controls to minimize any real danger to the participants.

    While the electricity courses, the two finalists are instructed to spin a wheel on their shock consoles and send jolts of electricity into their opponent.

    The person who withstands the highest jolt wins, while the loser is launched backwards via what Universal describes as a "fly by the wire" rig that sets off a pyrotechnical explosion. There will be a prize for the winner, but just what it will be has not yet been decided.

    All this happens in a span of just 30 minutes.

    But that's not all.

    In between the tests for the contestants, volunteers from the audience will face their own challenges, and not insignificant ones.

    The first involves eating bugs. This one is designed for kids. They are challenged to eat a variety of insects—all FDA-approved and common staples in many Asian grocery stores, some even chocolate covered. The child who eats the largest number of bugs wins. It's that simple.

    The second also involves insects, but this time they get the chance to munch on you.

    The contestant sits in front of the audience with his or her head in a giant Plexiglas box. A professional animal handler then unloads a load of emperor scorpions into the box and on the head of the contestant whose ears, nose and mouth are protected during the adventure. The object is to remain covered in the scorpions for as long as possible.

    Universal points out that emperor scorpions are the largest known variety of scorpions and can grow up to 8 inches in length.

    Universal also notes that while the sting of an Emperor is not lethal "their sting could be painful."

    Matt Kunitz, the executive producer and one of the creators of "Fear Factor," said they had worked closely with Universal to ensure that the experiences offered at the theme parks are authentic.

    "We did not want a dumbed-down show," he said.

    "We would not partner with Universal if we did not think that Universal would do a show that would complement 'Fear Factor.'"

    Before anyone gets to participate in "Fear Factor Live" they have to audition. Both the California and Florida parks set up "casting booths" where those who want to confront their fears will go before a casting director and be videotaped.

    "We are going to audition people," Trowbridge said. "They can't be the most boring people on the planet."

    He also said that while no medical examinations would be carried out, would-be participants would be asked to consider their own state of health before being allowed to be a contestant.

    Universal also noted that age, height and weight restrictions will apply, and that each participating guest will have to sign a release form.

  2. #2
    Sounds very cool!

  3. #3
    It's a bird, it's a plane EXlurker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    If it's going to be "authentic" then the prize better be worth at least $50,000.

  4. #4
    I think the "main" prize is getting to do the goofy things we see folks doing on TV, although they did mention the possibility of a "grand prize" for the overall winner for each show - a chance to audition for the TV show. I suspect the prizes for participation will be the usual t-shirts, hats, etc.

    The park has been testing the stunts on us employees, but I haven't heard what they specifically are. The grossest test was the taste test - they had a table set up outside of our wardrobe area and were urging the employees to try things to see how much they'd actually eat. Nothing alive will be eaten, but there will be blended bugs and the like. Yum (and no, I wasn't up to tasting any of their icky concoctions!). They did a similar test on park guests, and discovered that apparently, tourists WILL eat just about anything!

    We're holding an employee preview this month, then a press event. This item just came out on ebay too if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket (the proceeds go to a local children's charity):


  5. #5

    Fear Factor experience up for bid on E-Bay

    Check out the killer Fear Factor experience up for bid on E-Bay. it won't let me paste the link here, but go to E-Bay and search for Fear Factor. The charity auction, which will benefit Give Kids The World, begins Monday, May 2 through Thursday, May 12. High bidders will get one of two vacation packages, listed on eBay, The World’s Online Marketplace®, which include the chance to compete in the Fear Factor Live attraction against Dean and Ashley Molina, who won this season’s “Fear Factor” Couples’ Competition on NBC. The package also includes a four-night/five-day vacation to Universal Orlando including accommodations, round-trip airfare, theme park admission, a VIP tour of the parks and a “Fear Factor” TV show prop signed by show host Joe Rogan.

  6. #6
    That was the link I posted - the ebay auction. Hopefully it works (it worked for me).

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