Endemol, Matt Kunitz behind reality program
ABC is teaming with Endemol USA and “Fear Factor” showrunner Matt Kunitz to produce “Wipe Out,” a reality competition designed to produce what the network hopes will be “the most crashes, face plants, impacts and wipeouts ever seen on television.”Like the Alphabet’s long-running “America’s Funniest Home Videos” — a series built on thousands of clips of people getting hit in the groin — “Wipe Out” will go for laughs, not drama. “There’s just something inherently funny about watching someone wipe out, as long as they’re not seriously hurt,” said Endemol USA topper David Goldberg. “It’s why we watch Charlie Chaplin or cartoons.” Developed and exec produced by Kunitz, “Wipe Out” will feature 24 contestants trying to make their way through increasingly tough obstacle courses. “But the courses are designed to make people crash and burn,” Goldberg said, explaining that there will be wipeouts “from the minute the show starts.” After a series of elimination rounds, four finalists will compete in the Thunderdome-like “Wipe Out Zone.” The winner walks away with $50,000 at the end of each episode. Goldberg said his company has been “trying to create a high-octane competition show” since “Fear Factor” left NBC a few years back. “We think this show represents the next generation,” he said. “It shares some of ‘Fear Factor’s’ DNA, but unlike ‘Fear Factor’ — which focused more on danger and grossouts, ‘Wipe Out’ is not about scaring the hell out of people.” John Anderson of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” will host the series, with Jill Wagner serving as co-host. Kunitz, who has an overall deal with Endemol USA, will exec produce.