Fans of truly adrenaline-pumping television competitions, lend me your ears — because MTV is rebooting the mother of all gross-out reality competitions. That's right, Fear Factor is returning to television. And anyone who was a fan of the original Fear Factor series probably remembers it most for its over-the-top "food" and creepy crawler challenges. The original run of the series made its name by forcing contestants to eat one hundred year-old eggs and be covered in cockroaches. This time around, there will be some challenges that are reminiscent of the old version, but the reboot is hell-bent on carving out its own identity. So, what's different about the new Fear Factor?
Well, a lot of things may look different to fans of the original series, which ran for six seasons starting back in 2001. The first thing that everyone may notice is the fact that the show will be lacking its signature charismatic and sometimes brutally comedic host Joe Rogan. Fear not though, because MTV found a replacement who will likely keep fans happy. The reboot has brought on actor and musician Ludacris to be the voice urging contestants to push through their most visceral fears and complete challenges for a chance to win $50,000.
And MTV has made more changes besides swapping out the host. The challenges are going to be geared more towards what creators have deemed to be the fears of the millennial generation. The New York Post reports that most participants will not be older than 26, which was not true of the original. The initial press release included lot of talk of stunts involving cell phones, i.e. dropping them into water or saving them from a ridiculous height. As silly as that might initially seem, losing a cell phone and subsequently your connection to the world around you, is a real, common fear among millennials who have grown up with a constant stream of information and communication at their fingertips.
While speaking to Bustle and other outlets on set, Ludacris explained that he wasn't looking to do a cookie-cutter version of the original Fear Factor series if he was going to be a part of this project. "It still has the DNA of the original Fear Factor but technology has changed over time so we're just trying to give it a new face and a new energy," the host said. While he maintained that he was certainly a fan of the original, Ludacris thinks it would have been a missed opportunity to not evolve the reboot along with the show's audience and make it relevant for 2017.
According to MTV, the intention of this reboot is not to be mean-spirited or to relish watching someone suffer — like the original sometimes seemed to do, in my opinion — but instead to encourage people to overcome their greatest fears. The challenges seem like they will be geared more towards fun this time around, as opposed to grossing out its contestants and audience as much as possible. MTV also promises stunts and challenges based on "urban legends, popular scary movies and viral videos from today’s cultural zeitgeist" in the release.
The reboot of Fear Factor launches on MTV on May 30. Who knows? If you aren't super-attached to your cell phone, maybe it will inspire you to compete for your own chance at $50,000.