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Wipeout TV show logo.png
Format Game show
Sports entertainment
Created by Matt Kunitz
Scott Larsen
Directed by J. Rupert Thompson
Presented by John Anderson
John Henson
Jill Wagner
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 46 (28 aired) (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Matt Kunitz
Scott Larsen
Location(s) Los Angeles County, California
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s) Endemol USA
Pulse Creative
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV) (2008)
720p (16:9 SDTV) (2009-present)
Original run June 24, 2008 – present
External links
Official website

Wipeout is an American game show series in which contestants compete in what is billed as the "world's largest obstacle course". The series premiered on June 24, 2008 on ABC. Wipeout is hosted (and commentated) by John Henson (formerly of E! Entertainment's Talk Soup) and John Anderson (ESPN's SportsCenter). Jill Wagner co-hosts, and acts as the "on-location" presenter (Henson and Anderson presenting from a broadcast booth inside a studio). The executive producers are Matt Kunitz (Fear Factor) and Scott Larsen, and the co-executive producers are Trice Barto, Shye Sutherland, J. Rupert Thompson and Kevin Wehrenberg. Distribution of the show is handled by Endemol USA.

The show is taped at a ranch in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, California.[1] However, due to ABC's policy of not revealing where its reality shows are taped, the location is never mentioned in the program itself; by contrast, the British version makes a point of talking about the show's Argentine connections. On July 22, 2009, Wipeout was renewed for a third season. Production for Season 3 is underway and a new set was erected in August 2009 in preparation to begin shooting in September 2009.[2] As of January 2010, filming of the third season is still underway. On March 4, 2010, ABC announced the Season 3 premiere would be June 22, 2010. They also stated that themed episodes in Season 3 would include "Ladies Night," "Family Edition" and "Wipeout Blind Date."[3]

The concept and style of the show has been compared to several Japanese game shows, most notably Sasuke and Takeshi's Castle.[4][5][6] This was brought to the attention of the Japanese broadcaster Tokyo Broadcasting System, who filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against ABC, charging that Wipeout is "a blatant copycat" of several of its classic Japanese competition game shows. Among the charges are that ABC bought search terms such as MXC (the Americanized comedy version of Takeshi's Castle) on Google to help drive traffic to the official Wipeout page, and that specific obstacles in Wipeout were knock-offs of challenges in those Japanese game shows.[7] Wipeout creator and executive producer Matt Kunitz, who also executive produced NBC's Fear Factor, states Wipeout is "90% Fear Factor-inspired, 10% Japanese game show."[5] Kunitz claimed, in the Los Angeles Times, that Wipeout was born from a desire to do a funny stunt series. He wanted to sell the show as Fear Factor meets America's Funniest Home Videos.[8] The lawsuit will go forward in 2010.[9]

On December 8, 2008, ABC announced plans to counter-program NBC's Super Bowl game-day telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of the "Wipeout Bowl." ABC aired a 13 minute football-themed "Wipeout Bowl" special against NBC's official halftime show. Then, immediately following the game, ABC aired an hour-long "Wipeout Bowl" in which cheerleaders competed against male "couch potato" sports fans.[10] During the hour long special, Monica Kaufman became the show's first female competitor to win and also the first and only (female) winner of the Wipeout Bowl.

In January 2009, several international versions of Wipeout debuted in countries including the UK (known as Total Wipeout) and Argentina. Also that month, ABC began running repeats from the first season over most affiliates on weekend afternoons.

In 2009, according to TV WEEK, Wipeout became the third most popular game show in the world, based on ratings. [11]

On January 11, 2010, after more than a month of fan voting, Entertainment Weekly crowned "Wipeout" the winner of the Guilty Pleasures Reality TV Showdown. [12]

In February 2010, Wipeout was nominated for the 2010 Kids Choice Awards for favorite reality series. [13]



During an episode, contestants compete through four rounds of competition until a final winner is chosen. The first round features 24 contestants, while only the top four will make it to the final round called the Wipeout Zone, where the winner earns the title of Wipeout Champion and a $50,000 grand prize.

The challenges change each week, but always feature offbeat and comical obstacles, such as the "Sucker Punch", "Big Balls" (the show's trademark obstacle), the "Sweeper", the "Dizzy Dummy" or the "Dreadmill", and the "Wipeout Zone". In one of the show's trademarks, the commentators have a humorous running commentary, often mocking and gently insulting the contestants as they compete. The hosts make frequent use of puns. Jill Wagner offers additional commentary and reactions, and also provides interviews with the contestants filmed before their turn begins. However, during the "Wipeout Zone", the show takes an epic and serious turn, with the humor dialed down, and serious background music instead of its lighthearted theme music.


Round One - "The Qualifier"

In the first round of the competition, 24 contestants attempt to qualify for the next round by passing a four-part obstacle course as fast as possible. The course consists of four distinct obstacles, if the contestant fails to pass a particular obstacle, they only have to swim or crawl through mud or water to the next one. Although many of the obstacles vary between episodes, common obstacles have included the "Sucker Punch", a wall covered with mechanical boxing gloves above a mud pit, and the show's trademark obstacle, the "Big Balls" - consisting of a set of 4 red balls that a contestant must attempt to bounce across. Season 2 added an additional feature to the obstacle, the "motivator", a padded pendulum designed to force a player onto the balls if they take too long to start onto them. Time stops once a player reaches the course's designated ending, the nature of which depends on what the last obstacle is. Only the twelve with the fastest times move on to the next round.

Round Two

In the second round, the twelve remaining contestants compete in a competitive challenge. During the first season and in some season two episodes, this is done with the "Sweeper", where contestants stand on elevated pedestals arranged in a circle above a pool of water and attempt to dodge a rotating horizontal bar (the "Sweeper Arm", increasing in speed and height as the game progresses). Sometimes an additional element or handicap is added to the game, such as additional attachments to the arm (i.e. smoking artificial crows, a giant flail, the "Spikes of DOOM!"/giant spinning toothbrush or cheese,), equipping the contestants with dodgeballs or sacks, and/or a rotating arm that can be dodged by ducking or jumping (referred to as the "Gyro Sweeper", whose turning also becomes variably faster throughout the round). Players knocked off their pedestals are eliminated, and the 6 remaining contestants advance to the next round. However, these 6 also continue in a bonus round where the last surviving player wins a $1000 bonus prize.

In some season two episodes, "King of the Mountain" is used instead, a challenge with a similar setup to the Sweeper, but with a sweeping bridge that players must jump onto and cross to reach the circular platform in the center. Players who are knocked into the water have unlimited chances to make it to the "mountain", but the game ends once 6 players make it to the center who then advance to the next round.

Round Three - "Road to the Final 4"

The remaining contestants participate in a challenge that varies with each show. Variations have included the "Dizzy Dummy"; a cycle of competitive rounds where players are strapped to a spinning cylinder for a short period, before racing across one of two sets of obstacles. The winning player in each round advances to the final round, while the remaining contestants "spin again" and then alternate to the other set of obstacles. The cycle continues until the final 4 contestants are decided (which then move on to the final round). The season 2 challenge, the "Slippery Course", is similarly formatted, but uses a water slide instead of spinning the contestants.

In some episodes, a time-based challenge is performed (with the best 4 times advancing, either highest or lowest depending on the task), such as a challenge on a giant treadmill known as the "Dreadmill" (such as dodging a giant swinging wrecking ball, or riding a mechanical bull on a rotating platform).

Round Four - "The Wipeout Zone"

At night, and with a more serious tone than the previous rounds, the final four contestants play separately on a large obstacle course called the Wipeout Zone, each attempting to finish the course in the fastest time, much like the first round. Though slight variations are used in each episode, contestants begin by either sliding down a water ramp or being launched by a giant catapult into the course, swimming to the first obstacle. Obstacles have varied between episodes, but the course contains several obstacles that must be traversed in order to reach the finishing platform. The player with the fastest time on the course is declared the "champion" of the episode and is awarded the show's grand prize of $50,000.


On its premiere night, Wipeout scored the highest premiere rating of any new show in Summer 2008, beating competing veteran summer shows Hell's Kitchen and America's Got Talent.[14] As the season progressed, Nielsen Media Research put it at the top of the 18-49 demographic, slightly outpaced by America's Got Talent. On August 6, 2008, Wipeout was officially renewed for a second season.[2]

The second season premiered on May 27, 2009, and with an audience of 9.69 million, Wipeout bested its first season average and gave ABC its best numbers in the Wednesdays-at-8 slot since November 2007.[15] In Asia, season 1 began in late 2008, and season 2 premiered on December 23, 2009.

The show has been picked up by ABC for a third season set to premiere June 22, 2010.[16]

International versions

Endemol USA has sold the "Wipeout" format to more than 25 territories and has created two obstacle courses in Argentina for those international editions.[2] Current and upcoming versions include:

Country Name Host Channel Premiere Language
Arab League Arab World Wipeout وايب أوت Mustafa Alagha, Tamer Abd EL Monem, Karen Derkalostian MBC 1 [17] May 2009 Arabic
 Argentina Hombre al agua Brothers Weinbaum Canal 13 January 5, 2009 Spanish
 Australia Wipeout Australia Kelly Landry, James Brayshaw and Josh Lawson Nine Network[18] February 3, 2009 English
 Belgium Wipeout Walter Grootaers, Bob Peeters & Lynn Pelgroms (& Wytske Kenemans) VTM[19] March 4, 2009 Dutch
 Brazil Maratona do Faustão Faustão Rede Globo[20] July 19, 2009 Portuguese
 Canada (English) Wipeout Canada TVtropolis 2011 English
 Canada (French) Wipeout Québec Valérie Simard[21], Réal Béland and Alain Dumas[22] V[23] August 31, 2009 French
 Chile Hombre Al Agua Martín Cárcamo and Álvaro Salas TVN March 6, 2009 Spanish
 Croatia Wipeout Marina Jerkovic RTL Televizija April 12, 2009. Croatian
 Czech Republic Drtivá porážka TBA TV Barrandov TBA Czech
 Denmark Wipeout Thomas Mygind Kanal 5 March 5, 2009 Danish
 Estonia Rajalt maha TV3 Estonian
 Finland Wipeout Nelonen Finnish
 France Total Wipeout Stéphane Rotenberg, Alex Goude and Sandrine Corman M6[24][25] July 17, 2009 French
 Germany WipeOut – Heul nicht, lauf! Charlotte Engelhardt, Matthias Opdenhövel and Werner Hansch ProSieben[26] March 10, 2009 German
 Greece Wipeout Christoforos Zaralikos, Dimitris Menounos and Eleni Karpontini ANT1 February 6, 2010 Greek
 Iceland Wipeout Sigmar Vilhjálmsson, Jóhannes Ásbjörnsson and Friðrika Hjördís Geirsdóttir Stöð 2[27] December 11, 2009 Icelandic
 Israel Channel 10[28] April 2009 Hebrew
 Latvia Dullās sacensības "Neiespējamā misija" Gints Grāvelis, Artūrs Skrastiņš TV3 Latvian
 Lithuania Jokių kliūčių! TV3 January 10, 2009 Lithuanian
 Mexico Resbalón José Ramón San Cristóbal, Eduardo Videgaray Televisa[29] August 29, 2009 Spanish
 Netherlands Wipeout Wytske Kenemans, Dennis Weening, Klaas van der Eerden & Lynn Pelgroms RTL 5[30][31] February 15, 2009 Dutch
 Norway Wipeout Anders Hoff and Øyvind Rafto of Raske Menn, and co-host Synnøve Skarbø TVNorge March 2, 2009[32] Norwegian
 Portugal SIC[33] Fall 2009 or 2010 Portuguese
 Philippines Wipeout: Matira Matibay Paolo Contis ,Vince De Jesus and Nina Kodaka GMA Network[34] March 15, 2010 Tagalog, English
 Russia Zhestokie Igry Channel One [35] 7 March 2010 Russian
 Serbia Wipeout Ivan Tešanović and Miljan Milićević FOX Televizija November 8, 2009 Serbian
 Slovakia Slovak
 Spain ¡Guaypaut! Carmen Alcayde Telecinco[36] December 24, 2008 Spanish
 Slovenia Wipeout TBA TV 3 TBA Slovene
 Sweden Wipeout Felix Herngren, Hans Wiklund and Sofia Wistam Kanal 5[37] March 8, 2009 Swedish
 Turkey Wipeout Asuman Krause Show TV[38] January 30, 2009 Turkish
 Ukraine BUM Sergei Kazanin, Valeria Uushakova, Alexander Krikun Inter TV March 7, 2010 Ukrainian
 United Kingdom Total Wipeout Richard Hammond and Amanda Byram BBC One[28][39] January 3, 2009 English
 United States Wipeout John Anderson, John Henson, Jill Wagner ABC June 24, 2008 English
  • The Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway, and Sweden produce separate versions of the show based on the same footage of contestants from the three countries competing against each other.
  • The original American series airs in Canada on the Global Television Network (in English) and on V (in French),[40] in New Zealand on TV3,[41] in Australia on Nine Network, in the Philippines and India on AXN, in The Netherlands on RTL 5 and in the United Kingdom on Watch titled Total Wipeout USA, to match the title of the British version.
  • The Dutch version is a collaboration between the Netherlands and Belgium.

See also


  1. ^ "Bing Maps". (Bird's-eye map view unambiguously shows Wipeout set under construction). Retrieved 2009-08-21. 
  2. ^ a b c ABC renews 'Wipeout' for third season to begin in the Summer of 2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ "American TV not crazy, just Japanese". Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  5. ^ a b Joanna Weiss (June 24, 2008). "Will Americans fall for Japanese-style game shows?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  6. ^ "Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show Tonight". Huliq News. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  7. ^ "???!???????!TBS??ABC???" (in Japanese). 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  8. ^ "Just call Matt Kunitz the king of reality TV". The Los Angeles Times.,0,4671579.story. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  9. ^ Tokyo Broadcasting System Survives First Elimination Round in Lawsuit Against ABC's "Wipeout", The Hollywood Reporter, 13 August 2009.
  10. ^ "'Wipeout' special set for Super Sunday". 
  11. ^ "Guess Which Game Show is the Most Popular Worldwide". 
  12. ^ "'Wipeout' Takes the Crown as the Guilty Pleasure Reality TV Champion". 
  13. ^ "'Wipeout' 2010 Kid's Choice Award Nomination". 
  14. ^ "Wipeout scores top Tuesday ratings". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ MBC Wipeout page (Arabic)
  18. ^ Channel nine - wipeout
  19. ^ Wipeout page on (Dutch)
  20. ^ "Domingão do Faustão" (Portuguese)
  21. ^ Valérie Simard animatrice de la version québécoise de Wipeout (press release) (French)
  22. ^ Réal Béland et Alain Dumas co-animeront la version québécoise de WIPEOUT (French)
  23. ^ TQS confirme la diffusion de la version québécoise de Wipeout (TQS confirms the broadcast of the Quebec version) (French), TQS, March 25, 2009.
  24. ^ Article about the French show
  25. ^ "Total Wipeout on M6" (in French). Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  26. ^ - ProSieben produziert Abenteuer-Show in Argentinien (German)
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^ (Spanish)
  30. ^ » » Spectaculair Amerikaans format Wipeout bij RTL 5 (Dutch)
  31. ^ (Dutch)
  32. ^ (Norwegian)
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ (Spanish)
  37. ^ (Swedish)
  38. ^ Turkey experiences a Wipeout
  39. ^
  40. ^ | Wipeout
  41. ^

External links


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