Series: Fear Factor

"The stunts you are about to see were all designed and supervised by trained professionals. They are extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone, anywhere, anytime."
Joe Rogan at the beginning of each episode.

Stunt Game Show / Reality Show hybrid that featured contestants attempting to outperform each other in various stunts to win $50,000 cash. Each show usually featured at least one stunt involving heights, one involving coming face-to-face with or consuming something revolting, and one involving a Hollywood action movie-type feat. Failure to complete a stunt, being too scared to attempt it, or placing too low resulted in elimination.

The show usually pitted six individual contestants (three men and three women) against each other, but occasionally featured couples or teams competing. Also, special tournaments were held in which players could win much more than just $50,000.

A 2011 Revival aired briefly on NBC, still on Monday nights, still with Joe Rogan hosting.

Not to be confused with Fear Factory, an industrial metal band.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • All or Nothing: Losers left with nothing, unless they had won a designated "prize stunt" earlier. It was theoretically possible for the prize to be split, if all but one of the contestants/teams refused to participate in a challenge, in which case the contestant(s) who did undertake the challenge would immediately be awarded half of the prize, with the remaining half being left up for grabs. However, this only happened once, and the trope was still played straight since the team ended up winning the episode outright anyway.
  • Bonus Round: During the Las Vegas specials, the winner had to play a hand of blackjack with at least half their winnings. After the first hand, they could keep going, however.
  • Home Game: Believe it or not, there was one.
  • Personnel:

This show contains examples of:

  • Catch Phrase: "Evidently fear is not a factor for you."
    • "Now let's get the hell out of here and see what tomorrow brings."
  • Covered in Gunge: Some of the gross stunts.
  • Creepy Cockroach: Madagascar hissing cockroaches are a common target of an Eat That stunt.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One time, while Joe Rogan was explaining a stunt's rules, he got tongue-tied, as one of the female contestants began changing into her swimsuit.
  • Don't Try This at Home: There's no prize money so don't do any of this shit at home!
    • Inverted in Season 6, when they literally tried things at home by having Capital One sponsor an Audience Game where Rogan visited a family at their home, challenging them to play a stunt to win up to $10,000
  • Driving Into a Truck: One of the stunt challenges required the participants to drive a car up the ramp of a moving truck as the last part of the challenge. Inside the truck was a ramp that would flip the car and send it flying out the side of the truck for a spectacular movie-style ending.
  • Eat That: Every episode has something gross and/or dangerous.
  • Electric Torture: Done several times, most notably with electrically charged exercise bicyles... and a Tesla coil.
  • Expy: A show from Down Under called Who Dares Wins, imported to the United States by the Game Show Network at the height of Fear Factors popularity. Message boards quickly dubbed it Who Cares Who Wins?.
  • Fanservice: Later in its run, save for specialty episodes like Family Editions, everyone seemed to have to be at minimum 'good-looking'. The show seemed to evolve into "good looking people doing crazy things for money".
  • Fanservice Pack: As the show's budget increased, there seemed to be a large tendency for stunts involving water - meaning we'd get shots of the contestants changing or simply doing the stunt in their swimsuit.
  • Foreign Queasine: Many of the "gross stunt" food items.
  • Funny Background Event: The episode where one of the stunts consisted of drinking ostrich egg yolk. The stunt was done at a ranch, and behind the contestants was a pen with a bunch of ostriches. One of the ostriches appeared to be watching the stunt. Its reactions to the contestants' revulsion is somewhat humorous.
  • Gas Chamber: One of the stunts was having to endure a sealed room that filled with CS gas longer than anyone else.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: It took the chugging of donkey semen and urine for NBC to refuse to air an episode.
  • Grossout Show: One episode in particular featured all "gross stunts".
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Liberally. You always got a good portion of close-up shots of whatever the contestant would be eating or "wearing".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sometimes a contestants strategy bites them in the butt
    • One stunt involved eating 10 slugs and one contestant decided to wipe the slugs on her arm to get the slime off the slug. This only made them agitated and they oozed more slime than she had wiped off, she succeeded but struggled more than the others.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: This Is A Competition worth thousands of dollars.
  • Jerkass: We know it's a competition for 50 grand, but some of the contestants go beyond the This Is A Competition line into sheer assholery
  • Laser-Guided Karma: One contestant was extremely insulting and rude to other contestants going well beyond the "use others fears to your advantage" line. The next challenge was eating the penis of one of four animals. She got the longest one and the other contestants pulled her tactic on her, and she had a weak stomach. She even told them to stop at one point.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: If you were too afraid to complete a stunt.
  • Primal Fear: Heights, restricted space, drowning, many and numerous things you do not want in your mouth, etc.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: One stunt involved being dragged across a lake by a helicopter, and contestants had to hold on to their rope as long as possible. All three female contestants lost their bikini bottoms while being dragged. The first two were a bit embarrassed by it but the third one, didn't seem to mind.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The car stunts.
  • Traumatic Haircut: One episode gratuitously featured a challenge involving contestants having one of these randomly chosen for each of them, ranging from a complete head shave to "the patch". Previews for future episodes include another woman being shaven bald. Once she got over her fear, the woman in question got the shave and looked quite good, rather like what happened when this was done on The Amazing Race. She and her partner went on to win the whole thing.
  • Viva Las Vegas: Several special episodes were filmed in downtown Las Vegas, featuring stunts at its various locales and the winner wagering their winnings at a Blackjack table.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: The "Fear Factor Chuck Bucket", whose use almost always resulted in elim.... err, forfeiture of the "gross stunt prize".

"And evidently, fear was not a factor for you."