|Also known as||Winter Wipeout|
Total Wipeout USA
|Created by||Matt Kunitz|
|Directed by||J. Rupert Thompson|
|Composer(s)||Vanacore Music (Theme Song & Underscore)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||130|
|Running time||60 minutes|
Lock and Key Productions
|Distributor||Endemol Shine Group|
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (2008-2014)
|Original network||ABC (2008-2014)|
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV) (2008)|
720p (16:9 HDTV) (2009-2014)
|Original release||Original: June 24, 2008-September 7, 2014|
Wipeout is an American television game show that features contestants competing in (what was billed as) the "World's Largest" obstacle course which originally aired on ABC from June 24, 2008 to September 7, 2014. In April 2020, it was announced that Wipeout will be returning on TBS.John Cena and Nicole Byer will serve as hosts, with Camille Kostek as field host.
The show was originally hosted and commentated by John Henson and John Anderson, while Jill Wagner acted as the "on-location" reporter. The interim reporter for one season was Vanessa Lachey. The creators and executive producers are Matt Kunitz and Scott Larsen. Distribution of the show was handled by Endemol Shine. The show was taped at Sable Ranch in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, California, north of Los Angeles.
The series premiered on June 24, 2008, on ABC. After the pilot was shot, co-host Elon Gold was replaced. Producers called in Michael Glazer to find a "comic host replacement" that eventually went to John Henson. The first season's success spawned a series of international versions of Wipeout, debuting in countries including Great Britain and Argentina in January 2009.
On December 8, 2008, ABC announced plans to counter-program NBC's Super Bowl game-day telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of Wipeout, entitled "Wipeout Bowl". The episode was broadcast immediately following the game. The episode featured female cheerleaders competing against male "couch potato" sports fans. During the hour-long special, Monica Kauffman became the show's first female competitor to win. Following the episode, an announcement was made that a second season had been commissioned, and a promo for the season was subsequently broadcast.
The second season was broadcast during the summer of 2009. According to TV Week, in 2009 Wipeout became the third most popular game show in the world, based on ratings. On July 22, 2009, Wipeout was renewed for a third season, for which filming began in September 2009.
The third season of the show premiered on June 22, 2010, with a special two-hour "Blind Date" episode preluding the series on June 1. ABC subsequently announced that other themed episodes would appear in Season 3, including episodes featuring ladies only and families. The third-season finale aired on September 14, 2010, with a special "America's Finest Edition", featuring some of America's heroes, including firefighters and policemen.
On August 15, 2010, ABC announced that the show had been contracted for a fourth season. The announcement added: "Wipeout has the distinction of being the only broadcast reality series launched in recent years that has demonstrated proven staying power." On October 13, 2010, ABC announced plans that the fourth season would be split into three sections - Winter, Spring, and Summer; with a total of 32 episodes: 8 Winter episodes, 7 Spring episodes and 17 Summer episodes. The fourth season premiered on January 6, 2011.
On June 16, 2011, ABC announced that the show had been renewed for a fifth season, and that Vanessa Lachey would replace co-host Jill Wagner on the show. New episodes of Winter Wipeout began on December 8, 2011, with a Christmas special episode, entitled Winter Wipeout: Deck the Balls. That same year, syndicated reruns of Wipeout aired on truTV and TBS.
On August 29, 2012, Wipeout was picked up for a sixth season. In addition, it was announced that former co-host Jill Wagner would be returning to the series after a season-long absence. John Anderson and John Henson also returned as commentators. Vanessa Lachey departed the series due to her impending pregnancy.
On August 30, 2012, Activision released a Wipeout game for iOS. It quickly became the top-selling app in the App Store.
On May 9, 2013, season six premiered. In its sixth season, Wipeout celebrated its 100th episode.
For its seventh season winners from each episode were brought together for a "Tournament of Champions" at the end of the season to compete for the title of Ultimate Wipeout Champion. Season seven ended on September 7, 2014.
Wipeout returned to syndicated reruns starting in the fall 2018-2019 season, this time to local stations. It is also available as a standalone linear channel, which includes the U.S. and foreign versions of the franchise, through free over-the-top provider Pluto TV.
Contestants compete through four rounds of competition until a final winner is chosen. The first round features 24 contestants (they were introduced from seasons 1-3, but from season 4 onwards, not all were shown) running through a series of obstacles. The top 12 finishing times move on. The show never made clear to viewers whether or how the finishing times are adjusted for failing to complete obstacles along the way.
The next two rounds take place on two different complex obstacles. They typically involve large structures that competitors have to enter, navigate around while hostile devices try to knock them off, and then jump to a landing pad to finish, where Jill Wagner awaits them. The competitors keep trying on these structures until roughly half of them have reached the finish; the other half are eliminated. This leaves only the top four (top three in some seasons) to 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, four very large red spheres in sequence that must be traversed from a running start, with failures often resulting in odd-angle rejections), the "Sweeper", the "Dizzy Dummy" or the "Dreadmill". Emphasis is always placed on obstacles that can produce sudden jarring collisions (the obstacle surfaces are heavily padded and competitors sometimes don helmets or flak jackets) followed by spectacular falls into the water below, these being the show's titular "wipeouts". As part of wiping out, the competitors often end up covered in mud, froth, vats of food, or other unlikely substances.
In one of the show's trademarks, the commentators have a humorous running commentary, often mocking and insulting the contestants as they compete. The hosts make frequent use of puns. Jokey sound effects and cheesy visual effects are often added as well. The exchanges between the two hosts is often a subplot of episodes themselves, with Anderson playing it mostly straight as a play-by-play man while Henson offers up off-the-wall inanities and non sequiturs as color commentary. Jill Wagner offers additional features reactions, and also provides interviews with the contestants filmed before their turn begins. These interviews tend to emphasize bizarre aspects of contestants' personalities, with Wagner making facial commentary as the conversation proceeds. Generally only those who will pass the first round are introduced, and a nickname is assigned that is used throughout the game.
At night, the show takes an epic and serious turn, with the humor dialed down, and serious background music instead of its lighthearted theme music. The final four or three contestants play separately on a large obstacle course inside the studio 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 wear wetsuits and they begin by either sliding down a water ramp or being launched by a giant catapult or blob 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. Some obstacles can be skipped for a time penalty, but the last obstacle(s) has to be completed in order to reach the finishing spot. 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. The Wipeout Zone often brings competitors to the brink of exhaustion, especially when they have to swim back to a starting point to retry a failed obstacle.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||11||June 28, 2008||September 16, 2008|
|2||17||February 1, 2009||September 16, 2009|
|3||18||June 1, 2010||September 14, 2010|
|4||31||January 6, 2011||September 15, 2011|
|5||24||December 8, 2011||September 29, 2012|
|6||16||May 9, 2013||September 19, 2013|
|7||13||June 22, 2014||September 7, 2014|
On its premiere night, Wipeout scored the highest premiere rating of any new show in summer 2008, besting competing veteran summer shows Hell's Kitchen and America's Got Talent. 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. 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 Wednesday 8:00 p.m. slot since November 2007. The third season premiered on June 22, 2010, with ratings of 10.21 million, with a special "Blind Date" episode getting 12.8 million viewers on June 1, 2010. In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that Wipeout was "most popular in Northern, rural areas with a large percentage of white people: Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin and Maine are all on the top of this show's list".
On January 6, 2011, the first season of Winter Wipeout premiered with the series' highest ratings ever, beating the 8pm competition in the coveted 18-49 demographic and many other key demos.
|2009||Rose d'Or||Entertainment Category||Nominated|||
|2010||Entertainment Weekly||Guilty Pleasure Reality Showdown||Won|||
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Reality Show||Nominated|||
|2011||Favorite Reality Show||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Reality Competition Show||Nominated|||
|2012||Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Reality Show||Won||[Note 1]|
|2013||Favorite Reality Show||Won|||
|2014||Favorite Reality Show||Won|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer TV Show||Won|||
|2015||Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Reality Show||Nominated|||
The concept and style of the show has been compared to several Japanese game shows, most notably Unbeatable Banzuke , SASUKE and Takeshi's Castle. 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.
Wipeout creator and executive producer Matt Kunitz, who also executive produced Endemol's Fear Factor (NBC), said Wipeout is "90% Fear Factor-inspired, 10% Japanese game show", adding in a Los Angeles Times interview that Wipeout was born from a desire to do a funny stunt series. He reportedly wanted to sell the show as Fear Factor meets America's Funniest Home Videos. The suit was settled in December 2011 through mediation with a federal judge without going to trial.
Wipeout has also been adapted into a video game, Wipeout: The Game, which was released June 22, 2010, along with the Season 3 premiere. The game was released on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, and was developed by Activision. In the game, the player can choose from 23 different characters. There are four categories of characters, with each category having a certain amount of "Speed" and "Strength" for the player, which varies based on their body sizes. The "Small" characters have great Speed but little Strength. The "Medium" characters have a more balanced amount of Speed and Strength, with neither one serving as the dominant trait. And the "Large" characters have great Strength but little Speed. These first three categories all have 6 different characters each; 3 females and 3 males, and each character having 3 different outfits. The fourth category is "Special," which has a high amount of Speed and Strength. There are 5 characters in this category, including the three hosts. The game is played in two different versions. Challenge mode is where the player can challenge specific obstacles and attempt to beat them in a certain amount of time. The other is Play The Show, which means to play the game as they would in the show. They go through the Qualifier round first, and advance to the Sweeper round second. The third round, Free For All, has 3 different versions. In the Easy level, the Free For All features players spinning on the dizzy dummy, and then going across the Tipsy Tables or the Spinning Platform. Challenging level has players on the Unclaimed Baggage, and the Extreme level has them on the Double Crosser. Finally, they go through the Wipeout Zone. The Wii game is different from the show (and its Nintendo DS counterpart) in that there are only 4 contestants, and none are eliminated during the first three rounds. The game has commentary by Henson, Anderson and Wagner, all three of whom are featured as unlockable playable characters.
Another Wipeout game was under development by Activision, this time for Xbox 360 with Kinect, entitled 'Wipeout: In The Zone'. It took full advantage of the Kinect remote and has ragdoll wipeouts and different rounds from the Wii and DS version, such as Bruiseball. The game was released "in conjunction with the premier of Wipeout's summer season on ABC" on June 16, 2011.Activision announced on August 18, 2011 that a direct sequel to the first Wipeout game was in development titled Wipeout 2 for Xbox 360 with Kinect, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. The new game is described as "Offering updated, outrageous course designs across all platforms with obstacles and effects taken straight from the show's summer and winter seasons. Players must navigate around snow, ice, foam, and fan-favorite obstacles like the Sucker Punch Wall and Big Balls; which are making their triumphant returns alongside more than 50 others".
It was released on October 11, 2011. Activision announced on June 25, 2013 that a new title called Wipeout: Create & Crash would be released on Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS on October 15, 2013.