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'Wipeout!' Explained


'Wipeout!' Explained

A contestant takes a spill on 'Wipeout!'

Courtesy ABC
Hosts: John Henson and John Anderson
Co-Host: Jill Wagner
Executive Producer: Matt Kunitz
Series Premiere: June 24th, 2008
Network: ABC
Airs On: Tuesday nights at 8pm Eastern
Top Prize: $50,000


Wipeout! features 24 contestants who are there to compete in the "world's largest obstacle course." The course itself is pretty extreme, with participants having to face difficult physical challenges as well as stunts, including the Human Cannonball. Many of the challenges and obstacles are reminiscent of those used on the more physical Japanese game shows, where the show draws much of its inspiration from.

In each episode, contestants battle it out in four rounds of competition. The main source of viewer entertainment is what gives the game its title – as ABC describes the show, the "obstacle course (is) designed to provide the most spills, face plants and wipeouts ever seen on television." Calling it "painfully funny," the show has a sort of America's Funniest Videos feel to it, with these crashes, smashes, and wipeouts acting as the highlights.


Some of the challenges featured on the show are:

  • Human Cannonball
  • Human Pinball
  • Dizzy Dummy
  • The Dirty Balls
  • The Dreadmill
The Dreadmill will require contestants to jump over hurdles on a 40-foot long treadmill, which clips along at an impossibly fast pace.

The Hosts:

John Anderson is an anchor for ESPN's SportsCenter. He is an award-winning journalist, and co-author of Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play, along with golf legend Chi Chi Rodriguez.

John Henson is best known for his role as host of Talk Soup on the E! Entertainment network. He has a recurring role on the sitcom My Name is Earl, and has also donned the producer's hat for many programs.

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