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'Fear Factor' back for more gross-out stunts

NBC revives the life-and-death show for another season

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Break out the bug buffets and snake pits: NBC is rebooting its 2001 classic Fear Factor for 10 episodes, with producers promising to take the gag-inducing challenge series to an extreme new level. ”The 2.0 version will benefit from the decade that has gone by,” says David Goldberg, North America chairman of the show’s production company, Endemol. ”There will be more action, tension, and emotion.” The original Factor — in which competitors faced their fears, or a giant plate of bull testicles, for a chance at $50,000 — was a strong ratings performer that survived six seasons of increasingly heavy exposure, even as critics derided the series as the epitome of a tacky reality TV ”trend.” Nowadays, unscripted TV is king, but nobody has replicated Factor’s mix of action set-pieces and stomach-turning stunts. Fear 2.0 doesn’t have a host yet, but original bug peddler Joe Rogan is ”high on the list,” according to Goldberg. NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy adds that the revamp will be more ”visually arresting,” and will avoid ”stuff with maximum shock value.” Factor’s executive producer Matt Kunitz puts it more bluntly: ”It won’t be so much about eating animal genitalia.” C’mon, guys, don’t let fear be a factor.