Fear Factor

UPDATED: Donkey semen is off the Fear Factor menu.

NBC has yanked tonight’s planned episode of the reality series, after it broke late last week that contestants would be served donkey semen. The episode had groups of twins competing for $50,000 and competing a trio of stunts, with donkey semen chugging as one of the segments (and surviving an electric fence as another). Instead, NBC will air a Fear Factor repeat.

The network had no comment on its decision to yank the episode, which was a source of debate behind the scenes. Producers typically make the case to network censors that a gross food item on the show is always a delicacy in some part of the world (horse semen is consumed in Australia and New Zealand).

Yet the network’s discomfort with the episode was evident. Originally, the episode’s official description listed only the two other stunts, then vaguely noted “the teams also put themselves to the test eating the unimaginable.”

I’m trying to decide whether I feel bad for the contestants or not. On one hand, they had to gulp donkey semen and now their episode isn’t even going to air. On the other hand, their lives and careers are probably better for it.

UPDATE: NBC’s entertainment president Robert Greenblatt released this statement: “I reviewed the episode late last week and decided it wasn’t a segment we should air.”

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