'Fear Factor' to put a scare into Cape

Sunday, May 29, 2005

This summer, one household in Cape Girardeau is going to get the chance to eat something really disgusting or do something really frightening. It could be drinking animal blood, munching on insect larvae or walking a tightrope, but it will all be on national television.

Television network NBC is looking for Cape Girardeau residents to participate in its newest incarnation of "Fear Factor," which will travel to 20 cities throughout the country looking for fearless, competitive households.

For five years "Fear Factor" has been a part of the American reality-TV culture, with contestants performing some of the most grotesque and scary stunts imaginable for prizes.

The shoots in those 20 cities are part of a new segment on the show's 2005-2006 season run called "Home Invasion." The segment will be part of "Fear Factor" and will pit household members against each other for a $5,000 prepaid credit card.

"We did market research on 60 cities," said Mikey Glazer, "Fear Factor" cast producer. "We wanted places as big as New York and Chicago and as small as Evansville, Ind., and Cape Girardeau."

Glazer said Cape Girardeau was picked because the show has had good luck in the past casting in Missouri.

"Joplin was best site we've had hands down," Glazer said. "The last time we were in Joplin, we heard about Southeastern Missouri and put it on the list of places to explore."

"Fear Factor" is different from other reality TV shows in that the contestants are not recurring, said Glazer. Even though in its new season some contestants will be carried through multiple weeks, "Home Invasion" contestants will not. That means those who are selected have to be compelling for the TV audience, Glazer said.

"We're looking for a family that right away you're going to root for them," Glazer said. "It's like pro wrestling: You have good guys you cheer for and bad guys you love to hate. We want a family that everyone knows and loves or everyone thinks is a jerk."

But families aren't the only ones eligible to be on the show -- any household group can apply, such as a group of firefighters or a fraternity or sorority house.

And as for the stunts -- they'll be just as tough as those in the regular "Fear Factor" competitions.

"It will be as scary as what you've seen on the show," said Glazer. "Most will likely be a variation on the stunts we've been doing on the real show."

One the biggest audiences for "Fear Factor" has been children, said Glazer, and producers are hoping to bring youngsters into the act in "Home Invasion."

The stunts for children in the household won't be as dangerous as stunts for the adults, though.

The segment will also have a celebrity host who will work as a sidekick to current host Joe Rogan. The sidekick's name isn't currently being released.

Households can apply by sending a recent picture of everyone in the household, pictures of the inside and outside of the home, names of everyone living in the house, contact information for them and a justification for why the house should be picked to CapeGirardeau@FearFactor.com.

Locals can also nominate people they know for the show. Anyone hoping to get on "Home Invasion" should send their application as soon as possible, Glazer said, because selection will occur quickly.

For more information visit www.fearfactor.com.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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