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Revived series title card
|Created by||Ashton Kutcher
|Starring||Ashton Kutcher (2003–2007)
Celebrity guest hosts (2012)
|Theme music composer||Elizabeth Miller
Brian Friedman (Theme)
Ricky Friedman (Theme)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||74 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jason Stuffings
David R. Franzke
Lois Clark Curren
|Running time||22 minutes|
Punk'd is an American hidden camera-practical joke reality television series that first aired on MTV in 2003 and was created by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, and produced and hosted by Ashton Kutcher. It bore a resemblance to both the classic hidden camera show Candid Camera and to TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, which also featured pranks on celebrities. Being "punk'd" referred to being the victim of such a prank.
The series finale aired on MTV on May 29, 2007. The series culminated in early June with the Punk'd Awards.
After a five-year hiatus, the series was revived with a March 29, 2012 premiere. The revived series was hosted by different celebrity guests each week. The ninth season ended on June 7, 2012.
History and format
Originally, Ashton Kutcher and MTV were developing a series called Harassment, a hidden camera show which would feature pranks on regular people. However, a January 2002 prank involving a fake dead body at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas backfired and the couple who were targets of the prank sued Kutcher, MTV, and the hotel for $10 million. The concept was later retooled to involve celebrities instead. Pranks would be set at a variety of locations, public and private. The show's first prank was set at singer Justin Timberlake's home, where he was led to believe that government agents were seizing his home and valuables because of unpaid income taxes. The prank was named by Time magazine as #3 in their list of 32 Epic Moments in Reality-TV History.
A frequent segment during the first two seasons was a Punk'd cast member pretending to interview celebrities at red carpet events, only to mock them instead. This segment closely copies what originated on The Howard Stern Show in the 1980s, when Stern and his writers began sending interns (most notably Stuttering John Melendez) to ask celebrities embarrassing questions on the red carpet. During the first season then-fifteen-year-old Ryan Pinkston posed as a reporter from a children's television program, and would insult the celebrities. During season two, the producers then chose a foreign interviewer accompanied by her interpreter who would then ask inane questions to the guests.
In October 2010, New York Magazine revealed that Punk'd was being revived with Justin Bieber replacing Kutcher as the host; however it stated that Kutcher would remain as executive producer. The first episode of the ninth season, featuring Bieber as a guest host, was filmed in late August 2011. On December 31, 2011, MTV confirmed that the series would be revived in 2012, and that a different celebrity guest host would be featured each episode, so far the guests have included; Tyler, the Creator, Justin Bieber, Bam Margera, Hayden Panettiere, Lucy Hale, Nick Cannon, Dax Shepard, Miley Cyrus, Heather Morris, Kellan Lutz, Daniel Tosh, and Mac Miller. Ashton Kutcher made a returning appearance on an episode where he got to punk again.
- "Punk'd: Is Ashton Kutcher Really Calling It Quits?", TVSeriesFinale.com, March 27, 2007
- Keveney, Bill (2012-03-26). "'Punk'd' returns with Ashton Kutcher behind the scenes – USATODAY.com". usatoday.com. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- "Couple sue over TV corpse 'prank'". BBC. 2002-06-13. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Webley, Kayla. "32 Epic Moments in Reality-TV History: 3. Punk'd: Justin Timberlake Cries", Time magazine, accessed April 8, 2011.
- EGOS & IDS; Tough-to-Ask Questions Are Getting Easier to Ask, The New York Times, July 5, 1992, accessed May 28, 2009.
- Soriano, Cesar G. "MTV prankster Pinkston is a wee bit popular", USA Today, July 13, 2003
- "MTV Bringing Back Punk’d, With Host Justin Bieber", New York Magazine, October 5, 2010, accessed October 11, 2010.
- MTV's Hit Series "Punk'd," The Pop Culture Phenomenon, Returns on Monday, March 19, for an All-New Season, Featuring Bigger Laughs and More Shocking Surprises from Your Favorite Stars
- MTV’S HIT SERIES “PUNK’D,” THE POP CULTURE PHENOMENON, RETURNS ON MONDAY, MARCH 19, FOR AN ALL-NEW SEASON, FEATURING BIGGER LAUGHS AND MORE SHOCKING SURPRISES FROM YOUR FAVORITE STARS