Wipeout (2008 game show)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wipeout 2011 logo.png
Title card used starting from season 5
Also known as
  • Winter Wipeout
  • Spring Wipeout
  • Summer Wipeout
  • Total Wipeout USA
Created by
Directed byJ. Rupert Thompson
Presented by
ComposerVanacore Music (theme song & underscore)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes130
Executive producers
Production companies
Original networkABC
Picture format
Original releaseJune 24, 2008 (2008-06-24) –
September 7, 2014 (2014-09-07)

Wipeout is an American television game show. It features contestants competing in (what was billed as) the "World's Largest" obstacle course which originally aired on ABC from June 24, 2008 to September 7, 2014. In 2021, the show was rebooted on TBS,[1] with John Cena, Nicole Byer, and Camille Kostek as hosts.[2]

The show was originally hosted and commentated by John Henson and John Anderson, while Jill Wagner acted as the "on-location" reporter. The interim reporter for one season was Vanessa Lachey. The creators and executive producers are Matt Kunitz and Scott Larsen. Distribution of the show was handled by Endemol Shine. The show was taped at Sable Ranch in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, California, north of Los Angeles.[3]


Wipeout title card used from 2008 to 2010. The logo can still be seen around the course.

The series premiered on June 24, 2008, on ABC. After the pilot was shot, co-host Elon Gold was replaced. Producers called in Michael Glazer to find a "comic host replacement" that eventually went to John Henson. The first season's success spawned a series of international versions of Wipeout, debuting in countries including the United Kingdom and Argentina in January 2009.

On December 8, 2008, ABC announced plans to counter-program NBC's Super Bowl game-day telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of Wipeout, entitled "Wipeout Bowl". The episode was broadcast immediately following the game. The episode featured female cheerleaders competing against male "couch potato" sports fans.[4] During the hour-long special, Monica Kauffman became the show's first female competitor to win. Following the episode, an announcement was made that a second season had been commissioned, and a promo for the season was subsequently broadcast.

The second season was broadcast during the summer of 2009. According to TV Week, in 2009 Wipeout became the third most popular game show in the world, based on ratings.[5] On July 22, 2009, Wipeout was renewed for a third season, for which filming began in September 2009.

The third season of the show premiered on June 22, 2010, with a special two-hour "Blind Date" episode preluding the series on June 1.[6][7] ABC subsequently announced that other themed episodes would appear in Season 3, including episodes featuring ladies only and families.[6] The third-season finale aired on September 14, 2010, with a special "America's Finest Edition", featuring some of America's heroes, including firefighters and policemen.

Co-creator and executive producer Matt Kunitz on the Wipeout Zone part of the course in 2010

On August 15, 2010, ABC announced that the show had been contracted for a fourth season.[8] The announcement added: "Wipeout has the distinction of being the only broadcast reality series launched in recent years that has demonstrated proven staying power." On October 13, 2010, ABC announced plans that the fourth season would be split into three sections – Winter, Spring, and Summer; with a total of 32 episodes: 8 Winter episodes, 7 Spring episodes and 17 Summer episodes.[9] The fourth season premiered on January 6, 2011.[10]

On June 16, 2011, ABC announced that the show had been renewed for a fifth season, and that Vanessa Lachey would replace co-host Jill Wagner on the show. New episodes of Winter Wipeout began on December 8, 2011, with a Christmas special episode, entitled Winter Wipeout: Deck the Balls.[citation needed] That same year, syndicated reruns of Wipeout aired on truTV and TBS.[11] Reruns now air on TBS, TBD and local stations across the U.S.

On August 29, 2012, Wipeout was picked up for a sixth season. In addition, it was announced that former co-host Jill Wagner would be returning to the series after a season-long absence.[12] John Anderson and John Henson also returned as commentators. Vanessa Lachey departed the series due to her impending pregnancy.

On August 30, 2012, Activision released a Wipeout game for iOS. It quickly became the top-selling app in the App Store.[13]

On May 9, 2013, season six premiered. In its sixth season, Wipeout celebrated its 100th episode.[14]

For its seventh season winners from each episode were brought together for a "Tournament of Champions" at the end of the season to compete for the title of Ultimate Wipeout Champion.[15] Season seven ended on September 7, 2014.

Reportedly revamped for an eighth season as Wipeout Extreme, by the summer of 2015, ABC had quietly canceled the show and removed it from the network website.[16][17] The series was not renewed for an eighth season.


Series Hosts
1 2 3
1 John Anderson John Henson Jill Wagner
5 Vanessa Lachey
6 Jill Wagner

TBS reboot[edit]

In April 2020, it was announced that the series would be returning on TBS.[1][18] In September 2020, John Cena, Nicole Byer, and Camille Kostek were announced as hosts of the rebooted Wipeout.[2][19] It premiered on April 1, 2021.[20] On May 19, 2021, it was announced that the reboot series was renewed for a second season.[21]


The Wipeout set at Sable Ranch, as seen in 2014

Contestants compete through four rounds of competition until a final winner is determined. The first round features 24 contestants (they were introduced from seasons 1–3, but from season 4 onwards, not all were shown) running through a series of obstacles. The top 12 finishing times move on. The show never made clear to viewers whether or how the finishing times are adjusted for failing to complete obstacles along the way.

The next two rounds take place on two different complex obstacles. They typically involve large structures that competitors have to enter, navigate around while hostile devices try to knock them off, and then jump to a landing pad to finish, where Jill Wagner awaits them. The competitors keep trying on these structures until roughly half of them have reached the finish; the other half are eliminated. This leaves only the top four (top three in some seasons) to make it to the final round called the Wipeout Zone, where the winner earns the title of Wipeout Champion and a $50,000 grand prize.

The challenges change each week, but always feature offbeat and comical obstacles, such as the "Sucker Punch", "Big Balls" (the show's trademark obstacle, four very large red spheres in sequence that must be traversed from a running start, with failures often resulting in odd-angle rejections), the "Sweeper", the "Dizzy Dummy" or the "Dreadmill". Emphasis is always placed on obstacles that can produce sudden jarring collisions (the obstacle surfaces are heavily padded and competitors sometimes don helmets or flak jackets) followed by spectacular falls into the water below, these being the show's titular "wipeouts". As part of wiping out, the competitors often end up covered in mud, froth, vats of food, or other unlikely substances.

In one of the show's trademarks, the commentators have a humorous running commentary, often mocking and insulting the contestants as they compete. The hosts make frequent use of puns. Jokey sound effects and cheesy visual effects are often added as well. The exchanges between the two hosts is often a subplot of episodes themselves, with Anderson playing it mostly straight as a play-by-play man while Henson offers up off-the-wall inanities and non sequiturs as color commentary. Jill Wagner offers additional features reactions, and also provides interviews with the contestants filmed before their turn begins. These interviews tend to emphasize bizarre aspects of contestants' personalities, with Wagner making facial commentary as the conversation proceeds. Generally only those who will pass the first round are introduced, and a nickname is assigned that is used throughout the game.

At night, the show takes an epic and serious turn, with the humor dialed down, and serious background music instead of its lighthearted theme music. The final four or three contestants play separately on a large obstacle course inside the studio called the Wipeout Zone, each attempting to finish the course in the fastest time, much like the first round. Though slight variations are used in each episode, contestants wear wetsuits and they begin by either sliding down a water ramp or being launched by a giant catapult or blob into the course, swimming to the first obstacle. Obstacles have varied between episodes, but the course contains several obstacles that must be traversed in order to reach the finishing platform. The player with the fastest time on the course is declared the "champion" of the episode and is awarded the show's grand prize of $50,000. The Wipeout Zone often brings competitors to the brink of exhaustion, especially when they have to swim back to a starting point to retry a failed obstacle. In Season 7, the Zone was all about speed, and the contestants were given 1 attempt per obstacle.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
111June 24, 2008 (2008-06-24)September 16, 2008 (2008-09-16)
217February 1, 2009 (2009-02-01)September 16, 2009 (2009-09-16)
318June 1, 2010 (2010-06-01)September 14, 2010 (2010-09-14)
431January 6, 2011 (2011-01-06)September 15, 2011 (2011-09-15)
524December 8, 2011 (2011-12-08)September 29, 2012 (2012-09-29)
616May 9, 2013 (2013-05-09)September 19, 2013 (2013-09-19)
713June 22, 2014 (2014-06-22)September 7, 2014 (2014-09-07)


The storage area of the Wipeout set at Sable Ranch, as seen in 2013

On its premiere night, Wipeout scored the highest premiere rating of any new show in summer 2008, besting competing veteran summer shows Hell's Kitchen and America's Got Talent.[22] As the season progressed, Nielsen Media Research put it at the top of the 18–49 demographic, slightly outpaced by America's Got Talent. On August 6, 2008, Wipeout was officially renewed for a second season.[23] The second season premiered on May 27, 2009, and with an audience of 9.69 million, Wipeout bested its first season average and gave ABC its best numbers in the Wednesday 8:00 p.m. slot since November 2007.[24] The third season premiered on June 22, 2010, with ratings of 10.21 million,[25] with a special "Blind Date" episode getting 12.8 million viewers on June 1, 2010.[26] In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that Wipeout was "most popular in Northern, rural areas with a large percentage of white people: Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin and Maine are all on the top of this show's list".[27]

On January 6, 2011, the first season of Winter Wipeout premiered with the series' highest ratings ever, beating the 8pm competition in the coveted 18–49 demographic and many other key demos.[28]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Result Notes
2009 Rose d'Or Entertainment Category Nominated [29]
2010 Entertainment Weekly Guilty Pleasure Reality Showdown Won [30]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show Nominated [31]
2011 Favorite Reality Show Nominated [32]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Competition Show Nominated [33]
2012 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show Won [34][Note 1]
2013 Favorite Reality Show Won [35]
2014 Favorite Reality Show Won [36]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Show Won [37]
2015 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Reality Show Nominated [38]
  1. ^ Wipeout won the award for the first time, dethroning American Idol, which had won the category every time since its inception. Over 220 million votes were cast.[34]


The concept and style of the show has been compared to several Japanese game shows, most notably Takeshi's Castle, Unbeatable Banzuke and SASUKE.[39][40] This was brought to the attention of the Japanese broadcaster Tokyo Broadcasting System, who filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against ABC, charging that Wipeout is "a blatant copycat" of several of its classic Japanese competition game shows. Among the charges are that ABC bought search terms such as MXC (the Americanized comedy version of Takeshi's Castle) on Google to help drive traffic to the official Wipeout page, and that specific obstacles in Wipeout were knock-offs of challenges in those Japanese game shows.[citation needed]

Wipeout creator and executive producer Matt Kunitz, who also executive produced Endemol's Fear Factor (NBC), said Wipeout is "90% Fear Factor-inspired, 10% Japanese game show", adding in a Los Angeles Times interview that Wipeout was born from a desire to do a funny stunt series. He reportedly wanted to sell the show as Fear Factor meets America's Funniest Home Videos.[41] The suit was settled in December 2011 through mediation with a federal judge without going to trial.[42]

Video games[edit]

There have been eight video games based on Wipeout. The series was first adapted into Wipeout: The Game, which was released June 22, 2010 in conjunction with the Season 3 premiere.[43] The game was released on the Wii and Nintendo DS, and was developed by Activision. The game is played in two different versions. Challenge mode is where the player can challenge specific obstacles and attempt to beat them in a certain amount of time. The other is Play The Show, which means to play the game as they would in the show. The Wii game is different from the show (and its Nintendo DS counterpart) in that there are only 4 contestants, and none are eliminated during the first three rounds. The game has commentary by Henson, Anderson and Wagner, all three of whom are featured as unlockable playable characters.[44]

Another Wipeout game was under development by Activision, this time for Xbox 360 with Kinect, entitled 'Wipeout: In The Zone'. It took full advantage of the Kinect remote and has ragdoll wipeouts and different rounds from the Wii and DS version, such as Bruiseball. The game was released "in conjunction with the premier of Wipeout's summer season on ABC"[45] on June 16, 2011.[46] Activision announced on August 18, 2011, that a direct sequel to the first Wipeout game was in development titled Wipeout 2[47] for Xbox 360 with Kinect, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS. The new game is described as "Offering updated, outrageous course designs across all platforms with obstacles and effects taken straight from the show's summer and winter seasons. Players must navigate around snow, ice, foam, and fan-favorite obstacles like the Sucker Punch Wall and Big Balls; which are making their triumphant returns alongside more than 50 others".

It was released on October 11, 2011.[48] Activision announced on June 25, 2013, that a new title called Wipeout: Create & Crash would be released on Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS on October 15, 2013.[49]

Title Developer(s) Publisher(s) Platform(s) Release date(s) Genre References
Wipeout: The Game Activision Activision Wii
Nintendo DS
  • NA: June 22, 2010
Action [50]
Wipeout in the Zone Behaviour Interactive Activision Xbox 360
  • NA: June 14, 2011
Action [51]
Wipeout 2 Activision Activision Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo DS
  • NA: October 11, 2011
Action [52]
Wipeout Activision Activision iOS
  • NA: August 30, 2012
Action [53]
Wipeout 3 Activision Activision Xbox 360
Nintendo 3DS
Wii U
Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS
  • NA: September 25, 2012
Wii U
  • NA: November 18, 2012
Action [54]
Wipeout Activision Activision Android
  • NA: February 8, 2013
Action [55]
Wipeout: Create & Crash Behaviour Interactive Activision Xbox 360
Nintendo 3DS
Wii U
  • NA: October 15, 2013
Action [56]
Wipeout 2 Activision Activision iOS


  • NA: August 28, 2014
Action [57]

International versions[edit]

Endemol Shine North America has sold the show's format to more than 40 territories and has created two obstacle courses in Argentina for those international editions.[23] Past, current and upcoming versions include:

Country Name Host Channel Premiere
Arab League Arab World وايب أوت
Mustafa Alagha, Tamer Abd El-Monem, Karen Derkalostian MBC 1[58] May 2009
 Argentina Hombre al agua Sebastián Weinbaum and Eugenio Weinbaum (Season 1, 3), Ivan de Pineda and Luli Fernendez (Season 2) Canal 13 January 5, 2009
 Australia Wipeout Australia Kelly Landry, James Brayshaw and Josh Lawson Nine Network/Go![59] February 3, 2009
 Belarus Зачистка
Alexandra Pavlova and Ivan Vabishevich ONT January 23, 2011
 Belgium Wipeout Walter Grootaers, Bob Peeters & Lynn Pelgroms (& Wytske Kenemans) VTM[60] March 4, 2009
 Brazil Maratoma Fausto Silva Rede Globo[61] July 19, 2009
 Canada Wipeout Québec Valérie Simard, Alain Dumas and Réal Béland V August 31, 2009
Wipeout Canada Jonathan Torrens, Enis Esmer, Jessica Phillips[62] TVtropolis
Family Channel
April 3, 2011
 Chile Hombre Al Agua Martín Cárcamo and Álvaro Salas TVN March 6, 2009
 Colombia Hombre Al Agua Pirry and Andrea Serna RCN TV December 2011
 Croatia Wipeout Marina Jerkovic RTL Televizija April 12, 2009
 Czech Republic Wipeout – Souboj národů Libor Bouček, Janka Hospodárová Nova June 29, 2011
 Denmark Wipeout Uffe Holm, Martin Veltz and Anne Kejser Kanal 5 March 5, 2009
 Finland Wipeout Suomi Anna Easteden, Jacke Björklund, Sami Manninen Fox 2013
 France Total Wipeout Stéphane Rotenberg, Alex Goude, Sandrine Corman M6[63][64] July 17, 2009
 Germany WipeOut – Heul nicht, lauf! Charlotte Engelhardt, Matthias Opdenhövel and Werner Hansch ProSieben[65] March 10, 2009
 Greece Wipeout Christoforos Zaralikos, Dimitris Menounos, Eleni Karpontini (season 1), Giorgos Lianos (season 2) ANT1 February 6, 2010
 Iceland Wipeout Ísland Sigmar Vilhjálmsson, Jóhannes Ásbjörnsson and Friðrika Hjördís Geirsdóttir Stöð 2[66] December 11, 2009
 India Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout Shahrukh Khan and Saumya Tandon[67] Imagine TV[citation needed] February 1, 2011
 Israel וויפאאוט ישראל
Wipeout Israel
Tal Berman and Aviad Kisos Channel 10[68] May 10, 2011
 Italy Wipeout – Pronti a tutto! Lillo e Greg K2 October 3, 2010
 Kazakhstan Экстрималы
Azamat Ivashev, Anton Zykin, Evgeny Pereverzev, Axaule Alzhan Channel 7 [69] March 9, 2013
 Lithuania Jokių kliūčių! Džiugas Siaurusaitis TV3 January 10, 2009
 Mexico Resbalón José Ramón San Cristóbal, Eduardo Videgaray Televisa[70] August 29, 2009
 Mozambique O Gram Caida Noel Serra, Cristian Aureliano Maranhao Promomedios Televisor September 12, 2010
 Netherlands Wipeout Wytske Kenemans, Dennis Weening, Klaas van der Eerden, Lynn Pelgroms RTL 5[71][72] February 15, 2009
 Norway Wipeout Anders Hoff,Øyvind Rafto, Synnøve Skarbø TVNorge March 2, 2009[73]
 Philippines Wipeout Matira, Matibay Paolo Contis, Vincent de Jesus GMA Network March 15, 2010
 Poland Wipeout – Wymiatacze Tomasz Zimoch, Krzysztof 'Jankes' Jankowski,
Katarzyna Olubińska
TVN February 13, 2011
 Russia Жестокие игры
Zhestokiye Igry
Dmitry Dibrov, Kirill Nabutov, Yana Churikova Channel One[74] March 7, 2010
Danila Dunayev, Natali Nevedrova, Vladimir Strozhuk Yu September 7, 2013
 Serbia Wipeout Ivan Tešanović and Miljan Milićević FOX Televizija November 8, 2009
 Slovakia Wipeout – Súboj národov Janka Hospodárová, Libor Bouček Markíza July 3, 2011
 Slovenia Wipeout Jernej Kuntner and Tomaž Cuder TV 3 unknown; Slovenian voice-over of the American version since season 3
 Spain ¡Guaypaut! Carmen Alcayde Telecinco[75] December 24, 2008
 Sweden Wipeout Felix Herngren, Hans Wiklund, Sofia Wistam (1-2), Christine Meltzer (3) Kanal 5[76] March 8, 2009
 Turkey Wipeout Asuman Krause Show TV[77] June 30, 2008
 Ukraine БУМ, Битва українських міст
BUM, Bytva Ukrayinskyh Mist
Stepan Kazanin, Valeria Ushakova, Alexander Krikun Inter TV March 7, 2010
Замочені (Zamocheni) Ehor Krutoholov, Oleksandr Berezhok, Anna Teslenko ICTV June 16, 2013
 United Kingdom Total Wipeout Richard Hammond[78] and Amanda Byram BBC One,
BBC Three,
January 3, 2009


  • In Canada, the original United States series airs on Global for the first 5 seasons where City aired the 6th; the French-Canadian television V also aired the United States series but dubbed in French. The original United States series also airs in the UK on Challenge (as Total Wipeout USA), in New Zealand on Comedy Central, in Australia on Nine Network; in the Philippines and India on AXN and also on Comedy Central in India, in the Netherlands on RTL 5, and in Hong Kong on TVB Pearl.[80] It is also broadcast in Ireland by TG4 with an Irish language voiceover.
  • The Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway, and Sweden produce separate versions of the show based on the same footage of contestants from the three countries competing against each other.
  • The Dutch version is a collaboration between the Netherlands and Belgium.
  • The American, British, Canadian and Australian versions are broadcast in Portugal on FX and also the Spanish and Argentinian versions and a rerun of the first season in Portuguese on +tvi.
  • The Italian version is made from the USA show, with the original audio still audible; some episodes are taken from the UK version, Total Wipeout.
  • Pluto TV launched a Wipeout-themed channel in 2019, which solely broadcasts the British, Canadian and Australian versions.[81]
  • Series 1-3 of the American version, along with the British and Australian versions were first broadcast on Nine/GO! in Australia. In 2015, an uncut British version was broadcast on ABC2 and series 2-3 of the American version were broadcast on 7mate. Currently, the British version is broadcast on 10 Shake, and series 4-7 and the TBS reboot of the American version are broadcast on Fox8.


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]