Latest Japanese variety show Stories

2008-07-22 12:00:00

Summertime TV has been dabbling in game shows and contestant humiliation since 2001, when NBC debuted Fear Factor with an episode featuring players lowered into a pit filled with rats. But this year, the networks have taken their game to a whole new level with programs that show competitors getting punched in the face and falling into a pit of mud as they try to climb an obstacle-course wall -- or players dressed like bugs getting slammed against car windshields. One entire series is built...

2008-07-22 00:00:28

By Cary Darling The Japanese long have been known for their torturous game shows that test not only physical endurance but sanity. Now this approach is finding a home on American TV. Why suffer the stolid bookishness of "Jeopardy!" -- and run the risk of actually learning something -- when you can watch "Hurl!" and savor the sight of guys revisiting their previous meal? And this being the networks' "off-season," when viewers' brain cells are fried from the sun and summer-TV reality...

2008-07-14 12:00:39

The freak show called reality TV has always pushed its clowns to fall apart, whether they're would-be models pining for the affections of a washed-up rocker, hot-tempered roommates battling for the last dab of toothpaste or cold-hearted contestants willing to emotionally scar their loved ones for a shot at a bag of cash. That's no longer enough. Now we want blood. In ABC's new hit "Wipeout," borderline athletes get punched, ricocheted and knocked into muddy waters on obstacle courses...

2008-06-24 02:29:55

Reason to watch: It's summer. You're bored. Nothing else on. All good reasons (there's always a good book, or a newspaper, by the way), but these shows also could be breakout hits. "Whaaa?!" you say. They're members of a subgenre that launched about three years ago with "The Simple Life" _ reality TV spoofs. What they're about: "Human cannonballs! Human pinballs! Crashes, smashes and mud splashes!" explains the entirely unhyperbolic press release from ABC for "Wipeout." But this really does...

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