'Wipeout': Hot Date, Cold Water

Wipeout_logo.jpgOn Tuesday, June 1, ABC's summer hit "Wipeout" gives viewers a sneak peek at the new obstacle course with the "Wipeout Blind Date" two-hour special (the series returns for its regular season on Tuesday, June 22).

Click here for a behind-the-scenes video.

In the special, 12 single girls and 12 single guys take on the course as their first blind dates, in hopes of winning $100,000 and perhaps finding true love.

Early this year, I headed out to the rural location north of Los Angeles where "Wipeout" is filmed to visit with executive producer Matt Kunitz (and bring him the scratch-baked banana bread I had promised) and watch contestants and crew in action.

I got to spend some time in the control room, and if you think doing several seasons of "Wipeout" has made the producers and crew blase about it all, think again. They want the contestants to succeed, because the show can't go on until the requisite number of contestants has cleared each round. As the day wears on and the light begins to dim, the situation starts to become a little desperate.

On this particular day, it was a nailbiter, as the producers were one contestant short of the number needed to proceed to the next round, and the day was fading fast. It was tense in the room (and not just because Kunitz was forced to share his precious banana bread), and when the final contestant made it through, raucous cheers and clapping broke out.

It's also hard not to get drawn into the stories of the individual contestants, including one plus-size lady who struggled mightily but made it through the big-balls course by sheer determination and persistence.

As always, my favorite folks are the Black & Blue Crew, the young men and women who test the stunts. Click here and here for earlier posts introducing them.

The B&Bs also participate in the games, which feature some themes this year, including a construction-worker motif. The idea is that the testers would dress up as workers and toss wet concrete -- actually well-aged, slightly gross oatmeal -- at the contestants.

Here are some of my shots to give you an idea of what's coming up.

Former Marine Megan Stiner (her usual partner, fellow former Marine Michelle Dickson, was out with an injury)...

Wipeout_blackandblue_Meghan.jpgThe very cool and laid-back Kenny Shackelford...

Wipeout_blackandblue_KennyShackleford.jpgCrew members strike a pose in repose ...

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