'Wipeout' strives for big splats
That allows host
"You don't want to see 24 people do the same wipeout over and over and over," says Kunitz, speaking in the lunchroom at the show's sets north of
To attain that goal, Kunitz employs a team of stunt testers -- known as the Black & Blues -- to ensure that the inventive and torturous obstacles perform all the necessary functions.
"The stressful part about stunt testing," Kunitz says, "is, 'Will it work?' I'll always know that we'll make it safe, but we worry, 'Is it going to be boring? Is it going to look bad? Is it going to give us the big wipeout?' "
For those who've never seen the show, the competitors -- who are occasionally athletic but always colorful -- strap on helmets and flotation vests and try to run, leap, slide and sprawl across a series of brightly hued moving obstacles (the signature big red balls don't move, but they're plenty hazardous just as they are) in the hopes of eventually making it to the "Wipeout Zone" and a $50,000 prize.
The show has been on for a while now, and contestants have seen it on TV, watched clips on
"They think they can figure it out," Kunitz says, "but this is why it's 'A Season of Surprises.' "
You'd think there'd be sobs of pain at "Wipeout," but Kunitz says, "We get a lot of exhausted people, but we don't get a lot of tears."