John Gaines was mostly looking to mess with his girlfriend when he suggested the couple try out for MTV’s “Fear Factor” reboot.
Bobbing for snakes on national television must have seemed like a safe bet, especially for Gaines, who grew up addicted to watching the dare/stunt game show, which ran for six seasons in the early 2000s.
“It was always so extreme and gross,” says Gaines, a car salesman and former football player who grew up in Fresno and still has family in the area.
“I never thought I would have a chance to do some of those things.”
Until now. Gaines and his girlfriend, Lauren Young, will be featured on tonight’s episode of the show; one of several couples competing for $50,000 by, among other things, bobbing for snakes and playing something called Fear Pong.
Fear is only a factor when you allow it. You are in complete control.
While Gaines admits to being afraid of closed-in spaces, drowning, being locked underwater and sharks, his biggest fear going into the show was actually his partner.
“All I knew was that I couldn’t let her get bragging rights over me,” he says.
“That was my motivation to overcome whatever fears I would have to face on the show.”
MTV is hoping to win big with this “Fear Factory” reboot, which is hosted by rapper-turned-actor Ludacris and is “custom-created for a generation that is increasingly empowered, while also more anxious than ever.” The dares are inspired by urban legends, scary movies and viral videos.
Already, it’s doing well for network. Last week’s premiere was MTV’s highest-rated in two years, drawing a close to a million viewers, according to the website Deadline.
The show’s second episode airs 10 p.m. tonight.