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The partnering of the website that brought you Praying Mantis Girl and the production company that brought you Fear Factor seems more like an inevitability than news, but bet your insectivorous vloggers we’ll be watching.
Break, the self-proclaimed “leading online entertainment channel for men,” attracts 16 million viewers a month with its Jackass-like antics and a huge NSFW section. Endemol USA is the producer of a number of very popular reality and unscripted TV programs including Fear Factor as well as Deal or No Deal, 1 vs 100, and Big Brother. Together they bring you Endemol’s first commissioned series, Record Breakers.
Each episode of Record Breakers will have the host “set a unique comedic record” and then challenge two lucky contestants to break that record for cash prizes. At the end of each episode the viewers are challenged to break the record themselves, and video it, of course. The best user generated record breakers will make it onto the show.
The liability and potential for horrific publicity associated with encouraging Break’s core demographic of 18- to 35-year-old “men” to do ridiculous things in front of a camera sounds like PR nightmare waiting to happen.
Scheduled to premiere this summer, Record Breakers has been contracted for thirty webisodes. This is the second major programming deal Break has signed in a month, following its recent agreement with NBCU to produce the similarly titled The Breakers, a show where beautiful women break things (Will It Blend? but sexier).
While all of the big networks lumber their ways onto the internet, Break assures its loyal audience that it will stay true to its user-generated origins. Having a steady source of high quality content like Record Break and The Breakers will give the video site a greater level of consistency, a quality many video sites lack as many viral sensations fail to develop loyal audiences.
That said, the addition of a host and cash prizes to Break’s formula of death-defying video capers does not seem like much of a breakthrough. I’m still holding out for a more synergistic collaboration of online video and TV that’s just like Praying Mantis Girl.