Ratings For Fear Factor Aren’t Scary

It appears Americans had a pent-up hunger for scorpion attacks after all. Monday night’s revival of Fear Factor pulled in solid ratings, the kind that NBC wasn’t really seeing on Mondays when The Playboy Club was there. The thrills-and-chills reality show returned after last airing in the summer of 2006.

The 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. airings of Fear Factor pulled in ratings in the 18-49 demographic of 3.1 and 3.5, respectively. That was behind the ratings for the CBS comedy lineup, but ahead of everything else in prime time, and any night when NBC isn’t running fourth counts as a triumph.

So what does this mean for the future? As of now, the series is only scheduled to air over the next several weeks into early 2012, before The Voice and Smash take over on Mondays. But you may have noticed that NBC has a few problem spots on its schedule, and the network has a history of taking reality shows that perform well early on and running them into the ground (examples: The Apprentice, Deal or No Deal, and the original Fear Factor).

So we can expect more of Joe Rogan and other squirmy critters. But a word of caution: NBC revived American Gladiators a few years back, and that too did really well at first, but fatigue set in within weeks. Fear Factor might wind up the same way.