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July 03, 2008

Spike TV knocks 'Wipeout' as an 'MXC' ripoff

Spike TV is taking playful shots at ABC's new hit "Wipeout," calling the reality show a ripoff of its long-running series "MXC."

"Spike TV realizes that in the summer, some broadcast networks might be 'lost' like a 'desperate housewife' or an 'ugly betty' in search of 'bachelor' so they turn to imitating shows on cable," reads a press release. "In honor of this, Spike TV celebrates 'MXC, The Original, Not The Ripoff, Weekend' on July 5-6 as an homage to the network's original series based on a wacky Japanese game show which debuted five years ago."

The release later notes that "'MXC' has become so popular that many of the games featured in the Spike series such as Mudslingers and Log Jam can be seen in surprisingly similar forms on other networks."

Spike has a point. "Wipeout" takes a clear riff from "MXC," a comically dubbed version of the Japanese series "Takeshi's Castle." "Wipeout" also owes a debt to G4's "Ninja Warrior," an obstacle course series that, like "Wipeout," starts with a mixture of fit and out-of-shape contestants than gradually becomes a more straightforward competition.

But give ABC some credit for its execution here, which could have gone wildly wrong. Cable or no, "MXC" has been around for years and averages less than a tenth of the 10 million viewers that checked out "Wipeout." Plus, the original mocking-people-who-fall contemporary hit is ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos," which pre-dates both shows.


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