“Fear Factor” vs. Super Bowl

It looks as though viewers will have to decide whether to tune in to the Super Bowl halftime show or flip to NBC to watch Playboy Playmates on a special edition of Fear Factor.

NBC’s centerfold ploy is a bold attempt to lure viewers away from the Super Bowl halftime show, which will be televised on Fox to an estimated 130 million viewers in the United States on Feb. 3.

NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker told The Associated Press on Monday that the network was simply having a little fun.

“It’s all a game. It’s all fun,” he said. “We’re doing it with just as big a wink as the viewer.”

In the last celebrity edition of Fear Factor, Kelly Preston, Coolio, Brooke Burns, Donny Osmond, Joanie Laurer and David Hasselhoff were asked to put their heads inside a 17-inch square Plexiglass box. Animal wranglers then dumped 40 millipedes, 20 scorpions and 1,000 worms on top of the their heads.

While Zucker would not reveal what stunts were in store for the centerfold models, a spokesperson for NBC said that water would be involved.

NBC will break its Feb. 3 lineup to air the special episode of Fear Factor when halftime begins, and will resume regular programming when halftime is over. The rest of Fear Factor will be shown when the game ends.

Zucker credited Fox, who in 1992 scheduled an abbreviated version of its comedy show In Living Color at halftime, as inspiration for the concept.

Irish rock band U2 will perform during Fox’s Super Bowl halftime show.

“Between the Super Bowl and Malcom in the Middle, we offer a night of television the whole family can watch together,” Fox spokesperson Sonya McNair told AP. “NBC’s programming speaks for itself.”