COMEDIAN GREG FITZSIMMONS TAPPED to HOST NEW SPEED(TM) GAME SHOW, PUMPED!
UNSUSPECTING CONTESTANTS OFFERED a CHANCE FOR PRIZES BY JUST GASSING UP THEIR CAR
SERIES STARTS on NOV. 17 at 9 P.M. ET
Greg Fitzsimmons, one of entertainment's most recognized and popular comedians, has been tapped to host SPEED's new half-hour game show, Pumped! The series, from the makers of Man Caves and Beyond Repair (Leopard Films USA), premieres with back-to-back episodes on Nov. 17 starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
'Game show' doesn't tell the entire story, however.
Fitzsimmons, a New York City native, positions himself at undisclosed Sunoco gas stations in and around some of America's busiest intersections, 'ambushing' unsuspecting patrons for a chance to win up to $1,800 in cash (including $50 Sunoco gift cards) upon successfully answering a series of trivia questions. It's irreverent; it's spontaneous and right up the comedian's alley.
"I'm just a guy who's coming up to them and trying to have some fun," Fitzsimmons said. "I'm not putting pressure on them to play the game. Not trying to tell a bunch of funny jokes, I'm trying to bring out what's fun in an already funny situation.
"I did improv in college and I've done stand-up," he continued. "Now, my stand-up has been a lot of listening to people as opposed to just trying to say funny things. I think in this show, the best games we can play are when the people feel comfortable and respond to how they are feeling."
But modesty belies his already impressive background, performing his stand-up routine in front of some of the largest audiences on television today - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Chelsea Lately and Comedy Central Presents to name a few. He also hosts The Greg Fitzsimmons Show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's Howard 101, along with his weekly Fitzdog Radio podcast at www.gregfitzsimmons.com.
"It's a lot about Greg's personality," said Julian Locke, Pumped! executive producer. "He's a comedian. He's a funny guy. So every contestant that gets 'ambushed,' he latches onto something about them. For instance, we found a woman who drove in - an attractive blonde woman - one of the first things Greg does is discover a teddy bear that had been given to her. So the whole of that game was about her, and her love life."
"The show is essentially broken down into three games and a bonus," added Nick Rigg, Leopard Films USA President. "What we see in the first game is kind of a strict 'true or false.' Greg wants to push them hard, so they will make it through. He can be quite cutting and tough with them. In the second round, he becomes a bit friendlier. Once they start making some money and (move) into the third round, he's very much behind and working with them. It's based on fun and what we've found is the contestants have risen to it - and really enjoy it as well."
Even though it's a simple concept by design, it's not always easy to shoot. With each segment set within an ever-changing environment, a multitude of distractions and obstacles can make shooting an episode more challenging.
"You've got fire engines and people in reverse making that beeping noise," Fitzsimmons said. "Then you've got gas trucks pulling in to fill up the tanks, and our whole set is on top of where they need to be, so they aren't the most pleasant guys at that moment. You also have people honking, people in the background waving their arms and helicopters flying overhead. For every take we get that's clean, there's another take where we have to stop or re-ask the question, so we're definitely on our toes to make sure whatever we do, we get it right."
At the end of the day, Fitzsimmons is hoping just a little levity can be added to what's normally an unwelcomed routine.
"I think what's great about the show is it turns a mundane activity we're all forced to do, very begrudgingly with these gas prices, and turns it 180 degrees," Fitzsimmons explained. "Not only is it an opportunity to make money, but it's also a very fun experience. It's like a party starts happening."
SPEED, anchored by its popular and wide-ranging coverage of NASCAR, is the nation's first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Now available in nearly 84 million homes in North America, SPEED, a member of the FOX Sports Media Group, is among the industry leaders in interactive TV, video on demand, mobile initiatives and broadband services, including SPEED2, a groundbreaking new broadband network featuring live, streaming and on-demand events complementing offerings of the linear network. For more information, please visit SPEED.com, the online motor sports authority.
About FOX Sports Media Group
FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG) is the umbrella entity representing News Corporation's wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets under Chairman & CEO David Hill. Built with brands that are capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FSMG includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FSMG now includes FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; Fox's 19 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; SPEED and SPEED2; Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus; FUEL TV; and Fox College Sports. In addition, FSMG also includes FOX Sports Interactive Media, which comprises FOXSports.com on MSN, whatifsports.com and scout.com, reaching over 20 million unique visitors monthly. Also included are Fox's interests in joint-venture businesses FOX Deportes, Big Ten Network and STATS, LLC, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network, FOX Sports Skybox restaurants and FOX Sports Grills.