A cow heart transfer is pictured on "Fear Factor," episode...

A cow heart transfer is pictured on "Fear Factor," episode "Broken Hearts & Blood Baths." Credit: NBC/

Between 2001 and 2006, NBC's "Fear Factor" pitted teams of contestants against their worst fears -- from heights to speed to creepy-crawlies -- in hopes of claiming a $50,000 top prize.

Monday night at 8, almost six years after it went off the air, "Fear Factor" returns to the NBC schedule for a run of new episodes. Some things haven't changed, such as host Joe Rogan and executive producers Matt Kunitz ("Wipeout") and David A. Hurwitz ("American Gladiators"), but other things have.

"NBC said to us," explains Kunitz, calling in from the "Wipeout" ranch (which was, and is again, the setting for much of "Fear Factor"), " 'If you're going to bring the show back, it has to be bigger and badder and grosser than ever before.' I think we lived up to that request."

Each episode features four teams of two facing challenges that test their courage, resolve and intestinal fortitude.

The team that survives each round and completes the final challenge again wins $50,000.

"We have always needed catharsis," Rogan says over coffee at a Hollywood deli. "The time is right nostalgically. A lot of people look back, go, 'Awww, that show was good. What happened to that show?' Then you hear about it coming back. My Twitter is flooded with people since the commercials started to air."

-- Zap2it

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