Jill Wagner and company ready to 'Wipeout' in winter


It's tough enough to stay atop the Big Balls in warm weather, so imagine trying it in a colder climate.

Actually, forget imagining: ABC puts a frostier spin on television's most popular obstacle course when a winter edition of the game show "Wipeout" debuts Thursday, Jan. 6.

Hosts John Anderson and John Henson continue to poke fun at those who often suffer slip-ups and spills in pursuit of the $50,000 grand prize. Much closer to the action, co-host Jill Wagner still offers empathy -- and frequently perplexed reactions -- as she interviews the players.

"I was really excited," the alluring Wagner recalls of her first reaction to staging "Wipeout" in winter, "because I thought, 'Oh, wow! I'm going to get to wear some big jackets and stay warm!' It's usually the opposite on the summer version; it's still cold outside (when the tapings are done), but I have to look like it's not cold. I was just happy to get to wear ski gear."

Having done three seasons of the summer "Wipeout," Wagner was intrigued to see how the engineered-to-mortify course would be changed up for the year's chillier months.

"It's pretty cool to look around and see snow everywhere, but it actually wasn't as cold as I would have liked for it to be. There's another part of the wardrobe problem; it was still hot, and there I was in the ski gear. I can't win for losing out there."

Known as well for her car commercials, a job she recently lost with the exit of the Mercury brand, Wagner also co-stars in MTV's upcoming series version of "Teen Wolf." Still, she gets constant reinforcement that "Wipeout" is her main source of fame these days.

"It's mostly when I go to the airport," she reports. "Kids of all ages run up to me and ask if they can be on the show. Unfortunately, some of the kids are 5 years old ... so it's like, 'I don't think so. You'd have to sign a pretty big waiver.' Some people look too young to be doing the course, and some look too old, but that's one of the things I love about the show. It's for all ages."

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