Jill Wagner realizes she may be the only television personality paid to cringe.
She’ll be doing even more of it in the new year, as she watches contestants take inevitable plunges off the obstacle course — starting with the Big Balls, naturally — when she co-hosts ABC’s new winter edition of “Wipeout” beginning Thursday, Jan. 6.
“A lot of it is new, but they did keep the Big Balls,” actress, model and (until recently) car spokesperson Wagner tells Zap2it. “You know they can’t get rid of those. I don’t think they’re ever going to get rid of them, for the simple fact that I won’t let them! That’s the most fun on the course, but we have some really interesting things this time.
“The first time I saw everything, my producer and I were doubled over laughing. When we start doing that, you know it’s funny. They’ve got some pretty fun stuff, and I think they’re changing the course three times [over the show’s winter season].”
Also working on a new series version of “Teen Wolf” for MTV, Wagner notes that watching the contenders for each “Wipeout” episode’s $50,000 grand prize take mortifying falls and dives is “kind of my job. Every time I look at myself [reacting], I’m like, ‘I didn’t even know they were filming that.’ Half of the things I do aren’t for the camera, it’s just what Jill is doing. And they happen to like that.”
“I put my hands over my eyes a million times a day,” Wagner claims. “I like to laugh and have fun, and if I thought people got hurt on the show, I wouldn’t even be a part of it. The padding on the obstacle course is so thick, it would be pretty hard for somebody to get seriously injured. There’s always a chance, though, so the safety guys are always right there.”
Reluctant as Wagner has been to tackle the “Wipeout” course herself during the show’s summer season, she’s even less eager to try the winter variation.
“I am such a big baby, I don’t think I could do it,” she admits. “I really respect the people who go on the show because I am so intimidated by the course. I probably could do it if you gave me a Jello shot, but there’s a rule that I keep … no Jello shots while working.”