Endurance (TV series)

Endurance (TV series)

infobox television
show_name = Endurance

caption = Logo for Season 6
format = Teen Reality
runtime = 24 minutes
rating = TV-Y7
creator = J. D. Roth
Todd A. Nelson
starring = J. D. Roth (host)
Contestants–"see specific seasons"
country = United States
network = Discovery Kids (2002-2008)
NBC (2002-2006)
first_aired = October 5, 2002
last_aired =
March 8, 2008
num_episodes =
website = http://kids.discovery.com/fansites/endurance/endurance.html
imdb_id = 0369100
tv_com_id = 12958

"Endurance" is a Daytime Emmy Award-nominated American reality television children's program, currently shown on the Discovery Kids cable network in the United States and also on networks in other countries. The show's format is somewhat similar to the CBS television series "Survivor", but with a teenaged cast. Like that show, "Endurance" contestants live in a remote location and participate in various mental and physical challenges, although "Endurance" contestants compete as pairs (one boy and one girl), and the outcome of the competitions determines which pair of players is eliminated.

In its six-year run between 2002–2008, each season began with a new slate of contestants, who were gradually eliminated as the season progressed until the remaining two teams competed to get all of the "Endurance Pyramid" pieces. The winning boy and girl received an all-expenses paid vacation package with their parents to an exotic location as the prize.

"Endurance" is televised on Saturday evenings in the U.S. as part of Discovery Kids' @DK prime-time lineup, with repeat episodes shown on weeknights. Spanish-dubbed reruns also air on weekends on Azteca America. The sixth season ended on March 8, 2008. Reruns continue to air on the Discovery Kids network in the U.S. Three seasons of "Endurance" ("Hawaii", "Tehachapi" and "High Sierras") were each nominated for a "Daytime Emmy Award" in the category of "Outstanding Children's Series", the show did not win.


The show is produced by 3Ball Productions. Its co-creator, former actor and children's game show emcee, J. D. Roth, is the executive producer and on-screen host. Roth received a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2006 as "Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series" for "Endurance: Tehachapi" but did not win.

Contestants ages 12-15 are chosen each spring from 5-minute audition tapes sent in by more than 10,000 teens to the show's production team. Twenty players were selected to participate in each of the first five seasons of "Endurance"; this was reduced to sixteen in Season 6. In a 2004 newspaper interview, Roth revealed that he looked for as diverse a group as possible. [http://starbulletin.com/2004/06/28/news/story7.html "Kauai film project battled adversity", Honolulu "Star-Bulletin", June 28, 2004.] ] Shooting of the series takes place each summer over a three week period and began with the selected teenaged contestants arriving at a secret remote location in late July. Each season is taped in a different location, including California, Hawaii, Mexico, and Fiji.

In a January, 2007, interview with the Boston "Globe", Connor Finnegan recalled his experience as an "" player the previous summer: "At first it was weird being filmed all the time. You'd be talking and suddenly there would be a camera or microphone shoved into your face. The big rule with reality TV is never to look at the camera." [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/01/11/see_who_hangs_on/ Nancy West, "An Acton boy is among the competitors on a TV survival show", Boston "Globe", January 11, 2007] ]

As part of the show, host J. D. Roth and the players sometimes discuss the interpersonal drama occurring among the teams. Roth has said that many participants have become close friends while the series was being shot, learning tolerance for people who were different from themselves. However, the Boston "Globe" reported that there was friction among the players on "Endurance: High Sierras" following the controversial break-up of teams. Finnegan's mother said, "There was definitely some nastiness", complaining that the producers and writers, "deliberately put the kids in situations that are designed to increase the drama and tension". But, Taylor Sico-McNulty, another "Endurance: High Sierras" contestant from Massachusetts and Finnigan's partner, said that when she returned home following the show's California taping, she "really missed seeing all the other kids in the cast every day", adding that a number of player reunions have since been held. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/01/18/determined_boxford_teen_stakes_her_claim_on_TV_show/ Nancy West, "Determined Boxford teen stakes her claim on TV show", Boston "Globe", January 18, 2007.] ]

Another player from the fifth season, Dakota Fisher of Eliot, Maine, echoed the feeling, saying that his appearance on Endurance left him with relationships he will never forget. "You should have seen me a week after the show, it was depressing", said the 15-year old who had been trying for two years to get on the Emmy-nominated teen reality program. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17645673/ Steven Gintz, "Teen finds 'Endurance' to compete", Foster's "Daily Democrat" (Maine), March 13, 2007] .] Roth said in a 2007 news release, "Being on "Endurance" is a life-altering experience for every kid who is selected. With only the sun, moon, stars and each other, these kids have no choice but to get to really know each other. They learn to dig deep within themselves when someone says they can’t do something. They learn to overcome first impressions and prejudice and they build tremendous self-confidence by tapping into skills they never even knew they had." [ [http://www.beavertonvalleytimes.com/features/story.php?story_id=119220509682342300 "Must-see TV: Beaverton teen rocks the small screen in ‘Endurance: Fiji’", "Beaverton Valley Times", October 12, 2007.] ]

"Endurance" is the successor to "Moolah Beach", a show created by Roth which was not renewed after its single 2001 season, when a change in ownership of Fox Family Network (now ABC Family), opened up a new offer from Discovery Kids for a reality series. For four seasons (2002–2006), "Endurance" was also broadcast on the NBC network as part of its Saturday morning "Discovery Kids on NBC" block of programs.

The contests

The Right To Stay Challenge

Shortly after they arrive, the group of 20 contestants competes in the first Endurance game, called the Right To Stay Challenge. As the name implies, this game eliminates a group of contestants from continuing any further in the game. The game is normally a test of endurance, where each contestant has to hold on to something such as a bar or a pole for as long as possible. In Seasons 1 through 4, the first three girls and the first three boys to let go were eliminated. In Season 5, the game was a test of balance and speed, and the last two boys and last two girls to finish the game were eliminated. In Season 6, the first two boys and two girls to let go of a rope were eliminated, winnowing the sixteen hopefuls to twelve contestants who earned the right to stay, forming six teams of players.

In Season 3, the eliminated players were brought back the following day to compete in a second chance Right to Stay game. The winner of this game (Tom) chose his partner from the group of girls (Vanetta), forming the Brown team.

In Seasons 3 and 5, the group was required to choose two players (a boy and a girl) who were allowed to sit out the Right To Stay Challenge, automatically advancing as if they had survived the challenge. In season 3 the boys were required to choose one girl to be safe and the girls were required to save a boy, the boys saved Lindi and the girls chose Reece because they were the most attractive in their opinions. In season 5, Darci and Aric were selected to sit out. They were then each allowed to save one other person (of the same gender). Darci chose Kelsey, Aric chose Alex.

Choosing teams

The day after the Right To Stay Challenge, the remaining players compete in another game to determine teams. Each team consists of one boy and one girl. The game and the rules vary from year to year, but the winner of this challenge usually earns the right to pick his/her partner. The team colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and gray. In Seasons 2 and 3, a brown team was added.

After the teams are decided, they each receive one pyramid piece of the Endurance Pyramid. To win the game and the grand prize trip, one team must possess all of the pieces. (10 pieces in the first season, 12 in Seasons 2 and 3, 13 in Seasons 4 and 5, and 14 in Season 6).

Endurance Mission

With the teams now assigned, they begin competing in Endurance Missions. This is usually a test of skill. The team that wins an Endurance Mission will typically earn another piece of the Endurance Pyramid and the Samahdi. The Samadhi contains something that will have a negative effect on one team during the Temple Mission, and the winners of the Endurance Mission get to choose which team has to play with its effect. However, it is customary, that when three teams remain, the winners of the Samadhi have the right to not give its effect to a team, leaving a level playing field for the final Temple Mission.


The teams compete for a "Samadhi" fairly often through the entire game. [Samadhi is Sanskrit for "contemplation"] All of them but two had a negative impact on another team. In Season 3 ("Endurance Hawaii") there was a Samadhi that benefitted the team that it was given to. Chris and Lindi (the Gray Team) won that Samadhi, and decided to keep it and in Season 5, the Blue team won the power to switch two teams around. In Season 1 the team that won the Samadhi at the Final 3 stage chose to eliminate it from the game. In Season 2, the team that won the Samadhi at the Final 4 stage chose to eliminate it from the game as well. This pattern was broken in Season 3, however. Also, in Season 5, the first Samadhi (won in the mission "Hot Potato") was the ability to make two players switch teams or give another team the power to make the switch. Taylor and Isaac, the original Blue team, won this Samadhi. They gave it to the Red team, who used it to switch Connor onto the Blue team and Isaac onto the Gray team.

Temple mission

This mission is usually one of endurance (hence the show's title). The team that wins a Temple Mission usually earns the right to choose two other teams to send to the "Temple of Fate", the elimination challenge.

Temple of Fate

The two teams sent to the Temple of Fate bring with them all pyramid pieces they have won up to that point. In a variant of the Rock, Paper, Scissors intransitive game, the teams select fire, wood, or water to defeat one another in a best 2 out of 3 match, e.g.,

*water puts out fire ("water wins")
*fire burns wood ("fire wins")
*wood floats on water ("wood wins")

The first team to win two rounds wins the challenge and the right to stay in the game. The losers are immediately eliminated. In Season 1, their pieces went to the team winning the challenge; All seasons after that the losing team gave their pyramid pieces to any team of their choice.

Pyramid pieces

The pyramid pieces play an important part in the game, since one team must possess all of the pieces to win the game. Season 1 had 10, Seasons 2 and 3 had 12, Seasons 4 and 5 had 13, and Season 6 has 14.

Their eliminations did not affect the arrival of Max & Jenna as the Brown team, who arrived after the formation of the seven official teams.

Season 3 - "Endurance Hawaii" (2004-2005)

Moving to Wainiha Valley, Kauai, Hawaii, for the third season, a number of production problems were encountered, including difficulties in obtaining location permits, torrential rains, muddy conditions, and mosquitoes. It had 21 episodes including casting specials showing the selection process. One of the contestants, Rachel Lofton of the Red team, is the daughter of Pro Football Hall of Famer and San Diego Chargers coach James Lofton. [ [http://www.chargers.com/news/press-releases/press-109393560015501.php San Diego Chargers press release, August 31, 2004] ]

There were numerous twists in the season including bringing back six eliminated players, after the right to stay, to compete in a challenge to become an official endurance player. The winner would choose someone from the opposite sex and they would become the Brown Team. Tom won and chose Vanetta as his partner. Later, Vanetta injured her knee: while walking outside of her hut and stepping down, she cut her leg on a piece of bamboo. The cut required more than 20 stitches, and she was removed from the game, making Tom the first person in "Endurance" to be a one-person team. Also, he was the first person to go to the Temple of Fate without a partner. This disadvantage likely contributed to his elimination.

In the end, the Gray team of Chris Vanderweir and Lindi Oest won, with a trip to the Galápagos Islands as their prize. As an interesting side note, this is the first (and so far the only) season to see the Gray team progress past the first temple elimination. There was also a special program at the conclusion of the season showing winners Chris Vanderweir and Lindi Oest enjoying their trip to the Galápagos Islands. [cite news |author=Monique Frigard
title=Las Vegas teen makes it to finals on NBC's "Endurance" |date=2005-03-01 |publisher=Las Vegas Review Journal |url=http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Mar-01-Tue-2005/living/25926891.html |accessdate=2008-04-04

After the season, Vanetta Smith of the Brown team starred in the movie "Freedom Writers".

The eight teams competing were (in order of elimination):

Season 4 - "Endurance: Tehachapi" (2005-2006)

Returning to California for the next two seasons, "Endurance: Tehachapi" was taped in the Tehachapi Mountains in the summer 2005 for airing beginning that Fall. A 13th pyramid piece, Friendship, was added this season. The Red team of Franke Sisto and Erika Cook won the grand prize, a trip to Costa Rica.

Note: Shea Thomas & Amelia Land became the first official team of this season of Endurance, because when J.D asked if anyone knew who they definitely wanted as partner, they both showed courage and spoke up, they chose blue as their official color.

The seven teams competing were:

Season 5 - "Endurance: High Sierras" (2006-2007)

The fifth season was taped at Shaver Lake in the High Sierra Mountains of Northern California. Contestants lived in multi-level tree houses without electricity. The Green Team of Alex Carignan & Cealey Godwin, won the grand prize, a trip to Hawaii.

In a new twist to the fifth season's contestant selection, the Discovery Kids website held a casting poll in which fans could vote for one boy and one girl out of six hopefuls. Garret Manno and Kelsey Schultz won this poll by a narrow margin and were the 99th and 100th contestants out of the history of the program.

In the third episode ("Unwind"), one team – Garret Manno and Anna Asare – was eliminated without going to Temple. They finished last in the first challenge and left the game without a team color; the other seven teams selected colors as they finished. The "colorless team" received the "Immunity Triangle", which they gave to the Purple team of Kelsey and Dakota. The team that received the Triangle of Immunity may use it once to avoid going to the Temple of Fate; they never did.

The Blue team of Connor Finnegan and Taylor Sico-McNulty set a record this season by surviving three trips to the Temple.

Dakota Fisher of the Purple team was recently featured in a commercial for Burlington Coat Factory.

The eight teams competing were:

* Initially, the Blue team was Ike and Taylor and the Gray team was Connor and Darci. The Red team used a Samadhi to switch Connor and Ike.

eason 6 – "Endurance: Fiji" (2007-2008)

Repeating the candidate selection innovation first introduced for Season 5's "Endurance: High Sierras", a casting poll was again held at the Discovery Kids website, allowing fans to select two contestants from a group of six hopefuls. The contest ran from June until July 9. Will Cuddy and Leslie Powell won the casting poll (and later became the Green Team). Two contestants are siblings of previous Endurance contestants. Connor Konz's sister Abbey and Leslie Powell's brother Glen both competed in Season 2.

Taping of the Season 6 episodes took place in August 2007 in Fiji, and episodes began airing on October 13 2007, on the Discovery Kids channel with the finale broadcast March 8, 2008. A new feature, the "Magic Box", was introduced in this season's third episode ("Mana Kisi"), giving a secret advantage to the team that wins it.

The Blue team of Ben Scheuer and Jordyn Barbato won the grand prize which was a trip to Australia. [cite news |author=Walt Belcher |title=Secret's Out: Local Girl Wins TV Challenge |date=2008-03-08 |url=http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/08/me-secrets-out-local-girl-wins-tv-challenge/?news-breaking |accessdate=2008-04-03 ]

The twists in the final 3 where the winner of the temple mission was not automatically safe, they just had less of a chance to be sent is similar to another J.D. Roth show and Endurance precursor Moolah Beach. In it, the winning team, the Red Team, received one nut, the second place Green Team got five, and Blue got ten. Two nuts were drawn, a Red and a Blue nut.

There was no Gray team this season, which meant only six teams competed:

Notes and references

Further reading

Hometown news media have often provided extensive coverage of local "Endurance" contestants:

*Ben Scheuer – [http://www.pinejournal.com/articles/index.cfm?id=12884&section=News&freebie_check&CFID=77471158&CFTOKEN=21948490&jsessionid=883056fca6802d298064 "Cloquet teen comes out on top on Discovery Kids reality show", Lisa Baumann, "Pine Journal", March 13, 2008.]
*Jordyn Barbato –
** [http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/oct/10/teen-roughing-it-learns-more-endurance/ "Teen Roughing It Learns More Than 'Endurance'", Walt Belcher, "Tampa Tribune", October 10, 2007.]
** [http://www.tbo.com/life/MGBWB2605DF.html "Tampa Bay Tech student makes Final 4 of Discovery Kids' "Endurance" Competition", Walt Belcher, "Tampa Tribune", February 27, 2008.]
** [http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/08/me-secrets-out-local-girl-wins-tv-challenge/?news-breaking "Secret's Out: Local Girl Wins TV Challenge", Walt Belcher, "Tampa Tribune", March 8, 2008.]
*Reece Bors – [http://www.wave3.com/Global/story.asp?S=2455679 "Shellbyville Teen Stars on NBC Reality Show", WAVE-TV, Louisville, Kentucky, October 20 2004.]
*Erika Cook – [http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/local/communities/missionviejo/article_1053366.php "Power of positive thinking Reality show finalist", Rita Freeman, Orange County (Calif.) "Register", March 17 2005.]
*Caleb Courtney – [http://www.mountaintimes.com/mtweekly/2007/1011/endurancefiji.php3 "Local Teen Competes on Discovery Kids Channel Reality Series", Jeff Eason, Boone (N.C.) "Mountain Times"] .
*Will Cuddy – [http://www.beavertonvalleytimes.com/features/story.php?story_id=119220509682342300 "Must-see TV: Beaverton teen rocks the small screen in ‘Endurance: Fiji’", "Beaverton Valley Times", October 12, 2007.]
*Antonio Iannicelli – [http://www.imaginenews.com/Archive/2004/SEP_2004/02_DEPARTMENTS/30_WWW.html "Boston Area Teen Auditions to be on 'ENDURANCE: Hawaii'", "Imagine News", September, 2004.]
*Demian Martinez – [http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Mar-01-Tue-2005/living/25926891.html "Las Vegas teen makes it to finals on NBC's `Endurance'", Las Vegas "Review Journal", March 1 2005.]
*Tyler Burkhalter – [http://kids.jdrf.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=5919D3DB-2A5E-7B6E-1490C1A85D9F5A76 "Children's Congress Teen Tyler Burkhalter Makes the Final Four on Endurance!" New York "JRDF" January 28 2004.]
*Willa Zhou – [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/artsentertainment/2002045603_endurance25.html "Bug-filled 'Endurance ordeal", Seattle "Times", September 25 2004.]

External links

* [http://kids.discovery.com/fansites/endurance/endurance.html Discovery Kids official site]
* [http://www.3ballproductions.com/en.html 3Ball Productions official site]
*Internet Movie Database pages:
** [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369100/ "Endurance"]
** [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450914/ "Endurance 2"]
** [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0447749/ "Endurance 3: Hawaii"]
** [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480233/ "Endurance 4: Tehachapi"]
** [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0775360/ "Endurance 5: High Sierras"]
** [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1128646/ "Endurance 6: Fiji"]
* [http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p6035.htm Enduring the Endurance Locations - Kidzworld.com]
* [http://www.kidzworld.com/features/endurancetehachapi/castbios.htm "Endurance: Tehachapi" at KidzWorld.com]
*Downloadable episodes of "Endurance: Tehachapi" (Season 4) have been released on the iTunes Store.

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