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Punk'd is an American hidden camera-practical joke reality television series that first aired on MTV in 2003. It was created by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, with Kutcher serving as producer and host. It bears a resemblance to both the classic hidden camera show Candid Camera and to TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, which also featured pranks on celebrities. Being "punk'd" referred to being the victim of such a prank. New episodes hosted by King Bach and DeStorm Power air on BET.
2012 series title card
|Created by||Ashton Kutcher
|Starring||Ashton Kutcher (2003–2007)
Celebrity guest hosts (2012)
King Bach and DeStorm Power (-2015)
|Theme music composer||Elizabeth Miller
Brian Friedman (Theme)
Ricky Friedman (Theme)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||76 (through 2012) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jason Goldberg
Ashton Kutcher (2003–2012)
David R. Franzke
Lois Clark Curren
|Running time||23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Katalyst Media (2003–07 & 2012)|
|Distributor||Trifecta Entertainment & Media|
|Original network||MTV (2003–2007; 2012)
|Original release||Original series:
March 17, 2003 – May 5, 2007
March 29, 2012 – June 7, 2012
August 18, 2015 – October 6, 2015
History and formatEdit
Originally, Ashton Kutcher and MTV were developing a series called Harassment, a hidden camera show which would feature pranks on regular people. However, a January 2002 prank involving a fake dead body at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas backfired and the couple who were targets of the prank sued Kutcher, MTV, and the hotel for $10 million. The concept was later retooled to involve celebrities instead. Pranks would be set at a variety of locations, public and private. The show's first prank was set at singer Justin Timberlake's home, where he was led to believe that government agents were seizing his home and valuables because of unpaid income taxes. The prank was named by Time magazine as #3 in their list of 32 Epic Moments in Reality-TV History. Another involved Frankie Muniz's special custom-made limited edition Porsche being stolen.
A frequent segment during the first two seasons was a Punk'd cast member pretending to interview celebrities at red carpet events, only to mock them instead. This segment closely copies what originated on The Howard Stern Show in the 1980s, when Stern and his writers began sending interns (most notably Stuttering John Melendez) to ask celebrities embarrassing questions on the red carpet. During the first season then-fifteen-year-old Ryan Pinkston posed as a reporter from a children's television program, and would insult the celebrities. During season two, the producers then chose a foreign interviewer accompanied by her interpreter who would then ask inane questions to the guests. Several actors, like Jill Wagner, Masi Oka, B.J. Novak, Caitlyn Taylor Love, Dax Shepard, and Carlos McCullers II were accomplices in the pranks.
The series finale aired on MTV on May 29, 2007 and culminated in early June with the Punk'd Awards. The revived series was hosted by different celebrity guests each week.
In October 2010, New York Magazine revealed that Punk'd was being revived with Justin Bieber replacing Kutcher as the host; however it stated that Kutcher would remain as executive producer. After a five-year hiatus, the series was revived with a March 29, 2012 premiere. The first episode of the ninth season, featuring Bieber as a guest host, was filmed in late August 2011. On December 31, 2011, MTV confirmed that the series would be revived in 2012, and that a different celebrity guest host would be featured each episode, the guests included: Tyler, the Creator, Justin Bieber, Bam Margera, Hayden Panettiere, Lucy Hale, Nick Cannon, Dax Shepard, Miley Cyrus, Heather Morris, Kellan Lutz, Daniel Tosh, and Mac Miller. Ashton Kutcher made a returning appearance on an episode where he got to punk again.
The ninth season ended on June 7, 2012.
On May 25, 2013, Katalyst Media stated that a tenth season was in development. At their 2015 upfronts, BET announced that they will be rebooting the series for their network. Katalyst has since closed, but Goldberg has returned as executive producer with a revival of the Katalyst banner without Kutcher. The reboot is tailored for the network's audience and goes behind the scenes of many pranks. The reboot premiered on August 18, 2015.
To promote the series, BET announced the return of BET: Uncut, a block for uncut music videos, on August 11, 2015. In reality, after a reveal and introduction from new hosts, King Bach and DeStorm Power, BET aired highlights from past segments of the series as well as previews for their series.
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- Webley, Kayla. "32 Epic Moments in Reality-TV History: 3. Punk'd: Justin Timberlake Cries", Time magazine, accessed April 8, 2011.
- EGOS & IDS; Tough-to-Ask Questions Are Getting Easier to Ask, The New York Times, July 5, 1992, accessed May 28, 2009.
- Soriano, Cesar G. "MTV prankster Pinkston is a wee bit popular", USA Today, July 13, 2003
- "Punk'd: Is Ashton Kutcher Really Calling It Quits?", TVSeriesFinale.com, March 27, 2007
- "MTV Bringing Back Punk’d, With Host Justin Bieber", New York Magazine, October 5, 2010, accessed October 11, 2010.
- MTV's Hit Series "Punk'd," The Pop Culture Phenomenon, Returns on Monday, March 19, for an All-New Season, Featuring Bigger Laughs and More Shocking Surprises from Your Favorite Stars
- MTV’S HIT SERIES “PUNK’D,” THE POP CULTURE PHENOMENON, RETURNS ON MONDAY, MARCH 19, FOR AN ALL-NEW SEASON, FEATURING BIGGER LAUGHS AND MORE SHOCKING SURPRISES FROM YOUR FAVORITE STARS
- Keveney, Bill (2012-03-26). "'Punk'd' returns with Ashton Kutcher behind the scenes – USATODAY.com". usatoday.com. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- "BET NETWORKS DELIVERS MORE AFRICAN AMERICANS EACH WEEK THAN ANY OTHER CABLE NETWORK". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- "TWIST'D, REAL HUSBANDS OF HOLLYWOOD" and PUNK'D Return to BET This August". August 4, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
- "Gotcha! BET Uncut Isn't Coming Back, But Punk'd Is". Retrieved August 12, 2015.