Contestant Dies on ABC’s ‘Wipeout’

By Andrew Gauthier 

The Wrap

In the latest deadly reality show incident, a contestant died last week after suffering a stroke while performing a stunt on ABC’s physically grueling hit series “Wipeout,” TheWrap has learned.

Tom Sparks, 33, a recent graduate of the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, was rushed from the northern Los Angeles set of the show to a local hospital two weeks ago. Sparks later was transfered to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, where doctors performed several brain surgeries.


But doctors ultimately decided there was too much brain damage, and he couldn’t be saved, according an email sent to alumni by an Annenberg faculty member.

Sparks died Nov. 5.

The death highlights an emerging challenge for the increasingly dominant nonfiction TV business, which relies heavily on everyday individuals, often placed in difficult situations. More…