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.
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. 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 Endurance: High Sierras 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."
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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).
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 piece||First used during|
The team with fewer pieces starts by placing pieces by a group of pyramids, one of which has the gold pyramid under it. That team may claim as many as it wishes but must leave at least one pyramid unclaimed. The team with more pieces must claim the pyramids that its opponent did not claim. At this point, the gold pyramid is revealed, and the team that has claimed it wins all the pieces that were played on the board. If teams have the same number of pieces the team that had fewer pieces the round before places first. If teams are tied in first round, the team that won the final mission places their pieces first
There are three pyramids to start the game, and one more is added every round there after. The team that gets all the pyramid pieces wins the challenge, the game and the grand prize trip.
The Blue team of Aaron Thornburg and Jonna Mannion won their grand prize trip, which was a trip to the Amazon*.
The season consisted of seven teams (in order of elimination):
|7th||Gray||Max DeLeo||Los Angeles, CA||14||Jenna Jimenez||Rogers Park, IL||14||Heart, Trust||Galapagos Islands|
|6th||Purple||Brandon Hendrix||Winter Park, FL||14||Layla Brisco||Gardena, CA||14||Strength||Costa Rica|
|5th||Orange||Skyler Russell||Phoenix, AZ||14||Chelsea Myers||Apache Junction, AZ||14||Luck||Bali & Komodo|
|4th||Green||Trevor Wilkins||Chicago, IL||12||Lana Neiman||Lincoln Park, IL||14||Commitment||Amazon*|
|3rd||Red||Christian Justice||San Clemente, CA||15||Ashley Gudzak||Jacksonville, FL||14||Leadership||Australia|
|2nd||Yellow||Jon Crocilla||Inverness, IL||15||Sabrina Lloyd||Sugarland, TX||15||Perseverance||Belize|
|Winner||Blue||Aaron Thornburg||Bozeman, MT||15||Jonna Mannion||Tempe, AZ||13||Courage||Amazon|
|Shane Peltzman||Huntington Valley, PA||Lacey Elick||Bellville, TX|
|Ron Neurauter||Glen Ellyn, IL||Heather Ichihashi||Brooklyn, NY|
|Alejandro Rose-Garcia||Austin, TX||Cree Howard||Bozeman, MT|
This season consisted of eight teams (in order of elimination):
|8th||Gray||Wayne Williams||Bloomfield, NJ||15||Maryelle DeVitto||Winter Park, FL||14||Heart|
|7th||Red||Phil Morelli||Denver, CO||14||Jacquelynn Pointer||Silver Spring, MD||13||Discipline|
|6th||Blue||Scooter Magruder||Orlando, FL||14||Christa Scholtz||Austin, TX||13||Trust|
|5th||Yellow||Shep Allen||Wayzata, MN||14||Calley Payne||Elberton, GA||15||Commitment|
|4th||Purple||Jeff Phillips||Sanger, CA||15||Annie Kim||Bethesda, MD||15||Leadership|
|3rd||Orange||Tyler Burkhalter||Jacksonville, FL||14||Michelle Durand||Linden, NJ||14||Knowledge|
|2nd||Green||Mike Lavigne||Shelton, CT||15||Keetin Marchi||Fairfax, VA||14||Teamwork|
|Winner||Brown||Max DeLeo||Los Angeles, CA||15||Jenna Jimenez||Rogers Park, IL||15||Perseverance|
|David Cofresi||Clermont, FL||Sarah Ruckreigle||Breckenridge, CO|
|Glen Powell||Austin, TX||Simone Bouffard||Antioch, CA|
|Trey Griffin||Sebring, FL||Abbey Konz||Humble, TX|
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.
The eight teams competing were (in order of elimination):
|8th||Blue||Antonio Iannicelli||Wellesley, MA||14||Willa Zhou||Seattle, WA||15||Commitment|
|7th||Green||Bjorn Leum||Virginia City, MT||15||Alex Reid||Plano, TX||15||Heart|
|6th||Red||Kareem Nugent||Bronx, NY||15||Rachel Lofton||Poway, CA||13||Trust|
|5th||Brown||Tom Maden||Coppell, TX||15||Vanetta Smith||Cleveland, OH||14||Perseverance|
|4th||Purple||Reece Bors||Shelbyville, KY||14||Sarah Baker||Downers Grove, IL||13||Discipline|
|3rd||Yellow||Monroe Gierl||Glendale, WI||15||Bryanah Bascon||Stoughton, MA||14||Teamwork|
|2nd||Orange||Demian Martinez||Las Vegas, NV||15||Nicole Clark||Los Angeles, CA||15||Leadership|
|Winner||Gray||Chris Vanderweir||St. Augustine, FL||15||Lindi Oest||Tampa, FL||13||Knowledge|
|Marshall Katheder||Orlando, FL||Taylor Madison||Dallas, TX|
|Brandon Anderson||Lithonia, GA||Eleanor Monahan||Hyde Park, MA|
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:
|7th||Gray||John Kardian||Westchester, NY||15||Julie Dubela||Stratham, NH||14||Commitment|
|6th||Yellow||Chris Tavarez||Atlanta, GA||12||Callie Simpkins||Frederick, MD||14||Trust|
|5th||Orange||Michael Delvecchio||Bailey, CO||15||Kylie Glessman||Simpsonville, SC||15||Knowledge|
|4th||Blue||Shea Thomas||Douglasville, GA||15||Amelia Land||Macon, GA||14||Courage|
|3rd||Green||Isaac Hainley||Portland, OR||15||Jeszie Geronimo||Boston, MA||15||Leadership|
|2nd||Purple||Jonathan Lebowitz||New York, NY||15||Daniela Bustamante||Boca Raton, FL||14||Perseverance|
|Winner||Red||Franke Sisto||Sewell, NJ||15||Erika Cook||Lake Forest, CA||15||Heart|
|Nick Verderosa||Bethel, CT||Brittany Harvey||Slidell, LA|
|Tucker Baer||Littleton, CO||Kendall Yorkey||Menomonee Falls, WI|
|Keith Walker II||Chandler, AZ||Brooke Bellows||Maitland, FL|
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:
|8th||Colorless||Garret Manno||Orlando, FL||13||Anna Nti Asare||Laramie, WY||14||Friendship (Immunity)|
|7th||Gray||Isaac (Ike) Moody*||Riverside, CA||15||Darci Miller||Baldwin, NY||15||Luck|
|6th||Yellow||Aric Manthey||Madison, SD||15||Lilly Brown||Bloomington, IN||15||Trust|
|5th||Orange||Max McFarland||Kansas City, MO||14||Kristine Turner||Huntington Beach, CA||14||Strength|
|4th||Red||Cameron Uranick||Orlando, FL||14||Aeriel Miranda||Dallas, TX||14||Knowledge|
|3rd||Blue||Connor Finnegan*||Acton, MA||15||Taylor Sico-McNulty||Boxford, MA||14||Perseverance|
|2nd||Purple||Dakota Fisher||Eliot, ME||15||Kelsey Schultz||Rockwall, TX||15||Teamwork|
|Winner||Green||Alex Carignan||Leominster, MA||14||Cealey Godwin||Tallahassee, FL||14||Commitment|
|Adrian Bardales||LaPlace, LA||Martina Iwala||Ruston, LA|
|Rafael Liriano||Bronx, NY||Stefanie Fernandez||Boca Raton, FL|
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.
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:
|6th||Yellow||Kyle Curtis||Pearland, TX||15||Briana Vega||Winter Springs, FL||15||Perseverance|
|5th||Purple||Connor Konz||Humble, TX||15||Jackie Wei||Highlands Ranch, CO||15||Leadership|
|4th||Orange||Caleb Courtney||Blowing Rock, NC||15||Lauren Dixon||Maitland, FL||15||Courage|
|3rd||Red||Jonathan Young||Orange Beach, AL||14||Hannah Gross||West Bloomfield, MI||14||Heart|
|2nd||Green||Will Cuddy||Beaverton, OR||15||Leslie Powell||Austin, TX||15||Friendship|
|Winner||Blue||Ben Scheuer||Cloquet, MN||15||Jordyn Barbato||Gibsonton, FL||14||Strength|
|Andres Ramirez||Austin, TX||Rebecca Simonoko||Ludlow, MA|
|Matthew Jones||Raleigh, NC||Cinnamon Aldridge||Omaha, NE|
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