I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the programming department of The CW when the folks over there first heard that the Sci-Fi Channel had beaten them to the punch in the field of horror-themed game show, but I can only imagine the sigh of relief they released after taking a gander at “Estate of Panic.” I received a screener of the premiere episode, and I duly handed it over to my wife, whose fascination with scary movies is, if not quite an obsession, certainly a bit of a hobby; after watching it, she duly reported back that she had lost a great deal of respect for Steve Valentine for agreeing to host such a cheesy show, likening it more to “Fear Factor” than anything legitimately scary.

Even after this disappointment, however, I was still optimistic about The CW’s “13: Fear is Real,” if only because of the series’ executive producers: Sam Raimi, Robert G. Tapert, and Jay Bienstock. Horror fans will no doubt recognize the first two names, with Raimi having earned his genre stripes with the “Evil Dead” films and then teamed with Tapert to produce such flicks as “30 Days of Night,” “The Messengers,” “Boogeyman,” and “The Grudge.” Bienstock, meanwhile, is best known in reality-TV circles as the guy responsible for bringing “The Apprentice” to the airwaves. In theory, it’s hard to imagine that you could bring this trio together and not come up with a legitimately scary reality show.

The premise of “13: Fear Is Real” as laid out in the press release is thus: “Thirteen people compete to ‘stay alive’ as they face their deepest fears in an all-out elimination competition and scare-fest. Pitted against each other in situations straight from the horror movies, the 13 will face shocking surprises, psychological scares and lots of ‘beware of the dark’ moments, all designed by a ‘mastermind’ of terror.”

So, wait, is this when we cue the clip of Count Floyd saying, “Ooooh, scary“?

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