February 14, 2012
The first episode begins with a staged prologue where host Colby Donaldson meets with the eighteen contestants in a warehouse-like stage. The stage has a long table full of different weapons in front of the contestants and several targets in the background. During it, Colby highlights the diversity among the contestants, as each of them picks different weapons.
The eighteen contestants arrive at the Top Shot Shooting Range where they meet Colby again. After congratulating the selected contestants, Colby announces the prizes of $100,000 and the title of Top Shot. However, he adds that this season, the winner will also receive a contract to become a professional marksman sponsored by Bass Pro Shops.
After that, Colby also announces another new development this season. He points out how there are eighteen contestants, as opposed to the usual sixteen. He then announces that they will hold a Preliminary Challenge to determine each teams line-up, as well as which two contestants will have to leave.
For the Preliminary Challenge, contestants will fire the M14 rifle. Each contestant will fire a single shot at a target 200 yards downrange. Contestants will be ranked from 1 to 16, with odd numbers forming the Blue Team, and even numbers forming the Red Team. The two contestants with the shots farthest from the bullseye, will leave the competition.
Colby started calling out contestants to make the shot. As they prepared to shoot, Colby made a brief introduction about each of them. After shooting, each contestant settled in a colored, wood plank according to their ranking. The two contestants with the lowest rank, sat in the "hot seat". The results of the preliminary challenge were:
| ||Augie Malekovich||0.5"|
| ||Chris Cheng||4.0"|
| ||Gary Shank||4.7"|
| ||Michelle Viscusi||5.0"|
| ||Frank Melloni||5.6"|
| ||Gabby Franco||5.8"|
| ||William Bethards||6.2"|
| ||Eric "Iggy" Keyes||6.2"|
| ||Forrest McCord||6.3"|
| ||Craig Buckland||9.6"|
In the end, Forrest McCord and Craig Buckland were the contestants that hit farthest from the bullseye. Colby asked them to say goodbye to the rest, and leave the Shooting Range. Colby then congratulated the sixteen contestants, but he pointed out that both Forrest and Craig were world champions, showing how anything could happen in the competition.
Colby then pulled two duffel bags that contained the contestants red and blue shirts, and passed them down for each of them to take one. After all of them were dressed and separated by teams, Colby suggested for them to take a nice sleep in preparation for the first Team Challenge on the next day. The contestants then headed to the house.
In the HouseEdit
- "They separated us into separate teams, none of that matters tonight. We all made it here today."
- ―Dylan Fletcher[src]
As the teams arrived at the house, they all celebrated. William is seen grilling some meat, while Chris is preparing a salad. At the table, Dylan makes a toast congratulating everybody for making the cut.
Production & crewEdit