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Gameshow discussion! (and, are they rigged?)


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I'm an absolute sucker for the Chase. I love all aspects of it. Paul Sinha is probably my fave but the bolo tie in the new guy is swaying me. I like the fact that the Chasers seem to really enjoy a challenge and always give props where it's deserved.  

 

Tipping Point, House of Games and University Challenge are all up there. Dont mind a bit of Eggheads either - in fact never mind the MCU, the crossover I'm most interested in seeing is an epic Eggheads v Chasers battle. Format to be decided!

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Love a bit of The Wall. Danny Dyer on scintillating form talking to a big gameshow prop like some plum in a straight to TV gangster film. Genuine pathos at the end too when the couples have to explain to each other how they made a total dog's dinner of their part of the task. Essential viewing in my opinion.

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I don't think they're rigged but they're definitely weighted in favour of the house. 

As far as the likes of The Chase are concerned, there are all sorts ways to make things harder or easier for the contestants. In order to get on the show at all, they'll have had to go through a selection process, playing numerous test rounds which will give the researchers a good idea as to how strong a player they are in regard to various subjects. I'm sure plenty of selective questioning goes on but ultimately the player can win the game if they have the knowledge. 

 

Regarding celebrity quizzes, they're definitely dumbed down! When Mylene Klass was on Celebrity Mastermind her specialist subject was Sex and the City season 2! There's no way they'd allow that on the proper version (maybe they'd allow SatC but not just a single season. 

I was surprised because MK is a very clever person. I guess she just really likes Sex and the City. 

 

My favourite TV quizzes are Only Connect and Mastermind. 

I also really like The Hit List which is a pop music quiz, currently on its second series. It's on BBC 1 on Saturday evenings. 

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1 hour ago, Death's Head said:

I'm an absolute sucker for the Chase. I love all aspects of it. Paul Sinha is probably my fave but the bolo tie in the new guy is swaying me. I like the fact that the Chasers seem to really enjoy a challenge and always give props where it's deserved.  

 

Tipping Point, House of Games and University Challenge are all up there. Dont mind a bit of Eggheads either - in fact never mind the MCU, the crossover I'm most interested in seeing is an epic Eggheads v Chasers battle. Format to be decided!

 

When they went up to five Chasers was the optimum time.

Round 1 - Eggheads on The Chase, different Chaser plays each round

Round 2 - The Chasers on Eggheads

Round 3 - Whose Quiz Show Is It Anyway? Random rounds from famous quizzes, a point to the team that wins each round

 

As for rigged/loaded in favour of the house:

 

Before the cap on prize value was lifted, there was very little point cheating OR rigging. It was easy to work out over the course of a series roughly how much you would give out in prizes.

 

Nowadays the prizes are higher and there are more ways to prepare yourself. You can look up old episodes and analyse patterns, make a database and find the areas to research. Any new quiz show will basically take out an insurance policy - they provide details of the prizes, the insurer says how much it will cost per episode and then they “pay out” against the policy on each win. Tenable definitely seems like one you could “game” to get a high score/prize.

 

Celebrity episodes are easier. It’s obvious, but there is still a lot of viewer engagement from seeing that familiar face out of their comfort zone.

 

[Sidebar: I really enjoyed last week’s House of Games, seeing Angela Barnes become the first to win all five shows. And the prime time Night edition on BBC One was a lot of fun too.]

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2 hours ago, Art Vandelay said:

Love a bit of The Wall. Danny Dyer on scintillating form talking to a big gameshow prop like some plum in a straight to TV gangster film. Genuine pathos at the end too when the couples have to explain to each other how they made a total dog's dinner of their part of the task. Essential viewing in my opinion.


The Wall is amazing, it’s proper Dyer cliché - which is awesome on a Saturday night after a couple of drinks. I couldn’t believe it when Angela Rippon was randomly the questions voice, I thought I was in a fever dream. Can anyone resist imitating Dyer after every time he speaks? I know I can’t.

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I love Dyer to bits but I can't get on with gimmicky gameshows like that, or Schofield's recent efforts. Catchphrase is my limit, otherwise I just like straight quizzing.

 

1 hour ago, merman said:

[Sidebar: I really enjoyed last week’s House of Games, seeing Angela Barnes become the first to win all five shows. And the prime time Night edition on BBC One was a lot of fun too

 

Yeah she had a great run. I forgot all about the BBC 1 edition though! What I wouldn't give to win an Osman-branded decanter...

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I think the only programme I occasionally watched on Channel 5 for its first few years was 100%:

 

 

 

I always liked the way it was purely about QUESTIONS. No gimmicky formats! No conversations with the contestants! No visible presenter! No jokes! No audience! No applause! Just pure QUESTIONS filling the running time, as far as the eye can see!

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They don't overtly 'rig' game shows.

 

For the overwhelming majority of shows, the prize money is a fraction of the cost of creating a show. There are a few notable exceptions - WWTBAM, The Wall, Deal or No Deal - but the overwhelming majority give away sod all in the scheme of things.

 

The Chase gets about 5 million viewers an episode and they give away something like £5,000 per episode. It's probably the most profitable show on ITV.

 

Game shows have independent adjudicators these days too, so outright cheating is simply not happening.

 

Since the producers control the rules, the owners have far more subtle ways of controlling outcomes: select unfavourable/favourable groups of contestants, write certain kinds of questions, make questions easier/more difficult etc. It's obvious they do that but that is a different kettle of fish, and stops far short of providing different questions for different people.

 

I'm pretty sure The Chase actually has the opposite problem - they want 1-2 winners per week to keep people watching as no-one wants to watch a show where contestants constantly lose. That's why, for example, they quietly changed the rules in the early seasons of The Chase so they questions in the final were more difficult.

 

Anyway, I love game shows and have thought about making a game show thread for a while. We're in a bit of a golden era for them - The Chase is excellent and I'm somehow not tired of it after a decade, Impossible is probably my favourite daytime quiz of all time (either that or original 15-to-1), Only Connect is still brilliant and has somehow become one of the most-watched shows on BBC2, House of Games is incredibly fun and great to play along with, Tipping Point is compulsively watchable despite being overtly terrible, and, if you stretch the concept of "game show" a bit, then Taskmaster is utterly fantastic too.

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Celebrity shows are definitely easier.

 

I love the fact Jedward went on Pointless and got through to the final. Not because they were good; they just got very, very lucky. They managed to answer all the questions without getting any wrong and scoring 100. In the final it became apparent they didn't understand the concept of the show at all and were just trying to give the most obvious answer to everything rather than the best, most obscure one.

 

Anyway, it tickled me. And celebs always get an easy ride.

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@Halo Oh thank god its not just me that's obsessed :lol:

 

The funny thing with Tipping Point is that,  no matter how appalling the contestant may have been throughout the game, in the final I've got so much goodwill for them. I really want them to win. Go on son, take your wife on that cruise! I'm the opposite with the Chase - if they've been a poor team then I'm happy to see them get chased down. 

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7 hours ago, dumpster said:

There are also so many questions where the answer is there for anyone to see (What 18th century phenomenon was responsible for St Giles Cripplethwaites cathedral burning down in 1462?   (A) Portaruin,  (B) Pyrostachia or (C) Ecclesia?   All you need is "Fire=Pyro" and you're golden.  And the Chasers do this all the time - they are world class quizzers, surely they can answer all those questions whenever is needed?

 

This aspect isn't even hidden - the Chasers have mentioned it on the show. Some questions have clues in the question to make what'd otherwise be a difficult question relatively easy. The challenge is for the player to recognise it quick enough to avoid wasting time. 


They've also explicitly stated that one good contestant is often harder to face than four average ones, specifically because they can rattle through the questions without a buzzer and won't lose points if a team mate buzzes quicker but incorrectly.

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2 hours ago, Halo said:

Impossible is probably my favourite daytime quiz of all time

 

I love Impossible. Particularly when someone goes and knocks themselves out on the first question of the day, picking the incredibly obvious impossible answer.

 

You get a question like "What epic poem describes the battles between Agamemnon and Achilles?". Is it:

 

A - Homer's Illiad

B - Homer's Odyssey

C - Homer's Impson

 

And someone goes C. "I just guessed, Rick! I just guessed! I hope I've avoided the impossible one!"

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1 hour ago, Fry Crayola said:

This aspect isn't even hidden - the Chasers have mentioned it on the show. Some questions have clues in the question to make what'd otherwise be a difficult question relatively easy. The challenge is for the player to recognise it quick enough to avoid wasting time. 

 

The mechanics of quizzing fascinate me. There's also puzzling out what the answer definitely can't be and getting the answer that way. Or in a multiple choice, noticing an extreme or out of place answer and deciding if its a red herring or the actual a answer,  because why else have it there?

 

1 hour ago, Fry Crayola said:

They've also explicitly stated that one good contestant is often harder to face than four average ones, specifically because they can rattle through the questions without a buzzer and won't lose points if a team mate buzzes quicker but incorrectly.

 

Some of the best final chases lately have been with one or two contestants, often with one contestant carrying the other. God, it can be infuriating watching a team ponderously waste the first minute of the final chase. Get to ten by the end of the first minute you buggers!

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I’m reminded of the bullseye story where the two lads won ALL the prizes on bully’s prize board, “9 darts, 9 prizes” and were gambling the lot on Bully’s star prize.

 

The production team realised they were onto a loser, because “101 in 6 darts, non-player to throw first”,  with a dart thrower who’d already won 3 prizes with three darts, and the other player with 6 in 6... 
 

it was nailed on.

 

so the production team switched the star prize from a car, to something shit. 

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Fun fact, I used to develop gameshow formats. We had Going for Gold brought back for daytime tv with an interactive element, and I had one idea made into a full pilot. The company I worked for owned most of the biggest game show formats around.
 

The most successful game shows historically tend to have really simple mechanics that all viewers can grasp - which are then brought to life through interaction with contestants. Excellent if they have a variable depth as it brings in viewers like us (typically above average intelligence). 


Something like Deal or no Deal works because they usually bring in people who are superstitious etc. Mechanically it’s an extremely boring concept.
 

I also advised on pitching question difficulty for e.g. interactive/viewer competitions. There is a reason they are so apparently easy, and it’s because you - who thinks the answer is too obvious - are not the target audience. You cannot have the risk of the viewer hesitating (the fear of getting it wrong and feeling stupid will also put them off entering) but you also should avoid patronising. It’s a surprisingly fine line. The difference in money generated when you pitch a question right vs let the production staff do it is immense.

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I barely see any of them these days. I occasionally see bits of Tipping Point. There’s something addictive about the mechanical aspect of the machine. 
 

I’ve barely seen any of The Chase. Not even enough to know how it actually works. 

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I did some analysis of gameshow prize amounts actually won over here (tiny population, low production budgets) and in general people won small amounts. If we split money prizes into categories, we have ‘change your day’ amounts like £50-100, change your week amounts up to £1000, change your month, year and beyond.

 

Most amounts won were change your week or month, so my idea was you take a person and give them a life of luxury for a week - the limiting factor then being time, and see what they do. Half the show is following last week’s winner and how they choose to spend their time, which you either agree with and find brilliant, or more likely you’re like “no way, I’d do x y and z!” 
 

Then (one option was) they could come back to compete to continue living their luxury life against a competitor trying to get there. 
 

With most “luxury” prizes either on loan, or part sponsored by whichever brand is involved, the prize amounts remain stable for the production, but people actually get to do something cool rather than put most of it towards bills, or buying a new carpet.

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1 hour ago, SeanR said:

I’m reminded of the bullseye story where the two lads won ALL the prizes on bully’s prize board, “9 darts, 9 prizes” and were gambling the lot on Bully’s star prize.

 

The production team realised they were onto a loser, because “101 in 6 darts, non-player to throw first”,  with a dart thrower who’d already won 3 prizes with three darts, and the other player with 6 in 6... 
 

it was nailed on.

 

so the production team switched the star prize from a car, to something shit. 


How do you know they switched the prize?

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I can see how things like The Chase can be easily bent to the producer's whim, but I was trying to work out The Wall. It seems so chaotic with massive swings in cash. There must be so many permutations it must've taken a lot of play throughs to be sure it would work. Something like that giant tuppenny nudger one would be easy by comparison you would imagine.

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2 minutes ago, SeanR said:


I think I heard it from Jim Bowen?


Where did you hear that from him? I’d be interested in hearing that myself.

 

Also, could you stop answering questions with questions? It makes you sound like a petulant child.

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2 minutes ago, dumpster said:

Jim Bowen used to tell Bullseye stories in his stand up. I don't remember an episode where they won everything, but there is one where they win all the prizes, gamble for the star prize then lose.  

 

 

 


Yes, I’ve heard him tell many stories about Bully, but I’ve not heard that one either.

 

There are loads of times the above happened, that’s just how it goes.

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11 minutes ago, ZOK said:


Where did you hear that from him? I’d be interested in hearing that myself.

 

Also, could you stop answering questions with questions? It makes you sound like a petulant child.


I don’t know, can I?

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