Game Show


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A game show involves members of the public or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, playing a game, perhaps involving answering quiz questions, for points or prizes. In some shows contestants compete against other players or another team whilst other shows involve contestants striving alone for a good outcome or high score. Game shows often reward players with prizes such as cash, or holidays and goods and services provided by the show's sponsors. Early television game shows descended from similar programs on broadcast radio.

There are several basic genres of game shows with a great deal of crossover between the different types.

* The simplest form of game show is a quiz show whereby people compete against each other by answering quiz questions or solving puzzles. Quiz shows usually involves members of the public, but sometimes special shows are aired in which celebrities take part and the prizes are given to charity. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are examples. Some quiz shows, such as the word games Password and Pyramid, pair celebrities and non-notable citizens. Television's most successful quiz, The Price is Right (premiering in 1956), revolves mostly around how much a merchandise item costs, though the modern version mixes the retail element with games of chance.
* A panel game usually involves a celebrity panel answering questions about a specialist field such as sport or music and is often played for laughs as much as points. Match Game, which dates from the 1960s but is best known for its CBS daytime run of the 1970's, is one such example. Other examples include What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth.
* The third kind of game show involves contestants completing stunts or playing a game that involves an element of chance or strategy in addition to, or instead of, a test of general knowledge. Deal or No Deal is an example of this format, combining both luck and strategy.
* Reality game shows have become popular in recent years. In a reality show the competition usually lasts several days or even weeks and a competitor's progress through the game is based on some form of popularity contest, usually a kind of disapproval voting by their fellow competitors or members of the public.
* Dating game shows, the original reality games, in which the prize is typically a well-funded dating opportunity that one can only pursue with the individual one has 'won' on the show. They are also a type of date auction where competitors compete for dates not with money but with seductive powers or attractiveness or the promise of an enjoyable date or even ultimately marriage.

In the US, television game shows fell out of favor in the 1950s after it was revealed that favored contestants on The $64,000 Question, Twenty One and other shows had been given answers and coached by the producers (see: Quiz show scandals). They came back into favor in the 1960s by adopting merchandise prizes of far less value and by emphasizing larger numbers of simple questions, or physical contests without an advantage.

In the middle of the 1960s, Chuck Barris conceived a new genre in which the competitor's personal life became part of the show. They were the forerunners of today's reality game show. The prize was typically romantic opportunity (The Dating Game) or fame (The Gong Show) rather than cash. One of his famous shows, The Newlywed Game, actually led to some divorces. This genre virtually disappeared from US screens in the 1990s. Blind Date, the British version of The Dating Game, remained popular in the United Kingdom.

The height of the game show era began in the early 1970s, thanks in part to the success of popular game shows like The Price Is Right, Match Game, The Joker's Wild and The $10,000 Pyramid. Many of these game shows provided amazing game show sets filled with flashing chase lights and sometimes flashing neon lights. During this golden era, most hosts' wardrobes were supplied by Botany 500. This era of game shows officially ended in the late 1990s, leaving The Price Is Right as the only daytime network game show remaining on U.S. television. In syndication, however, a handful of game shows continue to be popular, including Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, and to a lesser extent, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Family Feud. (All of those shows were originally network daytime shows except for Millionaire, which was a nighttime summer limited-run series that became an unexpected breakout hit.)

Another major element in a game show is score displays. The most famous of these displays is the "eggcrate", which consists of seven rows of five bulbs each per digit. The eggcrate display has been used on more game shows than any other score display in history, and is still used today on The Price Is Right. In recent years, however, video displays have replaced the eggcrate. Sony's shows were the first to switch, as Wheel of Fortune adopted the look in 2002, followed by Jeopardy!. CBS also adopted video screens in 2001 for Hollywood Squares, a show produced by its King World division, and Family Feud adopted the look for its new 30th anniversary "blended" set for 2006-07.

In Japan a number of shows emerged that defy classification by most standards. For instance, in one infamous show, failing to answer a question correctly led to one's own mother being buried in tons of rotting fish. In another, those who failed to answer questions correctly were dumped at locations remote from transport or assistance, e.g. in the Arctic, and had to perform such feats as drinking beer while sitting on blocks of ice — first one to run to the outhouse was left behind. In a show colloquially called Strip Questions, a nude woman stands behind a pane of glass with strips of paper embedded in it; every time she misses a question, one strip of paper is pulled away.

The reality game shows concept really took off in the 2000s with shows like Survivor, Big Brother and their clones. Planet 24 television (owned by Bob Geldof) devised the concept of Survivor but were unable to sell it to a British or American broadcaster. It was eventually taken up in 1997 by Sweden as Expedition Robinson. The format was an immediate hit in other Scandinavian countries and it soon caught on around the world. These shows combine elements of reality show and older reality game shows with traditional game-show elements of physical competitions by contestants.

Some shows (e.g. Weakest Link) exploit a disapproval voting system similar to the reality game show, and play up the realistic confrontation between contestants, but are in fact just conventional game shows, where no bodily torture or emotionally stressful situation is created, other than the failure to answer some question or impress hosts. Dog Eat Dog was even publicised as a reality show despite being basically a revamp of The Krypton Factor with a variant of disapproval voting added.

Card games, especially poker and to a lesser extent blackjack, have recently become the basis for a number of popular shows on various U.S. broadcast and cable/satellite networks. Although these shows appear to meet the third definition above ("a game that involves an element of chance or strategy in addition to, or instead of, a test of general knowledge") an interesting controversy has erupted over whether these "casino games" should be considered game shows. A question-and-answer element is present in Card Sharks, Strip Poker, Gambit and Top Card, but not in (Super) Pay Cards!.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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