Monday, January 30, 2012

My Game Show Idea

Actually, I have a couple of ideas for a game show. But my first idea, where contestants select from a variety of different briefcases that either contain large sums of money or angry marine lifeforms, was already stolen and used with some variations by NBC. Shame, really, because "Eel or No Eel" would have been a huge hit.

Seriously, though, I do have an idea for a game show, called "I'm Asking the Questions Here!" It would be a trivia show along the lines of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", but in this version, the questioner is actually another contestant. Two contestants are chosen, one to be the Questioner and the other the Answerer, and the Questioner reads out ten questions to the Answerer. Each question is worth $10,000. But, and this is the tricky bit, the Questioner has to guess before they read the question whether or not the Answerer will get it right. Basically, they make a "side bet" on whether they think the Answerer is going to guess correctly...and they have to do it without seeing the correct answer themselves.

So if the question is, "Who won the 1968 Presidential election? A) Ronald Reagan, B) Hubert Humphrey, C) Richard Nixon, D) Lyndon Johnson?" The Questioner reads it to themselves. They decide this is an easy one. They bet on the Answerer getting it right. They then read the question...and while they can't change the wording at all, they can emphasize the reading however they want to...and the Answerer answers. If they get it right, they both bank $10,000 and move on to the next question. Wrong, and both get zero.

But here's where the strategy comes in: At the end, only the one who has the most right answers gets to keep the money. (Ties go into sudden death.) So it is to the benefit of the Questioner to try to deliberately mislead the Answerer into guessing wrong, either through stressing the wrong answer or bluffing with their body language. But the Questioner won't necessarily know the right answer any better than the Answerer. So the Answerer has to decide a) is the Questioner trying to lead me into answering wrong, and b) how likely is it that they're correct about which answer they're trying to lead me to?

(It would make sense for the Questioner to get more money if they bet on the Answerer getting it right, as that way they also have an incentive to help the Answerer and the Answerer wouldn't always be certain that the Questioner was trying to sucker them. It would also add strategy to the Questioner's game, because the more questions the Answerer got right, the higher the Questioner's pot. But they couldn't let them get too many right, or they'd lose it all.)

It'd be a little complex at first, but I think it would be much easier to follow in practice than it would to read about. And I think there'd be a lot of tension as the two contestants played bluff and counter-bluff. "I thought that you were going to guess wrong on that one, so I bet against you, but then I read the question and you guessed I was tricking you and picked another answer...but I had it wrong too, so the correct answer was the one I thought was wrong and was trying to trick you into guessing."

Tell me that wouldn't be a fun little headtrip of a show. Get someone kind of snarky to host and commentate on it, like Wil Wheaton or Seth Green, and it'd be huge.

1 comment:

Entertained Organizer said...

After reading it twice I do agree that it'd be easier to actually follow on screen than read described, but my only problem with it is what was the last wildly successful gameshow (that didn't involve singing)? They all seem to have very short half lives before declining into obscurity.

That said if you got an angry Bob Saget to host, I'd watch it.