Street Smarts was a United States game show that features two in-studio contestants trying to predict the outcome of interviews of people that were found on the street. The show aired in syndication from 2000 to 2005, hosted by Frank Nicotero.
Before the game actually starts, two studio contestants are introduced, as well as the three "street savants", whose interviews were pre-recorded.
Round One ("Who Knew It?")
A question is posed, and the studio contestants must choose which of the three "savants" gave the correct answer (indicated in the first season on a trilon
). A correct guess earns $100. Three questions are asked in this round; sometimes two "savants" will answer correctly. Sometimes, as an aside, Frank will call for a wrong-answer clip to be played.
Round Two ("Who Blew It?")
This is similar to the first round, but the object is to guess who got the question wrong; for each question, only two of the "savants" are considered (one of whom answered correctly), and correct guesses are now worth $200.
Also, the Dunce Cap is in play in Round Two; Once the question is posed, an in-studio contestant can hit their buzzer if he/she thinks that his/her opponent doesn't know the answer. The person hitting his/her buzzer usually placed the Dunce Cap on his/her opponent. The "dunce" must then answer the question. If the dunce gets the question wrong, $200 goes to the person who hit the buzzer. However, if the dunce does know the answer, then the "dunce" gets the $200 and is allowed to place the dunce cap on his/her opponent (that is, the person who hit the buzzer originally). In either case, the cap must be worn for the remainder of the question. Also, only one dunce cap opportunity is available.
Round Three ("Pick Your Pony/Brain")
Each contestant, starting with the person trailing (or whoever won a pre-show coin toss in the case of a tie), picks one of the "savants" to work with for the entire round. Each question goes to an individual contestant, who must decide whether their "brain/pony" got the question right or wrong (indicated in the first season on a paddle). Three questions are asked of each contestant, for a total of six in the round. Correct guesses are now worth $300. The Dunce Cap is back in this round, regardless if it was used in the last round. Again, one dunce per round, but dunces are now also worth $300.
The "right" reference is indicated in green; the "wrong" reference in red.
Final Round ("Wager of Death")
Before the final commercial break, a question is asked. During the commercial, the contestants each choose, in secret, 1) which "savant" they wish to pick, 2) whether they got the question right or wrong, and 3) the amount of their score that they wish to wager. A correct guess adds the contestant's wager to his/her score, while an incorrect guess loses the wager. High scorer at the end of the game keeps their money, and, in season 5, has the opportunity to risk their winnings for the possibility of a slot in the season-ending Tournament of Champions (see below).
The most you can win on Street Smarts, by getting all of your questions right and winning both dunces, is $4,600. With only the first dunce, you can win up to $4,000. With only the second dunce, the max is $4,200. With neither dunce, the max is $3,600.
If the game ends in a 0-0 tie, nobody wins; but if there's tie at more than zero, one final question was asked to both studio contestants. The first player to buzz-in chooses to either answer the question or pass it to his/her opponent. A correct answer by the responding contestant wins the game; answering incorrectly awards the game to their opponent.
The $100,000 Tournament
As celebration of being the first street interview show in over 20 years to reach a fifth season, Street Smarts
announced a $100,000 tournament where the top winners of the season would play a single-elimination tournament for a grand prize of $100,000.
During that fifth season, the winner of each show had the option of keeping their money or risking it for a chance to play in the tournament. This gave contestants who won with just $1 a way to win more money.
The $100,000 Tournament featured the top 32 contestants of the season who gave up their winnings to be in the tournament. The contestants played for points instead of dollars, with the winner of each game moving on to the next round. Each round had a special name:
- Round 1: The Thunderous 32.
- Round 2: The Savvy 16.
- Round 3: The Great 8.
- Round 4: The "Phat" 4.
- Round 5: The "Six-Figure Showdown".
The winner of this tournament was Teresa Lee. She defeated Brandon (last name unknown) on the final first-run episode of the series, which had aired on Wednesday, May 25, 2005.
- One episode of the series featured contestant Mike "Boogie" Malin, who would go on to be a contestant on the second season of the American version of Big Brother and later he would also win Big Brother 7: All-Stars. Janelle Pierzina and Chicken George from the same all star season of Big Brother have also appeared on "Street Smarts".
- Brooke Thompson, aka Pumkin from Season One of Flavor of Love, once appeared as a contestant.
- Joe Walsh appeared on Street Smarts.
- The Naked Cowboy once appeared on the show.
- Lynn "Red" Williams, who was well-known for his role as the American Gladiator named Sabre, once appeared on this show.
- Esteemed voice actor Neil Kaplan was once a contestant on this show.
- A reunion episode featured James Avery and Joseph Marcell from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Avery won.
- The idea for Street Smarts originated on the Howard Stern Show with the segment called the Homeless Game where Stern's listeners would guess whether homeless people would be able to answer simple questions.
- A French-Canadian version, Les beaux parleurs, hosted by Patrice L'Écuyer, aired in 2001-02 on Radio-Canada. A British version, Does Doug Know?, aired in 2002 on Channel 4.
- Jeepers Creepers II's Billy Aaron Brown was once a winner on Street Smarts.