was a game show
that aired on GSN
for most of 2003
. The show featured pairs of contestants who answered questions while trying to stay awake. Graham Elwood
was the host and Berglind Icey
(referred to simply as "Icey" on the show) was the co-host. Marc Summers
hosted for one episode on April 1
, as part of GSN having their "original shows" hosts switch places for a day.
Just before taping, the teams were sequestered in a Hollywood storefront and given stacks of books and magazines to study. The players had to stay awake for 24 hours, memorize the material, then compete on the actual game show.
To start, both teams were given 100 points. While all four players walked inside large hamster wheels, each team had to talk about one of three articles they had been assigned to read.
The winners of a "3 a.m. Coin Toss" could select one of three topics (two in the second season); the other team picked from the two remaining choices. Each player had to talk continuously for 20 seconds (40 seconds total); stopping, stalling, stuttering, saying "Um" or "Uh", or going off-topic penalized the team five points per violation. If a team said one of eight hidden key words or phrases related to the article, ten points were added to their score. After the first team Ranted, the second team attempted their Rant; however, both teams had to continually walk inside the wheels during both Rants.
The Stunt Round
For round two, each team (starting with the team in the lead) performed a stunt and answered a list question. The idea was that it is hard for people fighting off sleep deprivation to do two things at once. The stunts took various forms: demonstrating yoga
positions, matching cuts of meat to a picture of a cow
, or even firing hard candies
at small chocolate
bunnies using a slingshot. All of the physical aspects of the stunts were things that the contestants had been given to study overnight. Each successful part of the stunt won 20 points for the team.
While the partners alternated playing the stunt, they also alternated answering a list question read by Elwood. After he read the item, the partner had to give the relevant answer to score 10 points. Both parts of the round happened at the same time and never stopped, so one contestant might be assuming a yoga position and answering a question simultaneously if both her turns came up at the same time. The list had 12 items to name in 40 seconds (45 seconds in the first season).
The Riddle Round
After the stunt round, both teams had one last chance to add to their points. Starting with the trailing team, one partner climbed into an exercise bike or rower, and the other would get into a sidecar. The partner had 40 seconds (60 seconds in the first season) to answer riddles posed by Graham, each worth 30 points. The catch was that the exercising player had to meet and maintain a minimum threshold of physical output -- 10 miles per hour on the bike, or 50 watts of power on the rower -- before the rider was allowed to answer the question. A lit red light meant the exerciser had to work harder; when a green light turned on, the rider could answer. Giving a wrong answer or passing increased the required output by 3 miles per hour (for the bike) or 50 watts (on the rowing machine).
In later episodes, several additional challenges would appear. In one game, the contestant could answer questions as long as his or her partner blew strongly enough into an anemometer (a device that measures wind speed); every incorrect answer and/or pass resulted in the contestant having to blow harder into the anemometer. Another game, a form of which would later appear on the Comedy Central show Distraction, involved one contestant being able to answer a question only after downing a shot of lemon juice. For each incorrect answer, an additional shot was added to the requirement (for example, 2 incorrect answers = 3 shots required to answer). In addition, an "evil dwarf" named "Dr. Damnearkilter" (played by Arturo Gil) was brought out to heckle the contestants while they were competing in the lemon-juice round by shouting "DRINK IT!".
After both teams got to play, the team with more points won the game and $1,000. The runners-up divided $500.
The $10,000 Quiz
During the last segment, the two winners climbed into a bed
onstage and donned blindfolds while the lights were dimmed. "Miss Pickwick," the "resident sleep therapist" (played by Andrea Hutchman), would read the team a series of bizarre facts during the commercial break. In addition to the facts, contestants were also read various suggestions such as "You're getting soooo sleepy" to make staying awake even more difficult. When the show came back from the break, the team's memory was tested on the facts Miss Pickwick had just read to them, assuming they hadn't fallen asleep.
On the sound of an alarm, a 60-second countdown started, and the team had to get out of bed and down to the stage. Before they could answer a question, they had to get all four feet off of the ground by means of either a small peg (called a "stump"), a pair of teeter-totters, a pair of surfboards on springs, on a spinning tube, or a simple balance beam. After they did that, Graham began to read them a question from the list. If at any time a foot hit the floor, the team was buzzed, and Graham would start the question over. A right answer moved the team up a level, but a wrong answer moved them down a level. Reaching level 5 won $10,000. If the team could not get to level 5, the team split $1,000 plus an additional $100 for each level they reached at the end of the 60 seconds.