Secrets from Behind the Scenes of Your Favorite Game Shows
Step right up! Step right up! You’re the next contestant to find out what really happens behind the scenes on your favorite TV game shows.
That’s right! From Wheel of Fortune and Survivor to classics like Press Your Luck and The Price Is Right, every show has secrets it doesn’t want you to know.
You Don’t Walk Out with Your Prizes
If you think prize winners from any game show get to walk out with their prizes, think again. Sure, it would be nice to leave the studio with a giant check or drive off in your new car, but that's not how it works.
You Don’t Get Everything You Win
Nothing in this world is free, especially prizes from game shows. It's exhilarating to win something on your favorite show, but that excitement quickly fades when you learn you have to pay taxes — and how much they are.
Not Every Prize Winner Pays Attention to the Taxes
Some people let the flashing lights and big checks go to their heads before they even collect their payouts. Depending on what type of income you make, you could end up losing 50% of your cash prize. So, even if Regis Philbin calls you a millionaire, you might end up with $500,000 or so.
The Crazier You Are, The More Likely You Are to Get Cast
If you're looking to get cast on a game show, the rule of thumb, according to producers, is to stand out as much as possible. They have seen thousands of previous contestants, so be as over-the-top as possible to get their attention.
There Are Reshoots During Game Shows
Producers can't rely solely on crazy contestants to make good TV. Just like other TV shows, game shows go through a lot of editing to make sure the finished product is as entertaining as possible. The more material they can capture the first time, the better the final footage will be.
People Polled for Answers Don’t Know It’s for Family Feud
You know all those confusing Family Feud responses? Well, imagine how people feel when questions they were asked on a phone survey end up on Family Feud. If you thought audience members answered the questions asked on the show, think again. It turns out a polling firm name Applied Research-West screens people over the phone.
Steve Harvey Has a Favorite Worst Feud Answer
Current Family Feud host Steve Harvey still gets surprised by bad answers, even after being on the show for 10 years. During an interview with Seth Meyers, Harvey revealed how some people's answers truly blow his mind.
Steve Harvey Sometimes Helps Out the Contestants
No, he doesn't give contestants the number one answer, but Harvey was beyond generous with one contestant after learning he was terminally ill. The man went on the show to raise a little money for his family. That's when Harvey stepped in.
The First Family Feud Host Met His Wife on Stage
Kindness and generosity are incredible gestures, but offering a wedding ring is a whole other story. Richard Dawson, Family Feud's first host, was notorious for kissing the female contestants. He said it helped them relax if they were nervous, but he may have had ulterior motives.
Pat and Vanna Used to Drink on the Job
It seems like "Anything goes!" was the policy on game shows back in the day. Take Wheel of Fortune, for instance. Co-hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White of the long-running game show were very loose in the beginning. That's actually because they were drunk.
The Wheel Is Super Heavy
Perhaps the co-hosts needed the liquid courage to give the wheel a good spin? After all, the famous wheel on Wheel of Fortune weighs in at a monstrous 2,400 pounds. Of course, when you compare it to the total set's colossal 1 million pounds, it doesn't seem very heavy.
Fans Suspect the Wheel Is Rigged
We know what you're thinking: A wheel of that size must have some hidden mechanics to get it going — which could also mean hidden mechanics to make it stop. You're not alone in that assumption. In fact, several online conspiracies claim the wheel is rigged.
Vanna White Is a World Record Holder
Speaking of moving the show along, nothing gets the audience more jazzed than Vanna White's enthusiasm. At the start of every spin, Vanna gets the crowd going with raucous applause. It's a smart tactic that eventually landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records!
The Price Is Right Cast Stuck Around for a While
A good game show host knows how to keep fans coming back for more with a winning personality. Vanna and Pat know how to do it and so did Bob Barker, who hosted The Price Is Right for 35 years.
The Price Is Right Has More Than 70 Different Games
A Mistake on Plinko Cost the Show a Lot of Money
You can probably agree that Plinko is an ultimate fan favorite game on The Price Is Right. Dropping the 10 custom-made Plinko chips down the wall in hopes of winning $10,000 is quite a thrill to watch.
The Price Is Right Used to Give Out Way Better Prizes
A cash prize of $30,000 sounds like a lot of money, but imagine winning an airplane. In the show's early days, major prizes like airplanes, submarines and even houses were up for grabs. To be fair, it was a completely different show back in the day.
It’s Really Hard to Be Smarter Than a 5th Grader
Some game shows make it incredibly difficult to win. Take Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? The quiz show asks contestants 10 questions found in elementary school textbooks. It sounds easy enough, but the amount of winners is sure to surprise you.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Was Too Easy to Win
On the flip side, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was too easy to win. Within the first season, six contestants made it all the way to the top, claiming the grand prize. That was too many winners for Lloyd's of London, the insurance company that signed the checks.
Lifelines Are Far from Random on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
One of the most recognizable parts of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is the lifelines contestants use on challenging questions. The "Phone a Friend" lifeline lets the contestant call someone in their life at random to get help on a question.
A Contestant on Press Your Luck Cheated His Way to Victory
Googling answers isn't cheating on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, but counting rotations on Press Your Luck certainly was. In 1984, the game show made contestants stop the rotating prize wall to either win prizes or lose everything if they landed on a Whammy.
The Whammies Can Take Away a Lot of Money
If you didn't study the Whammy wall like Larson did, you could lose quite a bit of money. Every turn at the prize wall is a gamble, but contestants can pass their spins to other contestants to protect their winnings.
Jeopardy Champions Don’t Have Time to Rest After Winning
Most game shows film several episodes in one day so the winners can continue their streak one episode after another. Jeopardy, the most difficult trivia game show on television, films several episodes in a day as well, and that can be stressful for winners who have to compete within 10 minutes after winning their first show.
Winning Jeopardy Provides Perks Like No Other Game Show
If you win an episode of Wheel of Fortune, you may go home with a hefty cash prize. If you're a Jeopardy champion, you may win your next job interview. Many Jeopardy winners include their victories on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles, hoping to boost their career opportunities.
Competing on Jeopardy Is Very Hard
Casting for game shows can be competitive, but nothing compares to Jeopardy. To choose the lucky three on the stage, producers start by narrowing thousands of applicants down to a pool of 3,000. Then comes interviews, quizzes and live rounds, complete with buzzers.
Getting on The Voice Can Take Months
Getting cast on Jeopardy may seem super cutthroat, but The Voice is its own brand of crazy. The competitive singing show puts contestants through months of rigorous training before allowing them on stage.
Judges Get Replaced on The Voice to Save Money
The show lands A-list musical talent to coach their contestants to superstardom. However, booking such high-profile stars can get rather costly season after season. Christina Aguilera notably made $17 million for appearing on one season of the show — and she was there for six seasons!
Survivor Contestants Don’t Always Wear Their Own Clothes
The judges on The Voice wear designer gowns and labels on the show, but that's far from the case for contestants on Survivor. Most of the time the contestants wear clothes that represent their backgrounds.
Survivor Contestants Are Blocked from Exploring Their Surroundings
The show likes to make you think contestants can wander around on the deserted islands as they please, but it's actually quite the opposite. Producers keep the contestants confined to very specific places near their camps to limit what they can see.
The Cash Cab Taxi Once Struck and Killed A Pedestrian
Driving contestants around is a very controlled process on Survivor, but that goes double on Cash Cab. The mobile quiz show takes people for a ride filled with flashing lights and lightning-fast trivia questions. However, it came to a screeching halt on the Canadian edition of the show.