When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire debuted in late 1999, it started a mini boom of prime time game shows. While some of these, like The Weakest Link and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, became huge successes in their own right, there were also many that you probably don’t remember. Let’s revisit some of them!
Who Wants to Borrow 50 Bucks
This knockoff didn’t quite have the budget of Millionaire, but it shared a similar format. Regular people answered a series of multiple choice trivia questions of increasing difficulty. At each level, the contestant had the choice of walking away or attempting to answer. If they reached the top level and answered correctly, they were able to borrow fifty bucks from the host. They could use this money for whatever they wanted, but they had to pay it back.
Poisonous Snakebite Or Water Hose
Contestants were blindfolded and asked the timeless question “Is that a poisonous snake on your head or a water hose?!” Winners received an all expense paid vacation and losers received death. The winners sometimes also received death.
We’ll Come to Your House and Fuck It Up and Then You Have to Give Us $10,000 to Fix It
The premise of this short lived game show was pretty clear from the title. The lovable host and a team of “destroyers” arrived at a random person’s house and ruined it. Re-painted, knocked holes in the walls, damaged property, it varied from week to week. Then the unsuspecting person came home and had to make the ultimate choice: Pay $10,000 to get the house returned to normal, or refuse and it would be left that way. When it debuted, this show seemed to have a lot of legs. Watching people cry was VERY funny. And the catchphrase “Sorry we ruined your life”, followed by a thumbs up and a smile, was gaining traction. But in the end, it didn’t get the viewership the network wanted and was promptly canceled. Network insiders blamed the lack of success of this terrific premise on the fact that the title was just way too long.
Time For Questions
On the surface, this one appeared to be just a throwback quiz show that should have been successful. Three contestants stood at podiums and competed to answer questions of varying topics. The fault of its lack of success seems to lie primarily in its editing. Only one or two questions were ever asked in between ad breaks, with the rest of the time being filled by getting to know the contestants. And then when they returned from commercial, there were large disparities in the scores. It was clear that several questions had been answered during the commercial break. The host and contestants acted like the game had been going on the whole time. There was probably a solid game show here that was ruined in the editing room.
Drink! Spin! (Clean) And Maybe Win!
The opening theme song “Drink and spin! Drink and spin! Clean my house! Drink and spin! Then answer a question and maybe win a million dollars!” spelled out the premise of this game show and was indeed a catchy tune. But ultimately, a show in which contestants had to take shots of whiskey, then spin around in a swiveling chair until they throw up, then do that again, then clean the host’s entire house, then take stronger shots and spin in the chair again, then answer a trivia question in which it was only promised that they might receive one million dollars if they answer it correctly, didn’t sit well with investors and the show was canceled after one episode.
Drink! Spin! (Clean) And Maybe Win! For Kids!
Just the worst idea of all time.
Wow what a trip down memory lane! Although not all of these shows were successful, they definitely kept the trivia trend alive and helped pave the way for future hit game shows like Deal or No Deal and the reboot of Poisonous Snake Or Water Hose.
Let us know in the comments if you remember who the hosts for any of these shows were! Hint: Three of them were hosted by Ryan Seacrest.