People Who Went On TV Game Shows Share Their Behind-The-Scenes Experiences

The thrill of game shows is lost on no one. There's always one genre of it that'll hook us and lead us to binge hours of it. Be it quizzes or talents, none of us are immune.

Someone on Reddit recently called to those who had been on a game show to share a secret that regular viewers might not know, and these were some of the responses.

The long and short of it.

"Was in the audience at a Food Network taping and Iron Chef America really is a 60-minute competition. That's not fudged. The judging on the other hand takes foreeeeever."

They want to make the rush seem real, but after that have no problem taking their sweet time.

Worth it in the end.

Unsplash | Allef Vinicius

"My wife got a tattoo on a tattoo competition show. They gave her headphones to wear while she was being tattooed, but she wasn’t allowed to actually plug them in and listen to music. Pure product placement lol. Other than that it was a really good experience! Producers worked with her for several weeks leading up to and made sure she got a tattoo subject and style that she wanted."

Audience angle.

"I was in the audience at [The Price is Right]. You wait like 4+ hours just to get into the taping. They come by and give you a short interview to see if you are a good prospect to make it to contestant row. [...] The studio audience is significantly smaller than it appears on TV. Drew Carey told jokes between filming. The set is tiny. The wheel is tiny. No secrets to reveal except that they must use some serious lenses and angles to make it appear bigger. It was a long day but it was a cool experience."

A little lifetime.

"My teacher was on [Wheel of Fortune] Australia and he won a life supply of wd40. It turns out with average usage a can of wd40 lasts twenty years, so a life's supply is four cans."

A little underwhelming, but at least it's not false?

By a second.

"There’s an indicator that tells you when you can chime in with your clicker when responding to a trivia question/clue; if you try to ring in before it lights up, you are “locked out” for a few seconds, perhaps long enough for another contestant to ring in. In Jeopardy the indicator is a set of lights on the perimeter of the big board; in Win Ben Stein’s Money, it was literally a lamp on a lampstand sans a lampshade."

Truly the worst.

Unsplash | Daniel Foster

"A work colleague of mine was one of the couples in [Married at First Sight]. She had a horrible experience, needed counseling afterwards and is still receiving an 'appearance fee' (read hush money) even though her season aired like 5 years ago."

Audience sabotage.

"I was on [Who Wants to be a Millionaire], and it's all scripted. The filming took half a day for 30 minutes of film. [...] The reason the audience is so completely useless (And why you see so many press wrong on obvious answers) is because 20-30% of the audience is friends and family to the other 7 contestants who are waiting for their turn. We spent two days in the studio, and if the initial contestant loses, the others get their chance. If one contestant goes far and takes a lot of time, no one else gets a chance, so the audience tells the wrong answer on purpose."

Completely rewritten.

"They let the other girl in the Showcase Showdown [The Price is Right] rebid after the audience booed her original bid (something silly low like $10,000). When it aired, they cut her original bid and showed only her second, winning bid. I lost."

As many pointed out in the comments, this just isn't fair!

Unspecified, but likely true.

Unsplash | Antenna

"They tell the audience to clap and cheer and they film that to edit it in during appropriate events. If we didn’t cheer or clap loud enough, they had us retake it. The same goes for grimaces/negative reactions and shock/surprise."

Judgment before judgement.

"I auditioned for X-Factor. You don’t go to the celebrity judges first you go in front of some 'off camera' judges. So every terrible and horrible singer you see on the show has already been told they are better than the many talented ones not deemed 'tv worthy' which makes it a lot more disgusting to me."

Getting that bag.

Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

"Was on a MTV game show called [First of Zen] [...]. Basically a group of people subjected to painful and nauseating tasks for cash. We won every round but the producer asked us to purposefully 'fail' one to change things up. Despite losing one round we were still paid the full prize money."

Pick of the bunch.

"In Deal or No Deal only the interesting people get picked, if you are outgoing and excited you've got a high chance of being selected. Also, if you appear to be their target contestant, but turn out to be a dud, then I think they have the option of not putting you on air and no prize for you (whether that is a threat they follow [through] with or not I'm not sure)."

Pumped up drama.

Unsplash | Jakob Owens

"I was on one that required like 30-second shot (don't quite remember) of the contestants scrambling around picking up the supplies they want. Turns out we didn't need nearly that long, but they had us continue to scramble and push through even though there was plenty of space and no real rush."

True shock.

'Been on a few in the UK, most notably The Chase. In all honesty, there's little in the way of 'secrets'. I met my team on The Chase that morning in the hotel waiting for the taxi. [...]. As other people have said, clothes are important. No logos, solid colours, no solid black or white though. [...] you and Bradley legitimately have no idea which Chaser you will face. Bradley likes the suprise of it apparently. A lot of his bits are ad-libbed, too."

Reaching your destination.

"I was on Cash Cab. You can't just hail a cab in New York which turns out to be the Cash Cab. There is a vetting process, but you don't know you are going to be on the show so the reaction is genuine. Also, there is a lot of awkward silence time while he is listening to the producer in his ear. There is a cameraman riding shotgun unseen on TV. The money he gives is prop money for TV. They mail you a check after the show airs. Ben Bailey was genuinely a nice guy."

Shifting 'em down.

"I was part of the 'paid' audience for [American Ninja Warrior]. I was actually with a vegetarian group that collected the money earned for charity, so that was cool. What wasn't cool was getting downtown at midnight, [...] We were only allowed to wear certain colors, no logos, and yeah they did take the audience cheering/booing to edit in later, which was honestly a good thing because at around 3 am, most of the audience started leaving. The stands were empty so they had us moving down the course as they filmed to make it look more full haha."

Secret songs.

"I attended a taping of Conan several years ago. As soon as the show is finished Conan grabs a mic and roams the aisles while singing, 'This is the after-the-show song that nobody knows about' or something similar. Definitely a crooner, and I openly swooned because come on, Conan is a dream and a treasure."

Not a game show, but still a cool experience.

Lots of details.

"I was on Wheel of Fortune. You have to get there at 5 AM where you draw straws with other contestants to decide when you will film. They film the entire week of episodes in 1 day. Pat Sajak is incredibly friendly and interacted with us on every break. The wheel is HEAVY."

Them filming all the episodes in one day makes so much sense, but was still unexpected.

A certain type of cruelty.

"Not a game show but me and my sister were in the audience of America’s Got Talent a couple years ago. [...] I only remember two acts— one was Piff the Magic Dragon and another guy who the audience and judges boo’d and disliked. The guy who was boo’d, unfortunately, had to stay on stage longer because the producers wanted more shots or something. I remember how uncomfortable he looked while everyone had to wait silently, staring at him, while the producers made up their minds."

Quick additions.

Unsplash | Joshua Hoehne

"My dad was on Countdown on Channel 4 (UK broadcaster) back in the days of Richard Whiteley. [...] Carol Vordermann wasn't the maths genius she was portrayed as. She did do most of the numbers game calculations, but for the REALLY hard ones where neither contestant can get the exact answer, it wasn't Carol who worked it out, it was a Scottish guy called Michael Wylie. He'd spend ages scribbling away while the rest of the show was being recorded and when he eventually worked it out, the calculations would be passed back to Carol who would record her bit which was then edited into the show to make it look like she had worked it out in real-time."

Filed Under: