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Former Contestants Reveal The Dirty Secrets Behind Your Favorite Game Shows

MonicaJuly 1, 2022
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28) Dropping Models

In the original European ‘Deal or No Deal,’ contestants opened their own 26 boxes that revealed the amount of money they earned, ranging from one penny to one million dollars. The American version had 26 gorgeous models holding the boxes.

It’s certainly more calming to watch a beautiful model open a box than a nervous contestant. Unfortunately, the models had to stand so long that they sometimes fainted. It makes you question if it’s worth it. The show needs to take better care of their models. It seems like the Europeans were on to something by having the contestants open their own boxes (via Just Starz).

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27) Dirty Cash Cab Secrets

As we saw above, ‘Cash Cab’ seems like the best way to travel around New York, even if it’s based solely on luck. Even though ‘Cash Cab’ seems like a great show, it has many dirty secrets that one former contestant revealed. They said, “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 while he (the driver) is listening to the producer in his ear.” The money they give you is also prop money for TV. They mail you a check after the show airs, so there’s a waiting period (via Just Starz)

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26) Kids Grow Up

Many of us watched and loved the ’90s game show called ‘Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?’ where kids answered geography-related trivia questions. There were over 100 people on the crew who filmed up to four episodes every day. The show was split into two parts and each part was filmed six months apart.

A former contestant revealed the show’s secret that because many of the kids grew up so much during those six months, some of them completely lost interest in the show and didn’t want to return. Six months is a long time for a kid, so it makes sense (via Just Starz).

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25) Nickelodeon’s Drug Reference

There are a ton of dirty secrets behind the scenes of Nickelodeon’s show ‘Slime Time.’ First, the kids competing in the show were geniuses. They made losing the new winning. Every time they were covered in slime, the crew would give them a new set of clothes to keep so they didn’t ruin their own clothes.

Second, the host Marc Summers accidentally nicknamed the slime “gak”. Gak is another name for heroin, but it went under the radar. The marketing team missed the drug reference and told kids that gak was available to buy in toy stores across the nation (via Just Starz).

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24) TV Contestant Dies

Sometimes, dangerous things happen backstage. In 1986, Noel Edmonds hosted “The Late Late Breakfast Show” in Britain. Apparently, members of the show were allowed to perform dangerous stunts, such as jumping from cars, picking someone up in a helicopter by an exploding chimney, and getting fired from a cannon. But the show had a plethora of dirty secrets that are more than heartbreaking. Michal Lush, 24 years old, bungee-jumped from a crane. During rehearsal, he hesitated and then eventually jumped. A faulty clip had come loose, and he plunged to his death. Noel Edmonds took a 2-year hiatus from television afterward (via Just Starz).

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23) Cash Mountain

It turns out the show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ is full of secrets considering it’s made an appearance multiple times on this list. Even though it’s an addicting show to watch, we’re not sure we want to support its phoniness anymore. First, it was originally supposed to be called Cash Mountain. Luckily, this didn’t stick, otherwise, the show probably wouldn’t have had as much popularity.

Additionally, a former contestant named Charles Ingram won $1,450,000 with the help of his friend, who sat in the audience and coughed as the host Chris Tarrant read out the options for the multiple-choice questions. Even though it’s cheating, it’s pretty savvy. The show deserves a bit of revenge since they don’t seem to treat their contestants right (via Just Starz).

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22) Cramped Cages

In 1964, Merv Griffin birthed “Jeopardy!” You’d expect tons of people working together to write the questions for the game show considering how detailed and widespread with topics they are. Certainly, it requires many brains to think of these types of questions. However, as a former contestant revealed, the show has some dirty secrets that we’d never have guessed.

Apparently, only 14 people come up with the questions, and they do so in cramped, dark rooms, starved of light, sustaining themselves on sandwiches. That doesn’t sound like a job we’d sign up for anytime soon and doesn’t seem like a good way to treat their employees (via Just Starz).

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21) The Price Can’t Be That Right

‘The Price is Right’ is another game show full of dirty secrets. Even though the host tells contestants they’ll go home with an outlandish prize, that’s not actually the case. Apparently, the contestants only get their prize after the show airs. This means that if the show never airs, then they’ll never get their prize.

Imagine winning a brand-new car, only to never see your episode on air?  That seems like quite the sneaky way to get contestants to compete. We wonder if they know they can’t take home their prize, otherwise, there might be a lot fewer people willing to participate (via Just Starz).

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20) Genius Product Placement

Nickelodeon’s ‘Double Dare’ was full of slime and flying pies. That sounds like every kid’s dream, which is a part of the reason it was such a success. In fact, many of the products aired on the show were purchased afterward, because the show was such a success. That product placement began because of the snack company Nabisco, which saw potential in Nickelodeon. They suggested to Gerry Laybourne, the president of Nickelodeon, that they design a show that allowed sneaky product placement to sell Nabisco’s product (via Just Starz).

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19) X Factor Audition

The “X Factor” is one of the most popular game shows out there. Competitors try to impress the judges and audience with their musical talents. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of the judges and all those strangers and give it your all. Yet the show was full of dirty secrets. One former contestant told us, “I auditioned for The X Factor. Before you audition for the celebrity judges, you are seen by some off-camera judges. So, every terrible singer you see on the show has already been told they are better than the many talented ones who weren’t deemed ‘TV worthy.'” It’s like they want to set up the worst acts, just to make the show interesting, at the expense of those people (via Buzzfeed).

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18) Clowning Around

‘Wipeout’ purposefully looks for contestants who want to clown around and crash spectacularly. That’s what attracts people to the show, after all, so it makes sense they want outlandish people in front of the camera. They also don’t want people who just fall to the ground with grace, they look for people that’ll make a huge scene and create a lot of humor. However, there’s more than meets the eye, and the show is full of secrets.

One time, a 38-year-old contestant wiped out and was knocked unconscious. He died the next day from undetected coronary artery disease. It’s an unfortunate coincidence that makes the show seem less safe than it is (via Just Starz).

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17) Saturday Night Decision Making

Dana Carvey starred ‘Saturday Night Live,’ yet it almost didn’t happen. He was offered another gig at ‘Double Dare’ on Nickelodeon, which he nearly took. Imagine that hilarious host on Nickelodeon? He made the right choice since he’s more suited for ‘Saturday Night Live.’ During the 1990s, Saturday Night Live was the place to be. ‘Double Dare’ would have also been a good choice, and the show would’ve been hilarious, but it was better off this way (via Just Starz).

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16) Security Guard On X Factor

An internet user on Reddit revealed some secrets about the British version of X-Factor. Their friend was a security guard and told them that audience members are ranked by order of physical attractiveness. Only the most beautiful ones are allowed in the front, behind the judges. In the back of the audience are the lesser attractive audience members. That’s just how the world works, apparently. If there are beautiful people in the spotlight, it attracts more viewers (via Just Starz).

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15) Never Meet The Judges

Simon Cowell is one of the most famous – or should we say infamous – judges in the world. He’s known for his dry humor and detached reactions to people’s performances. Many people watch the shows solely to see his reaction. There are quite a few dirty secrets behind the scenes of those shows, one of them being that a lot of the singers don’t even meet the judges. Their performances are recorded and then shown to the judges later. The judge’s fake reactions are then filmed to make it look live (via Just Starz).

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14) The Price Is Right Lines

To get on the ‘Price is Right,’ you need to prepare to wait in a lot of lines. According to one Reddit user, the process of attending the show takes about eight hours. They said, “once you arrive, you have to wait in these long lines where someone actually interviews each and every person to decide who’ll be on the show. They take you over in groups of about 30 and go down the line asking questions.”

And, they also said, “after that, you’re shuffled into the studio, which is A LOT smaller than it seems on TV. From there, you just anxiously wait to hear your name called. You truly don’t know if you’re going to be a contestant until they call your name to come on down, so all reactions are very real.” (via Buzzfeed).

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13) A $25,000 Fortune

In 1976 when “Family Feud” first aired, families were only allowed to win up to $25,000. Even though that doesn’t sound like a lot nowadays, considering the prices of cars, houses, mortgages, and food have skyrocketed, that was a lot several decades ago. The average annual income was $16,000. Even if that was the monetary limit you could win now, it would still be a great prize. Any money is good money if it’s enough to pay off student loans or credit card debt (via Just Starz).

Weakest Link: Season One Ratings - canceled + renewed TV shows - TV Series Finale
TV Series Finale

12) The Weakest Six-Hour Link

‘The Weakest Link’ is a British game show where contestants compete to answer general knowledge questions. A former contestant revealed the show’s dirty secrets, including the fact that it took six hours to film one episode. They said, “there are so many starts, stops, and podium removals when people are voted off, and it’s really tiring. Anne Robinson doesn’t make small talk with any contestants, but she did congratulate me on winning.” Apparently, contestants even get lower quality water, while the stars of the show get to drink expensive water. The contestant said, “she (Anne) stood there drinking her Evian while we drank bottles of ASDA Smart Price water from a straw, so we didn’t dribble down ourselves.” (via Buzzfeed).

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11) Change Of Clothes

You’d think that every episode of Jeopardy! was filmed on a different day considering the contestants wear different clothes for each episode. Well, you’d be very wrong. In fact, one of the show’s biggest dirty secrets is that five episodes are filmed on the same day. This means that each contestant brings five different outfits with them and changes them throughout the day to make it look like it’s on a different day. That must be one of the longest days ever. Also, some episodes aren’t aired for three months. Imagine winning and then having to keep it a secret (via Just Starz).

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10) The Actors Of House Hunters

“House Hunters” seems like a thrilling reality TV show. Couples fight, live in hotel rooms and seem to go through the depths of hell to find a house. “House Hunters” also has several secrets. Former contestant Elizabeth Newcamp revealed that she and her husband faked living in a hotel for the sake of the show. That, and she also admitted that she and her husband had fake arguments to make the show seem more dramatic. Additionally, most of the houses on the show aren’t for sale, and the couple already owns the house. This is seriously a letdown. This seems more like a staged show with actors, as opposed to reality TV (via Just Starz).

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9) Bridal Bootcamp

‘Bridal Bootcamp’ is a show where brides-to-be compete to lose weight before their wedding. They’re split into groups and put on “Marital Missions,” to try and win the wedding of their dreams. A former contestant on the show revealed some of Bridal Bootcamp’s dirty secrets to her friend on Reddit.

They said, “a girlfriend of mine was on Bridal Bootcamp and won. I was a bridesmaid, and they brought the camera crew to EVERYTHING, but we had to reshoot our ‘genuine’ emotions time and time again. The kicker? She won her ‘dream’ wedding at an expensive hotel with all the works, but game show winnings are taxed at 33%. The IRS bill was twice as much as the original budget for this couple in their mid-20s.” (via Buzzfeed).

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8) Banned Jeopardy! Numbers

Apparently, ‘Jeopardy!’ has tons of secrets, with banned numbers included. Competitors must not only answer some questions backward, but must also remember not to bet certain numbers, like $666, the number of the Devil, and $1488, $88, and $14. The number $1488 is banned because it’s used by white supremacists as a secret code to identify themselves. It seems like a lot of pressure to remember you’re not supposed to say these specific numbers, especially when you’re under a lot of stress. We wonder what happens if you accidentally say these numbers (via Just Starz)

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7) Before They Were Famous

Tons of famous actors and faces appeared on “Match Game” and “The Dating Game,” dating shows from the 1960s and 1970s. Kirstie Alley, Tom Selleck, Farrah Fawcett, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sally Field all appeared on the shows before they were famous. Also, Lady Gaga appeared on ‘Boiling Points!’ when she was only 19 years old. Simon Cowell appeared on ‘Sale of the Century’ in 1987, which was probably a bridge towards his fame (via Just Starz).

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6) American Ninja Warrior

Since 2009, we’ve watched unofficial Olympians sprint and climb through a series of obstacle courses, to win one million dollars, on ‘American Ninja Warrior.’ Well, there’s more to it than we realize. ANW is full of dirty secrets. The participants train for up to a year before the show. Also, the interviews are scripted. Even though it’s not completely authentic, the winners are not predetermined and are chosen by who completes the final obstacle course (via Just Starz).

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5) Big Brother Canada

In the show “Big Brother Canada,” 15 people all live together in an isolated home, as they try to not get evicted by their housemates. It feels like it’d be an uncomfortable show to watch. Someone on Reddit told us some dirty secrets about the show. Firstly, in the audience, there’s the “hot row,” where people who are most aesthetically pleasing are chosen to sit.

Also, they said, “I had a friend who worked in production for Big Brother Canada who got a group of us tickets to a live eviction. The live eviction is not actually live and took probably a good two to three hours to film. None of what we saw from the contestants was re-filmed, but there were moments that we had to redo if we didn’t cheer/clap loud enough after commercial breaks.” (via Buzzfeed).

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4) Game Show Prizes

If you’re a contestant on a game show, you can win anything from a lifetime supply of WD-40 to millions of dollars. These prizes range in quality. Most of the time, we’d wish for tons of cash even though that’s usually not the case. Some game shows are full of dirty secrets and give away ridiculous prizes. On “High Rollers, “a game show from the 70s, a contestant won a $10,000 fishbowl. Another time, a woman in a wheelchair won a treadmill on “The Price is Right.” That seems like a cruel joke. On another game show, someone won a lifetime supply of Butterfinger candy, which was two big cases. Sometimes, it doesn’t even seem worth being on television for these ridiculous prizes (via Just Starz).

Legends of the Hidden Temple': 10 Fun Facts About Nick's Infamous Game Show
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3) Dirty Secrets Of Legends Of The Hidden Temple

In the 1990s, one of the most popular kid’s game shows was ‘Legends of the Hidden Temple.’ Kids used swimming moats, ropes, and different teams to retrieve a hidden artifact. It was extremely fun to watch as a kid, especially since it was full of spontaneous twists and turns. They had to do a variety of physical stunts and answer several trivia questions. As the kids performed on stage, the audience roared and applauded – an audience we never actually saw. There was no audience, only speakers and sound effects that made it seem like there was one (via Just Starz)

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2) Too Hard To Pronounce

If your name is too hard to pronounce, then good luck getting on a game show. A former contestant told us about this dirty secret behind ‘The Price is Right.’ They said, “I went to a taping of The Price Is Right, and during the interview process, they ask you how you pronounce your first and last name. Unfortunately, if you have a first or a last name that is difficult to pronounce, your chances of being chosen to ‘come on down’ are basically 0%! Same thing if you happen to have the exact same first and last name as another contestant in the audience.” (via Buzzfeed).

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1. Family Feud Moves

Steve Harvey is known for his role on ‘Family Feud.’ It wouldn’t be ‘Family Feud’ without him. At one point, he was too busy filming his morning show in Atlanta, so Family Feud moved their studio from California to Florida so Harvey could easily commute to work. Then, since Harvey didn’t want to commute to the next state, he convinced the studio to move to Atlanta, so he’d have an even easier commute. He’s certainly a powerful figure on ‘Family Feud’ (via Just Starz).

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