Game shows are a guilty pleasure of television fans across the nation. There’s something soothing about watching average people compete for large sums of money and ridiculous prizes. Game shows allow viewers to feel like they’re a part of the action by shouting advice to the contestants from the comfort of your couch.
Luckily, this is one of the consistent genres on television. Game shows can last for decades before taken off air, and even then can be brought back as reboots. Unlike scripted television series, there’s no plot that must be sustained to keep an audience interested.
However, not all game shows are equal. While some become household names, others abuse gimmicks to stir interest. These are the best game shows of all time for the next time you want to live vicariously through contestants on a television show.
The Price is Right
This game show originally launched on CBS in 1972, making it one of America’s most iconic series of all time. The show features a wide variety of mini games that make every episode a little bit different. Contestants come decked-out in themed t-shirts with wild sayings to catch producers attention. They share a similar dream of being selected to “come on down” to take part in the action. While this series became beloved in the 70s with the help of host Bob Barker, it lives on today nearly half a century later.
Survey says… Family Feud is definitely one of the top game shows on our screens. This series puts two average families against each other to name the top responses to a random question. While it seems easy enough, it challenges contestants to think on their feet. With this added pressure of being put on the spot, it’s harder than it looks. This series has resulted in spin-offs such as Celebrity Family Feud tapping into fans of the Bachelor franchise and the NFL alike.
Wheel of Fortune
If you haven’t ever secretly dreamed of stealing Vanna White’s career, are you really a game show fan? As much fun as it sounds to dress up in a fancy dress and parade around the stage posting letters, there’s a lot more to this series. In fact, it’s given out over $200 million since it’s debut to lucky contestants. The biggest cash out belongs to Michelle Loewenstein at over $1,026,000. The wheel was definitely in her favor when she made series history in 2008.
You’ve heard the famous theme song, but how well would you perform when faced with a slew of obscure trivia questions? This game show holds over 30 Emmys, making it a critically acclaimed go-to. Iconic host Alex Tribec, former news anchor, is almost as classic as the series itself. This series is a ‘sister show’ to Wheel of Fortune, meaning if you’ve competed on one – you can’t compete on the other.
Let’s Make a Deal
Equally iconic, but significantly less serious, is CBS’s midday game show, Let’s Make a Deal. Contestants come dressed in crazy costumes in hopes of walking away with big prizes. The costumes better be good, given that the average contestant is on the waiting list for 2 to 3 years before invited to attend this show. One thing that makes this show unique is the off-screen offer to trade the prizes for the cash equivalent, making victory pretty sweet here.
There are so many components that go into making a successful game show. From enthusiastic contestants to dedicated producers, a lot of preparation goes into giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of prizes each episode. Here’s to many more seasons with our favorite hosts and the contestants we love to hate!