I used to love game shows … like, a lot. Growing up, I was a big fan of shows like “Deal or No Deal,” “Chain Reaction,” “Family Feud” and “The Price Is Right.” Heck, I still watch “Family Feud” and “The Price Is Right” if I’m laying in bed sick and nothing else is on.
But I haven’t regularly watched a game show in probably a decade, and I can’t believe I’m saying this now … but I think I’m going to be regularly watching NBC’s “The Wall.”
The show started in December, and in mid-January, NBC ordered 20 more episodes. Here’s how it works.
The wall itself is essentially a huge plinko board. Balls are dropped from the top, and they make their way to the bottom. There are dollar amounts ranging from $1 to $25,000, $250,000 or $1 million depending on the round, and there are two contestants who compete together.
In the first round, the contestants are asked five questions. They’re all multiple choice, with two possible answers. As soon as the question is asked, three balls drop from the top of the wall. The contestants have until the ball reaches the bottom to come up with an answer. If the answer is correct, the total amount the balls rack up is how much money they get in their bank. If the answer is wrong, they get however much money the balls get taken away from them.
In the second round, the contestants are separated. One member goes into isolation behind the wall, while the other plays the game. At the beginning and end of the round, three red balls are dropped. Automatically taking away from the current total. The contestant who is not in isolation is given three answers, one of which is the answer to the next question, which has to be answered by the contestant in isolation. The contestant not in isolation gets to choose where on the wall to have the ball drop from. If it’s closer to the right, the more money it’s likely to get and vice versa. They place it where they want based on how likely they think it is that their partner will get the question right. If they get it right, the ball is green and adds money. If it’s wrong, it’s red and takes money away.
The third round is the same as the second round, except instead of three answer options, there are four. Here, instead of three red balls dropped at the beginning and end of the round, there are now four.
After the three rounds, there’s the final decision. A contract is sent to the player in isolation. The contract has a certain amount of money that they can take home guaranteed if the player signs it. If the player rips it up, the team goes home with however much money the player not in isolation made. It’s a total gamble for the player in isolation, because he or she has no idea how well his or her partner did while he or she was in isolation.
It makes for a really dramatic ending.
The Wall comes on NBC Tuesdays at 8/7 c. While game shows aren’t necessarily the coolest thing right now, and most people (myself included) usually don’t watch TV that isn’t Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, “The Wall” might actually be something worth checking out.