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One of the oldest TV show types, and the granddaddy of Reality TV; individuals or teams compete for cash and prizes. Descended from radio quiz shows (which are also covered here), they have fluctuated in popularity.

Game shows were enormously popular in America during the 1950s, until several of the most popular ones [1] turned out to be rigged. The 1960s and early 1970s had many low-stakes games, with big-ticket ones (especially quizzes) generally falling out of favor... until 1973 and The $10,000 Pyramid. The 1970s and 1980s brought flashy sets and Ear Worm music, with 1975, 1985, and 1987 being particularly good years for the genre.

The 1990s brought with it a sense that ideas were running out, as networks and cable stations dropped games left and right (the last Big Three victim being Caesars Challenge in January 1994). Only The Price Is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy! remained through the entire decade, with a few other games briefly popping up here and there. GSN began in December 1994, giving fans a constant home for classic games.

In 1998, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? gave the genre a shot in the arm and brought a new age of Follow the Leader games.

For the celebrity-oriented variant, see Panel Game. See also Game Show Tropes.

  1. (21 {the most infamous}, Tic-Tac-Dough {~75% of the nighttime run}, The $64,000 Question {Dr. Joyce Brothers was supposed to lose}, The $64,000 Challenge {children!}, and Dotto {the smoking gun})

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