I switched on the television briefly this morning and discovered a game show called Cash Cab on the Discovery Channel.
Someone hails an ordinary-looking cab in Manhattan (branded with the Taxi and Limousine Commission markings), announces their destination, and then unexpectedly becomes a contestant. They win money (starting at $50) for each correct answer to a trivia question. After three wrong answers, they’re kicked out of the cab wherever they happen to be.
Although I groaned upon seeing the name, the premise is surprisingly appealing upon further consideration, if for no reason other than that cab rides are not otherwise particularly exciting. It also adds some interesting arbitrary influences into the game that traditional game shows don’t have.
For example, the length of a round depends mostly on where the passengers asked to go — which they did before they knew they were on a game show. It’s then influenced by traffic density, traffic control, and other road conditions. For example, when stuck at a red light, contestants might be given a “red light challenge.”
The screening process to find “worthy” contestants (done on most shows) is also eliminated. Whoever happens to hail the cab is a candidate. Certainly the producers only pick interesting rounds to air on the show, but that means a lot of people are playing (and even, perhaps, winning) whom we do not see.
On the other hand, having now watched one episode of the show I have no intention of trying to watch any more. This sounds like an interesting game to play in a taxi, but not a particularly interesting show to watch on television.