The Appeal Of The Quiz Show

The humble quiz game appeals to millions, with many of them obsessed with appearing on such shows and winning a truckload of money.

The concept of public quizzes started back in the 1930s with the Spelling Bees. Broadcast radio picked the quiz format of the game and reached a wider audience. These radio quizzes were popular because they had normal people coming on air and hearing themselves live for the first time.

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The world’s current lockdown obsession

bbc.com

Quizzes got immensely more entertaining with the onset of Television. People finally found a way to make use of the useless general knowledge they had retained in their heads since school time.

The prospect of winning money made the shows even more popular and thrilling in the 1950s. Though some initial shows were rigged to favour certain contestants, the British found the golden goose of high-stakes quizzing with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire which ran for multiple decades and was watched by more than a third of the British population.

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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire had all the winning ingredients:

  • A high-stakes game that got more dramatic the longer the contestant in the hotseat stayed;
  • A host that was charismatic and unreadable at the same time (Chris Tarrant);
  • Multiple choice questions with no time limit;
  • An ominous, gripping soundtrack.

The format of the show made it a highly entertaining interactive sport among family members huddled together. The show’s appeal was so good that many started exploiting its weaknesses and planned elaborate heists in order to win money.

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"Being right is still a very popular British pursuit."

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Small-scale quiz events were often staged in the 1940s by women at various pubs, as a deterrent for their husbands. Many pubs drew on this pastime and organized quizzes to draw consumers in the '80s.

The appeal for a public question and answer session is so widespread that in 2019, more than half of the 40,000 odd pubs in the UK ran quiz leagues on local and national levels.

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  • Quiz shows have a long-lasting, timeless draw among people looking for a way to prove themselves while being entertained.
  • The motivation to get stuff right and the thrill of beating others is irresistible, especially in the current state of lockdown boredom.
  • The many twists and turns add an element of surprise and uncertainty, amplifying the appeal.

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