2020: the year of the quiz
There was the Zoom quiz, of course: a staple of the first lockdown during which many of us combined video-conferencing technology and general knowledge in order to stay both vaguely sane and in touch with our friends. But also, TV quiz shows seem to have colonised greater chunks of the schedules.
There is an obvious practical element to this: the quiz show is filmed in a controlled and contained environment and was, therefore, from a logistical point of view, easier to bring back under pandemic conditions than drama.
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Nostalgia is an important part of the pandemic. This helps to explain the appeal of Quiz and it helps to explain the appeal of quiz shows, too.
Pre-internet, there was a premium on knowing things. And there still is. But there was also the reborn sense of television as a collective event; something people did together. Isolation has led to viewers grasping on to any form of connection with others, either virtually or within a domestic unit. Quizshows – the original interactive TV – feed into this perfectly.
The quiz is the oldest TV format of them all; the earliest TV shows were quizzes adapted from the radio.
There are probably four rules to a good quizshow:
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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