Psychology of the quiz show

  • Dealing with the anxiety of a global crisis: at a time when many of us have learned to doubt anything claiming to represent objective fact, there is a certain truth about quizzes: you are either right or wrong.
  • The certainty of knowledge: Quizshows are a reminder of something we are in danger of losing. We can all search for an answer on the phone, but having the knowledge of something is affirmation (more necessary than ever because when everything seems uncertain). 


Feel the buzz: the rise and rise of the quizshow in lockdown


 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.


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 game’s got to work; there’s got to be something intrinsic about it that sustains itself, day in, day out. 
  • It has to have an element of proper jeopardy: lots of the best ones hinge around a single decision – to play on or not, to take the money or not take the money?
  • The hosts are key.
  • There’s got to be something familiar yet slightly different about them.


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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.


The world’s current lockdown obsession

Purposelessness Is Pleasurable
  • The low-brow, consolatory entertainment is enjoyable to viewers because it is relaxed, sociable, sharable and accessible. It is purposeless and trivial, making it relatable to our common humanity.
  • The reality TV recipe often has an everyman quality to it, so the viewers are able to relate to the antics of the participants who talk, act or behave as a normal person (like the viewers) would.
  • The pandemic resulted in TV viewership along with streaming network viewership to thrive. Most of the content is not intellectual but unchallenging, popcorn programming that someone who has had a hard day can relax and unwind with.



This is why you can't stop watching 'bad' TV

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
  • He was the song of a glover and a grammar-school boy that attended Stratford
  • He is famously known as the world's greatest playwright who had a dynamic duality within himself
  • He had become an icon for English-speaking people throughout the world just like how Dante is for the Italians and Goethe for the Germans
  • Shakespeare was a person who kept to himself and died a mysterious man.



Ten ways in which Shakespeare changed the world