## Saturday, August 10, 2024

### The combinatorics of Game Shows

(Inspired by Pat Sajak stepping down from Wheel of Fortune)

How many different game show are there? Many. How many could there be?

1) Based on Knowledge or something else. Jeopardy is knowledge. Wheel and Deal-No Deal are something else. The oddest are Family Feud and America Says where you have to guess what people said which might not be whats true. Reminds me of the SNL sketch about a fictional game show Common Knowledge. Oddly enough there now is a REAL game show of that name, but it actually wants true answers to questions.

2) Do the losers get anything more than some min? On Wheel they do, but I do not know of any other show where they do. On People Puzzler they get a subscription to People Magazine!

3) Is how much the winners win based on how well they do in the game, or is it a flat number. Jeop and Wheel is based on how they do in the game. America Says, Switch, and many others the winner does something else do either win (say) $10,000 or just$1,000.

4) MONEY: I want to say can you win A LOT or NOT SO MUCH. I'll set $20,000 above or below. ON Jeop or Wheel you CAN get >$20.000. As noted in the above item there are shows where at the end you can win \$10,000 but that's it.

5) Do winners get to come back the next day? Jeop and Masterminds does that but I do not know of any other show that does.

6) Are celebrities involved? This used to be more common, but seems to have faded. Hollywood Squares was an example. Masterminds is hard to classify in this regard since the celebs are people who know a lot of stuff (they are called Masterminds) and their main claim to fame might be being on Mastermind.  Or on some other quiz show. Ken Jennings was a Mastermind in the first season.

7) If its question-based then is it multiple choice or fill in the blank? Some do both. Common Knowledge has the first round multiple choice, and later rounds fill-in-the-blank, and the finale is multiple-choice.

8) Do you win money or merchandise? There are many combinations of the two.

9) Are the players teams-of-3? (Common Knowledge), Individuals (Jeopardy), just one person or team (Deal-No Deal and Cash Cab), or something else.

10) Is it a competition so people vs people (most of the quiz shows) or is it one person answering questions (Who wants to be a Millionaire, Cash Cab). I've noticed that on Cash Cab if you are close to the answer they give it to you, which I don't think hey would do on Jeop. This could be because there is no competitor, so being flexible is not unfair to someone else. Millionaire can't do this since its strictly multiple choice.

There are other parameters but I will stop here. I leave it to the reader to more fully expand these categories and find out how many game shows there can be.

1. On the game show Taskmaster https://www.youtube.com/taskmaster often the question for the six contestants will be something like "Name the second lowest number" where the winner then wins that number of points. So some interesting Math thinking there.

2. There's an interesting game show in Britain called "Pointless" where you have to guess items in a category that match the fewest number of an audience survey. Sort of the opposite of Family Feud.