Cram (game show)

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Genre Game show, reality show
Presented by Graham Elwood
Starring Berglind Icey
Arturo Gil
Andrea Hutchman
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 80
Running time 22-24 minutes
Original channel GSN
Original run January 6, 2003 (2003-01-06) – September 19, 2003 (2003-09-19)

Cram is a game show that aired as an original series for GSN in 2003. The show featured two teams, each composed of two contestants. For 24 hours before taping, the contestants were sequestered in a warehouse, with the intent of staying awake and "cramming" various material such as trivia questions and jokes, which they would then answer on the show while attempting physical stunts in an attempt to stay awake.[1] Graham Elwood was the host and Berglind Icey (referred to simply as "Icey" on the show) was the co-host.

The Rant[edit]

To start, both teams were given 100 points. Each team was required to talk about one of three articles they had been assigned to read while standing inside their own large hamster wheel.

The winners of a "3AM coin toss" selected one of three topics (two in the second season); the other team picked from the two remaining choices. Each player had to talk continuously for 20 seconds (40 seconds total); stopping, stalling, stuttering, freezing, or going off-topic at any point penalized the team five points per violation. If a team said one of eight hidden key words or phrases related to the article, ten points were added to their score. After the first team Ranted, the second team attempted their Rant. However, both teams had to continually walk inside the wheels during both Rants.

Stunt Round[edit]

For round two, each team (starting with the team in the lead) performed a stunt and answered a list question. The round tested the players multitasking abilities, which are supposedly hindered from sleep deprivation. The stunts took various forms: demonstrating yoga positions, matching cuts of meat to a picture of a cow, or even firing hard candies at small chocolate bunnies using a slingshot. All of the physical aspects of the stunts were things that the contestants had been given to study overnight. Each successful part of the stunt won 20 points for the team.

While the partners alternated playing the stunt, they also alternated answering a list question read by Elwood. After he read the item, the partner had to give the relevant answer to score 10 points. Both parts of the round happened at the same time and never stopped, so one contestant might be assuming a yoga position and answering a question simultaneously if both their turns came up at the same time. Passing on any question was considered a wrong answer. The list had 12 items to name in 40 seconds (45 seconds in the first season).

Riddle Round[edit]

After the stunt round, both teams had one last chance to add to their points. Starting with the trailing team, one partner climbed into an exercise bike or rowing machine, and the other would get into a sidecar. The partner had 40 seconds (45 seconds in the first season) to answer riddles posed by Elwood, each worth 30 points. The catch was that the exercising player had to meet and maintain a minimum threshold of physical output — 10 miles per hour on the bike, or 100 watts of power on the rower — before the rider was allowed to answer the question. A lit red light meant the exerciser had to work harder; when a green light turned on, the rider could answer. Giving a wrong answer or passing occurred increased the required output by 3 miles per hour (for the bike) or 50 watts (on the rowing machine).

Additional challenges were added in later episodes, requiring a contestant to blow strongly enough into an anemometer to reach a certain wind speed or drinking a shot of lemon juice before their partner could answer. Incorrect answers increased the minimum wind speed or minimum number of shots to be drunk.

If the game ended in a tie, a numerical question is asked whoever comes closest wins the game.

After both teams got to play, the team with the most points wins the game plus $1,000 and they also got the chance to win $10,000. The runners-up divided $500.

$10,000 Quiz[edit]

During the last segment, the two winners climbed into a pair of twin beds onstage and donned blindfolds while the lights were dimmed. "Miss Pickwick", the "resident sleep therapist" (Andrea Hutchman), would read the team a series of bizarre facts during the commercial break. In addition to the facts, contestants were also read various suggestions such as "You're getting so sleepy" to make staying awake even more difficult. When the show came back from the break, the team's memory was tested on the facts Miss Pickwick had just read to them.

The lights were turned on in time with a loud alarm, often accompanied by Icey making a loud noise such as banging trash can lids, running a chainsaw, or playing an electric guitar at full volume. A 60-second countdown started, and the team had to get out of bed and down to the stage. Before they could answer a question, they had to get all four feet off the ground by means of either a small peg, a high-wire, a pair of teeter-totters, a pair of surfboards on springs, on a spinning log, or a simple balance beam. After both players' feet were off the ground, Elwood began asking a question from the list. However, if at any time one of their feet or any part of their body touched the ground, the team was buzzed, and Elwood restarted the question.

Every correct answer moved the team up a level, but every incorrect answer or pass dropped them down a level. If the team reached Level 5 within 60 seconds, they won $10,000. Otherwise, they received $100 for each level achieved, in addition to the $1,000 from the main game. A team that won $10,000 received Cram souvenir mugs of coffee (regardless of the outcome in the second season).

April Fools' Day episode[edit]

The 2003 April Fool's Day episode was hosted by Marc Summers and featured Elwood in drag as Miss Pickwick.


  1. ^ Mason, Dave (13 January 2003). "No sleep for the weary on game show 'Cram'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 6 June 2010.