Idiot Savants (game show)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2009)|
|Created by||Michael Dugan
|Written by||Tom Cohen|
|Directed by||Steve Paley|
|Presented by||Greg Fitzsimmons|
|Narrated by||Marc Price
|Country of origin||United States|
|Location(s)||New York City, New York (state)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original run||December 9, 1996 – April 25, 1997|
Idiot Savants was an American television game show on the MTV network which ran from December 9, 1996 to April 25, 1997. It was created by Michael Dugan and Chris Kreski, directed by Steve Paley, and hosted by comedian Greg Fitzsimmons.
Four contestants competed for five days in a standard question-and-answer game with an "educational" gimmick. Each day played like a standard game show episode with eliminations and a bonus round. However, all four contestants returned to start each new episode, and each player's scores from all episodes throughout the week were added together to create a grand total. The contestant who had the highest total after five days of competition won the weekly grand prize, usually a vacation or a car.
Each contestant was an expert in a specific topic, his or her "Savant Category", which ranged from 1980s Sitcoms to Physics to Heavy Metal Bands.
As in its predecessor Remote Control, many of the questions were asked (or performed) by the Savant Players, a group of actors who acted out comical sketches that led to the questions. Many of these actors were also writers on the show, including senior writer Tom Cohen, along with Jason Nash, Paul Kozlowski, Eric Friedman, and Shonda Farr.
The player's scores were initially set to zero on each of these four days.
Eight categories were shown, and a player chose one of them. A toss-up question was asked, and the first player to buzz in with the right answer received 100 points and the chance to answer a bonus question worth 200 points. If that player answered the bonus correctly, he/she then had the right to try for the "Big Gamble" question, the last one in the category. Answering this question correctly awarded 300 points, while a miss deducted 300 (no points were lost for wrong answers to a toss-up or bonus). Any time a contestant answered a question incorrectly or ran out of time, the other players could buzz in and give the correct answer to steal the points. At the end of the first round, the lowest scorer was eliminated, isolated from the other three contestants, and labeled the "Dunce." The other three players remained in the second round.
As soon as any of the following occurred, the category went out of play and the last player who gave a correct answer would choose the next one:
- No one answered a question correctly
- Different players got the toss-up and bonus questions right
- The same player answered the toss-up and bonus, but declined to try the Big Gamble
- The Big Gamble was asked
Initially, the first question of a Monday episode was selected by the contestant who answered a "Control Question" correctly (more often than not, the category of this question was also the answer). This was soon replaced by a straw draw. On Tuesday-Friday, the first category was chosen by the previous episode's Dunce.
The question format remained the same; however, questions were now worth double value (200, 400, +/-600 points). Also in this round, the "Brain" (an on-stage monitor played by Matt Price) chose the categories, and if the three players could not answer a question, the Dunce could steal the points (the category would end immediately afterward). The lowest scorer of the three remaining contestants at the end of the second round was eliminated for the day, leaving the remaining two players.
Round 3: Brainstorm Round
The category was retrieved by Fitzsimmons from "inside the Brain," and rapid fire questions from that category were asked for a period of 60 seconds. Each correct answer was worth 200 points, while an incorrect guess lost 200 points. The player in the lead after this round advanced to the Grand Savant Round.
Grand Savant Round
The winner of each day's contest played the bonus round for a mid-level prize, such as a vacation or a television set. Before appearing on the show, the contestant chose any subject that he or she knew most about, referred to as his or her "Savant Category". For the Grand Savant Round, the contestant was placed into a device called the "Cylinder of Shush" (a clear tube somewhat reminiscent of the "Cone of Silence" from Get Smart, but covering the entire upper half of the player's body).
The player was then asked a series of rapid-fire questions about his or her Savant Category, and had to answer ten of them correctly within the allotted time to win the bonus prize. Win or lose, 200 points was added to the player's weekly total for each question answered correctly.
For the first few weeks, contestants had only 45 seconds to answer the questions; since very few contestants accomplished this feat, this time limit was soon increased to 60 seconds.
On Friday, the four players' starting scores were set to show the total points each had accumulated during the week. Point values for the first two rounds were doubled (200/400/600, then 400/800/1200), and the low scorer at the end of each round was eliminated from the game. There was no "Dunce" on this episode, and no Brainstorm Round was played.
The two remaining players then competed for the weekly grand prize in the "Double Grand Savant" final round. The player in second place was placed in the "Cylinder of Shush," and answered questions from his or her Savant Category for 60 seconds, at the rate of 1,000 points per correct answer.
The other player was then placed in the Cylinder and given 60 seconds to try and regain the lead. The player in the lead after this final round was declared that week's champion and won the high-level prize. Four new contestants appeared the following Monday and the process repeated.