What? Where? When?

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What? Where? When?
Genre Game show
Starring Vladimir Voroshilov, Boris Kryuk
Opening theme Owl with Crown
No. of seasons 34
No. of episodes 358+
Production
Running time up to 90 min. (live)
Broadcast
Original channel Channel One
Audio format Mono, Stereo
Original run 1975  – present

What? Where? When? (Russian: Что? Где? Когда?, translit. Chto? Gdye? Kogda?) is an intellectual game show well known in Russian-language media and other CIS states since the mid-1970s. Today it is produced for television by TV Igra on the Russian Channel One and also exists as a competitive game played in clubs organized by the World Association of Clubs. Over 21 000 teams worldwide play sport version of game, based on the TV show.[1]

Format[edit]

Throughout the game, a team of 6 experts attempts to answer questions sent in by viewers. For each question, the time limit is 1 minute. The questions require a combination of skills such as logical thinking, intuition, insight, etc. to find the correct answer. The person who sent in the question earns a prize if the experts cannot get the correct answer, while the team of experts earns points if they manage to get the correct answer.[2]

The basic rules of the game are:[3]

  • The game is played between a "team of TV viewers" and a team of six experts. Viewers ask questions to the experts, and the experts, during a one-minute discussion, try to find the answer to the given question.
  • If the experts answer the question correctly, they earn a point. If their answer is wrong, the viewers' team gets a point, and the viewer who sent in this question receives a monetary prize. The experts do not receive monetary prizes, except for the best player in case that they win the final game of the series or the year.
  • The experts sit around the round table divided into 13 sectors, 12 of which contain envelopes with questions mailed in by viewers and pre-checked for validity, while the 13th sector (see below) indicates a question randomly selected from questions submitted by Internet during the show. Questions from the 13th sector are not pre-checked thus their quality and validity are not guaranteed.
  • The arrow on the spinning top selects the sector which will be played next. If the arrow points to a sector which has already been played, the next clockwise sector is selected.
  • A question may involve material objects or media (video or audio) demonstrated to the players.
  • Sometimes a subject of the question is located inside a "black box" which is brought into the room and placed on the table but not opened until the correct answer is announced. In this case, the question is usually ended with the phrase "what's in the black box?"
  • The experts may choose to answer the question immediately, avoiding the one-minute discussion. Then, if their answer is correct, they get a reserve minute which can be appended further to discussion of any other question of the game.
  • Usually, members of other teams of experts attend the game and informally discuss questions among themselves during the show. Once per game, but only if the viewer's team is in the lead, the playing team can ask for help from other players present in the gambling hall. Surprisingly enough, despite the fact that teams actually compete with each other and have no material reasons to assist, the traditions of collaborative work in the club and the spirit of friendship—even between members of different teams—usually urge them to suggest the best answers they have to the playing team.
  • The game continues up to 6 points scored by either side.
  • When the experts get 5 points, they may declare "the final round" which means that only one expert remains to play the round. This clears the score, and this question "costs" 6 points. The expert must give the exact answer (any variations are not accepted) to win the game with score 6:0.
  • In 2012 series the rule "Minute in credit" was added. The experts may call only if "team of TV viewers" has 5 points. The author of the question get prize anyway. The experts must answer any following question without one minute discussion (or three questions in blitz sectors) or If the experts made score is 5-5 they must answer the last question immediately.

Special sectors[edit]

  • "Blitz": three easier questions 20 seconds each. The experts must answer all 3 questions correctly to win the point.
  • "Superblitz": same as blitz, but only one player must remain sitting at the table; he or she must answer each of the three questions after 20-second thinking.
  • 0 (zero) (before 2001). Vladimir Voroshilov entered the room and asked the question himself (this was the only time where the host could be seen in the show); as he came in, he chose himself one of three questions placed in this sector. In some series the zero sector had the special rule: it was played only if the arrow pointed at it directly, the clockwise rule did not apply. The sector could be played up to 3 times this way. After Voroshilov's death this sector has been replaced with the 13th sector.
  • The 13th sector. If the top points at the 13th sector, the computer randomly selects one of the questions received on the Internet during the game. The "13th sector" can be played only once in the game.

Example questions[edit]

Ordinary sector[edit]

Question: What, according to Christopher Morley, was invented by a woman who had been kissed on the forehead?
Answer: High heels.
Question: Continue the sequence: love, breath, Rome, estate, column, sense, heaven...
Answer: Wonder. (The question is based upon popular set expressions: the first love, the second breath, the third Rome, the fourth estate, the fifth column, the sixth sense, the seventh heaven, and the eighth wonder.)
Question: The ancient Scandinavians used so called kennings, a kind of literary trope. For example, “the land of the spirit” meant the breast and “the land of the whale” meant the sea. What did “the land of the falcon” mean?
Answer: The hand.

Black box questions[edit]

Any question ends: is "What is in the Black box"? In some questions it was another black box and even Flight data recorder (in Russian the words are the same). There are three black boxes, but the large black box is the ordinary, the smaller (smallest) used only if there are two or three boxes in the question (or in blitz rounds) or the item must (not would) be little.

Question: No modern book has aroused so much talk as the one in the black box. What book is it?
Answer: A telephone book.

In big black box was even

  • Bar code (question about EAN standarts)
  • vopros_tvigra.ru (as the example of e-mail address)
  • Dust (and there is the question, not the moth)

Musical questions[edit]

Question: (Two different pieces of music from J. S. Bach’s exercises are played to the experts.) The black box contains a thing which can be placed between these two pieces. What is it?
Answer: A mirror. (Either piece is the reverse version of the other.)

Video questions[edit]

Question: (Three video clips are demonstrated to the experts: a tractor in a field, a flying aircraft and a submarine in the sea.) A Chinese proverb says he can do everything but three things. What is his profession?
Answer: A chef. (The proverb says he can cook of everything on the earth except for a tractor, everything in the sky except for an aircraft and everything in the sea except for a submarine.[4])

Picture-based questions[edit]

Question: (An old map of England is given to the experts.) Using a map like this, Edmond Halley became the first to measure the area of each county in England. What simple method did he use to do so if he only knew the area of the county of Kent?
Answer: He cut out and weighed separately each of the counties. Then he could easily evaluate the area of each county based on the area/weight relationship calculated from the weight and area of Kent known to him.

Item-based questions[edit]

The experts are presented an item and usually asked how it is used.

Question: (The experts are given an inflated toy balloon.) Explain how this item used at the space station.
Answer: To search for lost things.

Blitz questions[edit]

Question: Seneca once said to Nero, "Anyway, you can never kill…" whom?
Answer: The one who will replace you.

Superblitz questions[edit]

Question: What is the word for "lightning" in German?
Answer: Blitz.
Question: What place, according to Mark Twain, has the highest rate of mortality?
Answer: A bed.

13th sector[edit]

Question: What do you get twice for free and have to pay for if you want more?
Answer: Teeth. (Baby teeth, permanent teeth, and false teeth.)

History[edit]

The game was developed between 1975 and 1977 by artist, television host and director Vladimir Voroshilov. The very first version of the game (aired September 4, 1975) emphasized knowledge rather than logic; two families competed from their homes. In the next two years only two games were aired, the second of which, on 24 December 1977, already was close to the today's format: a top spinning on the table selects a viewer's question which is discussed for one minute by a team of 6 persons; the host is "invisible" and present only as a voice. (At the time, Voroshilov was banned from appearing on the screen, even his name was not indicated in the show credits.) Since 1978, the game is aired regularly. The final major change in rules, in 1982, established that the game continues until 6 points are scored by either side. Since 1986, the games are broadcast live.

The game quickly became popular, and a dozen or so of the best players from the TV version have become household names of the same magnitude as pop-music stars: Viktor Sidnev, Nurali Latypov, Alexander Drouz, Alexei Blinov, Fyodor Dvinyatin, Boris Burda, Anatoly Wasserman, Maxim Potashev and so on.

International versions[edit]

Licensed versions of the game are currently being aired throughout countries of the former USSR (like Azerbaijan and Georgia). Notably, whilst the original show is aired live, licensed shows are usually recorded.

In December 2009, it was announced that the U.S. production company Merv Griffin Entertainment would produce a pilot for ABC of an American version of the show tentatively titled The Six. (Its predecessor, Merv Griffin Enterprises, produced Wheel of Fortune, a game show successfully imported into Russia under the title Pole Chudes in 1990) The new show aimed to preserve the essence of the Russian original, although producers had stated that there would be "tweaks" to the format and feature an on-camera host.[2] In April 2010 it was reported that the show would be hosted by Vernon Kay. Production of the show took place in the summer of 2010.[5][6] The game title was changed first to Six Minds and finally to Million Dollar Mind Game.

The game premiered on Sunday October 23, 2011 at 4 pm ET on ABC.[7] In the U.S. version, a team of six friends competed together, answering questions to climb a ladder of money amounts, but losing the game and all accumulated money upon giving four incorrect answers. The originally produced episodes were burned off by ABC over a period of six weeks on Sunday afternoons as counterprogramming for NFL games on CBS and Fox (depending on market and television restrictions, the show often went up against meaningless games in some markets where a poorly performing team may be mandated to be covered in that market) after the October 2011 Las Vegas tragedy, and there's no indication that any new episodes will be produced in the future, despite critical acclaim by critics and game show fans alike.

In May 2012, a network spokesperson confirmed that "Million Dollar Mind Game" was canceled.[8]

Legend:      Currently airing        No longer airing        Future version  

Country Title Host Channel Date premiered Language
 Armenia Что? Где? Когда? Karen Kocharyan Armenia TV February 2002 Russian
 Azerbaijan Nə? Harada? Nə zaman? Balash Kasumov Space (2006–2010), AzTV (2010-...) 2006 Russian, Azerbaijani
 Belarus Что? Где? Когда? Ales' Mukhin ONT March 2009 Russian
 Bulgaria Какво? Къде? Кога? Vladimir Voroshilov Intervision, Channel One (Central Television of USSR) November 13–15, 1987 Russian, Bulgarian (simultaneous translation)
 Georgia რა? სად? როდის? George Mosidze Rustavi 2 January, 2008 Georgian
 Estonia Mis? Kus? Millal? TBA Kanal 2[9] March 17, 2013 Estonian
 Italy Million Dollar Mind Game Teo Mammucari Canale5 2012 Italian
 Kazakhstan Что? Где? Когда? Balash Kasumov Channel 7 (Sed'moy Kanal) September 30, 2011 Russian
 Kyrgyzstan Билерман ордо Talantbek Kanatbek uulu (Талантбек Канатбек уулу) ElTR (ЭлТР) 2007 Russian & Kyrgyzstan
 Lithuania Kas? Kur? Kada? Robertas Petrauskas TV3 April 15, 2012 Lithuanian
 Russia Что? Где? Когда? Vladimir Voroshilov, Boris Kryuk Channel One, NTV (1999–2000) September 4, 1975 Russian
 Turkey Aklın Yolu Bir Oktay Kaynarca TNT April 2011[10] Turkish
 USA Million Dollar Mind Game Vernon Kay ABC October 23, 2011 English
 Ukraine Що? Де? Коли? Alexander Androsov Pershyi Natsionalnyi (2008), K1(2009-...), Inter (2011), 1+1 (now) February 2008 Russian, Ukrainian
 Uzbekistan Zakovat Abdurasul Abdullayev Unknown 2001 Uzbek

Competitive game[edit]

What? Where? When? tournament

In addition to the original TV version, which to this date is one of the most popular TV programs in Russia, a competitive variant exists that is played by over 21,000 teams in all countries of the former USSR and in Russian-speaking diasporas around the world, most notably in Israel, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, United States and Canada. Although Russian is the official language of most national and all international tournaments, there are some countries like Bulgaria, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Georgia where non-Russian-language teams are more numerous. Face-to-face World Championships have been held every year since 2002 with corporate sponsorship and under the aegis of TV Igra and the governments and National Olympic committees of Russia and Azerbaijan. The 2010 championship took place in Israel with sponsorship of Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

These competitions rely on logic rather than knowledge too, but usually require more erudition than the TV versions due to high educational level of gamers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://ratingnew.chgk.info/teams.php
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (December 9, 2009). "ABC eyeing Russian game show". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  3. ^ http://chgk.tvigra.ru/library/?30years
  4. ^ This is actually similar to a quote made by Prince Philip - there is no such saying in the Chinese language (see Cantonese cuisine). But indeed, another saying “天上飞的,地上跑的,水里游的” ([all the animals] flying in the sky, running on the earth, swimming in the waters) is often a reference to the wide variety of animal ingredients used in Chinese cuisine, especially in Cantonese cuisine.
  5. ^ The Hollywood Reporter: ABC greenlights game show 'The Six'
  6. ^ Vernon's $1million US deal
  7. ^ "New Casting Call: ABC's Six Minds". about.com. 
  8. ^ The Futon Critic, 05/15/12
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ http://www.tnttv.com.tr/aklinyolubir.php

External links[edit]