Primetime: What Would You Do?

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Primetime: What Would You Do?
What Would You Do logo.jpg
Starring John Quiñones
Country of origin United States
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original run February 26, 2008 – present
External links

Primetime: What Would You Do? is an American television news magazine and hidden camera show broadcast on ABC since 2008 as part of the Primetime series. The series is hosted by news correspondent John Quiñones. In the series, actors act out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras videotape the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how. Variations are also usually included, such as changing the genders, the races or the clothing of the actors performing the scene, to see if bystanders react differently. Quiñones appears at the end to interview the bystanders about their reactions. As the experiment goes on, psychology professors, teachers, or club members watch and discuss the video with Quiñones, explaining and making inferences on the bystanders' reactions.

Cable syndication[edit]

Reruns of older episodes began airing on OWN as What Would You Do?: OWN Edition since February 15, 2011 (similar to Dateline on ID and 48 Hours on ID).

Currently, What Would You Do? is the only format of Primetime that is aired year-round. Other subjects, such as family secrets, are aired in special summer segments.

The series airs on HLN since 2013 [1] [2]

Examples of scenarios[edit]

  1. A pompous club promoter denies people entry into a club based on their appearance, and is rude, condescending and mean to people. Others in line either step up to defend the victims of the rude behavior or stay silent.
  2. A flamboyant hair stylist destroys women's hair. Other clients see the interaction and try to rectify the situation.
  3. A transgender woman named Carmen Carrera works at a diner and begins to serve a loyal customer and ultimately informs him that she used to be a man named Chris, during which the customer begins to harass her.
  4. A Muslim woman attempts to buy some items from a bakery, though the rude and prejudiced cashier denies any kind of service for her and kicks her out of the store while throwing bigoted comments at her.
  5. On a sidewalk, three teenagers beat and taunt a homeless man in front of passersby.
  6. Same-sex parents are at a restaurant with their adopted children, though the waiter attempts to kick the family out of the restaurant, claiming that the parents are "messing up the kids".
  7. A café manager berates, insults, and attempts to kick a breastfeeding mom out of the store, thinking that she is disturbing other customers around her. There were three alternates used in the experiment, replacing the white woman with an African-American woman, a teenager, and a woman consuming alcohol.
  8. Various children (different race in each vandalism) vandalize a car.
  9. A grocery bagger with noticeable Down syndrome is insulted and yelled at by a shopper, who calls him a "retard".
  10. A woman needs to fill a prescription at a pharmacy, but doesn't have the money to pay for it. Other customers sit and watch in the waiting room, and some offer the woman the money she needs.
  11. Multiple men and women of varying races steal items from an open house showing.
  12. A young pregnant woman offers her baby to two different couples.
  13. An Asian American woman berates and insults her young daughter for getting an A- on a test, later the woman is replaced by a Caucasian woman (this experiment is based on Amy Chua's style of parenting).
  14. A sketch artist creates bad drawings after the customers have already paid.
  15. A waitress is sexually harassed by her boss in front of customers, first a girl in regular clothes, then one wearing more provocative clothing. Customers usually stand up more for the one in regular clothing.
  16. A man accidentally drops an expensive bottle of wine at a liquor store when the manager is not looking. He proceeds to deny responsibility, even blaming other customers and a Latino maintenance employee.
  17. A fundamentalist Mormon polygamist family attempts to convince a new underage bride that she must accept her new life; as she cries hysterically, customers begin to notice and eventually threaten to report them for bigamy.
  18. A couple bring their children, one of them diagnosed with autism, and a customer gets upset at the autistic behavior and gives the couple unwanted advice, upsetting the diner.
  19. A boy scout reveals to two other scouts that he is gay. Diners in the restaurant step into the situation, usually on side with the boy scout, when the other scouts threaten to tell the scout leader (the experiment is based on the controversy of homosexuality in boy scouts).
  20. A mother and her children are unable to afford their dream Christmas tree for the holidays, leaving her children visibly upset. Most of the customers who notice step in to comfort them, some even offering to pay for their dream tree.
  21. Two army soldiers back from war zone are not allowed to order alcohol because they are under age.


  • 2007–2008: #81, 8.0 million[1]
  • 2008–2009: #79, 6.8 million[2]
  • 2009–2010: #90, 5.7 million[3]
  • 2010–2011: #123, 4.9 million[4]
  • 2011–2012: #123, 5.0 million[5]
  • 2012–2013:
  • 2013–2014: [3]


External links[edit]