Dirty Rotten Cheater

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Dirty Rotten Cheater
Presented by Bil Dwyer
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 13
Production
Location(s) Studio 41, CBS Television City
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Jonathan Goodson Productions
Release
Original network PAX
Original release January 6 – April 14, 2003 (2003-04-14)

Dirty Rotten Cheater is a game show that aired on PAX from January 6 to April 14, 2003. The show's gameplay combines elements of Weakest Link and Family Feud along with the BBC game format The Enemy Within, with a contestant being privy to answers in each round and trying to elude detection by fellow contestants and the studio audience. The PAX version, of which 13 weekly episodes aired, was hosted by Bil Dwyer, produced by Jonathan Goodson, and shot at CBS Television City in Hollywood (except for the original pilot, which was titled Cheaters and produced on the Weakest Link's set at NBC Studios in Burbank). Different versions of the show also aired in other countries.

Gameplay[edit]

Each episode opens with six contestants walking up to their podiums, each of which is equipped with a monitor. The contestants open their monitor doors and find out if they have been designated the "Dirty Rotten Cheater". After each contestant is introduced, he or she faces the camera and other contestants and claims to not be the Cheater.

Each round (there were 5 rounds total) begins with a survey question, similar to those on Family Feud (for example, "Which parts of their body do women think are too big?").[1] In the first four rounds, each player gives one answer, with he or she receiving money if their answer appeared on a list of top 10 responses given. As shown in the below table, answers that rank lower in the top 10 are worth more money than the higher-ranked answers (as opposed to Family Feud, which gives greater reward for higher-ranked answers). A contestant receives no money for giving an answer that is not on the top ten list. The Cheater can see the entire top ten list of answers displayed on their podium monitor, and may choose to either give a high-dollar answer to build their own bank (and raise suspicion from their fellow contestants) or a low-dollar answer in hopes of throwing off suspicion.

Position Value
10th ranked answer $2,500
9th ranked answer $2,250
8th ranked answer $2,000
7th ranked answer $1,750
6th ranked answer $1,500
5th ranked answer $1,250
4th ranked answer $1,000
3rd ranked answer $750
2nd ranked answer $500
1st ranked answer $250

Rounds 1-3[edit]

At the end of each of the first three rounds, bonuses are awarded to the players who scored the most money in the round. The first place bonus is $10,000, second place is $7,500, and third place is $5,000. If there is a tie, the appropriate bonuses are combined and split between the tying players (i.e., if two players tie for first place, each receive $8,750).

The players are then given an opportunity to accuse one another of being the Cheater. After a few contestants have opined, they all secretly vote for whom they think is the Cheater; using cards with the players' names on them, the players reveal their votes from camera left to camera right.

The first contestant who receives three votes for that round is eliminated and loses all of the money in his/her bank. That contestant is then asked whether or not he/she was the Cheater.

Depending on the outcome of the vote and the eliminated contestant's revelation, one of three possible scenarios occurs:

  • If the eliminated contestant is the Cheater, he/she is eliminated from the game with no further participation, the remaining contestants keep all the money in their banks, and one of the remaining players is designated as the new Cheater in the same manner as at the beginning of the show.
  • If the eliminated contestant is not the Cheater, the contestants who voted for him/her lose half of the money in their banks and the eliminated contestant is later given a chance to win money in Round 5. The Cheater in that round remains Cheater in subsequent rounds until being eliminated and/or revealed.
  • If no contestant receives three votes, all of the remaining players lose half their bank and the Cheater must decide which one to eliminate. Each player reaches into their podium, where a button is hidden; this is done to conceal the identity of the Cheater, who has the only working button. One at a time, the Cheater is asked if he/she desires to eliminate one of the other players. Once the Cheater decides to push the button, a red light at center stage is lit and the player who was called on is eliminated, but is later given a chance to win money in Round 5.

Round 4[edit]

At the end of the fourth round, after the 3 remaining players have a chance to accuse the other players, the studio audience votes for whom they think is the Cheater. If a contestant receives at least 50 percent of the audience vote, he or she is eliminated, and as before must honestly reveal if he or she is the Cheater. If none of the contestants achieves a majority, the Cheater again decides who will be eliminated. However, there is no further reduction in score.

Round 5[edit]

In the 5th and final round, two survey questions are asked. For each question, the two remaining contestants alternate turns, giving three answers each. After both questions have been asked, the remaining two contestants plead their cases to the studio audience as to why they are not the Cheater. Any eliminated contestants that were proven not to be the Cheater are brought back out to hear the pleas, and both the contestants and the audience vote on who they think is the Cheater.

While the vote is tabulated, two vaults are brought onto the stage. The vaults, each of which has a trap door inside, are then filled with cash corresponding to the money value in each contestant's bank. The Cheater's identity is then revealed, and any of the eliminated contestants who correctly identify him win $500.

After the Cheater is identified, he/she is given the command "Cheater, go for the money" by Dwyer and reaches into the vault. If the audience correctly identified the Cheater, the money will fall through the trap door and the honest player wins the money in his/her bank. If the audience instead voted for the honest player, the trap door will not open and the Cheater keeps his/her bank while the honest player wins nothing.

Foreign versions[edit]

In the summer 2004, Dirty Rotten Cheater began airing six nights a week on Canale 5 in Italy; the Italian version was named L'imbroglione.

In Japan, the program was broadcasting as The Cheater (ザ・チーター) on TBS between October 2005 and August 2006. It was broadcast as a special program in May 2005, then as a late-night program between October 2005 and March 2006.

A short-lived version of the program also aired on France 2 (July 2006) as "Qui est le bluffeur?" ("Who is the bluffer?") with Belgian host Jean-Michel Zecca.

The UK version was hosted by Brian Conley. Originally this was to transmit in spring 2007,[2] but eventually began on BBC One at 2.35pm on Monday 15 October. It was screened every weekday for three weeks, but was then replaced in the schedule by Diagnosis: Murder - the final five shows switched channels and were shown from Monday 12 November at 2.00pm on BBC Two. The UK version was taped at the Maidstone Studios in Kent, but edited at BBC Television Centre.

There are some format differences between the US and UK versions, the most obvious being that the UK version has one less contestant.

In Poland ATM Grupa S.A. produced a Polish version of Dirty Rotten Cheater under name Gdzie jest Kłamczuch? (Where's the Liar?) (or simply Kłamczuch (Liar)). The show was transmitted on TV4 channel from September 4, 2008 to June 19, 2009. Program was hosted by Krzysztof Ibisz. The rules were similar to US version.

Country Name Presenter Channel Date of transmission
 France Qui est le bluffeur? Jean-Michel Zecca France 2 July 3 - July 28, 2006
 Italy L'imbroglione Enrico Papi Canale 5 June 7 - September 4, 2004
 Japan The Cheater (ザ・チーター) Atsushi Tamura TBS October 2005 - August 2006
 Poland Gdzie jest Kłamczuch? Krzysztof Ibisz TV4 September 4, 2008 - June 19, 2009
 United Kingdom Dirty Rotten Cheater Brian Conley BBC One
BBC Two
October 15, 2007 - December 2007
 Vietnam Tìm người bí ẩn Tạ Minh Tâm HTV7 June, 2006 - 2008


In addition, the show was also produced in Hungary, India (as "Bluff Master"), Spain and Vietnam.

References[edit]