Identity (game show)
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|Created by||Tim Puntillo|
|Developed by||Reveille Productions|
|Presented by||Penn Jillette|
|Narrated by||Joe Cipriano|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Executive producer(s)||Ben Silverman
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||A Golder Productions
Valencia Productions Incorporated
NBC Universal Television Studio
|Original release||December 18, 2006– April 27, 2007|
Identity was an American reality/game show, hosted by Penn Jillette and produced by Reveille where contestants could win prize money of up to US$500,000 by matching 12 strangers one-by-one to phrases about their identities.
A contestant was introduced to twelve strangers. After seeing the strangers, the contestant was presented with a list of 12 identities (facts including occupations, hobbies, ages, etc.), each of which applied to at least one of the 12 strangers. While an identity could match multiple strangers, there was only one way to assign all the identities. Based primarily on visual observation, the contestant chose an identity and tried to match it to the correct stranger. In order to make a decision final, the contestant had to "seal the identity" by pressing their palm down on a provided podium after saying which stranger matched that identity. The game host, sometimes after finding out the stranger's first name, then asked the stranger "Is that your identity?" The stranger then confirmed or denied his or her identity.
Identity was placed on hiatus as of May 1, 2007. NBC said it would bring the program back later in the year, but never did.
For each correct match made, the contestant's potential winnings increased:
|Correct matches||Amount won|
There were three "helps" available to the contestant:
- Mistaken Identity: A player received one "free pass" if s/he incorrectly sealed an identity at any point prior to the final decision between the two remaining strangers, i.e., before s/he had won $250,000.
- Once a contestant either incorrectly sealed an identity or reached the final decision, they could decide to end the game and collect their winnings instead of sealing another identity. If they made a second mistake or erred when making the final decision, they did not win any money at all.
- Tri-dentity: The contestant would choose an identity, and get three strangers to choose from.
- Ask The Experts: The contestant would an identity and a panel of three experts would give their individual informed opinions on which stranger matches it. In the first week of shows, the panel included a body language expert (Mark Edgar Stephens), a psychologist (Dr. Deborah Anderson), and an FBI behavioural expert (Christopher Whitcomb), although private investigator Bill Stanton has substituted for Whitcomb in some episodes.
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- On the first night (December 18, 2006), there were two contestants, private investigator Herb Irvine from Boston, Massachusetts, and Andrea Brown from Atlanta, Georgia. Irvine won US$75,000 after guessing seven of the twelve strangers correctly and choosing to quit the game; Brown won US$50,000 after guessing six strangers correctly and choosing to go home.
- On the second night (December 19, 2006), Robert Talon of Chula Vista, California, became the first winner of the show's top prize of US$500,000 by guessing all 12 identities correctly. Talon, a loan officer, correctly identified, among others, a National Football League player (Ray Crockett), a reality television starlet (Brittny Gastineau), an immigrant from Russia, a blackjack dealer (named Pamela), and a belly dancer (named Ava), which was his final correct answer. The remaining unguessed identity was that of violinist. When the week ended, Talon was the only winner of the top prize.
- In contrast, fire fighter Matthew Gatewood, the first contestant of the third night (December 20, 2006), left without winning money after failing twice. He thought that No. 9 was a circus performer (she was actually a professional wrestler) and that No. 5 was a power lifter (he was really a U.S. Army Ranger) He was convinced that Erin Murphy (Tabitha from Bewitched) was an Army Ranger. He was followed by Nickie Malouf of Burbank, California, who won US$50,000 after guessing six identities correctly.
- The fourth night (December 21, 2006) of the run brought a US$250,000 win for Nicci Guzik of Streamwood, Illinois. She stopped just short of the grand prize because she had an uneasy feeling about her guess at the final identity. She thought that No. 11 was a crime scene investigator, but she was actually a kidney donor; No. 9 was the CSI. This final scenario is a prime example of how better strategic thinking might have helped a contestant: No. 9 was wearing a knee-length dress, whereas No. 11 was wearing a shirt and separate skirt. Had she thought about dramatic ways for the strangers to reveal their identities, Guzik might have realized that a person wearing separates, but not a person in a dress, could lift her shirt to reveal the scar from her donation surgery, such that producers might have planned such a "reveal" and advised the kidney donor to wear separates; therefore, all else being equal, the person wearing separates would be more likely to be the kidney donor.
- The fifth night (December 22, 2006) involved two games. In the first game, math educator Seth Cutler from Massapequa, New York, chose to walk away the prize money at US$50,000 after guessing six identities. He used his Mistaken Identity early in the game thinking that Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce)[a] was a ventriloquist. The second game ended with Tami Jones of West Hills, California, losing the game and receiving no prize money.
- When the series returned on March 16, 2007, Christina Howard of Sacramento, California, won the top prize of US$500,000 by correctly identifying stranger No. 11 as a prison guard (the remaining stranger, #6, was an astronomer). She became the second player to win the top prize, and managed to do so without using her Mistaken Identity help during the game.
- This episode was noteworthy for an incident that happened during the final identity. The female prison guard was obvious due to her stance and demeanor, and Christina was all set to seal the identity...which would have ended the game too soon. Penn Jillette managed to pad out the show by cutting to commercial, and then stalling her with questions about whether she was ready throughout an entire segment until cutting to commercial again... after which the identity was finally revealed.
- This episode also introduced a revamped set, featuring larger, blue platforms for the strangers, as well as three TV screens near the contestant, which displayed each of the contestant's helps.
- On April 13, 2007, Christian Saulnier of Norwood, Massachusetts, won the top prize of US$500,000 by correctly identifying stranger No. 3 as a chimney sweep (the remaining stranger, #6, Apollo Robbins, was a pickpocket). He became the 3rd player to win the top prize. He used his Mistaken Identity help thinking that No. 6 was an air guitar champion when No. 1 is an air guitar champion.
The twelve people on the show whose identities are being guessed are known as strangers. The following are some famous strangers that have appeared: 
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's son, Kareem, Jr.
- Jason Allen Alexander, former and first husband of Britney Spears
- Jonathan Antin, celebrity stylist
- Michelle Banzer, Miss Kentucky USA 2007; her identity was "speaks Vietnamese"
- Jim Barton, co-inventor of TiVo
- Tyler Baze, Horse Racing jockey
- Billy Blanks, creator of Tae-Bo
- Richard Brodie, the original author of Microsoft Word
- Lance Burton, magician
- Joey Chestnut, competitive eater
- Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006. (Her appearance on the show was taped prior to her announcement that she would go into drug rehabilitation)
- Ray Crockett, who played with the Denver Broncos in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII
- Phire Dawson, The Price Is Right model – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- Dayna Devon, co-anchor of Extra
- James "Buster" Douglas, first boxer to knock out Mike Tyson
- Eugene Edgerson, a Harlem Globetrotter
- Layla El, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- CariDee English, winner of America's Next Top Model
- Mike Escamilla, X-Games Gold Medalist, pro BMXer
- Kimberly Estrada, former Deal or No Deal caseholder and actress (identified as 35 years old)
- Bonnie Fuller, magazine editor of Star and Former editor in chief of Glamour Magazine
- Brittny Gastineau, who co-starred on the reality show The Gastineau Girls on E!
- Mikalah Gordon, American Idol finalist from season 4
- Cara Gorges, Miss Kansas USA 2007; her identity was "mortician's apprentice"
- Brian Gorman, a veteran MLB official who served as home plate umpire for one of the games of the 2004 World Series
- Maurice Greene (stranger #10), former holder of the 100-meter world record. He is also engaged to Deal or No Deal model Claudia Jordan. (Guzik correctly identified him as the world's fastest man, although she incorrectly named him as Marion Jones)
- Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder (identified as person who designed a roller coaster)
- Sara Payne Hayden, a World War II test pilot
- Perez Hilton, celebrity blogger
- Raye Hollitt, a former member of American Gladiators (where she was "Zap") and bodybuilding Champ
- Caitlyn Jenner,[a] Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon
- Mike Jones (jazz musician), a jazz pianist in Penn Jillette's Las Vegas show
- David Joyner, the original Barney
- Juicy Jay, Best Club DJ in LA 2005; his identity was "Superstar DJ"
- Jamie Kennedy, actor/comedian
- Abigail Kintanar, Red Oyster from Flavor of Love
- Jordan Knight, member of New Kids on the Block – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- Xavier Truesdell, model/dancer – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- Joanna Krupa, supermodel
- Tami Lane, an Academy Award winner (Best Makeup for The Chronicles of Narnia)
- Russ Leatherman, the voice of Mr. Moviefone
- Stan Lee, writer co-creator of Spider-Man, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, and The Fantastic Four
- Matthew Lesko, infomercial millionaire
- Lil' Jon, a platinum recording artist
- Andrew "William Ocean" Litz, Air Guitar Champion
- Christopher Lowell, a home design guru
- Joe Maloof, NBA team co-owner of the Sacramento Kings
- Tyson Mao, a past world record holder for solving a Rubik's Cube
- Cindy Margolis, most downloaded woman on the internet
- Frank Marino, Female impersonator in Las Vegas; his identity was "had a nose job"
- Bridget Marquardt, Hugh Hefner's girlfriend
- Debbie Matenopoulos, former co-host of The View
- Jerry Mathers, Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in the television show Leave it to Beaver
- Misty May-Treanor, professional beach volleyball player and Olympic athlete (identified as "born in 1977")
- Peter Mayhew, actor who played Chewbacca in Star Wars
- Michael McCary, one of the four members of the R&B group Boyz II Men
- Brent Mendenhall, a George W. Bush impersonator featured on the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, WWE wrestler
- Kara Monaco, 2006 Playmate of the Year – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- John Moschitta, Jr., the world's fastest talker
- Erin Murphy, who played Tabitha on the 1960s television sitcom Bewitched – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist
- Eve Plumb of The Brady Bunch; her identity was "painter"
- Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics' all-around and the first woman to appear on a Wheaties box
- Apollo Robbins, deception specialist on Brain Games
- Franklin Ruehl, certified UFOlogist
- Amber Seyer, Miss Missouri USA 2007; her identity was "pig farmer"
- Frank Stallone, Sylvester Stallone's brother
- Suzanne Stonebarger, pro beach volleyball player
- Jessica Sutta, member of The Pussycat Dolls
- The Enigma, a heavily tattooed side-show actor with the identity "Eats bugs"
- Tila Tequila, over 1,000,000 MySpace friends
- Aaron Tippin, country musician – Episode #1.3 Aired December 20, 2006
- Phil Varone, a rock and roll drummer from Skid Row
- Steve Wilkos, Jerry Springer's former security guard on Jerry's show, and host of his own self-named talk show
- Trey Wright, 2004 National Scrabble Championship winner
During the first season, in addition to the regular game, like two other NBC game shows, Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100, there was an at-home game open to residents of the continental United States called "The Identity Challenge", where an at-home player chosen at random won $10,000 (US$) by choosing which of five strangers represents a product, or a profession related to the advertised product.
On the first two nights, three of the five were revealed to be incorrect throughout the game, and the answer was revealed before the final commercial break. On the next three, there was no such narrowing; all five strangers remained throughout the show.
To encourage viewers to watch television commercials during the show, the correct answer to the "Identity Challenge" question was revealed during a related commercial within the first 20 minutes of the show.
When the series returned on March 16, 2007, the show did not have an interactive feature.
|Episode #||Air Date||Rating||Share||18–49||Total Viewers|
|1||December 18, 2006||7.6||12||4.5||12.1|
|2||December 19, 2006||5.4||9||3.0||8.4|
|3||December 20, 2006||5.5||9||3.0||8.5|
|4||December 21, 2006||6.1||11||3.1||9.2|
|5||December 22, 2006||5.0||9||2.4||7.4|
|6||March 16, 2007||5.8||10||2.9||8.7|
|7||March 23, 2007||3.7||8||1.8||5.5|
|8||March 30, 2007||4.8||8||1.6||6.4|
|9||April 6, 2007||4.1||8||1.7||5.8|
|10||April 13, 2007||4.4||8||1.9||6.3|
|11||April 20, 2007||3.3||6||1.4||4.7|
|12||April 27, 2007||3.5||7||1.5||5.0|
|Chile||Identity||Vivi Kreutzberger||Mega||March 22, 2010||Cl$50.000.000|
|China||猜的就是你||Zhang Shaogang||Guangxi TV||January 2, 2013||Gift pack of family's dream|
|Denmark||Identity-hvem er hvem?||Thomas Mygind||Kanal 5||February 14, 2008||500,000kr|
|Finland||Tuntemattomat||Jaakko Saariluoma||MTV3||January 11, 2008 - June 12, 2009||€30,000|
|France||Identity||Jean-Luc Reichmann||TF1||February 14, 2009 - June 5, 2010||€150,000|
|Nika Kavtaradze||Imedi TV||May 13, 2010 - present||20,000ლ|
|Miltos Makrides||Star Channel||2007||€150,000|
|Hong Kong||亮相||Eric Kot||TVB||May 5, 2008||HK$200,000|
|Italy||Soliti ignoti – Identità nascoste
Soliti ignoti – Il ritorno
|Fabrizio Frizzi (2007-2012)
|Shlomo Baraba||Channel 10||June 13, 2007||₪500,000|
|Mexico||Identidad||Andrés Bustamante||Azteca 13||July 18, 2007||MX$250,000|
|Viktor Loginov||TNT||September 7, 2007||1,000,000 руб.
|South Korea||공통점을 찾아라||Suh Kyung-Suk||SBS||March 2008||50,000,000₩|
|Spain||Identity||Antonio Garrido||TVE1||July 16, 2007-2008||€100,000|
|Thailand||ใครคือใคร Identity Thailand||Kathsepsawad Palakawong na Ayuthaya||Workpoint Creative TV||February 7, 2013||฿100,000|
|Turkey||Kimsin Sen?||Mustafa Sandal||Star TV||February 14, 2010||150.000 TL|
|Ukraine||Інтуїція (1-4 season)
Суперінтуїція (5 season)
Intuitsya / Superintuitsya
|Andriy Domanskyi (1-2 season)
Alexander Pedan (3-4 season)
Serhiy Prytula (5 season)
|United Kingdom||Identity||Donny Osmond||BBC Two||2007||£10,000|
- Australia – While Australia never made a local version of the program, Channel Ten played out all twelve episodes of the American series.
- Buzz Bissinger (June 1, 2015). "Introducing Caitlyn Jenner". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Identity on IMDb
- Pound, Mike (February 2, 2012). "George Bush look-alike finds new career at restaurant". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- "IDENTITY "Play-at-Home Game" Official Rules". NBC. Retrieved December 21, 2006.