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
H.T. Owens
Andrew Golder
Tim Puntillo
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) A Golder Productions
Valencia Productions Incorporated
Reveille Productions
NBC Universal Television Studio
Original network NBC
Original release December 18, 2006 (2006-12-18) – April 27, 2007 (2007-04-27)
External links

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
1 $1,000
2 $5,000
3 $10,000
4 $15,000
5 $25,000
6 $50,000
7 $75,000
8 $100,000
9 $150,000
10 $250,000
11 $500,000

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.

Show summaries[edit]

  • 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: [2]

Interactive game[edit]

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.[4]

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.[4]

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

International versions[edit]

Country Name Host Channel Year aired Prize
 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
 Georgia ინტუიცია
Nika Kavtaradze Imedi TV May 13, 2010 - present 20,000
 Greece Tαυτότητα
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)
Amadeus (2017)
Rai Uno 2007-2008
€500,000 (2017)
 Israel אינטואיציה
Shlomo Baraba Channel 10 June 13, 2007 500,000
 Mexico Identidad Andrés Bustamante Azteca 13 July 18, 2007 MX$250,000
 Russia Интуиция
Viktor Loginov TNT September 7, 2007 1,000,000 руб.
500,000 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)
Novyi Kanal 2010–2011
 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.


  1. ^ a b Jenner changed her name due to gender transition in 2015.[1]


  1. ^ Buzz Bissinger (June 1, 2015). "Introducing Caitlyn Jenner". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  2. ^ Identity on IMDb
  3. ^ Pound, Mike (February 2, 2012). "George Bush look-alike finds new career at restaurant". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved February 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "IDENTITY "Play-at-Home Game" Official Rules". NBC. Retrieved December 21, 2006. 

External links[edit]