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Idiotest logo.png
GenreGame Show
Presented byBen Gleib
Opening themeHBD
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes210
Executive producer(s)
  • Adam Rosenblatt
  • Jamie Rosenblatt
  • Christian Horner
  • Ryan Devlin
  • Shawn Greenson
  • Larry Barron
  • Ryan Curtis
  • Mark Cronin
  • Craig Brooks
Running time20−22 minutes
Production company(s)Little Wooden Boat Productions, Inc.
Original networkGame Show Network
Original releaseAugust 12, 2014 (2014-08-12) –
August 30, 2017 (2017-08-30)
External links

Idiotest (a portmanteau of "idiot" and "test" and stylized with the second letter i inverted) is an American television game show broadcast by Game Show Network (GSN). Hosted by Ben Gleib, the series features contestants in teams of two competing to answer brain teaser and puzzle questions. The winning team advances to a bonus round for an opportunity to increase their winnings to $10,000. The series was announced at GSN's upfront presentation in March 2014, and the first episode premiered on August 12 of that year. In December 2018, the first season became available to watch on Netflix.[1]

Critical reception for the series has been mixed, with one writer calling it "enjoyable" while another called it "uninteresting."[2][3] Additionally, GSN released an online game midway through the first season that allows users to answer questions from the series' past episodes.


The main game features two pairs of contestants answering brain-teaser questions taking the form of a visual puzzle. In the first round, each team faces two questions. Contestants can work together and must answer by touching the correct answer (or answers, depending on what the question is asking them) on the screen. The question is often phrased so that the contestants may be misled if they do not read it correctly (for example, "Touch the largest greenhouse" could be misread as "Touch the largest green house").[4] The value of these questions begins at $300, with $20 deducted for every second the team takes in answering; the money begins counting down on the "money meter" when the puzzle first appears on the screen.[2] Each contestant's money meter stops counting down when he or she submits an answer on the touchscreen.[2] For all questions, a correct answer puts the remaining money in their team's bank, while an incorrect answer or running out of time on a question (the money meter thereby reaches zero) wins nothing.

In round two, contestants, without the help of their partners, are given their own question to answer.[2] The opening value of the question is $500, decreasing by $25 each second until an answer is given.

In the third round, one contestant from each team faces the same question simultaneously. This easier question starts at $1,000 and decreases by $50 per second. The remaining contestant from each team then faces a more difficult question, with an opening value of $2,500 decreasing by $100 per second.[2] The host usually reads the question to the contestants during this round. After this second question, the team that has more money wins the game, keeps their bank, and plays the bonus round for a chance to increase their winnings to $10,000.

Smart Money Round[edit]

In this bonus round, each member of the winning team plays the same question individually.[2] While the first contestant is asked the question, the second is isolated offstage so that they cannot see or hear the question. The two teammates have a total of 40 seconds to answer the same question (in seasons 1 and 2, the time limit was 30 seconds). The clock stops when the first contestant submits an answer and resumes when the second contestant first sees the question.[2] If one team member answers the question correctly they receive an additional $1,000, whereas if both answer correctly their winnings are augmented to $10,000.[2]

Midway through the first season, another version of the "Smart Money Round" was introduced requiring a team to correctly answer five questions in 60 seconds, with five-second penalties for wrong answers. Each correct answer is worth $500 and it stops the clock, with five correct answers winning $10,000.[5]

Online version[edit]

An online game based on the series was developed for GSN's website midway through the show's first season. The game allows online users to answer questions seen on the actual show. Answering a certain number of questions correctly allows players to level up and face more difficult questions; a total of 34 levels are available.[6]


Ben Gleib, host of Idiotest

The show received very little advance press before it was announced at GSN's 2014–15 upfront presentation on March 18, 2014. At the presentation, GSN revealed plans to order 40 episodes of the series,[7] while confirming August 12 as the premiere date on June 19, 2014.[8] On October 28, 2014, the show was renewed for a 65-episode second season,[9] which began airing April 1, 2015.[10] The series was renewed for a 40-episode third season on March 16, 2016, with the season premiere airing on April 12, 2016.[11] Idiotest was then renewed for a 65-episode fourth season, which premiered January 19, 2017, alongside GSN's new show, Divided.[12]

The series has also produced some special editions featuring contestants from a preexisting rivalry. These episodes have included competitions between USC and UCLA graduates,[13] as well as an Election Day special between pairs of Democrats and Republicans.[14][15] This theme was revived with a special episode entitled Political Idiotest, which both taped and aired April 20, 2016, and featured brain teasers referring to political subjects.[16]


The series has received mixed reviews from critics. Carrie Grosvenor of About Entertainment argued that the series is "truly enjoyable to watch" while calling Gleib's hosting "sarcastic and funny."[2] Conversely, Tim Conroy of Media Life Magazine argued that the show "just doesn't do the trick" and thought Gleib had a difficult time "drawing amusing responses from the contestants."[17] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times was equally unimpressed, saying that the show had "low ambitions" and arguing that Gleib's hosting made the show "even more uninteresting."[3] In 2016, Neal Justin of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution mentioned the series in an article analyzing the challenges of many modern knowledge-based game shows; specifically, he mentioned that the series' "optical illusions, deceptive directions and mind tricks can make even Mensa members look like, well, idiots."[18]

Paired with the mixed critical reception, the series has seen a wide range of ratings for new episodes, bringing in between 245,000 and 561,000 total viewers during the first season.[19][20] The season two double-episode premiere drew 388,000 and 360,000 viewers respectively,[21] while the third season averaged around 400,000 viewers.[18]


  1. ^ "News on Netflix USA:Idiotest". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Grosvenor, Carrie. "GSN's Idiotest: How it Works". About Entertainment. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Genzlinger, Neil (August 9, 2014). "Fat Guys in the Woods and Idiotest Exploit Stupidity". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  4. ^ Idiotest. Season 1. Episode 1. August 12, 2014. Game Show Network.
  5. ^ Idiotest. Season 1. Episode 32. November 18, 2014. Game Show Network.
  6. ^ "Are you ready to take the Idiotest Challenge?". Game Show Network. GSNTV. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "GSN Greenlights 40 Episodes of New Original Series Idiot Test, Hosted By Comedian Ben Gleib" (Press release). GSN Corporate. March 18, 2014. Archived from the original on October 12, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  8. ^ "GSN Announces Premiere Dates for New Original Summer Series Skin Wars and Idiotest" (Press release). GSN Corporate. June 19, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  9. ^ "Idiotest Renewed For Second Season By GSN". Deadline Hollywood (Press release). PMC. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  10. ^ "GSN's Original Game Show Idiotest Hosted by Ben Gleib Returns for Season 2 on Wednesday, April 1 at 8:00 P.M. ET/PT" (Press release). GSN Corporate. February 18, 2015. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  11. ^ "GSN's Hit Series Idiotest Returns for a Third Season Beginning Tuesday, April 12 at 10PM" (Press release). GSN Corporate. March 12, 2016. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "GSN Debuts New Original Game Show Series Divided with Season 4 Premiere of Idiotest on Thursday, January 19" (Press release). GSN Corporate. December 12, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  13. ^ GSN Corporate (October 9, 2014). "Go Bruins! Fight On! A Tradition of Rivalry Continues on Idiotest When Recent UCLA and USC Grads Face Off on New GSN Series". The Futon Critic (Press release). Futon Media. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  14. ^ GSN Corporate (October 30, 2014). "GSN's Idiotest Settles the Ongoing Election Night Debate as Democrats and Republicans Battle It Out to Determine Who Is Smarter". The Futon Critic (Press release). Futon Media. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  15. ^ Yahr, Emily (October 31, 2014). "Who's smarter, a Democrat or Republican? GSN tests the answer on election night". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings, LLC. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  16. ^ "GSN Brings Politics to Competitive Entertainment with Special Program Event Political Idiotest Wednesday, April 20 at 11PM" (Press release). GSN Corporate. April 11, 2016. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  17. ^ Conroy, Tim (August 12, 2014). "Idiotest just doesn't do the trick". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Justin, Neal (September 11, 2016). "Today's game shows can't just be child's play". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  19. ^ Pucci, Douglas (October 1, 2014). "Tuesday Final Ratings: NCIS Most-Viewed, The Voice Tops Among Adults 18-49". TV Media Insights. Cross MediaWorks. Archived from the original on November 22, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  20. ^ Pucci, Douglas (November 19, 2014). "Tuesday Final Nationals: CBS Wins Among Total Viewers, Adults 18-49". TV Media Insights. Cross MediaWorks. Archived from the original on November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  21. ^ Metcalfe, Mitch. "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 25 Wednesday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 4.1.2015". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved April 7, 2015.

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