Paranoia (game show)

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Created by Peter Usher
Starring Peter Tomarken
No. of episodes 8
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Triage Entertainment
Original network Fox Family
Original release April 14 – May 7, 2000

Paranoia is a game show that aired on the Fox Family channel that aired from April to May in 2000. The show was hosted by Peter Tomarken, and the first game show since the 1950s to be recorded live with contestants playing in the studio, by satellite, over the phone, and on the show's website.


An in-studio contestant competed against three satellite players across the U.S. by answering a series of 10 multiple-choice questions, each with four answers. The studio contestant began the game with $10,000 in cash.

Before the studio contestants answered each question, the three satellite players picked their answers. The studio contestants then picked an answer. If correct, the studio contestant kept all his or her cash; if incorrect, the studio contestant lost $1,000. In either case, the studio contestant then had to challenge at least one satellite contestant. If the satellite contestant answered correctly, the studio contestant lost $1,000, which went to the satellite contestant (and was kept by that person regardless of the game's outcome). A wrong answer earned a "strike"; two strikes eliminated a satellite contestant from the game. If a satellite contestant was eliminated with no money, he or she left with $500.

The studio contestant was also given two elements, each of which could be used once: the studio contestant could "Swap Out" his or her choice of satellite contestants for an unknown alternate, at a cost of $1,000, or the studio contestant could "Knock Out" his or her choice of satellite contestants, immediately eliminating that contestant from the game, at a cost of $3,000. Towards the end of the show's run, those "fees" were given directly to the chosen contestant.

In addition, every game featured an "interactive jackpot," which started at $5,000 and was not affected by the studio or satellite contestants. For each question, five online players and five phone players were chosen at random; each one who answered correctly won $50 from the jackpot.

If the studio contestant ran out of money at any time, the game ended and he/she left with nothing. However, if the studio contestant either survived all 10 questions or eliminated all three satellite players, he/she won whatever money remained of both the original $10,000 cash and the $5,000 interactive jackpot. The maximum front-game total was therefore $15,000.

Bonus round[edit]

While connected to a heart monitor that broadcast his/her heartbeat to the studio audience, the studio contestant chose one of 10 categories and had 15 seconds to answer an open-ended question asked by Tomarken. A correct answer increased the front-game winnings by whatever multiplier was hidden behind the category; nine of them increased it by 10, the last by 100. There was no penalty for a wrong answer. The maximum possible grand prize was $1.5 million.

Interactive game[edit]

The contestants over-the-phone and online played the same questions, earning $50 for a correct answer. In between the episode, going into the third commercial break and before the end credits, Tomarken asked a question to one on-line contestant and then another to an over-the-phone contestant. If the contestant got his or her question correct, that player won an Intel Pentium III E-Machines computer, complete with a camera.