What Would You Do? (ABC News series)

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What Would You Do?
What Would You Do logo.jpg
Genre Newsmagazine
Hidden camera series
Presented by John Quiñones
Starring Various actors
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 12
Production
Location(s) New York metropolitan area (various locations)
(most episodes; some episodes filmed on-location in U.S. states not within the area)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) ABC News Productions
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original release February 26, 2008 (2008-02-26) – present (present)
Chronology
Preceded by Primetime
External links
Website

What Would You Do? (formerly known as Primetime: What Would You Do? through its fifth season) is an American newsmagazine and situational hidden camera television program that has been broadcast on ABC since February 26, 2008. It is hosted by news correspondent John Quiñones.

The program was conceived as a format-based series for ABC's newsmagazine Primetime, however all on-air references to its parent series were removed from What Would You Do? following the discontinuance of Primetime as a standalone program by the network in 2010 (with subject-based formats of the program, such as Primetime: Family Secrets, airing thereafter during the summer months or as a temporary replacement for entertainment programs cancelled during the fall-to-spring television season).

Format[edit]

The program features actors acting out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras videotape the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how. Variations are also usually included, such as changing the genders, the races or the clothing of the actors performing the scene, to see if bystanders react differently. Quiñones appears at the end of each scenario to interview bystanders and witnesses about their reactions.

As the experiment goes on, psychology professors, teachers, or club members watch and discuss the video with Quiñones, explaining and making inferences on the bystanders' reactions.

Many of the scenario actors appear in only one or two episodes. Several, however, have become staples of the program, including Yuval David, Diana Henry, Vince August, Jeremy Holm and Traci Hovel.

Examples of scenarios[edit]

  1. A pompous club promoter denies people entry into a club based on their appearance, and is rude, condescending and mean to people. Others in line either step up to defend the victims of the rude behavior or stay silent.
  2. A flamboyant hair stylist destroys women's hair. Other clients see the interaction and try to rectify the situation.
  3. A transgender woman named Carmen Carrera works at a diner and begins to serve a loyal customer and ultimately informs him that she used to be a man named Chris, during which the customer begins to harass her.
  4. A Muslim woman attempts to buy some items from a bakery, though the rude and prejudiced cashier denies any kind of service for her and kicks her out of the store while throwing bigoted comments at her.
  5. On a sidewalk, three teenagers beat and taunt a homeless man in front of passersby.
  6. Same-sex parents are at a restaurant with their adopted children, though the waiter attempts to kick the family out of the restaurant, claiming that the parents are "messing up the kids".
  7. A café manager berates, insults, and attempts to kick a breastfeeding mom out of the store, thinking that she is disturbing other customers around her. There were three alternates used in the experiment, replacing the white woman with an African-American woman, a teenager, and a woman consuming alcohol.
  8. Various children (different race in each vandalism) vandalize a car.
  9. A grocery bagger with noticeable Down syndrome is insulted and yelled at by a shopper, who calls him a "retard".
  10. A woman needs to fill a prescription at a pharmacy, but doesn't have the money to pay for it. Other customers sit and watch in the waiting room, and some offer the woman the money she needs.
  11. Multiple men and women of varying races steal items from an open house showing.
  12. A young pregnant woman offers her baby to two different couples.
  13. An Asian American woman berates and insults her young daughter for getting an A- on a test, later the woman is replaced by a Caucasian woman (this experiment is based on Amy Chua's style of parenting).
  14. A sketch artist creates bad drawings after the customers have already paid.
  15. A waitress is sexually harassed by her boss in front of customers, first a girl in regular clothes, then one wearing more provocative clothing. Customers usually stand up more for the one in regular clothing.
  16. A man accidentally drops an expensive bottle of wine at a liquor store when the manager is not looking. He proceeds to deny responsibility, even blaming other customers and a Latino maintenance employee.
  17. A fundamentalist Mormon polygamist family attempts to convince a new underage bride that she must accept her new life; as she cries hysterically, customers begin to notice and eventually threaten to report them for bigamy.
  18. A couple bring their children, one of them diagnosed with autism, and a customer gets upset at the autistic behavior and gives the couple unwanted advice, upsetting the diner.
  19. A boy scout reveals to two other scouts that he is gay. Diners in the restaurant step into the situation, usually on side with the boy scout, when the other scouts threaten to tell the scout leader (the experiment is based on the controversy of homosexuality in boy scouts).
  20. A mother and her children are unable to afford their dream Christmas tree for the holidays, leaving her children visibly upset. Most of the customers who notice step in to comfort them, some even offering to pay for their dream tree.
  21. Two army soldiers back from war zone are not allowed to order alcohol because they are under age.
  22. Two deaf girls applying for kitchen work at a restaurant are told by the staff, one male and one female, that they will not be hired due to their disability. This scenario was notable for three separate Human Resources managers approaching the staff afterwards and telling them to be more tactful for their own legal protection, rather than opposing the discrimination. One regular customer finally defended the girls saying he would no longer take his business there if they were treated so harshly.
  23. An atheist angrily becomes vocal when a Christian family next to him starts praying at a restaurant. (This scenario resulted in controversy as it negatively portrayed atheists or other nonbelievers.)
  24. A foster child is abused by his foster mother when they go to a diner with the mother's biological child.

Syndication[edit]

Reruns of older What Would You Do? episodes began airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on February 15, 2011, under the title What Would You Do?: OWN Edition (in a manner similar to the specialized network-based titles of other network newsmagazines aired in the form of episode compilations on cable channels such as Dateline on ID and 48 Hours on ID on Investigation Discovery).

Reruns of the series began airing on HLN in 2013, as part of the cable news channel's primetime schedule.[1][2]In the United States, the show can be seen on A&E since 2015.

Ratings[edit]

  • 2007–2008: #81, 8.0 million[3]
  • 2008–2009: #79, 6.8 million[4]
  • 2009–2010: #90, 5.7 million[5]
  • 2010–2011: #123, 4.9 million[6]
  • 2011–2012: #123, 5.0 million[7]
  • 2012–2013:
  • 2013–2014: [1]
  • 2014-2015: [2]

2014 Season

  • August 1: 3.65 million viewers [3]

2015 Season

  • may 29: 5.034 million viewers [4]
  • June 5: 4.66 million viewers [5]
  • June 12: 4.64 million viewers [6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]