Russian Roulette (game show)

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Russian Roulette
Russian Roulette (game show - screencap).jpg
Created byGunnar Wetterberg
Presented byMark L. Walberg
Narrated byBurton Richardson
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes131
Production location(s)Sony Pictures Studios
Culver City, California
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Gunnar Wetterberg Productions
Columbia TriStar Domestic Television
(seasons 1–2)
Sony Pictures Television
(season 2)
Game Show Network Originals
Original networkGame Show Network
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseJune 3, 2002 (2002-06-03) –
June 13, 2003 (2003-06-13)
External links

Russian Roulette is an American game show created and executive produced by Gunnar Wetterberg that ran for two seasons on Game Show Network from June 3, 2002 to June 13, 2003. The show was hosted by Mark L. Walberg and announced by Burton Richardson.


The Russian Roulette set consists of a circle with six trapdoors (referred to as "drop zones" by the host), four of which are occupied by the episode's contestants.

First round[edit]

The four contestants are each given $150 at the beginning of the episode, and questions in the first round are all worth that same amount.

The number of red lights on the field indicates the number of active drop zones. At the start of the round there is only one drop zone active. After each additional question, another drop zone is added, increasing the odds that the contestant will be eliminated after providing an incorrect answer. From the fifth question onward, there are always five drop zones.

One contestant is shown a question and must challenge an opponent to answer it. The challenged contestant is then shown three possible answers and has 10 seconds to choose the right answer. If they are correct, that contestant wins $150 and becomes the challenger for the next question. If they guess incorrectly, they lose all their money to the challenger and, after being given a chance to say some last words, must play Russian Roulette by pulling the handle in front of them to rotate the drop zones in play around the six trapdoors. If a drop zone lands on that contestant's spot, the trapdoor opens and they drop through the floor and are eliminated from the game. Otherwise, the contestant remains in the game and becomes the challenger for the next question.

The round ends when a contestant drops and is eliminated. If time expires before this happens, one contestant is eliminated at random via one final handle pull at the center of the stage. The contestant with the highest score is granted immunity from the drop by coming to the center of the stage to pull the handle. If there is a tie for the lead, the host pulls the lever, with all four contestants in danger of elimination. The eliminated contestant's money (if any) is distributed evenly among the remaining three contestants.

Second and third rounds[edit]

The second round is played similarly to the first, with the three remaining contestants answering questions valued at $200 each, and questions now having four possible answers. In round three, the two remaining contestants face off with questions valued at $300 (season 1) or $250 (season 2). Play is similar to rounds one and two, except that the contestant who first hears the question may elect to answer it themselves or challenge their opponent. At the conclusion of round three, the remaining contestant keeps all their money and goes to the bonus round, while the runner up drops automatically. If there is a tie at the end of round three, one final random Russian Roulette spin is played to determine the winner.

Bonus round[edit]

First season[edit]

The winning contestant is moved to the top-left zone and has 60 seconds to answer five "brain-teaser" questions correctly. These usually consist of anagrams and jumbled words (unscrambling letters to form the answer based on clues given), math problems and general-knowledge questions. The timer begins ticking while the host asks the first question. After every ten seconds, one drop zone opens on the play field. If time runs out or the contestant at any time gives an incorrect answer, he or she drops, but receives $500 for every correct answer. The contestant has the option to pass on a question and return to it if time allows. Also, the contestant must say "My answer is..." before their answer so that thinking aloud is not mistaken for an answer. The contestant wins $10,000 for answering all five questions correctly.

The contestant can keep the $10,000 or return it and play one final game of Russian Roulette, with the number of drop zones opening during the previous segment used as the number of drop zones for the final game. If they survive, the contestant wins $100,000; however, the contestant keeps his or her front game winnings regardless of the outcome.

Second season[edit]

The endgame is similar to the first version, except the contestant must answer 10 multiple-choice questions (each with three choices) correctly in 60 seconds in order to win $10,000. The timer only starts ticking after the first question has been read by the host. If the contestant fails, he/she drops and receives an additional $300 for every correct answer given. Saying "My answer is" before the answer is no longer required. The contestant wins $10,000 for answering all ten questions correctly and has the opportunity to risk it to win $100,000, using the same process as in the first season.

International versions[edit]

On all versions of Russian Roulette outside of the U.S., U.K., Argentina, Portugal, and Poland (in season two), there are also displays of the contestants' heart rates on the screen (examples include Russia's, Poland's (season one), and Hong Kong's versions), and most versions even have the contestants themselves asking questions to their opponents. There is also a camera underneath each of the trapdoors to catch footage of the contestant dropping from another angle. Some may also have a maximum time limit of 15 seconds instead of 10 to answer questions. The Polish version has 30 seconds to answer the question in season one and 20 seconds in season two. Most versions of the show (except for the versions in the U.S., Greece, Taiwan and India) run for an hour rather than a half-hour. As of 2013, there are no versions of the show still in production internationally. However, China's religional broadcaster Shandong TV revived the show in Spring 2015 in substitution of the previous edition using the format of The Million Pound Drop, this version using a format that a little different to other ones – and the daily prize fund always starts at RMB¥50,000, and each correct answer before the final round earns RMB¥1,000 to the final pot. The Chinese version is broadcast live on weekdays, and runs for 65 minutes (including commercials).[citation needed]

Country Name Host Channel Prize Air dates
 Argentina Decisión Final Horacio Cabak América AR$100.000 June 6, 2003
 Brazil[1] Roleta Russa Milton Neves Rede Record R$500.000 October 31, 2002 – October 31, 2003
 Bulgaria Руска pулeткa
Ruska ruletka
Nikolay Georgiev BNT 1 100.000лв 2003
 Chile[2] Ruleta Rusa Diana Bolocco Canal 13 $100.000.000 May 5, 2013
 China 让梦想飞·智命一击
Rang Meng Xiang Fei · Zhi Ming Yi Ji
Yang Bo Shandong TV No limit for top prize 2015–2016
 Egypt الدائرة
El Daera
Ayman Kaisouni ERTU1 250.000 ج.م. September 2010
Ρωσική Ρουλέτα
Rosiki Rouleta
Miltos Makridis Mega Channel 100.000 2002–2003
 Hong Kong[3] 一觸即發 Dayo Wong TVB HK$500,000 2002
 India Bachke Rehnaa Zara Sambhalna Mohnish Behl SET Rs.1,000,000 September 9, 2002
 Indonesia Russian Roulette Dede Yusuf Trans TV Rp100,000,000 September 4, 2002 – December 31, 2003


Rosyjska ruletka Henryk Talar
Krzysztof Ibisz
Polsat 100,000 September 3, 2002 – April 7, 2004
 Portugal[5] Decisão Final José Carlos Malato RTP1 30.000 May 28, 2012 – January 13, 2013
 Romania[6] Ruleta Rusească Razvan Exarhu
Florin Mihoc
TVR 2 1.000.000lei 2003–2006
 Russia[7] Русская рулетка
Russkaya ruletka
Valdis Pelsh
Maxim Galkin (25 December 2002)
Channel One 1,000,000 April 2, 2002 – August 6, 2004
 Serbia and Montenegro Ruski rulet!
Руски рулет!
Irfan Mensur RTV Pink 3.000.000 RSD


March 2003 – September 2004
Ruski Rulet Show!
Руски рулет шоу! (VIP version)
Milan Kalinić 2.000
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ruski rulet!
Руски рулет!
Dragan Marinković Maca RTV Pink
Pink BH
Pink M
2.000 April 2007 – July 2007
 Singapore 灵机一洞 Hsu Nai-lin MediaCorp TV Channel 8 S$10,000 2003–2004
 Spain Decisíon Fínal Luis Crespo Telecinco €10,000 March 18, 2002
 Taiwan 俄羅斯輪盤 Kevin Tsai (Cai Kangyong) Star Chinese Channel NT$1,000,000 Unknown
 Turkey Rus Ruleti Berkun Oya Star TV 1,000,000YTL April 12, 2008
 United Kingdom[8] Russian Roulette Rhona Cameron ITV £10,000 October 31, 2002 (Pilot)
April 1, 2003 – April 22, 2003

See also[edit]


External links[edit]