Russian Roulette (game show)

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Russian Roulette
Russian Roulette (game show - screencap).jpg
Created by Gunnar Wetterberg
Presented by Mark L. Walberg
Narrated by Burton Richardson
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 131
Location(s) Sony Pictures Studios
Culver City, California
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Gunnar Wetterberg Productions
Columbia TriStar Television (seasons 1-2)
Sony Pictures Television (season 2)
GSN Originals
Original network GSN
Original release June 3, 2002 (2002-06-03) – June 13, 2003 (2003-06-13)

Russian Roulette is an American game show created by executive producer Gunnar Wetterberg that ran for two seasons on Game Show Network from June 3, 2002 to June 13, 2003.[not verified in body]


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

One contestant is shown a question and must challenge an opponent to answer it. The challengee 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 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, they remain 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, host Walberg pulls the lever himself, 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 1 and 2, except that the player who first hears the question may elect to answer it themselves or challenge their opponent. At the conclusion of round 3, the remaining contestant keeps all their money and goes to the bonus round.

The $100,000 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 referred to by the host as "Five Killer Questions" correctly. These usually consist of word jumbles (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 playfield. 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.[citation needed]

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 Wahlberg. 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. As before, should all 10 questions be answered correctly, the clock stops, and the contestant then has the option of risking the $10,000 for a final pull.[citation needed]

Russian Roulette[edit]

In the case of both seasons, the contestant can keep the $10,000 or risk it on one final game of Russian Roulette, with the number of drop zones opening during the game used as the number of drop zones for the final game. The player keeps their front game winnings no matter what, but loses their $10,000 if they drop. If they survive, they win an extra $100,000.

Should the contestant decide to keep the $10,000 without going for the $100,000, the final game of Russian Roulette will be played out to see what would have happened. In this case, the contestant will be allowed to step off the trapdoor.

Three contestants (two in season 1, one in season 2) have won the top prize of $100,000.

International versions[edit]

On all versions of Russian Roulette outside of the U.S., U.K., 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]

In 2017, Singapore will launch a revival version named The Loser Drops. It will be hosted by Sherwin Chua and aired beginning January 12, 2017 on Thursdays at 8:00pm on Events Channel E. Each episode will feature five contestants and the top prize will be S$25,000. The gameplay is similar to the original 2003 Channel 8 version but the bonus round would feature five questions, similar to the Hong Kong version, with questions worth $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000 respectively. Should the contestant drop in the bonus round, they lose all accumulated cash from both the front game and the bonus round, which will be donated to charity by the producers.

Legend:      Currently airing        No longer airing  

Country Name Host Channel Prize First year aired
 Argentina Decisión Final Horacio Cabak América AR$100.000 June 6, 2003
 Brazil Roleta Russa Milton Neves Rede Record R$500.000 October 2002-October 2003
 Bulgaria Руска pулeткa Nikolay Georgiev BNT 1 100.000лв 2003
 Chile 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 March 16, 2015
 Egypt الدائرة
El Daera
Ayman Kaisouni ERTU1 250.000 ج.م. September 2010
 Greece Ρωσική Ρουλέτα
Rosiki Rouleta
Miltos Makridis MEGA 100.000 2002-2003
 Hong Kong 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
 Poland Rosyjska Ruletka Henryk Talar
Krzysztof Ibisz
Polsat 100,000 2002-2004
 Portugal Decisão Final José Carlos Malato RTP1 30.000 May 28, 2012 – January 13, 2013
 Romania Ruleta Rusească Razvan Exarhu
Florin Mihoc
TVR 1.000.000lei 2003-2006
 Russia Русская Рулетка 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 Unknown September 2003-July 2005
Ruski Rulet Show!
Руски рулет шоу!
(VIP version)
Milan Kalinić Unknown Unknown
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ruski Rulet!
Руски рулет!
Dragan Marinković Maca RTV Pink
Pink BH
Pink M
2,000 January 2007 – 2008
 Singapore 灵机一洞 Xu Nailin MediaCorp TV Channel 8 S$10,000 2003-2004
The Loser Drops Sherwin Chua Events Channel E S$25,000 January 12, 2017
 Spain Decisíon Fínal Luis Crespo Telecinco €10,000 March 18, 2002
 Taiwan 俄羅斯輪盤 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 Russian Roulette Rhona Cameron ITV £10,000 October 31, 2002 (Pilot)
April 1, 2003 – April 22, 2003


External links[edit]