Russian Roulette (game show)
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|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)
|Original release||June 3, 2002– June 13, 2003|
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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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|
Rang Meng Xiang Fei · Zhi Ming Yi Ji
|Yang Bo||Shandong TV||No limit for top prize||March 16, 2015|
|Ayman Kaisouni||ERTU1||250.000 ج.م.||September 2010|
|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
|Portugal||Decisão Final||José Carlos Malato||RTP1||€30.000||May 28, 2012 – January 13, 2013|
|Romania||Ruleta Rusească||Razvan Exarhu
|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!
|Irfan Mensur||RTV Pink||Unknown||September 2003-July 2005|
|Ruski Rulet Show!
Руски рулет шоу!
Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Dragan Marinković Maca||RTV Pink
|€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