The Chase (American game show)
|Based on||The Chase|
|Narrated by||Shawn Parr|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons|
|No. of episodes|
|Running time||42–44 minutes|
|Production company||ITV Entertainment[a]|
|Original release||August 6, 2013 –|
The Chase is an American television quiz show adapted from the British program of the same name. The show originally premiered on August 6, 2013, on Game Show Network (GSN). It was hosted by Brooke Burns and featured Mark Labbett as the "chaser" (referred to on-air exclusively by his nickname of "The Beast"). A revival of the show premiered on January 7, 2021 on ABC. It is hosted by Sara Haines and initially featured Jeopardy! champions James Holzhauer (who was a contestant on the GSN version), Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter as the chasers. Labbett returned as a chaser in June 2021.
The American version of the show follows the same general format as the original UK version, but with teams of three contestants instead of four. The game is a quiz competition in which contestants attempt to win money by challenging a quiz show genius known as the chaser. Each contestant participates in an individual "chase" called the Cash Builder, in which they attempt to answer as many questions as possible in 60 seconds to earn as much money as possible to contribute to a prize fund for the team. The contestant must answer enough questions to stay ahead of the chaser on the gameboard; otherwise, they lose their winnings for that round. The contestants who successfully complete their individual chases without being caught advance to the Final Chase, in which they answer questions as a team playing for an equal share of the prize fund accumulated throughout the episode.
Cash Builder and individual chases
Three new contestants participate in each episode. Each contestant individually attempts to win money for their team by answering as many questions correctly as possible during a one-minute "Cash Builder" round, earning money per correct answer ($5,000 on the GSN version, $25,000 in the first season of the ABC version, and $10,000 in the second season). (During GSN celebrity episodes, each contestant is credited the value of one correct answer at the outset.)
After the Cash Builder, the contestant participates in a head-to-head "chase" against the chaser. Both sides answer a series of questions, with the contestant attempting to move the money along a gameboard and into the team bank without being caught. The contestant and chaser stand at opposite ends of the board, which has seven spaces, and the contestant chooses a starting position. They may begin three steps ahead of the chaser, requiring five correct answers and play for the money earned in the Cash Builder. Alternatively, they may accept one of two offers from the chaser: either start one step closer to the chaser and play for a higher amount or start one step farther away and play for a lower amount. The lower offer can be zero or even negative, depending on the result of the Cash Builder. On occasion, a contestant who chooses the higher offer may be presented with a "Super Offer" to play for even higher stakes with a head start of only one step.
Once the contestant chooses a starting position, the host begins to ask a series of questions with three answer options, and the contestant and chaser secretly lock in their answers on keypads. After either side locks in a choice, the other must do the same within five seconds or be locked out for that turn. A correct answer by either side moves them one space down the board and toward the team bank, while a miss or lock-out leaves them where they are. If the contestant successfully moves the money all the way down the board and off the bottom end, they advance to the Final Chase and their money is added to the team bank; if the chaser catches up, the contestant is eliminated and their money is forfeited.
If all three contestants fail to win their individual chases, the team selects one contestant to play the Final Chase alone for a total of $15,000 ($5,000 per contestant) on the GSN version, or for a dollar amount offered by the chaser to be divided evenly among the team on the ABC version. During GSN celebrity episodes, contestants who are caught leave with $5,000 for their respective charities.
The Final Chase
The team randomly chooses one of two question sets for themselves, with the other set put aside for the chaser and have two minutes to give as many correct answers as possible. Contestants must respond as soon as they are called on and must ring in before they can either respond or pass a question. Any answer given by a contestant who has not rung in is automatically considered to be incorrect. Ringing in is not required if only one contestant is playing the Final Chase. Every correct answer moves the team one step ahead on the gameboard and they are given a head start of one step per team member participating in the round. Team members may not discuss or confer on any questions during this portion. If all three team members lose their respective individual chases, they choose one member to play the Final Chase alone; on the ABC version, this player does not receive a head start.
After the contestants have completed their Final Chase round, the chaser then has two minutes to catch the team by answering questions from the unused set in the same manner. If he passes or misses a question, the clock is briefly stopped and the team is given a chance to discuss it and offer an answer. A correct response pushes the chaser back one step, or moves the team ahead by one if he is still at the starting line. If the chaser fails to catch the team before time runs out, the participating members receive equal shares of the bank; otherwise, they leave with nothing. During celebrity episodes, if the chaser catches the team before time runs out, all three members receive $5,000 each.
- Mark Labbett (2013–15; 2021): Appeared on British quiz shows University Challenge, Fifteen to One, The Syndicate and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?; runner-up on The People's Quiz, runner-up on Brain of Britain, and part of a winning team on Only Connect. Labbett was one of the original chasers on the UK version of the show, appearing in every season since its inception, as well as being one of six on the Australian version of the show. Labbett was the sole Chaser on the show when it initially aired in 2013 on the Game Show Network, and was joined by Holzhauer, Jennings and Rutter when it was rebooted on ABC. Nicknamed "The Beast" and "The Transatlantic Giant".
- James Holzhauer (2021): A 32-episode champion on Jeopardy!, winner of the Tournament of Champions, holds record for highest winnings on a single Jeopardy! show, also former contestant on The Chase, winning $58,333 as part of a 3-person team. Holzhauer is the third highest earning American game show contestant of all time. Nicknamed "The High Roller".
- Ken Jennings (2021): Record holder for longest winning streak on Jeopardy! with 74 episode wins in a row, winner of Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, also appeared on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, Grand Slam, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and 1 vs. 100. Jennings is considered by many to be the greatest quiz show contestant of all time, and is the highest earning quiz show contestant in U.S. history. Nicknamed "The Professor".
- Brad Rutter (2021): Second highest earning quiz show contestant in the U.S. and highest earner in Jeopardy! history with over $5m in total. Never lost an episode during regular Jeopardy! programs, only losing during the Greatest of All Time special, where he finished third. Also appeared on Million Dollar Mindgame, winning $600k between 6 contestants collectively. Nicknamed "The Buzzsaw".
The Chase originated in the United Kingdom, premiering on ITV in 2009. As the series became increasingly popular in the UK, Fox ordered two pilot episodes in April 2012 to be taped in London for consideration to be added to the network's US programming lineup. Bradley Walsh, presenter of the British version, was featured as the show's host, while UK chaser Mark "The Beast" Labbett and Jeopardy! champion Brad Rutter were the chasers. After Fox passed up the opportunity to add the series to its lineup, Game Show Network (GSN), in conjunction with ITV Studios America, picked up the series with an eight-episode order on April 9, 2013, and announced Brooke Burns as the show's host and Labbett as the chaser on May 29, 2013. Dan Patrick had originally been considered as the host. The first season premiered on August 6, 2013. Even though the show had not yet premiered at the time, the network ordered a second season of eight episodes on July 1, 2013, which premiered on November 5, 2013. Citing the series' status as a "ratings phenom,” GSN eventually announced plans to renew it for a third season, which premiered in the summer of 2014. During the third season, the series also premiered its first celebrity edition with celebrity contestants playing for charity. GSN proceeded to renew the series for a fourth season before the end of season three; this new season began airing January 27, 2015. After the seventh episode of the season, the series went on another hiatus; new episodes from the fourth season resumed airing July 16, 2015. The final episode of the fourth season aired on December 11, 2015, concluding the show's original run after four seasons and 51 episodes. Episodes from the first two seasons are available on Netflix.
On July 20, 2020, it was reported that ABC was casting for a US revival of The Chase. Three days later, Deadline Hollywood reported that the network was in talks to cast Rutter and fellow Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer to serve as the chasers. Holzhauer, Jennings and Rutter had recently competed on Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time a primetime Jeopardy! tournament aired by ABC in January, while Holzhauer was also a previous contestant of the GSN version, which led to him appearing on Jeopardy! in 2019. On November 2, 2020, it was reported that ABC had ordered The Chase to series for a nine-episode run, with Sara Haines of ABC's daytime talk show The View as host and Jennings, Holzhauer and Rutter each rotating as the Chaser. On the show, Jennings is nicknamed "The Professor," Holzhauer as "The High Roller" and Rutter as "The Buzzsaw." The revival premiered on January 7, 2021. The season premiere was dedicated to Alex Trebek, who died on November 8, 2020 at the age of 80, and hosted Jeopardy! when Jennings, Holzhauer and Rutter were contestants.
On April 7, 2021, the revival was renewed for a second season, which premiered on June 6, 2021. In May 2021, it was reported that Labbett would be rejoining the American version of the series as the ABC version's fourth chaser.
The Chase was generally well received by critics. Michael Tyminski of Manhattan Digest reviewed the series positively, calling it "a breath of fresh air" and praising Burns and Labbett in their respective roles. Tyminski added that while each question's level of difficulty is not always on par with those on other quiz shows such as Jeopardy!, the show avoids a "painfully slow pace." Similarly, John Teti of The A.V. Club called the show a "pretty good adaptation" of its UK counterpart. While he preferred the British version of the show, saying that it had "a more varied cast and stronger production values,” Teti felt that the American version "still holds its own." The Chase was also ranked ninth on Douglas Pucci's (of TV Media Insights) list of best new television shows of 2013. Writing for Decider, Joel Keller stated that the ABC version "could be slightly faster-paced, but the excitement of people going head-to-head with three of the best quiz show contestants in American television history is something game show aficionados can really sink their teeth into." Linda Maleh of TV Insider was critical of some elements of the revival, but still noted, "A chance to face off with some of the most well known trivia buffs is a good premise for a game show, it just needs to cut the fat." The Chase was one of two GSN originals (the other being The American Bible Challenge) to be honored at the 41st Daytime Emmy Awards in 2014 with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Game Show, Jeopardy! was the eventual winner. Two years later, Burns received an Emmy nomination at the 43rd Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host, losing to Craig Ferguson of Celebrity Name Game.
The Chase became one of the highest-rated original programs in GSN's history. The series debuted to 511,000 total viewers during its premiere while maintaining 90% of its audience with 461,000 total viewers during the second episode airing that night. On January 28, 2014, The Chase set a new series high for total viewers and adults 18–49, with 827,000 and 234,000 viewers, respectively. Although the season three premiere fell in the ratings from its series high, earning 494,000 viewers with only 73,000 in the 18–49 demographic, the premiere of the fourth season saw a sizeable rise over the previous season's premiere, earning 749,000 total viewers. With a strong lead-in from Celebrity Wheel of Fortune, the 2021 ABC version premiered to a 0.9/5 rating/share and 6.2 million viewers. The second season of the 2021 version premiered to 4.23 million viewers.
On December 18, 2013, Barnstorm Games released a mobile version of the game for iOS and Android. The only differences between the app and the show are that four choices are presented for questions in the Cash Builder and Final Chase rounds and that no Final Chase is played if all players are caught in their individual chases. The app features Labbett (referred to by his "Beast" nickname) as a simulated chaser and can be played by up to four people.
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- Known as ITV Studios America for the GSN version.