The Chase (U.S. game show)
|Based on||The Chase|
|Presented by||Brooke Burns|
|Narrated by||Shawn Parr|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||51|
|Running time||42–44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||ITV Studios America|
|Original network||Game Show Network|
|Original release||August 6, 2013– December 11, 2015|
The Chase is an American television quiz show based on the British program of the same name. The show premiered on August 6, 2013, on Game Show Network (GSN). It is hosted by Brooke Burns, and features Mark Labbett (nicknamed "The Beast") as the "chaser".
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.
The Chase received positive critical reception; Burns and Labbett earned positive reviews for their roles, and one critic praised the series for avoiding a slow pace in gameplay. Both the series and Burns received Daytime Emmy Award nominations; the series was nominated in 2014 for Outstanding Game Show, and Burns two years later for Outstanding Game Show Host. Each lost to Jeopardy! and Craig Ferguson (host of Celebrity Name Game) respectively.
Cash Builder and individual chases
Three new contestants compete on each episode as a team. In the first round, each contestant in turn wins money for their team by answering as many questions correctly as possible during a one-minute rapid-fire round, entitled the "Cash Builder". Each correct answer in this round adds $5,000 to the bank; during celebrity episodes, contestants start with $5,000 already in the bank. At the end of the Cash Builder, the contestant participates in a key element of the show called a "chase". In the chase, the chaser and the contestant each answer questions; the contestant starts with an advantage, and the chaser attempts to catch up. The contestant's goal is to answer enough questions correctly to move the earned winnings along the gameboard into the team bank without being caught by the chaser, whose job is to catch them by capitalizing on their mistakes.
The chaser starts eight spaces away from the bank. The contestant has the option of starting five steps away from the bank, meaning that they must answer five questions correctly without being caught to bank the money and continue to the next round. Before the chase starts, the chaser will make two offers to the contestant: one offer will be to play for a lower amount, but start one step closer to the bank, meaning that they will have to answer one less question correctly; the other offer will be to play for a higher amount, but start one step further away from the bank. On rare occasions, if the contestant chooses the higher offer, the chaser may escalate the stakes by offering a "super offer" for an even higher amount. In this case, the contestant must answer seven questions correctly without being caught, meaning that the contestant needs to answer every question in that round (if the chaser does so).
After the contestant decides for which amount to play, the prize money is displayed on the gameboard. The contestant and chaser are presented with the same multiple choice question, and each locks in their answer, which cannot then be changed; the other has five seconds to answer after them, otherwise they are locked out and do not advance on the gameboard. For each question the contestant answers correctly, the prize money shown on the gameboard moves one step closer to the team bank. Similarly, the chaser moves one step closer to the contestant's prize money with each correct answer. Further questions are asked until the contestant reaches the end of the board (thus banking the prize money), or the chaser catches the contestant, eliminating them from the game. No movement is made by the contestant or the chaser if an incorrect answer is provided or if they are locked out by the time limit.
After all three contestants have played a Cash Builder round followed by a chase, the contestants who were not caught by the chaser advance to the Final Chase, with the team bank set to the total that they won in their Cash Builder rounds. 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). During celebrity episodes, contestants who are caught leave with $5,000 for their respective charities.
The Final Chase
The Final Chase is played on a gameboard. The team receives a head start of one space for each member who advanced to this round. During the commercial break, the team chooses between two sets of questions, labeled "A" and "B". The chaser plays the other set. The contestants have two minutes to answer as many questions as possible. After a question is asked, answers must be instantaneous, and contestants are only permitted to respond or pass a question after first ringing in. If a contestant rings in but another contestant answers, the answer is treated as wrong even if it was correct. If there is only one contestant in the Final Chase, then he or she does not ring in. Each question answered correctly within the time limit moves the team one space ahead on the board.
After time expires, the chaser is given two minutes to catch the team by correctly answering a new series of questions, with each correct answer moving him one space along the board. If the chaser answers incorrectly or passes, the clock is stopped briefly and the team is given a chance to answer the question, which they may confirm among themselves before answering. A correct answer pushes the chaser back one space, or moves the team ahead by one if he has not moved on to the gameboard. An incorrect answer provides no movement for the chaser at all. Regardless of the outcome, the clock begins running again and the chaser continues to answer questions. If the chaser runs out of time before catching the team, the team splits the banked money equally, but if he catches them before time expires, the team leaves with no money. During celebrity episodes, if the chaser catches the team before time runs out, the team leaves with $15,000 divided equally.
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 U.S. programming lineup. Bradley Walsh, presenter of the British version, was featured as the show's host, while UK chaser Mark Labbett (nicknamed "The Beast", which is "la bête" in French) 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. 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. 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. No new episodes have aired since the season four finale, which aired December 11, 2015.
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.
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.
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 the 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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