The Genius (TV series)

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The Genius
The Genius, Survival Game Reality Show, TVN South Korea.jpg
GenreReality competition
Developed byA9 Media
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes48 (as of September 12, 2015)
ProducerJung Jong-yeon
Running time60–90 minutes
Original networktvN
Original releaseApril 26, 2013 (2013-04-26) –
September 12, 2015 (2015-09-12)
Society Game

The Genius (Korean: 더 지니어스, a.k.a. The Genius Game) was a South Korean reality game show. The first season premiered on April 26, 2013 on tvN, with four seasons in total airing between 2013 and 2015.

The show pits thirteen contestants against each other as they compete in various challenges, known as matches, which test their strategic thinking and social skills. Contestants are eliminated in head-to-head matches until only one remains and is awarded the title of "the Genius" and a cash prize.


Thirteen contestants, often celebrities, are selected to play in each season. Each episode (besides the season finale) features a Main Match and a Death Match.

In the Main Match, all players compete to win a "token of life", which guarantees them safety from elimination that episode. What determines the winners and losers of each Main Match depends from match to match, but typically, if a single player wins the Main Match, they earn one token of life for themselves and another to give away to a player of their choice. Some Main Matches allow for more than one winner, in which case each of the winners receives one token of life. The loser of the Main Match (as determined by that match's rules) is the "elimination candidate" and is automatically sent to the Death Match. The elimination candidate selects a player without a token of life to compete against in the Death Match. If multiple players lost the Main Match, the winner(s) of the Main Match select the elimination candidate from among the losers.

The Death Match is a one-on-one challenge, and the loser is eliminated from the season. Once two players remain, they compete in the best-of-three Final Match, and the first player to win two challenges is declared the winner of the season.

Each season also features "garnets", which function as the show's in-game currency, and can be used to purchase advantages during certain matches or given to other players to persuade them to make certain decisions. Every player begins the season with one garnet each, and can earn more garnets by winning Main Matches. In seasons one and two, the winner of a Death Match earned the losing player's garnets; in seasons three and four, the loser's garnets were removed from the game instead. At the end of the season, the winner's garnets are converted into cash, which each garnet worth 1,000,000.[1]

Series overview[edit]

SeasonSubtitleWinnerRunner-upPrize moneyEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1Rules of the GameHong Jin-hoKim Kyung-ran₩79,000,00012April 16, 2013 (2013-04-16)July 12, 2013 (2013-07-12)
2Rule BreakerLee Sang-minLim Yo-hwan₩62,000,00012December 7, 2013 (2013-12-07)February 22, 2014 (2014-02-22)
3Black GarnetJang Dong-minOh Hyun-min₩60,000,00012October 1, 2014 (2014-10-01)December 17, 2014 (2014-12-17)
4Grand FinalJang Dong-minKim Kyung-hoon [ko]₩132,000,00012June 27, 2015 (2015-06-27)September 12, 2015 (2015-09-12)

Accusations of plagiarism[edit]

The Genius has been accused of plagiarizing popular Japanese manga series through its choice of matches. For example, the first Main Match of season one, "1.2.3 Game" has been compared to "Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors" from Kaiji,[2] and season one's fourth Main Match "Zombie Game" to "Angels and Demons" from Liar Game: Season 2 (aka, "Infection Game" in original manga).[3] People also pointed out that the concept format of the series are similar to Japanese live-action version of Liar Game.[2][4]

Jung Jong-yeon, the producer of The Genius, claimed that all games in the series are designed by themselves, and they never bought any other media's copyrights.[2] He initially denied receiving any inspiration from these media, instead saying he was "inspired by Big Brother and Survivor, not a Liar Game" during an interview in 2013.[5] But in 2014, he later admitted to using Liar Game as a reference by saying "(it was) reference, but not copied"[6] and still denied plagiarizing any matches from Liar Game.[7] The fans of the Liar Game were not happy with this response and are currently still demanding an apology.[4]

tvN later broadcast a korean live-action remake of Liar Game in 2014. But it was mentioned that only drama production company 'Apollo Pictures' hold the Liar Game's copyright,[8][9] not The Genius team.[10] Jung Jong-yeon says The Genius has nothing to do with this remake.[7]

International adaptations[edit]

A Dutch version of The Genius premiered on NTR on October 3, 2022.[11] CJ E&M has also sold the copyright for The Genius to Banijay for adaptions in Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom and A production company in France.[12] [13]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2016 tvN10 Awards Best Content Award, Variety The Genius Won
Made in tvN, Actor in Variety Hong Jin-ho Nominated


  1. ^ Ko, Hong-ju (April 17, 2013). "tvN′s ′The Genius′, Featuring Infinite′s Sung Kyu, Kim Gura and More, Unveils Its Story". Mwave (in Korean). CJ E&M. Archived from the original on April 30, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "'더 지니어스', 日 '라이어게임' 표절 의혹…tvN "참고했지만 달라"". TV Report (in Korean). 2013-04-27.
  3. ^ 고, 윤서 (2016-04-06). "'더 지니어스 - 좀비 게임 / 라이어 게임 - 감염 게임(천사와 악마 게임)' 비교". YouTube (in Korean).
  4. ^ a b "tvN 역대급 표절 예능이었던 '더 지니어스'". theqoo (in Korean). 2021-06-20.
  5. ^ "[인터뷰①] '더 지니어스' 정종연 PD, "제작진이 천재? 과찬이죠"". ENEWS 24 (in Korean). 2013-04-27. Archived from the original on August 7, 2019.
  6. ^ "'더 지니어스3' 정종연 PD, "'라이어 게임', 참고는 했으나 베끼지 않았다"". 10 Asia (in Korean). 2014-09-26.
  7. ^ a b "'더지니어스3' PD "'라이어 게임' 표절? 참고 했지만 베끼진 않았다"". TV Daily (in Korean). 2014-09-26. Archived from the original on 2017-01-02.
  8. ^ "'라이어 게임' PD "원작 판권, 제작사가 모두 보유한 상태"". Sports Donga (in Korean). 2014-11-25.
  9. ^ "믿고 보는 케이블 드라마, 줄줄이 새 시즌 준비…볼거리 풍성". Sports Donga (in Korean). 2014-11-28.
  10. ^ "'더지니어스3', '라이어게임'과 불편하지 않은 동거 가능할까". MBN STAR (in Korean). 2014-09-06.
  11. ^ The Genius (in Dutch)
  12. ^ '더지니어스', 네덜란드·프랑스 이어 영국에 포맷 수출 '韓 콘텐츠 위상↑' - TV Daily (in Korean)
  13. ^

External links[edit]