What Would You Do? (2008 TV program)

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What Would You Do?
What Would You Do logo.jpg
GenreHidden camera
Presented byJohn Quiñones
StarringVarious actors
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons14
Production location(s)New York metropolitan area (various locations)
(most episodes; some episodes filmed on-location in U.S. states not within the area)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)ABC News Productions
DistributorDisney–ABC Domestic Television
Original networkABC
Picture format480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Original releaseFebruary 26, 2008 (2008-02-26) –
present (present)
Preceded byPrimetime
External links

What Would You Do? (commonly abbreviated as WWYD, and formerly known as Primetime: What Would You Do? through the program's fifth season), is an American situational hidden camera television program that has been broadcast on ABC since February 26, 2008. It is hosted by news correspondent John Quiñones and was created by Chris Whipple.

The program was conceived as a format-based series for ABC's newsmagazine Primetime, however all on-air references to the parent program were removed from What Would You Do? following the discontinuation of Primetime as a standalone program by the network in 2010, with subject-based formats of the program, such as Primetime: Family Secrets, airing thereafter during the summer months or as a temporary replacement for entertainment programs cancelled during the fall-to-spring television season.


The program features actors acting out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras record the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how. Variations are also usually included, such as changing the genders, the races or the clothing of the actors performing the scene, to see if bystanders react differently. Many of the scenarios take place in dining locations. The situations often pertain to prejudice with race, sex, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and mental disabilities, obesity and weight, sexual harassment, vandalism, theft, physical appearance, homelessness, financial trouble, parenting, and social status being common themes. Quiñones appears at the end of each scenario to interview bystanders and witnesses about their reactions.

As the experiment goes on, psychology professors, teachers, or club members watch and discuss the video with Quiñones, explaining and making inferences on the bystanders' reactions.

Many of the scenario actors appear in only one or two episodes. Several, however, have become staples of the program, including Yuval David, Diana Henry, Vince August, Jeremy Holm, Michael J. Lyons and Traci Hovel.

Examples of scenarios[edit]

  • A pompous club promoter denies people entry into a club based on their appearance, and is rude, condescending and mean to people. Others in line either step up to defend the victims of the rude behavior or stay silent.
  • A flamboyant hair stylist destroys women's hair. Other clients see the interaction and try to rectify the situation.
  • A transgender woman named Carmen Carrera works at a diner and begins to serve a loyal customer and ultimately informs him that she used to be a man named Chris, during which the customer begins to harass her.
  • A Muslim woman attempts to buy some items from a bakery, though the rude and prejudiced cashier denies any kind of service for her and kicks her out of the store while throwing bigoted comments at her.
  • On a sidewalk, three teenagers beat and taunt a homeless man in front of passersby.
  • Same-sex parents are at a restaurant with their adopted children, though the waiter attempts to kick the family out of the restaurant, claiming that the parents are "messing up the kids".
  • A café manager berates, insults, and attempts to kick a breastfeeding mom out of the store, thinking that she is disturbing other customers around her. There were three alternates used in the experiment, replacing the white woman with an African-American woman, a teenager, and a woman consuming alcohol.
  • Various children (different race in each vandalism) vandalize a car.
  • A grocery bagger with noticeable Down syndrome is insulted and yelled at by a shopper, who calls him a "retard".
  • A woman needs to fill a prescription at a pharmacy, but doesn't have the money to pay for it. Other customers sit and watch in the waiting room, and some offer the woman the money she needs.
  • Multiple men and women of varying races steal items from an open house showing.
  • A young pregnant woman offers her baby to two different couples.
  • An Asian American woman berates and insults her young daughter for getting an A- on a test, later the woman is replaced by a Caucasian woman (this experiment is based on Amy Chua's style of parenting).
  • A sketch artist creates bad drawings after the customers have already paid.
  • A waitress is sexually harassed by her boss in front of customers, first a girl in regular clothes, then one wearing more revealing clothing. Customers usually stand up more for the one in regular clothing.
  • A man accidentally drops an expensive bottle of wine at a liquor store when the manager is not looking. He proceeds to deny responsibility, even blaming other customers and a Latino maintenance employee.
  • A fundamentalist Mormon polygamist family attempts to convince a new underage bride that she must accept her new life; as she cries hysterically, customers begin to notice and eventually threaten to report them for bigamy.
  • A couple bring their children, one of them diagnosed with autism, and a customer gets upset at the autistic behavior and gives the couple unwanted advice, upsetting the diner.
  • A boy scout reveals to two other scouts that he is gay. Diners in the restaurant step into the situation, usually on side with the boy scout, when the other scouts threaten to tell the scout leader (the experiment is based on the controversy of homosexuality in boy scouts).
  • A mother and her children are unable to afford their dream Christmas tree for the holidays, leaving her children visibly upset. Most of the customers who notice step in to comfort them, some even offering to pay for their dream tree.
  • Two army soldiers back from war zone are not allowed to order alcohol because they are under age.
  • Two deaf girls applying for kitchen work at a restaurant are told by the staff, one male and one female, that they will not be hired due to their disability. This scenario was notable for three separate Human Resources managers approaching the staff afterwards and telling them to be more tactful for their own legal protection, rather than opposing the discrimination. One regular customer finally defended the girls saying he would no longer take his business there if they were treated so harshly.
  • An atheist angrily becomes vocal when a Christian family next to him starts praying at a restaurant. Reaction to this scenario was met with negativity from atheists who felt it portrayed them in a bad light.
  • A foster child is abused by his foster mother when they go to a diner with the mother's biological child. Actor Caleb McLaughlin, best known for his role on the Netflix thriller-horror series, Stranger Things, was featured on this episode as the foster child. This scenario was done again in a later season with the child being a girl instead of a boy.
  • Two sisters are at a donut store with their mother. One is noticeably larger framed in size, and so is refused a donut by her mother, instead getting a bag of vegetables. The mother also teases the daughter about her weight.
  • A 16-year-old girl has been dating a guy online who said he was her age. They decide to meet in person at a diner and the guy who she was dating online turns about to be a middle-aged man. He then asks her to go back to his house with him.
  • A young girl's nanny abuses the child by screaming at her, and calling her stupid in public.
  • A young girl's nanny gives her medicine to calm her down and put her to sleep in a cafe because she is acting up.
  • An American couple are in Paris and constantly behave obnoxiously in public, such as being extremely patriotic toward their home country, the husband eating a gigantic bowl of chocolate mousse that is meant to be shared between several tables by himself, trying to order American food in restaurants, wearing inappropriate clothes, talking about inappropriate subjects such as war, and belching loudly in upscale establishments.
  • In an area where bikes are stolen frequently, an actor tries to saw off the bike chain of a bike, claiming it to be their own bike, trying to see if the people would help the actor in the crime. This experiment was tried with a white man, a white woman, and a black man. People were more likely to help the white man or the white woman, (The latter of the two receiving the most help) but in the case of the black man, everybody suspected him, and very few people helped him. When asked if they would have reacted differently if the actor was a different race, the bystanders replied no.
  • A man who is in a relationship with a plus size woman takes her to a restaurant to meet his parents, who remark on her size, and say that she is 'bigger' than what they expected. Model Ashley Graham appeared in this experiment, and revealed her experiences as a plus size woman.
  • Two well bodied women have parked their car in a clearly marked disabled space and take no notice of the warning in front of the spot. A man in a wheelchair comes along and pleads with the women to give him the space, but the girls refuse, telling him to try and arrive earlier and saying that he is on wheels already.
  • A young girl abuses her nanny by treating her like a maid.
  • A man tries to sell fake tickets to an unsuspecting customer.
  • A white woman introduces her boyfriend-who is Indigenous American-to her white parents, who subject him to racist abuse.
  • A woman is denied entry into a bar because she is overweight.
  • A boy wants to get a doll, however the mother refuses because she thinks it's a "girl's toy", and tells him to get what she considers a "boy's toy".
  • A woman brings her boyfriend, who is Jewish, to meet her family, who are Catholics. Her parents disapprove of him, and utter rude, disgusting Jewish stereotypes.
  • A woman meets her parents in a restaurant, in order for them to meet her fiancé. Upon realising that their daughter is a lesbian, they start to disapprove of her.
  • An overprotective boyfriend berates his bartending girlfriend, accusing her of flirting with customers. By request of fans and viewers, this scenario was done again with the roles reversed.
  • Two children try selling hot chocolate at the holidays, but charge extravagant prices.
  • A married couple refuses to tip their waitress because she's a lesbian.
  • Two girls park in a designated handicapped spot and refuse to give up their spot for a handicapped man.
  • A blind man is robbed when asking for help with money.
  • A married couple berate a Hispanic worker at a winery for taking his lunch break on the winery patio.
  • A dad who is a baseball coach refuses to buy ice cream for his son who caused the team to lose the game.
  • A girl invites her rich parents to meet her boyfriend. They disapprove when her boyfriend is of a lower social class.
  • A man refuses to buy a car from a female salesperson.
  • A waitress tells African American teenagers that they must prepay for their meals.
  • An African American high school football player is confronted by his coach because he heard the football player wants to kneel during the national anthem.
  • A customer at a restaurant harasses a patron with Downs Syndrome because he is taking too long to place his order.
  • A woman damages canned food in hopes of getting a discount.
  • A man forces his pregnant wife to lose weight, fat shaming her.
  • A mom criticizes her son's musical ability when out to find a guitar.
  • A manager in a diner refuses to serve someone for their personal views of Donald Trump on their clothing.
  • A manager refuses to hire an applicant for their religious garb one Jewish, one Muslim, and one Sikh. The Jewish one was more vocal on how illegal the manager's actions were while the others were more quiet on the way he's handling the business. Half of the bystanders agree on the manager's illegal way of running a business even as the Jewish one said of how illegal the manager's way of business was.
  • A Sikh is refused service from a bigoted manager for a suit.
  • A meat eating couple forces a vegan boy and girl to eat meat calling veganism child abuse. The last scenario was done with the vegan eating boy wanting to eat meat with his mom refusing.
  • A white mom is forcing her Hispanic daughter to not only speak English but to brainwash her to make her forget her heritage.
  • A customer criticizes 3 moms for extended breastfeeding. Out of the 3 moms the last one gets the least amount of support.
  • A mom and son shop for a pair of shoes with the son being abusive towards his mom by forcing her to buy him something expensive. This was done again with the duo being a daughter and father.
  • A mom is confronted about her opioid abuse by her son and husband in regards towards her back pain.
  • An African-American male babysitter is in a restaurant with two white children, when a nearby woman becomes concerned and calls the police because of his appearance.
  • A teenager is in a restaurant with his mom and dad, and ignores them while playing Fortnite on his iPad, and gets angry with them when they try to talk to him.
  • A young man reveals to his parents that he is a drag queen, and they are openly disgusted, telling him he "looks like a clown".
  • A mom and her two children are in a restaurant for a birthday meal, but the mother can only afford one meal to share between her and her kids.
  • A shopaholic mom is out at a clothes store with her daughter. When her credit card gets declined, she resorts to spending the money for groceries, and her daughter's money, much to the worry of her daughter.
  • An African American female hairdresser verbally criticises a young African American woman because she's dating a white man, most customers are black and support the couple.


Reruns of older What Would You Do? episodes began airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on February 15, 2011, under the title What Would You Do?: OWN Edition (in a manner similar to the specialized network-based titles of other network newsmagazines aired in the form of episode compilations on cable channels such as Dateline on ID and 48 Hours on ID on Investigation Discovery).

Reruns of the program began airing on HLN in 2013, as part of the cable news channel's primetime schedule.[1][2] In the United States, the show can be seen on A&E since 2015.


  • 2007–2008: #81, 8.0 million[3]
  • 2008–2009: #79, 6.8 million[4]
  • 2009–2010: #90, 5.7 million[5]
  • 2010–2011: #123, 4.9 million[6]
  • 2011–2012: #123, 5.0 million[7]
  • 2012–2013:
  • 2013–2014: [1]
  • 2014–2015: [2]

2014 Season

  • August 1: 3.65 million viewers [3]

2015 Season

  • May 29: 5.034 million viewers [4]
  • June 5: 4.66 million viewers [5]
  • June 12: 4.64 million viewers [6]


Season 14[edit]

in series
in season
Title Original air date
TBA1"Episode 01"9 August 2019 (2019-08-09)
What Would You Do?: Diners react to a family who can only pay for one meal to share. "Dancing With the Stars" winner Nyle DiMarco participates in a scenario that resembles his experiences being deaf.
TBA2"Episode 02"16 August 2019 (2019-08-16)
How will people react when they see an impatient cashier, a man telling his date to split the check, a family holding an opioid intervention and a teen who seems to be taking insensitive selfies.
TBA3"Episode 03"23 August 2019 (2019-08-23)
How will people react to a white coach demanding a barber cut a black student athlete's braids, and trans advocate Jazz Jennings joins the set for a scenario that hits close to home.
TBA4"Episode 04"30 August 2019 (2019-08-30)
A young woman waits outside of a bar for her rideshare car. A man tells her he's her driver, even though his car doesn't match the app's notification. Will passersby intervene?
TBA5"Episode 05"6 September 2019 (2019-09-06)
What will customers say when they see two white children bully their white friend and black classmate? And diners react to a daughter revealing her surprising DNA results to her parents.


  1. ^ "Cable News Ratings for Thursday, December 26, 2013". 27 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Primetime: What Would You Do? Ratings – TV By The Numbers by zap2it.com". tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com.
  3. ^ "Disney ABC Press".
  4. ^ "Disney ABC Press".
  5. ^ "Final 2009-10 Broadcast Primetime Show Average Viewership". 16 June 2010.
  6. ^ "2010-11 Season Broadcast Primetime Show Viewership Averages". 1 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Complete List Of 2011-12 Season TV Show Viewership: 'Sunday Night Football' Tops, Followed By 'American Idol,' 'NCIS' & 'Dancing With The Stars'". 25 May 2012.

External links[edit]