Dumb Game Shows Someone Should've Been Fired For

It's really hard to come up with a good idea for a game show. Shows like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, and The Price Is Right never go off the air, probably because there's just nothing good to replace them with. Not that folks haven't been trying for decades. Every network has tossed up dozens of terrible ideas for game shows, only to see them fail one after another. Here's a look at some of the absolute dumbest game show ideas that should have (and probably did) gotten someone fired.


Mark Burnett has put together some of the worst game shows of all time, like Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? But he really outdid himself when he debuted Amnesia on NBC back in 2008. The concept was mind-numbingly simple: answer trivia questions ... about yourself! Needless to say, most of the contestants did pretty well, given that questions about their own life were significantly easier than, say, questions about the reign of Alexander the Great or the square root of pi. Amnesia ran for a total of eight episodes before the network remembered to pull the plug. Good thinking!

101 Ways to Leave a Game Show

Hard to believe, but there were actually two versions of this idiotic series: Britain's version in 2010, and the American one in 2011. Both of them had the same pointless premise: contestants would answer banal trivia questions, and if they lost, they'd be eliminated from the show in some ridiculous way, like being tossed through a glass window by stuntmen, or attached to an anchor and dropped into the ocean. These means of egress were also saddled with even dumber "funny" names, like "You Fuse, You Lose," "What the Truck?," and "Indiana Jeff and the Temple of Boom."

The British version lasted just eight episodes, while the American version only made it to six before being launched out of a cannon into a vat of fish. Or however ABC cancels their shows.

Three's a Crowd

One of the most infamous game show blunders in television history was 1979's Three's a Crowd. Developed by Chuck Barris, who previously had created hit game shows like The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game, Three's a Crowd combined the worst elements of both by asking men to discover who knew them best: their wife or their secretary. With questions framed in as bawdy a way as possible, critics and viewers immediately denounced the series for promoting adultery and creating marital problems. The series was swiftly canceled, as were all of Barris's other shows, just in case he ever decided to try again.

Naked Jungle

Considered by many to be the worst show ever aired on British television, 2000's Naked Jungle featured an obstacle course run by nudists, in an effort to collect fig leaves to cover their genitals. Strangely enough, the series caused an uproar in the British media, with members of Parliament even debating it in the House of Commons. Host Keith Chegwin later said it was "the worst career move I made in my entire life." Naked Jungle only ran one single episode, but it wasn't due to poor ratings — on the contrary, Channel 5 landed nearly four times as many viewers as their target. Don't get any ideas, Mark Burnett.


You can probably guess the premise of this stinker from the title. The idea behind this 2008 G4 series was to have people eat as much weird stuff as possible and then compete in taxing activities to see who could keep from throwing up the longest. Yes, it's a TV show about competitive vomiting. The show's hosts would then rate the vomit, scoring it on a scale of one to five puke buckets. For enduring this misery, the "winner" received a whopping $1,000. Hard to understand why this show only lasted 11 episodes.

The Chair

No less a personage than famed tennis champion John McEnroe hosted this game show about people sitting in a big chair. Running on ABC at the beginning of 2002, The Chair would strap contestants into a chair, which would then monitor their vital signs. If the pressure of having McEnroe yell trivia questions at them got to be so much that their heart rate rose above a certain level, they would lose money from their potential prize. Tennis judges around the world could sympathize with the contestants' plight, since McEnroe was infamous for haranguing people who happened to be sitting in the umpire's chair at his tennis matches. That would seem to be his only qualification for hosting this show, but it didn't matter — the whole thing was so stupid, it got cancelled after nine episodes anyway. We're still waiting for the inevitable spinoff show, The Couch.


If you ever thought racial profiling would be a great premise for a game show, you're apparently not the only one, based on the otherwise inexplicable existence of the show Identity. Premiering on NBC back in 2006, Identity was hosted by magician Penn Jillette. But he wasn't able to work his sardonic magic on this stinker, because the idea was to have a contestant guess the identities of 12 strangers by matching them up with facts about their hobbies, age, job, etc. Of course, the "fun" was in seeing how off-base your expectations were, like when a missionary showed up wearing a bikini. Hilarious, right? Well, viewers didn't seem to think so, and the show was mercifully cancelled after 12 episodes.

Don't Scare the Hare

Finally, there's the insanely nonsensical 2011 British game show, Don't Scare the Hare. See if this makes any sense to you: host Jason Bradbury pretended to live in a magical forest, where his only companion was a gigantic robotic rabbit. Contestants would then engage in a series of stunts. If any of them did something wrong, loud noises would frighten the robot rabbit, causing it to run around and metal-squeak in robotic terror. Successful tasks were rewarded with plastic carrots — acquire enough of these, and the contestants could move to an end game where they had to lure the rabbit into a fake garden and trap it for a monetary prize.

This psychotropic nightmare lasted nine episodes before BBC One presumably ran out of hallucinogens, and cancelled the show to ensure it couldn't do any more long-term mental damage to viewers. Thank goodness.