When Wrestlers Host...
win, our contestants not only have to be smart. They have to stay
calm under pressure. Welcome to…
AIR DATES: June 22, 2010 to July 23, 2010
CREATOR: Scott St. John
PACKAGER: Fermantle Media North America
HOST: Chris Jericho
WATCH IT HERE: YouTube
Ah, Chris Jericho. The Ayatollah of Rock
'N' Rollah, the lead of rock group Fozzy, the so-called savior if
the "new millennium" for the WWE, the creator of "The
List of Jericho", "Dancing With the Stars" alumnus,
current charter member of All Elite Wrestling. What can this man NOT
do? Well, host a game show well enough, it seems. No, to be fair,
he didn't do too bad. It was the premise of "Downfall" that,
while unique, truly couldn't hold water. The only thing it had going
for it was a long treadmill holding various prizes...that emptied
over the side of a ten-story building in downtown Los Angeles. Other
than that, it was just another summer game show that was just running
on a REAL treadmill and getting nowhere. Not even Jericho could "Lionsault"
this show from obscurity.
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
The show takes place on the top of a ten-story "skyscraper"
in Los Angeles. The contestant is strapped into a harness near the
edge of the roof as THEY could go over after all is said and done.
A large treadmill leads to the edge. The contestant's task is to answer
the right amount of questions before the treadmill pushes money over
the side, ending the game.
The game is played in seven rounds. The contestant gets to choose
from nine different categories and must give a certain number of answers
to advance to the next round. The first round requires four right
answers, and each subsequent round requires one more right answer
than the last. The time limit for giving the answers is based on the
treadmill: various (replicas of) prizes are placed on the treadmill
before the round starts and the cash for the round is in a transparent
display case at the other end of the belt. When the round starts,
the belt starts to move the money and prizes towards the edge. The
contestant can answer questions as often as they can but cannot move
to the next question unless they get the current one right or they
pass on it. Should they pass, the belt speeds up a little. Any prizes
that go over the side are lost. If they fail to answer the right number
of questions before the cash falls over, the game ends, they lose
all the prizes...and they, themselves, are dropped via the harness
to the alley below (stopping about 15 feet before they hit). If they
get the right amount of questions right, the belt stops and whatever
prizes still on it are won, along with the money at the end.
The first round is worth $5000, the second $10,000. The third round
is worth $25,000 and is the "safety net" for the game, meaning
that, should the contestant lose any subsequent round, they still
keep the $25,000 (though, again, all physical prizes are lost). The
fourth round is for $50,000, then $100K and $250K. For the final round,
the contestant stands with the million dollars at the back of the
treadmill and must answer all ten questions right before the money
(and themselves) go over the side. If they succeed, they take home
the million and any prizes they won before. At the end of each round,
they can choose to leave with the money and prizes won.
In front of the contestant is a "panic button". If they
think they won't be able to complete the round in time, they can hit
the button. The cash is then placed back to its original place and
the round is tried again with a new category. However, they must sacrifice
something during that "redo". The first time it's pressed,
the contestant must put a "personal possession" on the belt
in front of the cash and must finish the round properly before it
drops in order to save it. The second time, a friend or family member
is likewise harnessed up and placed on the belt. The friend can help
the contestant for as long as they can; if they go over, they can
still give help until they are dropped to the alley. Even if the contestant
wins the round before the friend is dropped, the friend MUST be dropped
due to safety reasons. The "panic button" can only be used
twice during the game.
I willingly admit that holding the show on the roof of a 10-story
building IS unique. Americans do LOVE their crashes and booms, and
seeing things like photo equipment, a large cup of coffee and even
a faux car fall 100 feet to make a mighty fine crashing noise on the
pavement below...I'm sure it must've been heaven for some of the viewers.
Jericho was...decent. He studied the rules, I'm sure, and kept things
going at a steady clip. He wasn't BAD, per se. Just not...as phenomenal
as he was behind the mic in the WWE. I guess they chose him because
he WAS so popular in the wrestling ring...and they couldn't afford
to get Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to do it. He did his job
well and was enthusiastic about it so...no real harm there.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
The one thing I didn't mention was that the treadmill started at a
faster speed with every subsequent round. This means that, even if
the contestant rallied through the first six rounds, there was little-to-no
chance they could answer ten questions that quickly. Then again, given
the contestants they picked to be on the show, they probably wouldn't
even get past the fifth round at best.
Some of the prizes obscured the screen the questions were on as they
zipped by the contestant. You'd think that wouldn't matter much as
Jericho gives the question to start but seeing the question can make
things easier for some folks than just hearing it. They needed to
either have a monitor in front of the contestant or smaller prizes
to make it work.
One truly bad thing about the show was how it ended. Jericho kept
saying that the show was going to come back when it didn't. Not sure
if he REALLY liked the show and wanted it to keep going...or if just
didn't feel like going back to the WWE to earn a living.
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
The true downfall of "Downfall" was Fermantle's expectations
of Americans' love of destruction. Oh, sure, watching stuff break
into a million pieces was nice the first few times but, when they
figured out that this was the constant, things started to tank fast.
It wasn't a BAD show, really. It was just something that wouldn't
work in the long run...and, as such, would NOT do for a remake. "Nice
try" bin you go, Y2J.
NEXT TIME: Answer till you drop...or all your cash does, anyway...
Chris Wolvie can't count how many times he's been told, "Would
you PLEASE...SHUT...THE HELL...UP!!" (doesn't stop him, though).
Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie
and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.