What can be better than live television? That’s right, TV game shows! You’ll know what I’m talking about if you grew up watching them. The game is even better if the theme is trivia; you can play along and answer the questions too! If you haven’t watched TV in a while, it may surprise you to see which shows have changed and which stayed the same.
If you’re looking for something to watch, here is a list of trivia game shows that are currently on air. You can sit in front of the TV and yell out the correct answers with no shame!
What’s even better is that many of these shows are constantly working on new episodes and seasons. If you’re confident in your trivia knowledge, you can send in your applications and maybe even see yourself on the small screen! Or, at very least, get the at-home versions to enjoy with family and friends! Here is a list of the best trivia game shows that air in the United States.
Jeopardy! is one of the most iconic game shows on North American television. Surely, you’re familiar with the show! Originally, it was released in 1964. Then, the format changed and the show as we know it started running in 1984, and it’s not stopping anytime soon! Not with this much viewership, anyway.
Jeopardy! experienced so much success that it became a brand of its own. You can play the popular game on your phone and feel like a part of the show. Over 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy! have aired since its premiere. It is safe to say that Jeopardy! is among the best and most popular television shows in the US. Its success in North America led to regional adaptations of the show in other countries.
The premise of the show is trivia, but backwards. The contestants are given a clue in the form of an answer, and they have to present their answer in the form of a question. In a nutshell, the point of the game is to guess the question to the answer given.
There are three contestants that compete in three rounds of the game. The format is the same in the first two rounds, though the prices are doubled in the second round. The last round, also known as Final Jeopardy, comes down to one last question that requires the contestants to write down their response with a monetary bid.
The show always welcomes a returning champion who competes with the new contestants too. The questions cover all classic general knowledge topics, including history and current events, pop culture, literature and languages, and more.
The game relies heavily on puns and wordplay. If you’re not a wordsmith yourself, you would probably have a tough time playing. Themes are also an important part of the game.
They invite everybody to audition on the official website of the game show and take part in the next season of Jeopardy! The website also has a special audition test for college students who want to get their college loans paid off. Even if you’re not a student, though, if you could benefit from some extra cash, don’t hesitate to fill out the form on the website. You can get some insights on what it’s like to win Jeopardy!, too!
And if you can’t make it on? So what! Play one of the numerous board games out there.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? also known simply as Millionaire, is an international TV game show of British origin. The original British version premiered in 1998, and the US version followed just one year later. The series as we know it premiered in 2000. Millionaire was canceled in North America in 2019, but the show was renewed in 2020 with a brand new season.
The USA was not the only one to follow the Brits. Around 160 countries worldwide have adopted the show and recreated it for their market. In North America, contestants get a chance to win a cash prize of $1,000,000. In fact, Millionaire was the first US network game show to offer such a big cash prize. The show quickly gained popularity and won several awards. It is considered one of the best game shows in America.
The format of the game is quite simple. One contestant goes on the show and answers 15 multiple-choice questions. If they can answer all of them correctly, they win the highest cash prize. There is no time limit for questions, but the contestant has to answer all of them consecutively. The questions get more difficult and the prize for each correct answer increases.
If the contestant answers one question incorrectly, the game is over. In that case, they get to walk away with their cash prize reduced by one level. They can also stop playing at any point and walk away with the money they’ve won so far. Celebrities have taken part in the game too. If a celebrity wins, the money is usually donated to a charity of their choosing.
Cash Cab is another television game show that originated in the UK. In the US, the show premiered in 2005. The original run ended in 2012, but the show was renewed in 2017. It moved to Bravo in 2019 and continues to experience high viewership.
There was a short spin-off called Cash Cab: After Dark. The premise was that the contestants were picked up late at night and the questions were more difficult. As a result, contestants were given more prize money for each question. The spin-off only ran for nine episodes.
Many of you are probably familiar with Cash Cab! The contestant gets picked up by a cab, at which point they have to decide if they want to play or not. If they choose to play, they get to name their destination and be driven there while being asked trivia questions. The cab doesn’t stop until the destination is reached unless the contestant answers three questions incorrectly.
If the contestant gets three strikes (or three incorrect answers) they have to get out of the car and forfeit all of their winnings. If they get to their destination before getting three strikes, they get to keep the winnings. Simple, right? The first five questions cost $50. The prize per question goes all the way up to $200, so you can walk away with a load of cash!
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
The show premiered back in 2007. In 2019, the show was revived on Nickelodeon with John Cena as the new host. That move made sense for the network and the show, as Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? features elementary school-level trivia.The format has been picked up by many other countries and has enjoyed lots of success overseas and in the US.
The premise of the show is very similar to Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The game features one contestant at a time and said contestant gets to play to win the highest prize of $1,000,000. Contrary to what you may think, the questions get quite difficult.
Only two people have won the highest prize so far. In order to win, you have to answer all 11 questions correctly. They can be answered in any order. The questions are taken from elementary school textbooks, hence the name Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Each question answered correctly increases the amount you can win. The contestant can opt out at any point and walk away with their winnings. However, if they get a question wrong, the game is over. The contestant can ask a “classmate” for help. The role of the “classmate” is given to one of the five crew members who are all in elementary school.
Most people come on the show feeling very confident and walk away feeling, for lack of a better phrase, not smarter than a 5th grader. Not being smarter than a 5th grader is one thing players have to shamefully admit if they lose or want to end the game. Even though the title of being smarter doesn’t seem out of reach, the game is surprisingly difficult.
The Chase is another television game show that was adapted from Britain. In the US, the show premiered in 2013. A new prime-time version of The Chase is due to come out in January of 2021. The Chase received many praises for being quite interesting and fast-paced, unlike many other game shows of the same genre.
In the game, a team of three players competes against the chaser for a cash prize. Each member of the team tries to win money for the team individually, and then all the winnings are split equally among the three members.
The game starts with a Cash Builder round, where each team member has to answer as many questions as they can in 60 seconds. The chaser starts a few points behind the contestant and their goal is to overpass them and win. The contestants can choose to start way ahead of the chaser but compete for a smaller amount of money. They can also start closer to the chaser and win a bigger sum.
If the contestant successfully passes the round and manages to stay ahead of the chaser, their winnings are added to the winnings of the team. In the end, every contestant that passed their individual test gets to join the team in the last round called the Final Chase. The team answers questions as a whole and splits the prize equally.
If not a single team member was successful in their individual chase, the team chooses one person to represent everyone in the Final Chase. That person can then win the lowest cash prize to split with their team members.
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune, or simply Wheel, is not exactly a trivia game. It is more of a word game or a puzzle with trivia elements. The game is presented in the format of Hangman, where you have to figure out the word or phrase on the board.
The game debuted in 1975 and switched to its current format in 1983. Wheel holds the status of the longest running syndicated game show in the US. And the show’s success doesn’t stop there! There have been 60 international adaptations of Wheel of Fortune, so many countries get to enjoy their own version of the game to this day.
Each game has three contestants or, sometimes, two groups of two contestants each. The contestants get to guess the letters and spin the wheel of fortune to determine what prizes and cash they will get their hands on. The game is relatively simple, and the contestants rely more on luck rather than knowledge.
The Price is Right
The Price is Right deserves an honorable mention, even though it’s also not a traditional trivia game. In this game show, the contestants have to guess the prices of merchandise. Perhaps some contestants use their knowledge of consumer items, while others rely solely on luck. The Price is Right is trivia for those who like to shop.
The game premiered in 1972. The famous host of the game, Bob Barker, retired in 2007 and was replaced by comedian Drew Carey. The Price is Right is one of the longest-running network series in the US. It is truly an iconic game show that is often referred to as one of the best in its genre.
Contestants are chosen from the live studio audience during the game. Usually, six or nine contestants compete until two are left. The finalists proceed to compete in the final Showcase. Contestants are shown an item and they have to give an estimate that is as close to the correct retail price as possible without going over. There is a bonus for guessing the exact price.
Contrary to what it sounds like, it’s not all pricing merchandise. The Price is Right actually consists of several pricing games. Contestants participate in challenges and competitions, and accumulate winnings throughout the game.
Family Feud has a long history, much like The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune. The original run of the show began all the way back in 1976. The series became the number one game show in daytime television within a year of its premiere. However, not much later, ratings started to fall as people started looking for a different kind of entertainment on TV. The show was revived in 1988 on CBS. The current run began in 1999.
In 2010, the game show started gaining popularity again. It was named one of the best game shows on US television and spawned regional adaptations in 50 different countries. Family Feud became a franchise when a Family Feud board game, an interactive film, and a video game all came out.
The gameplay is a bit more complex than just a good old game of trivia. The contestants have to guess the most popular answers to questions that were posed to a group of people. It is an interesting spin on trivia, with more of a “guessing game” format.
Two families get to come on the show and compete against each other. Each family is allowed to have five contestants. The game starts when the host asks the first question. The two families then have to guess the most common answer. The first team to reach a certain point total wins the game. 300 points is the most common goal, though it varies from game to game.
If you answer a question incorrectly or cannot answer in the given time limit, you get a strike. If you get three strikes, the opposing family has a chance to steal your points. If you think of the game in terms of trivia, all the questions are similar to tie-breakers. You are not likely to learn the exact answer somewhere, but you can pick your brain and try to get as close to the answer as possible.
The Joker’s Wild
The Joker’s Wild is also referred to as Joker! Joker! Joker! Unlike Family Feud and The Price is Right, this game is focused on classic trivia. The show’s slot machine gets to decide what category the question will be in.
The show first aired in 1972. There was a version just for children that only ran from 1979 to 1981. In 2017, Snoop Dogg became the host and contributed to the show’s rising success.
The gameplay is very simple; contestants answer trivia questions posed by the host. There are always two contestants, one of which is a returning champion. There are five trivia categories and a joker, which is equivalent to a wild card. The slot machine generates up to three different categories and the contestants can choose from them.
Naturally, if they answer the question correctly, points are awarded to them. If they answer incorrectly, their opponent gets the chance to steal the money by answering the question for them. You can win the game by being the first one to get to $500.
Here’s a summary of all the shows I just discussed. Pick your favorite and get watching!
|Game Show||Network||Frequency of Airtime||Quiz Style/Subject Matter||Top Prize||Number of Players|
|Jeopardy!||ABC, NBC||2 episodes each weekday||Contestants are given a clue in the form of an answer and they have to guess the question||The highest prize of $4,688,436 was won by Brad Rutter||3|
|Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?||GSN, ABC||Every weekday||Contestant must answer all 15 multiple-choice questions consecutively||$1,000,000||1|
|Cash Cab||Bravo||Daily strips||Contestant answers questions until they reach their destination or get 3 strikes||Maximum prize per question is $200||1|
|Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?||ABC, GSN||Once a week||Contestant must answer all 11 questions from elementary school textbooks consecutively||$1,000,000||1|
|The Chase||ABC, GSN||Every weekday||Contestants must answer questions faster than the chaser||$1,000,000||3|
|Wheel of Fortune||CBS, NBC, TNT, TRT 1||Every weekday||Similar to Hangman||$1,000,000||3|
|The Price is Right||CBS||Every weekday||Contestants must accurately guess the price of merchandise||The highest prize of over $262,000 in cash and prizes was won by Michael Stouber||6 or 9|
|Family Feud||CBS||Monday to Saturday, 5PM, 5:30PM, 7PM, 7:30PM, 8PM, 8:30PM||Contestants have to guess the most popular answers to questions||The grand prize for winning Fast Money is $20,000||2 families of 5|
|The Joker’s Wild||CBS, TBS, TNT||Every week||Contestants answer trivia questions in 6 categories||$1,000,000||2|
Try Your Luck At Your Favorite Game Show!
Given the fact that you are on a trivia website, I am going to assume that you are a fan of trivia yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re a player or a watcher; there are so many ways to enjoy trivia! You’ve probably played the odd trivia board game or watched some shows on this list. Either way, you know good trivia!
If you’re ever bored, look back at this list and find something fun to watch. And if you’re feeling extra courageous, check out your favorite show’s website and audition for a role in the series! If you’re in the search for more trivia-related entertainment, check out our list of trivia podcasts as well! Which of these shows is your guilty pleasure? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!