Why ‘The Chase’ Will Never Match ‘Jeopardy!’
American game shows usually have simple premises. They’re set up so that you can turn on your television, and even if you’ve never seen the show before, you can instantly grasp what’s happening and sit down and watch. Such is the case with Jeopardy!, the iconic trivia show that new series The Chase is tying itself to. If only The Chase wasn’t so unnecessarily complicated and gimmicky.
The Chase makes no secret that it’s riding Jeopardy!‘s coattails. The second American attempt at adapting the popular UK series employs the three stars of the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament: Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Brad Rutter. It also aired the night before late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek‘s final episode. Because of this, viewers will find it hard to keep from comparing to the fan-favorite Jeopardy!.
At the end of the day the goal is the same for both shows, which is to answer trivia questions correctly. After a lightning round of questions, each of the three contestants faces off against a Chaser, where with every right answer they move closer to winning their money. But if they get enough questions wrong, the Chaser, who is also answering questions, might be able to catch them. The contestants who don’t get caught then team up for another lightning round, but if the Chaser answers more questions right than they do, they lose their money.
This is complex enough, but The Chase then also adds many unnecessary and distracting elements. For instance, when not competing, the other two Chasers sit in a room making snarky comments; in the second phase, the Chaser might offer money incentives for the contestant to move closer to or further away from the pot (think of the role of the Banker in Deal or No Deal); during the final lightning round, if the Chaser gets a question wrong, the clock gets stopped so that the contestants have a chance to answer it and gain further ground away from the Chaser.
If you’re feeling a little lost, you’re probably not alone. A chance to face off with some of the most well known trivia buffs is a good premise for a game show, it just needs to cut the fat.
The Chase, Thursdays, 9/8c, ABC