The crowd screams, the confetti falls and the contestant looks shocked. They have reason to be stunned, too, as they’ve won the ultimate game-show prize. But once the spotlight turns off, what happens next to the lucky player and their spoils? Well, unfortunately, the reality isn’t quite as glamorous as the victory itself may seem on TV.
Game shows themselves have a long and fabled history, however. At first, they were a fixture of radio; as television technology became more readily available in the U.S, though, the format was adopted to the small screen too. And by the 1950s, game shows had become a staple on American TVs during the day and in primetime.
Today, series in which contestants play for prizes remain popular around the planet. Take the success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, for example. Since the show first hit screens in the U.K. in 1998, in excess of 100 versions have been made worldwide for different countries.