There was a game show that I once preferred over the 11 o’clock news. It was called “Cash Cab” and followed the trivial adventures of a special cab where the driver would pick up random people (usually couples) and during the drive to their destination a game of what amounted to Trivial Pursuit was played. Actual cash money was awarded based on the correct answers. But three strikes and you were out — and out of the cab. If you did well enough to hang around, right before the end of the ride you would have the chance to keep your winnings or try for a double or nothing question.
The creators of “Cash Cab” are trying something new — “Cash Lift.” It will air on the Discovery Go channel. The rules are similar, but the game is closer to “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” than “Jeopardy.” Players get asked a question at every floor, and a wrong answer will get you booted off the elevator. The top level, should you reach it, is worth $1000 to you. Instead of some creepy peeps hanging around an elevator, there is a special intercom and camera system in the “Cash Lift” elevator to alert the unsuspecting players. I guess if you don’t want to play you have to find another lift.
There are two “lifeline” options available during the game. One is the call-a-friend option and the second allows you to throw out the question and move to the next one. The questions have 4 multiple choice options for each question, identical to “Millionaire.” There is also the “locked winning” level where you cannot lose your winnings after reaching a certain level. Unfortunately, there is only one locked level, so it basically amounts to an all-or-nothing scenario after the 3rd floor. Copying from “Cash Cab” there is the double or nothing option once you hit the 10th floor, the end of the ride if you answer all the questions correctly and bank $1000.
Comedians Alex Weber and Zainab Johnson are the unseen hosts of the show and they have the right personalities to make the show watchable. The elevator will stop once or twice during the upward ride and there are people who appear with clues to the answer of the next question. There are 5 shows that have been completed and can be seen at https://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/cash-lift/.
Is the show worth your investment in time? Like “Cash Cab” it really depends on whether you like comparing your trivia knowledge to that of the players. The questions are not Jeopardy-level but some are sure to have you stumped. Like “Cash Cab”, the success of the show depends largely on the personalities of the players. Maybe part of the attraction to the show is that like “Millionaire”, Jeopardy”, and “Cash Cab” you get to howl at the screen when a player misses a question so obvious the kid who graduated last in your high school class could have answered it correctly.
With only 5 episodes scheduled for airing, and all of them available online, it seems this is a test run to gauge audience interest and its potential for a longer run of episodes. When I used to watch “Cash Cab” it was to wind down at the end of the day with some relatively mindless TV program. If there are enough people like me, who loathe watching late night shows become they have become so political as to be unbearable, putting “Cash Lift” in a competing slot may be just what the doctor ordered.