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Red or Black? (2011-) is a British Game Show (aired by ITV) created by infamous The X Factor/Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell; who has devised one of the most diabolical and incredibly easy ways of becoming a millionaire on national television: guess what color the ball on a giant roulette wheel will land in. If you're correct, you win £1 million. If you're not... well, you don't. Of course, in reality, there's quite of bit of work to do before one even makes it that far, as you have a 1 in 1000 chance of even making it that far; even if all of the prediction games you face along the way are only 1 in 2 chances.
There are 10 elimination rounds; all involving the outcome of an event (often involving celebrity guests) with a 50/50 outcome (with any needed choices being either made by the contestants or randomly forced upon them; that's how luck works). A group of 1,000 starts their game at Wembley Arena, where they must partake in 3 rounds to cut down the field. Then, the remaining players go to a second stage of rounds at a location elsewhere in England, eventually whittling the field down to 8 live in-studio contestants, who partake in challenges to get them down to two. The final two then partake in a final "Duel" round; which involved revealing pieces off an 8-segmented pie; whoever revealed their half of it first got to play for the million.
And then, the final player faced their destiny: a giant roulette wheel, 16 red spaces, 16 black. Pick the color the ball lands in correctly, you win. It's just that simple.
The show was a ratings success for ITV 1 (well, "success" being relative to how well ITV 1 usually does); during its original week-long event, ITV managed to get a larger audience share than BBC One on 5 out of 7 nights, topping out on its first live show with 6.93 million viewers, but progressively going down throughout the week. It was, well, definitely somewhat better than how they were doing the week before. Cowell apparently thinks it did well enough for him to take it abroad, but many critics didn't quite think so.
The show is expected to return in 2012 with some adjustments, including a progressive jackpot (which will start at half a million) and more "skill and judgement", whatever this entails.
Game Show Tropes in use:
This show provides examples of:
- Did Not Do the Research: The tabloids erupted with allegations that the game's first winner, Nathan Hageman, had served a five-year sentence for breaking into a man's house and assaulting the man inside it, and was also recently convicted of assaulting an ex-girlfriend. The Sun and Parliament member Hazel Blears called for the prize money to be forfeited, but Cowell disagreed.
- Downer Ending: Whenever the million was not won...which only happened three times.
- Luck-Based Mission: ...Perhaps "Luck-Based Quest" would be more appropriate.
- Product Placement: Most of the performers who appeared during the live portion of the show were ones discovered through Simon Cowell's other franchises; namely The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, and America's Got Talent.
- Two-Act Structure: The British version divided each episode into two halves: an hour-long show which detailed the elimination rounds, and then a half-hour live show with the final eliminations and the big spin (along with some performances to pad things out too).