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Audience Game
The audience game is a Filler segment on some game shows that gives members of the Studio Audience a chance to win a prize by playing a minigame (which is usually a shortened version of the bonus round or something related to the main game); the resulting prizes may not be as good as what the actual contestants were playing for (they might be small cash amounts or Consolation Prize-grade items), but at least it's something. Padding is a traditional justification for such a game, especially on game shows that straddled between episodes (or desperately tried to prevent it) when there was not enough time to start a new game, but sometimes it may just be for Rule of Fun.

Not to be confused with game shows that literally pick their contestants for the main game at random from the audience (e.g., The Price Is Right), see Audience Participation.

Examples:

  • Caesar's Challenge: Unscramble five-letter words to earn chocolate coins and casino tokens.
  • Classic Concentration had the bonus round, but played for cash instead.
  • The Jokers Wild had one in the 1980s; three audience members spun the reels for money, keeping what they won. The contestant with the largest amount got to play the Face the Devil bonus round.
  • On Lets Make A Deal, Monty Hall would traverse the trading floor at the end of the show to make quickie deals with some of the traders. Wayne Brady and his crew continue this tradition on the CBS show running now.
  • Match Game: An audience member was invited onstage to play a "Head-to-Head" match-type question, usually either with Richard Dawson (on the CBS and early syndicated episodes), or later with Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly or both. A correct guess won $50, and a wrong guess meant another player got to play. (Only games with correct matches – usually, just one – were kept.)
  • National Bingo Night subverted this by having the audience game directly impact the main player. The main player was on a Luck-Based Mission to fulfill a certain goal using drawn Bingo balls, while the audience actually played Bingo with the resulting numbers. If an audience member got a Bingo before the contestant met their goal, they lost the game...and if an audience member got a Bingo after the contestant met their goal, the contestant still lost.
  • Tic-Tac-Dough: For a time in the early 1980s, a "Dragon Finder's Game" was played – either after successful bonus rounds where the onstage contestant won (in which two audience members would be invited onstage to try to find the dragon from the remaining squares to win a cash prize of usually less than $500) or, if the game was played at the end of a Friday show where there wasn't enough time to start a new game, the two contestants would face a new bonus game board, with the first one to find the dragon winning.
  • Super Pay Cards: Study eight playing cards on a board, and recall where one of them was to win an appliance (based on the bonus round). This was included only in Canadian airings for Loophole Abuse surrounding CanCon rules. (The show was taped in Canada, but only The Announcer, who hosted the segment, was Canadian.)
  • What's My Line?: Starting during the 1970/71 season of the syndicated version, four audience members were invited onstage to play a game called "Who's Who?" The celebrity panel, one at a time, tried to match up a list of four careers with the correct person. For each celebrity that was wrong, the foursome each won $20, with a top prize of $80 for a complete stumper (along with a couple of small prizes, usually a supply of Turtle Wax car care products and Amity leather products).
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: As of the "shuffle" format on the U.S. version, an audience member plays a losing contestant's next question for $1,000 (or, for example on Disney Cruise week, an unclaimed vacation). The consolation prize was previously the Home Game, but got changed in 2012 to 20 free games on the show's Facebook app.

All or NothingGame Show TropesAudience Participation

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