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Series / Schlag den Raab

A German game and/or reality show, well known internationally for being so ridiculous, that

  • A. They only do it 6 nights a year as a special.
  • B. It's live, and often takes all night to finish.
  • C. Its top prize has gotten to €3.5 million (and at our current exchange rate, that's about US$4.6 million!)
  • D. It only could have been the work of infamous entertainer Stefan Raab.

To start, viewers first vote on which one of the five potential contestants will actually get to play. Then, at a glance, the game itself seems simple: the contestant simply needs to beat Stefan Raab at things. The severity of these "things" however, vary widely. It might be trivia, it might be driving, it might be a mind puzzle, it might even be sports! Each match can go up to 15 rounds, with each round worth one point more than the last (but then again, the first round is only worth 1 point; you can probably infer what each round is worth, points-wise), the first to reach 61 points wins. If the contestant wins, they win big. If Raab wins, €500,000 is added to a Progressive Jackpot for next time.

The thing that will shock the people who have never heard of this show before, is the mere fact that it actually exists. There have been some international versions though. The Australian and British versions were known as "Beat the Star"; it toned down the idea by having lower stakes, not being live or 5 hours long, and using celebrities as opponents instead.

The celebrity version of the format was also used in Germany as Schlag den Star, positioning it as a lower stakes spin-off aired over the summer while the main version went on a slightly longer hiatus than usual. Following the series finale of the Raab version in 2015 as part of his retirement, Schlag den Star was upgraded into a live show to serve as its replacement.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game
  • Badass: Stefan Raab is 48 as of early 2015, yet has a record of 51-36 and has swept two competitors (one of the two being an olympic gold medalist). There is a reason candidates can earn so much money by beating him, because it is not an easy task.
  • Down to the Last Play: The 1-2-3...-15 scoring system is biased to create this. If played, Game 15 is generally of a showdown-y nature (eg: penalty shootout, 15-ball pool, putt-off).
  • Grand Finale: The series finale aired in December 2015, with a slightly different format. Instead of Raab playing against 1 person, Raab played against 15, with each win awarding €100,000 from the final €1.5 million jackpot. The rest was given to the winner of a final game played against the winners.
  • Golden Snitch: It takes a minimum of 11 rounds to win. Since that adds up to 66 points (and winning the first 10 games would only get you to 55 points), anything beyond Round 10 can easily be considered a Golden Snitch. Though, Raab has delivered 66-0 shutouts before.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The show has featured many mundane activities as head to head games, including screwing in lightbulbs, pricing cans of food with a price gun, and hammering nails into wood.
  • Progressive Jackpot: Increases by €500,000 every time it isn't won. The biggest jackpot in the show's history was €3.5 million euros.
    • Though, this isn't by far the biggest prize ever given away on a European game show: in 2001, someone on Miljoenenjacht (a game show run in conjunction with the Netherlands' postcode lottery) managed to win ƒ10,000,000 (which is about €4.53 million). Of course, these winnings were taxable, and this victory pre-dated both the official introduction of the Euro, and the show's current endgame (which you all know as Deal or No Deal)
    • As Germany does not tax game show winnings, the 3.5m is the highest prize after tax.
  • Spin-Off: In Germany, a lower-stakes version is also produced known as Schlag den Star, which is closer to the international versions (though, Raab is available as a Lifeline too.)