What do you get when you take a person, a chair, a pit that probably represents Hell, and someone who's practically TheDevil himself (well, in the world of UsefulNotes/{{tennis}} anyway)? You get this short-lived Creator/{{ABC}} GameShow hosted by tennis analyst and former player John [=McEnroe=], who was best known for several infamous on-court confrontations during major tournaments.

Contestants were asked a variety of questions while seated in the titular chair (which was elevated above a giant pit they entered the studio from), going up a money ladder of seven questions which added to the player's bank (which began at $5,000 and could go up to $250,000). However, contestants were analyzed prior to the show to gauge their reaction to sudden events, and to establish their resting heart rate. If a contestant's heart rate went a certain percentage over their resting heart rate at any time after a question was read (starting at 60% or 70% above, referred to in-game as "redlining"), the contestant's bank would begin to drain of money at a rate of $100 per second, and lost permission to answer until they got back under their threshold (or until their bank reached $0, instantly ending the game).

The rate of deduction and the redline threshold also increased and decreased respectively throughout the game. To make things even ''more'' interesting, two "Heartstopper" rounds were played in between questions; the player had to endure a random event of NightmareFuel for 15 seconds, such as a fake alligator lowered from the ceiling or [=McEnroe=] [[CastingGag serving tennis balls at them]], while still subject to the redlining rule. If the player was over their threshold after time expired, their bank would still go down until they cool down.

The show wasn't a hit, and it had to compete with Fox's even ''more'' diabolical ''Series/TheChamber''. Neither lasted long, but ''The Chair'' at least did relatively better.
!!GameShowTropes in use:
* DeadlyGame: In the vein of one, but not quite that deadly.
* {{Lifelines}}:
** The Stabilizer, earned after the third question, allowed the player to set their own cash checkpoint in case they answered a question wrong. However if they redlined their bank below this checkpoint, said checkpoint would ''also'' go down.
** After the fourth question, a player could give back the $25,000 they earned on it and keep their redline heart rate unchanged for the next question. Very rarely (if ever) used.
* Personnel:
** GameShowHost: John [=McEnroe=].
** StudioAudience
* WhoWantsToBeWhoWantsToBeAMillionaire: Aired by the same network as ''Millionaire'' and had a considerably lower cash prize, but still has a money ladder, lifelines, a scary and glitzy set, and debuted during the renaissance period. Unlike ''Millionaire'', however, ''The Chair'' used a variety of different question styles instead of just multiple-choice, including observation, lists and timelines.
!!This show provides examples of:
* CatchPhrase: "You may (not) answer this question."
* CoolChair: The titular Chair is in fact pretty cool looking, actually.
* EpicFail: Happened at both ends of the game. One player made it through six questions with a bank of nearly $125,000, then redlined it all away on the last question. Another redlined as soon as [=McEnroe=] finished asking the first question, never got their heart rate down, and went broke in 50 seconds.
* TheStoic: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by the show's very premise, which forced the contestants to stay as calm as possible.
** NotSoStoic: Also invoked, as contestants could drop the calm act as soon as their game ended. At least one contestant managed to win the top prize, and immediately went from stoic to ecstatic.
* TransatlanticEquivalent: A very faithful British adaptation ran on [[Creator/TheBBC BBC One]] from 31 August to 9 November 2002, with a top prize of £50,000. [=McEnroe=] also hosted the British version; surely anyone who's played UsefulNotes/{{Wimbledon}} would be well known to British sports fans, right? (Paul Hendy did the unaired {{Pilot}}).