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Series / America Says

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Guessing how America filled in the blanks.

GSN Original Game Show that marries Family Feud, Match Game and Talk About to create a format that challenges contestants to match America on a series of survey questions as quickly as possible.

Two teams of four take alternating turns attempting to clear a board containing the top seven answers to a survey posed to an unidentified number of Americans (ex. "We asked America... when I think of TV Tropes, I think of _____"). The first letter of each answer is given, with the length of the blank indicating how long the word is; multi-word answers will have the first letter of each word listed. Each team has 30 seconds to guess as many answers to the question as possible, one player at a time. Each player is allowed to continue guessing as long as he or she gives right answers; once a wrong answer is given, play passes to the next player on that team. A 5 second penalty is assessed to the team if any player who talks out of turn. The round continues until the 30 seconds have expired or a team sweeps the board. Each correct answer is worth 100 points; clearing the board earns the full 700 points plus an additional 1,000 point bonus.


If a team leaves any answers on the board, the opposing team then has a chance to guess the remaining answers for 100 points apiece, and may continue to do so until they get one wrong or finish the board.

Three rounds are played, with the second round being worth double and the third worth triple. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins $1,000 and advances to the Bonus Round where they have a chance to split a $15,000 grand prize.


We asked America: "When I think of tropes that America Says provides examples of, I think of..."

  • Actor Allusion: One episode pitted fans of Best in Show against fans of the Pitch Perfect series—both of which featured host John Michael Higgins.
  • All or Nothing: Only the winners get paid... and a flat $1,000 at that, regardless of the number of points scored.
  • Bonus Round: The team is given 60 seconds to complete four additional survey questions. The first has one top answer, the second has two, etc. for a total of 10 answers, only one of which usually presents a significant amount of difficulty. The main game rules (including the 5 second out of turn penalty) are enforced. If a team gets stuck on a question, they may hit a Skip button located in the center of the play area; however they may only use it once and must come back and answer the skipped question at the end of the round. The clock only stops when a board is cleared or the Skip button is pressed. Answering all four survey questions within the time limit wins the $15,000.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "We asked America..."
    • "When I think of [topic], I think of 'blank'."
  • Double The Dollars: The second round is worth double the points (for a potential maximum of 3,400 points); the third round is worth triple (up to 5,100 points).
  • Game Show Host: John Michael Higgins.
  • The Load: Usually, teams that have a teammate call an answer out of turn try to be more careful at least for the rest of the current round, but in at least one episode, one of the team members called an answer out of turn three times in a row (despite John saying "out of turn" increasingly louder each time) during the bonus round, ensuring that the team wouldn't win the episode.
  • Middle Name Basis: Although he is credited by his full name, most contestants address John as Michael.
  • Nintendo Hard: The bonus round is borderline unwinnable in most situations. Guessing ten correct answers in a mere minute is a lot harder than it sounds - considering that it only allows for an average of six seconds to be spent on each answer, getting stuck on even one is practically a guaranteed death sentence. To add insult to injury, the Skip is absolutely worthless as assistance, since it only allows teams to move on to the next question: they still have to come back to the question they used the Skip on if they have time, and it’s highly unlikely the team would have had any epiphanies when they’ve been dealing with other questions in the interim. Astute viewers have picked up on the fact that, on the very few occasions where the bonus round was won, the questions were significantly easier and the answers noticeably more obvious than usual, leading many to conclude that the game is deliberately Unwinnable by Design until the producers feel it’s time for someone to win.
  • Non Standard Game Over: It is not uncommon for the final round to start with the team in the lead, who can then potentially reach a lead that would be insurmountable by the trailing team in their portion of the round and cause the game to end early.
  • Press X to Die: Giving a (correct or incorrect) response that the other team has already given at any time. John usually responds to this with something along the lines of: "Well, the other team said that already, but maybe it's worth another shot?".
  • Timed Mission: The opening parts of each round, as well as the bonus round.