Cha$e was a short lived reality game show that aired on the Sci Fi Channel between November 11 and December 16, 2008, based on the Japanese show Run For Money Tousouchuu. It was paired with the spooky game/reality show hybrid Estate of Panic. While never officially canceled, both shows seemed to just drop off the network and were never spoken about again. No official word has come from Sci Fi on the fate of the show, and so most assume it to be canceled.
Cha$e was intended to be a "real life video game", in which contestants, or "runners", are supposed to run around inside a set area, while "hunters", which are the paid actors, chase them. If the hunters tag a runner, that runner is removed from the game and loses all their earned money. The hunters are supposed to be the video game enemies, and can only chase people when they are in line of sight, and breaking line of sight for a while will make them give up the chase. The runners are also equipped with video-game like weapons, such as the "Sonic Stunner" which makes hunters freeze in place, or the "Deflector", which makes them stop, turn around, and walk the other direction.
The runners are given two optional objectives during the course of each game, which may give them a nice bonus (such as a weapon as listed above), or be something that is almost necessary (like turning off a homing beacon that is attached to them).
The goal is to survive for 60 minutes, then be the first to reach the exit. The first person to reach the exit wins $25,000, while everyone else receives nothing.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- All or Nothing: You win no money unless you last the entire 60 minutes and escape for $25,000, or take the bailout for significantly less.
- Bonus Space: 25 "money flags" were distributed throughout the play area; getting to the exit with any resulted in an additional $1,000 per flag, making the possible payout $50,000. No one even got close to winning it, though.
- Game Show Host/The Announcer: Trey Farley.
- Lifelines: The weapons.
This show provides examples of:
- Graceful Loser: Many of the players who don't win count as this. It's most evident in episode 2, as Tyler, who was a Jerkass throughout the episode, recognized why he lost and Dianne won, while Paul pointed out how the smallest player ended up winning and this showed how much fun the game could be.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The entire premise.
- Lucky Charms Title: Cha$e, spelled with the dollar sign.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Some of the "optional" side missions are like this. What's that, you don't want to go to this location and swipe a card? Okay, then we'll turn on a homing beacon that will make every single Hunter on the field of play chase you AND ONLY YOU down.
- Opt Out: Used as a game play mechanic. Once per game, players are given the option to opt out of the game, receiving a much smaller but guaranteed bonus ($2,000 or so as opposed to $25,000 for winning), but only one player per game is allowed.
- Permanently Missable Content: Players only have a limited amount of time to complete the optional side missions, and once that time has passed, any reward that went unclaimed is gone forever. In addition, if no one makes it to the Goal before the 60 minutes is up (the goal opens with 5-10 minutes remaining), then no one wins.
- Real Life: The theme of the show is a video game that takes place in real life, where the runners are the players and the hunters are the computer controlled enemies.
- Robo Cam: the Hunters.
- Special Guest: Professional wrestler Ricky Ortiz was a guest Hunter in the Universal Studios Backlot episode.
- The Stoic: With the exception of guest hunter Ricky Ortiz, all hunters were always serious. They also showed no emotion, with the exception of Hunter Icey, who before being released from her cage, showed anger at contestant Haben for blowing a kiss at her.
- Too Awesome to Use: Some of the bonus items are hoarded by the players. A good example is the Invisibility Glasses, which last for two minutes - even with only two minutes left in the game, players keep them just in case.
- Too Dumb to Live: The "Nerds vs Beauties" episode. Probably by and far the quickest the runners have been caught. Near the end of the game, one of the clues was to not hang around a certain area. One of the Nerds, thinking himself smart, does the opposite. While he avoids being caught, since he is in the wrong area, he is too far to reach the Goal gate when the time runs out, plus he was the only player left in the game. It was the only episode where there was no winner.
- There's also the fact how, in that same episode, several players completely forgot they had a Freeze Ray weapon to use against the hunters.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Several players throughout the series will taunt the Hunters after using one of their defensive weapons on them.
- The Voiceless: The hunters never spoke a word. Guest hunter Ricky Ortiz, though, was quite talkative.