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Series / Inquizition

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"You are about to be witness to an examination. Several of you have decided to try your skills against the participants. But be you player or spectator, be prepared, for you have just been invited ... to an Inquizition."
—Opening narration, as spoken by the Inquizitor.

Game Show that aired on GSN from 1998-2001, produced by Sande Stewart (son of Bob Stewart) and set in an unnamed foreign dictatorship. The host fired a series of general-knowledge trivia questions at four contestants, each with three possible answers (A, B, and C, with C always being "None of the Above") and roughly three seconds to answer each question.

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The game was divided into three rounds, after each one contestant would be eliminated. The Inquizitor would say something like "This round's time has expired, Mr. ________, and so has yours. PLEASE LEAVE NOW!" It was implied that each eliminated contestant was killed off-screen in various manners. For example, at the beginning of a round a wolf's howl might be heard in the background. The Inquizitor might say something like "Ah...my pets are hungry. We must not keep them waiting. Shall we begin?".

The remaining contestant would be rewarded onscreen with the Inquizitor saying "Mr./Ms. ________, you have proven yourself superior to your fellow men. You may take your papers and leave. This completes tonight's Inquizition." Off-screen, the winning contestant would win some money and/or prizes mentioned in the end credit crawl.

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There was also a phone-in game where four callers would compete in the same format along with the contestants, their names and scores shown at the bottom of the screen.

Originally, the contestants were dressed as they were and played for $250. By 2000, they began wearing uniforms and playing for $500.


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This show provides examples of:

  • Advertising Campaigns: Between Seasons 2 and 3, GSN ran a series of promos which started out as a normal ad for the new season, when the signal would be interrupted by a fictional former contestant named Amy MacGuffin who complained that she was mistreated on the show and threatened to show a picture of the Inquizitor's face if she didn't get an apology from him. She would shout out the address for her site "exposetheinquizitor.com" just before the signal went back to the original promo.
    • After a few regular commercials aired, Michael Fleming (President of GSN at the time) came on and apologized for the disturbance, then insisted viewers ignore her website and enjoy the upcoming new episodes of Inquizition.
  • Catchphrase: If a question was missed by all the contestants, the Inquizitor would often utter, "Universal ignorance." or "Equal ineptitude." If only one contestant got a question correct, the Inquizitor might say, "Congratulations, Mr./Ms. ________, you are correct." If a contestant did not lock in an answer at all, the Inquizitor would say, "Hit your button, Mr./Ms. ________!"
  • Character as Himself
  • Crossover: A question on Hollywood Showdown (also a Sande Stewart/GSN show) offered "The Inquizitor" as a choice for the star of the movie The Man Without a Face.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Inquizitor. If all four contestants missed a knowledge question, and then correctly answered a pop-culture question, the Inquizitor would say something along the lines of "Oh, we do know our sitcom characters, don't we?"
  • Elimination Catchphrase: "This round's time has expired, Mr. ________, and so has yours. PLEASE LEAVE NOW!"
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Inquizitor, whose face was never seen on-camera — and whose identity is still uncertain.
  • Kangaroo Court
  • Meaningful Name: Amy MacGuffin.
  • Tagline: "1 Question. 3 Possible answers. Decide quickly."
  • Vanity License Plate: In another ad, the Inquizitor rode a motorcycle with the license plate "I QUIZ U".

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