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Series / Shafted

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Short-lived ITV Game Show, hosted by former Labour Party MP Robert Kilroy-Silk, and seemingly trying to cash in on the "quiz shows with a format designed to provoke conflict between its contestants" genre popularized by The Weakest Link.

The game begins with six contestants, who may start with a bank of their choice of up to £25,000. Except that the greediest of the contestants is eliminated on the spot, so it actually starts with five. The contestants are then asked to wager on a question, and whoever makes the largest bid has to answer it. However, only half of the question is revealed at first. After each round (which consists of as many questions as there are contestants remaining), the leader gets to eliminate one other contestant of their choice, and everyone else's bank is evened out to that of the leader. In the second round, each contestant also gets a "Shift" they can use to pass the question onto someone else.

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When it gets to the final two, they are asked but one question: whether to share, or to shaft. Or in other words, it's the Prisoner's Dilemma.

Shafted only lasted four episodes before it got the shaft itself; ratings nosedived after the premiere, plus there were many complaints about the backstab-driven mechanics of the game itself. Despite this, they did manage to sell the format to Australia's Nine Network — which added a few additional elements, such as a special returning champion mechanic known as the "Master Shafter" (where contestants who won via shafting could secretly return for the next episode to win more).

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This series provides examples of

  • Catchphrase
    • "Their fate is in each others' hands as they decide whether to share, or to shaft." Plus the associated hand motions.
    • "You're off the show!"
  • Never Trust a Title: Apparently there were complaints to the ITC about the title of the show, presumably concerned that it involved penises rather than backstabbing.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Australian version, initially, told the contestants who the Master Shafter was off the bat. Predictably, they ended up becoming an easy target for elimination. After the producers realised this, the Master Shafter was no longer revealed to the remaining contestants.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: The endgame; the final leaders' total can either be shared between the final two players, or if one user calls "Shaft", they take it for themselves. If both contestants choose "Shaft", they get nothing.
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  • Who Wants to Be "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?": From the network that premiered it, no less.
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