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Series / Street Smarts

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Game Show hosted by comedian Frank Nicotero which ran in syndication from 2000-05. In this show, contestants try to predict whether ordinary people on the street get certain trivia questions right or wrong. The game consisted of four prediction rounds.

Round 1: Who Knew It?

A single question was asked to all three of the "Street Savants", one (sometimes two) of whom got the question right. Correctly predicting which one got it right awarded $100.

Round 2: Who Blew It?

Similar to the first, except this time the question was only asked to two of the "savants" at a time (one of whom answered correctly) and the contestants have to pick who got it wrong. A correct prediction awarded $200, and this round introduced the "Dunce Cap" (see below).

Round 3: Pick Your Pony/Brain

Both players (starting with the one in the lead, or in the case of a tie, determined by a coin toss backstage) pick a different Savant and have to predict whether they got each of three questions right or wrong. A correct prediction awarded $300, and the Dunce Cap can be used regardless of whether it was used in Round 2.


Final Round: The Wager Of Death

Both players secretly choose a Savant, predict whether they would be right or wrong on one final question, and then make a wager not to exceed their current total. Unlike Pick Your Pony/Brain, both contestants can pick the same savant in this round. As you'd expect, a correct prediction adds the wager to their score while a wrong prediction deducts it. After this round, the player with more money keeps it (even if it's $1) while the losing player gets nothing.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Lifelines: Used in Rounds 2-3. Upon hearing a question they think the opponent is unable to answer, a contestant may buzz in and place a dunce cap on their opponent's head and force them to answer the question; hopefully, the player who was "dunced" (as it was sometimes called in-show) got it wrong, thus giving the player who buzzed in bonus cash. However...
    • Whammy: This backfired if the opposing player gave the right answer, thus earning the bonus themselves. They got to add insult to injury by placing the Dunce Cap on the challenger's head instead.
  • Personnel:

This show provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Frank's interviewees would occasionally be invited as contestants.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: It's basically "Jaywalking" as a Game Show.
  • Downer Ending: If both players end the game with $0, they both get nothing. It happened at least three times.
  • Dunce Cap: See the Lifeline above.
  • First Season Weirdness: In the first season of Street Smarts, contestants sat in chairs in the studio and gave answers to questions using a mechanical trilion (For Who Knew It?/Who Blew It?), a paddle with "Right/Wrong" on either side (for Pick Your Pony!), and wrote down their predictions and wager for The Wager Of Death. Starting in the second season, the contestants stood behind podiums and locked in answers by pushing buttons.
  • Flawless Victory: The highest possible score is $4,600, which aside from the obvious (making every prediction correct in every round and going All or Nothing on the Wager of Death) required winning both Dunce Cap questions.
  • Golden Snitch: Much like Jeopardy!, the player in second place could win if the leader wagered enough on a bad prediction. Of course, this usually would only happen if the leader had no more than twice the second player's total.
  • Grand Finale: The final season had the winner be given the option of keeping the winnings or forfeiting them to return for $100,000 Tournament The last episode was the last two players competing for that grand prize.
  • Sudden Death: If there was a tie on anything other than $0, the players played a single question under modified "Dunce Cap" rules: when a player buzzed in, they could play (but must answer based only on what they heard to that point) or pass to the other player (but let them hear the entire question before answering). Get it right and you win, get it wrong and you're out.


Example of: