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Series / The Wall

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An NBC Game Show in which a couple play against a gigantic pachinko machine for a melodramatic chance at "life-changing" money. With Chris Hardwick, and LeBron James producing for some reason.

The first round is a qualifier round called Free Fall; a couple is asked five questions with two answers each. On each question, three balls are released, and the players have until any ball falls past the top edge of a slot to lock in. If they answer correctly, the balls turn green and the amounts they hit (arranged Plinko style, with higher amounts near the middle and a $25,000 maximum) are added to the bank. If they're wrong, the balls go red and the amounts they hit are deducted. The only requirement is that the contestants must end the round with at least $1 in their bank in order to continue in the game.

Starting with Season 4, the team can choose to double the total value of any one question by pressing a gold "Free Fall Plus" disk while the balls are falling.

At the start of the second round, one teammate is put in a Sound Proof Booth behind the Wall to answer the upcoming questions, and seven green ballsnote , one from each tube, are played in a "SuperDrop" to add money to the bank. Three questions are then played, each with three multiple-choice answers. Before each question, the onstage player is shown the three possible answers, and can choose which of the seven tubes at the top of the board to use for launching a ball. Now, lower values are primarily near the left of the board, and higher values (maximum $250,000 in seasons 1-3, $150,000 in season 4) are near the right — so the player must choose a tube accordingly based on their confidence in the possible question under the presumption that the balls would likely fall into a slot near where it was dropped. Dropped balls turn green for a correct answer, or red for a miss. On the second and third questions, the onstage player can "Double Up" (play two balls) or "Triple Up" (play three balls), respectively. A negative SuperDrop is played after the third question to reduce the bank. Starting in Season 5, the player is given an additional "Wall to Wall" option on the third question, which lets them play one ball from every tube as in the SuperDrop.

The third round is played the same way, except that there are four green and four red balls at the start and end, with the contestant choosing which tubes to drop them from (the balls are now dropped one at a time), four choices per question, and a maximum slot value of $1 million. In Season 5, the "Wall to Wall" option is not offered in this round. After the third question, the isolated player is given a choice to accept a guaranteed payout (the Free Fall total, plus $20,000 per correct answer in the second and third rounds), or reject it in favor of the final bank total (which could be higher, lower, or even nothing). The decision is made by either signing or tearing up a contract sent into the booth via pneumatic tube. The isolated player then returns to the stage to reveal their decision and learn the number of correct answers, the payout, and the final bank total.

The Wall premiered as a special preview on December 19, 2016, before its official premiere on January 3, 2017. France's TF1 later premiered a daily version, which trims down almost all of the melodrama.

Not to be confused with anything to do with Pink Floyd.

This series contains examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Sometimes the final round ends with the player losing all the money they’ve earned, and unless their isolated teammate signs the contract... they’re sunk. This happened to much dismay on the January 22nd, 2018 show, which played up a "everything rests on one decision" trailer... and led audiences on.
  • Blinking Lights of Victory: The entire studio flashes gold colors when a pair of contestants rack up and accept a large sum of money.
  • But Thou Must! / Four Is Death: The final round requires four red balls to be dropped no matter what, one from each slot chosen at the start of it. Good luck predicting where they’ll end up, as there’s a chance you’ll lose most or all of your bank.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Probably one of the most unsubtle invocations in all media. They intentionally cast people who have spent their lives helping others and making big changes in their community so you'll be more likely to cheer for them if they win big.
  • Game Show Host: Chris Hardwick.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The second and third questions on each round have "Double-Up" and "Triple-Up" options, where the outside contestant can elect to have two or three balls dropped respectively instead of one. The potential effect on the bank (and, in some cases, the possibility of having it completely wiped out) goes up considerably, especially in the third round. Exaggerated in the final round where four red balls are required to be dropped, and determine the fate of your winnings.
    • Starting with Season 4, the team can double the total value of any one question in the Free Fall round.
    • Season 5 takes this to a new level with the "Wall to Wall" option, where you can drop seven balls at once on the third question of Round 2.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Answering questions correctly works in a team's favor, but in the end it all comes down to how those balls bounce.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Finish the Free Fall round with nothing in the bank, and your game ends immediately.
  • Recycled In Space: The 2019 FOX show Spin the Wheel, which is basically The Wall WITH A WHEEL! See that page for more details.
  • Scenery Porn: The Wall itself, which is a massive combination of pegboard and video screen that can display footage of the game's progress and the player in the isolation booth.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent:
    • The British version was aired on BBC One from 2019 to 2022, with actor Danny Dyer as host and the top slot being £50,000.
    • The Vietnamese version was a Celebrity Edition with stars playing for their chosen charities. It was aired on VTV3 from 2019 to 2020, with comedian Truong Giang at the helm and the top slot being half a billion VND (about $20,400).
  • Tutorial Level: Free Fall serves as a rare game show example of one.
  • Whammy: Incorrect answers can easily turn an entire bunch of balls into one, especially if they all land in high amounts.
    • Undesirable Prize: This is also why eight of the board's 15 slots show small amounts ($100 or less). You want to miss these with the green balls, but hit them with the red ones.
  • Who Wants to Be "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?": Much of the show qualifies, although Hardwick stays loose and energetic (still nowhere near how he is on @Midnight of course, but still).
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Any time production uses Manipulative Editing to make you think the ball is going to bounce into the top prize slot and it turns out to splice separate drops and the one in question is a letdown.
  • Zonk: The isolated player can sometimes walk right into one by signing the contract if the guaranteed payout is much smaller than the final bank, or by tearing it up if the bank is much smaller.