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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 a at least $1 in their bank in order to continue in the game.

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At the start of the second round, one teammate is put in a Sound Proof Booth behind the Wall, and two "free" green balls are released 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) 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. Two red balls are dropped after the third question to reduce the bank.

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The third round is played the same way, except that there are four green and four red balls at the start and end, four choices per question, and a maximum slot value of $1 million. 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.

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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 lead audiences on.
  • But Thou Must!/Four Is Death: The final round requires four red balls to be dropped no matter what, one from each slot chosen throughout the episode. Good luck hoping where they’ll end up, as there’s a chance you’ll lose everything.
  • 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. Taken Up to Eleven in the final round where four red balls are required to be dropped, and determine the fate of your winnings.
  • Scenery Porn: The Wall itself, which is massive and also a screen (video footage accompanies each question too, which is shown on the Wall).
  • Tutorial Level: Free Fall serves as a rare game show example of one.
  • Whammy: Incorrect answers could easily turn an entire bunch of balls into one, especially if they all land in high amounts.
    • Undesirable Prize: This is also why the board is littered with smaller amounts (like $1 and $10). While they might not be good to land in with green balls, they are what you hope the red balls land into instead.
  • 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: If the partner doesn't take the bailout, they could unknowingly walk right into one.
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