Crying Game: '101 Ways to Leave a Game Show,' Mean, Stupid or Brilliant?

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A single mom studying for a Ph.D. is on a game show. She flubs an answer. She believes there is a book called “Mind-Reading for Dummies.” Nope, there isn’t. But she doesn’t just walk off the set. She is strapped in a car, wearing safety gear and murmuring “Oh, Lord Jesus.” A monster truck then squashes the car. Assuming Dr. Mom survives, she is reimbursed for gas money for driving to and from the show.

Some might say ABC’s “101 Ways to Leave a Game Show” (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. through July 26) is the cruelest game show ever, especially when host Jeff Sutphen, above, goes, “Ha, ha, ha, wow,” after a contestant plunges 10 stories into a pool. Or maybe it’s just stupid. Or maybe … it’s secretly brilliant.

The questions are cool (A lion has … 30 teeth! The movie that sold the most U.S. box office tickets is not “Titanic” or “Avatar” but … “Gone with the Wind”!). The exit stunts, executed by a veteran stunt man, are awesome: dangling from a helicopter, tumbling down a mountain in a metal ball.

The winner gets $50,000, but the real thrill is watching the tearful losers, some of whom are really annoying, rocket into oblivion.

Have the producers really come up with 101 ways to leave a game show? Read this interview with Matt Kunitz, executive producer, to find out the answer and much more about this new show.

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Fear is a Factor: Matt Kunitz, '101 Ways to Leave a Game Show'