ITV’s “Red or Black?” Returns August 18th
One of the most controversial game shows this decade is back for a new series. ITV’s Red or Black? returns for its second series on Saturday, August 18th. Each night the show will be split into two episodes. An episode of the popular singing game show The X Factor will be between each episode. The first episode will begin at 7:15PM UK (2:15PM ET). Unlike the first series the show is pre-taped rather than live. Ant and Dec return as host. This series Red or Black? shift towards a more skill-based game.
The roulette wheel from the first series has been replaced by “The Vortex” where the day’s champion will pick a color, watch the sequence flashing in the center of The Vortex, and release the trigger. If the ball hits the end zone in the chosen color they win the jackpot. The jackpot starts at £500,000 and rolls over each day until won. If no one wins through the final episode one contestant has a 50:50 chance at winning £3,500,000.
The first series was mired with controversy and a severe drop in ratings. The first episode peaked at 8.1 million viewers but within days saw ratings drop below four million viewers. It eventually ended with an average of 5.3 million viewers over its week-long strip. The ratings are seen as a disappointment due to its £15 million budget, the largest ever for a game show. Red or Black? was also ridiculed for its shady casting process. The first £1,000,000 winner, Nathan Hagerman, was soon discovered to have served a five year sentence for crimes including attacking an ex-girlfriend. Soon after the hype over Nathan ITV performed background checks on contestants and three more were removed prior to the live production. Here’s a teaser for the new series courtesy ITV.
The first episode, on August 18th, will feature talk show host Jonathan Ross and mathematical whizz Carol Voderman will have to hold their nerve as they battle it out in a tension-fuelled spelling contest. Also appearing are 6ft 10 professional wrestler versus a former American Gladiator Titan in a game called ‘Breakthrough’; Javier Jarquin and Rick Smith JR, two of the world’s best card throwers; and a performance from Bajan stars Cover Drive.
Contestants include Imran a 30-year old-policeman from East London, Sophie a 29-year-old travel agent from Plymouth, Tom a 28-year-old account manager from Bath, Emily a 21-year-old dental nurse from Sunderland, Vivienne a 54-year-old purchase ledger manager from Sheffield, Jennie a 37-year-old tap dance teacher from London, Jeanette a 49-year-old finance manager from Nottingham and Stuart a 28-year-old pharmaceutical company worker from Wales.
Red or Black? is a mixed bag. The first series was undeniably vapid and dumb but, at least for the first episode or two, the final roulette wheel spin was very exciting. They say they’ve fixed a lot and, due to some recent investigations from the Gambling Commission, they’ve taken out some of the luck and made it more skill based. We’ll have to see if that actually comes to fruition. It is peculiar that they removed the roulette wheel which I’m reasonably sure is the entire reason for the show’s existence, though. Watch Red or Black? on Saturday, August 18th, at 7:15PM UK to see if the show has improved.