Producer: Marshall J. Kaplan
Series Premiere: January 31, 2011
Network: TVtropolis (Canada)
Length: 30 minutes
Top Prize: $10,000
How Instant Cash Works
This is a game show that plays on the element of surprise. There's no studio or host -- instead, contestants are random individuals who attempt to use the game's bank machine at the shopping mall. When the bank card is inserted, the ATM starts blinking along with sound effects, and the game is announced.
Contestants can be individuals or pairs. The game itself consists of a combination of trivia questions and dares. The trivia is played on the bank machine's screen and always uses a four-answer multiple choice format, and contestants bank the value of each question as the game progresses. The money ladder is as follows:
Dares are set at pre-determined intervals throughout the game, namely at the $150, $800, $2,500, and $10,000 levels. If a contestant chooses to accept a dare, he or she is risking all of the money currently banked should the dare not pan out.
Near the bank machine there is always some sort of storage cupboard or closet which holds any props necessary for the dares. These dares are timed, and involve crazy stunts that sometimes include onlookers and other shoppers. Anything from carrying the contents of a gigantic bag of Kernels' popcorn from the retailer's kiosk using only articles of clothing, to getting an onlooker to dance a waltz with the contestant, to shaving the legs of a stranger can be used as a dare.
As the game progresses, the dares get more and more complicated. The final dare is at the top prize level of $10,000 but contestants can walk away with $5,000 if they so choose. If they accept the dare and lose, however, they walk away with nothing for their efforts.
Since Instant Cash is a half-hour show, there are often games that don't fill an entire episode. The show's solution to this problem is to introduce mini bonus games, which only take a few minutes to play.
These bonus games kick off when the bank machine "calls out" to a passing mall shopper. When someone approaches, the game is played for a quick $20 payout. It's just a fast, single question trivia round, again with four possible answers. These can be fun to watch, since many people get really stressed out at the possibility of not winning a small prize, and end up flubbing or nearly flubbing the answers.
The Voice of the Instant Cash ATM
Though the show doesn't have an official host, the ATM does have a voice. The game's bank machine is voiced by Canadian television and radio personality Colleen Rusholme, who is well-known in several Ontario cities for her coverage of everything from traffic to morning shows to hockey.
Like other hidden camera shows and mobile game shows such as Cash Cab (which, coincedentally, also has a Canadian version), Instant Cash is a quick and dirty game that can be oddly intriguing. Viewers get sucked into the game because almost anyone can be a contestant instantly, and it's fairly easy to play along with - at least the trivia part is. The dares can be highly entertaining as viewers discover just how far a stranger might go to help someone else win a cash prize.