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The Chase

GSN's Version of a Great U.K. Format


the chase cast

Brooke Burns and Mark Labbett

courtesy GSN

The Chase began in the United Kingdom in 2009, and has since become extremely popular with British viewers. In 2013 GSN decided to bring the show to North America, albeit with a scaled-down format.

The Chase: Quick Facts

  • Host: Brooke Burns
  • Executive Producer: Bob Boden
  • Series Premiere: August 6, 2013
  • Network: GSN
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Top Prize: Varies

How the Game Works

In this American version of The Chase, three contestants face off against one Chaser. In this case, there is only one Chaser who appears in every episode, and he is Mark Labbett, also known as The Beast. Labbett is one of the Chasers on the U.K. version of the show.

The first round for each contestant consists of answering a series of rapid-fire trivia questions presented by Burns, with a time limit of one minute. For each correct answer the contestant earns $5,000, then takes his or her winnings to meet The Beast for the first Chase.

The Chase occurs at a platform that is marked with stages. The contestant's winnings are placed in the middle of the board. There are five steps from where these winnings are placed to the spot where the cash can be safely banked, and multiple-choice trivia questions are asked and answered in order to move down these steps. At the same time, The Beast will answer the same trivia questions and try to "catch" the contestant before he or she can make it to safety with his or her winnings. The Beast starts at the top of the board, giving the contestant an advantage.

Before this next round of trivia begins, Labbett makes the contestant two offers: for a lesser sum the contestant can start a little closer to the safety zone, but for more money he or she must start one step farther away. Once the contestant decides where he or she wants to start from (and how much money he or she is playing for), the Chase is on.

If the contestant moves to the bottom of the board without being caught by Labbett, the money he or she has earned is added to the team's bank, that contestant rejoins the team, and the next contestant plays this round in the same format, followed by the third contestant. If however any contestant is caught by The Beast, he or she forfeits the money earned and is out of the game.

The Final Chase

The Final Chase is played with all remaining contestants facing off together against The Beast, and they're playing for the total banked amount. If they win, this amount is split up amongst them.

The team has two minutes to correctly answer as many trivia questions as they can. A head start of one "step" is given for each person on the team, and then they earn more steps by answering the questions correctly. Any team member can answer any question but they must buzz in before answering. When the two minutes are up, the earned steps are added to those given as the head start and this becomes the team's total.

Mark Labbett then has the chance to catch the team and cause them to lose their cash. Labbett also has two minutes but is not given any head start, and he has different questions to answer. In a further twist, any question Labbett gets wrong is then handed over to the team of contestants. The clock is stopped, and if the contestants come up with the right answer then Labbett loses a step. In the end, if Labbett earns more steps than the contestants, he wins the game. If the contestants get the higher number of steps then they split the bank.

Not Just for Trivia Buffs

While the game play may sound complicated, once you've seen an episode of The Chase you'll notice that it runs very smoothly and makes a lot more sense in practice. The game is based on trivia and therefore easy to play along with at home, and will likely appeal to trivia buffs who enjoy shouting out answers. Fortunately though, there are other aspects of the game that will draw in even those who aren't big trivia enthusiasts.

One of the main draws is "The Beast" himself. While Labbett regularly taunts the contestants and offers barbs and insults, he comes across as a likeable guy with much more to offer than just his 155 I.Q. Of course his performance is impressive, and no one who tunes in to see a trivia whiz in action will be disappointed. However, he's clearly enjoying what he's doing and that makes the game more engaging for the audience.

Brooke Burns is already widely known as a great host from her time on Dog Eat Dog, and she does a fantastic job here as well. She keeps the trivia questions moving at a steady pace and provides a nice balance of friendliness to Labbett's snark.

So, should you tune in to GSN's version of The Chase? If you're a big fan of the U.K. format then you might be a little disappointed in this scaled-down version of the game. If you've not seen the original though, this show will impress you enough to dig up episodes of the original on YouTube just to see how they differ. While it's no surprise that GSN had to change the format slightly to fit its budget and audience, what they've come up with is an entertaining hour of trivia and great personalities that will keep you engaged for the duration.

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