I'm pretty sure that television companies choose the contestants
based on the inability of a candidate to behave in a sensible manner. How
often do you find yourself yelling at the screen, or laughing at a
stupid or hapless attempt to win?
Remember Going for Gold, that pan-European quiz hosted by Henry Kelly?
Well the same rules and format also feature in the more recent One to Win.
When there are two contestants remaining, the quiz-master reads a series
of clues about a person, place or thing. The clues get easier and easier
as time goes on. At any-one moment, only one contestant may answer, the
other being locked out for a certain interval. If a contestant answers
incorrectly within her interval, the rest of her interval is handed to her
opponent and she is locked out. Under these circumstances, it is
clearly best to wait until near the end of your interval to make a guess.
The consequences of making a wrong answer are minimised and you are in
possession of more clues. In addition, it is to your advantage to make a
guess, any guess, at the end of your interval- you have nothing to lose.
And yet, I have never once seen a single contestant do this. Every time they
think they know the answer they blurt it out, no matter how much of their
As for The Weakest Link... bah! I'm pretty sure that the best way
for any individual to behave in the closing few rounds is to vote off the
strongest opponent. If there are 2 opponents left, do you really want to
keep the one most likely to beat you in the final? Or are you gonna get rid
of him? This sensible profit-maximising behavior very rarely occurs. Time
and time again, contestants volunteer to enter the final with someone they
must know is bound to beat them.