Inside the Box was a Canadian-English game show where three contestants competed against each other to win up to $10,000 by trying to guess television shows, characters or actors by asking other contestants yes or no questions related to the subject.
The game had a similar format to 20 Questions with a few minor twist. Three rounds in total were played. Three contestants competed for the chance to win $10,000. In the first two rounds, each contestant received a turn inside a television-shaped booth called "the box" which contained 2 monitors, while the other two players were seated at separate desks with single monitors facing and to the left and right of "The Box". The contestant "Inside the Box" was given a basic category to indicate what kind of answer was being sought (for example, "Series", "Reality Series", "Male Actor", "Female Character", etc.), a list of questions on a touch-sensitive screen and read questions selected from the list to one of his/her two opponents. The opponents outside the box were shown only a photograph and the name of the character/actor/show which was the correct answer on their monitor screens.
The contestant in the booth had two minutes to determine the correct answer by alternately asking his/her opponents the "Yes or No" questions (s)he was shown. If an opponent answered the question incorrectly, he/she was given a time penalty of five seconds. Each "Yes" response question was displayed on screen for the viewers to see and on the screen in "The Box", regardless of whether the player outside the box answered correctly or not. After each group of five "Yes" responses, the clock was stopped and a more detailed clue was given. The player in the box was given a free guess, but if they couldn't give the correct answer, the clock would resume and they had to continue asking questions. Each time a new clue was given, new questions were made available to the player in The Box. The contestant would continue to ask questions until either time ran out, or he/she was able to give a correct answer. The player in the box could ask at any time for the clock to be stopped so they could attempt a guess, but an incorrect guess under these conditions would result in a 5-second penalty. After each player's turn in "The Box", the scores were totaled and time penalties assessed; then the remaining contestants were given their turn in "The Box".
The scoring was based on time. Each time a player "Inside the Box" correctly identified the subject, that player scored/banked the time leftover. Any time penalties were deducted and negative scores were always possible. Each player would get two turns in "The Box" and the player with the best cumulative time after two rounds would get a chance to play the final round for up to $10,000.
In the Final Round, the champion was given two minutes. Instead of asking his/her opponents the "Yes or No" questions, (s)he asked them to host Seth Kalilieh. The champion was given a starting clue and every five "Yes" responses would earn another clue; however, the clock did not stop in the final round. The winning player was given three chances to give the answer. The amount of money in the pot was reduced by $500 approximately every six seconds until time ran out. If the player gave the correct answer before time expired (s)he won whatever money remained. However, if (s)he gave three incorrect answers or if time ran out, (s)he received the minimum consolation prize of $500. Answers were usually derived from American pop culture.
No contestant ever won $10,000 as it was virtually impossible.
In the United States, Program Partners, a division of Sony Pictures Television, syndicated Inside the Box to local stations for the first half of the 2009-10 season, as an optional replacement or companion program to Merv Griffin's Crosswords, which was then on hiatus (although very few American stations actually took the series). However, it was eventually decided not to go forward with additional first-run episodes of Crosswords, and both shows as a whole were officially cancelled in February 2009.
The show ran for two seasons, ending in 2007. But it went in reruns shortly after. Prior to this, reruns of the series started airing on Comedy Gold on September 3, 2013 and also aired on Action TV in the United States from 2008.
Michael and Christopher Geddes