We honestly thought Japan had set the bar for crazy game show ideas but, it turns out, America raised the stakes as high as they could go back in the Noughties.
The Chamber was pulled from Fox TV in the U.S. after just three episodes in January 2002, and resulted in a $100,000 lawsuit, as the contestants could actually have died.
According to Mental Floss, the premise of the show was pretty simple, but utterly bonkers – willing contestants were locked in what was essentially a torture chamber, subjected to extreme and potentially fatal conditions, all while answering general knowledge questions.
If you got a total of 25 questions correct and didn’t die, you walked away with $100,000 in cash. Simple, really.
Unfortunately, that was easier said than done, given that contestants were strapped to a table inside the chamber and subjected to extreme temperatures, water jets, muscle convulsions, lack of oxygen and more.
The absolutely mad contestants would be put in either the ‘Hot Chamber’ or ‘Cold Chamber’ (chosen at random by a computer) for up to seven rounds, lasting one minute each. The conditions would worsen as the rounds progressed.
Health precautions were supposedly taken to ensure the safety of the contestants. They were wired up to heart and blood pressure monitors and if, at any point in the game, they were deemed unable to continue, the game was stopped.
The player could also end the game by shouting “Stop the chamber” or by passing out, which honestly seems safe in no way whatsoever.
Only one known contestant managed to stay in the Chamber for all seven levels, Scott Brown, who walked away with $20,000 for his troubles. However, he ended up in hospital after the show, and sued Fox for $100,000, leading to the show being pulled from TV, and not a moment too soon.
Quite how this even made it to TV in the first place is baffling, given the horrendous health problems it could have caused contestants – frostbite, hypothermia, heatstroke, severe burns and breathing difficulties to name but a few.
And you thought the Bushtucker Trials in I’m A Celebrity… were bad!