1 vs. 100 Explained

1 vs 100 Jason Luna Bob Saget
Jason Luna and Host Bob Saget on 1 vs 100. courtesy NBC

1 vs 100 was originally an hour-long game show on NBC hosted by Bob Saget. After its short run it was revived with a slightly different and shorter format by GSN. This version was hosted by Carrie Ann Inaba of Dancing With the Stars.

Host: Bob Saget
Executive Producer: Scott St. John
Series Premiere: October 13, 2006
Network: NBC
Canceled: 2007, after two seasons
Top Prize: $1,000,000
Catch Phrase: "The money, or the mob?"

Overview:

1 vs. 100 pits a single contestant against a "mob" of 100. The contestant and the mob members must all answer general knowledge, multiple choice trivia questions to advance in the game. If a member of the mob answers incorrectly, they are eliminated and the contestant receives a pre-determined amount of money for each eliminated mob member. If a contestant answers a question incorrectly, they lose the game and walk away with nothing.

The first three questions in the game must be answered by the single contestant. After the third question, contestants can opt to walk away with their winnings or keep playing the game, but this decision must be made before seeing the next question. The amount of money to be won with each departing mob member increases as the game continues.

If a contestant can eliminate all 100 mob members, they win the grand prize of one million dollars.

Helps:

Contestants have three "helps" available to them during the course of the game.

Helps can be used on any question, and players can use more than one help on a single question. Each of the three helps may only be used once, however.

  • Poll the Mob – The contestant picks one of the three possible answers for their question, and then the mob is polled to see how many of them answered the same way. The contestant is then able to change their answer if they wish.
  • Ask the Mob – Two mob members are randomly chosen. One of them has answered the question correctly, while the other has not. They each explain to the contestant why they chose their answer.
  • Trust the Mob – The contestant's answer will match the one chosen by the majority of the mob's answers. In the case of a tie, the single contestant must chose which answer to lock in.

The Mob:

One of the innovative twists to this game is that the mob stands to win money as well. If a contestant answers a question incorrectly, thereby losing the game, all mob members who answered that particular question correctly get to split the remaining prize money between them. These members of the mob may also return to play in the next round, and continue playing until they have been eliminated.

The mob almost always features celebrities and/or groups of people who belong to the same organization, have the same careers, or have other things in common. Some of these groups have included Mensa members, models from Deal or No Deal, telemarketers, and former game show champions. Since 1 vs. 100 aired on NBC, it wasn't unusual to see past and present cast members from other NBC shows in the mob.

Pros and Cons:

1 vs. 100 works because of the concept.

Having one contestant battling it out against a mob of 100 makes viewers root for the underdog, while at the same time being entertained by the slow elimination of the mob. Bob Saget is a terrific host, and his banter with contestants and mob members is engaging and fun.

Early episodes of the show tended to be somewhat slow moving, with too much time spent trying to add suspense and drama. While this has been remedied in later episodes, it sometimes feels as though mob members, particularly the celebrities, are given too little air time in favor of creating anticipation after contestants answer their questions.

Overall, 1 vs. 100 is a trivia game show that is straight-forward and easy to follow, with just enough of a difference to make it stand out amongst a horde of other trivia shows.

Cancellation:

1 vs 100 had only one million dollar winner: Jason Luna.

Luna faced an entirely female mob, and struggled early on in his game. He forged ahead though, and ultimately scored the game's top prize.

After the television writers' strike in 2007, which sidelined the show, NBC canceled 1 vs. 100 to the disappointment of fans.

GSN Revival

In 2010, GSN's version of the show debuted. Hosted by Carrie Ann Inaba, this version featured a mob that wasn't in-studio -- instead, they used Skype. Only Poll the Mob and Trust the Mob were available as helps, and the top prize was $50,000.

Inaba left the show in 2011, and it was canceled.