TV's Cagey Game Shows Climb Walls, Hit Floors

Walls and floors figure prominently in two network game shows, along with two other shows featuring a cage and a cube.

“The Wall” is on NBC, “The Cube” is on TBS, “Raid the Cage” is on CBS, and coming soon, “The Floor” will be on Fox.

A trend? It seems so. Let’s describe it as game shows that play out in built environments.

Or we can separate the four into two subcategories. “The Wall” and “The Floor” take advantage of two planar features of homes (and other buildings too, but let’s just say homes here).

“The Cube” and “Raid the Cage” deal with three-dimensional enclosures in which the shows’ games are played.



Of the four, “The Floor” is the newest. It premieres January 2, and thus earns the title of first new show of the new year.

Rob Lowe (pictured above) is the host, and also credited as a producer. But the real “star” of this show is, not surprisingly, the floor.

This floor (a small fraction of which is visible in the photo above) is described in Fox’s press material as “massive.”

It would have to be. See the squares above? The entire floor has 81 of them, each to be occupied by a single contestant.

The show is styled as a trivia game in which the 81 contestants will be gradually whittled down on the basis of their trivia knowledge. The winner gets $250,000.

Every once in a while, floors play a key role in TV shows. Two that I can think of are the floors on “Jeopardy!” and the old David Letterman “Late Show” on CBS.

Those floors come from the old school, where a high-level TV show would never come to the air with scuffed, dusty floors. The polished, buffed surfaces of both these floors always fascinated me.

But I digress. Floors are generally joined at right angles to walls. “The Wall” on NBC was put up long before Fox laid down “The Floor.”

Hosted by Chris Hardwicke, “The Wall” has been around since 2016. In this show, the wall is this big “gadget” (said to be four stories high) with slots and vertical pathways through which either a green or red ball drops after contestants answer trivia questions.

Each of the tubular pathways represents a dollar figure. A green ball drops to a dollar amount when an answer is correct. The red ball drops when an answer is wrong, and that money is deducted from contestants’ winnings so far.

If this sounds complicated, then that is because it is complicated. “The Wall” is challenging to describe, but reasonably easy to grasp when watching it. According to NBC, grand prizes can be in the millions of dollars.

To the TV Blog’s knowledge, no game show has yet been devised based on ceilings or roofs, although possible titles are easy to conjure: “The Ceiling,” “Hit the Ceiling,” “The Roof,” “Hit the Roof” -- you get the idea.

There must also be a way to set future game shows in basements, attics and garages, but that is better left to game show professionals.

Meanwhile, the “star” of “The Cube” -- in addition to host Dwyane Wade -- is a giant, completely see-through glass cube.

In the cube, contestants have to cycle through various challenges while confined there for a possible payoff of $250,000. Wade has been host of the show since 2021.

“Raid the Cage” premiered in October, hosted by Damon Wayans Jr. and Jeannie Mai. The show has contestants rushing into a small area stuffed with merchandise, and grabbing as much as they can before time runs out and the door of this “cage” swings shut.

With a name like “Raid the Cage,” you might expect to see an actual cage. But the “cage” on this show is no cage. 

The shutting door notwithstanding, the rest of this “cage” space seems to be open on three sides.

Cages and cubes might someday spawn other geometry-based game shows, but not pyramids and cones.

We have already had a pyramid game show for decades -- currently “The $100,000 Pyramid” on ABC.

As for cones, does anybody besides me remember the Coneheads?

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