Remember "TV's most competitive game show" of the 1980s? Press Your Luck ran for three years from 1983 to 1986, but ABC brought it back in 2019 as part of its summer fun and games. Since its debut, fans have been "VERY impressed" with the reboot, saying it "has all the qualities of the original" with some exciting new twists.
And because the game show has become such a fast fave once again, people have had a lot of questions. Questions related to how to get on Press Your Luck and how much host Elizabeth Banks gets paid have been easy to answer. Trickier though is whether or not the show is really as authentic as it seems. Is Press Your Luck rigged? Here's what we know.
So, is Press Your Luck rigged? Learn about the Press Your Luck "cheater."
Game show fanatics or anyone who's an avid listener of This American Life might remember the time, back in 1983, when an ice cream man managed to hack Press Your Luck by studying the game intensely.
Michael Larson avoided the Whammy and won a total of $110,237 on Press Your Luck, which previously aired on CBS. (That's the equivalent of $323,512 in today's money!) Michael noticed that there was something of a pattern on the board and was able to use it to his advantage.
First, contestants were asked questions. Each correct answer got the contestant a spin on an 18-space board that hid cash, prizes, and Whammies, the latter of which erased the player's winnings to date. According to Michael, the spins weren't random and there was a way to avoid the Whammies once you learned the five predictable board patterns.
Viewers were astonished when Michael earned 45 spins and managed not to land on a single Whammy. CBS initially didn't even want to give him the money, claiming he'd cheated, though they later paid him what he was owed. It turned out that Michael's method of reverse-engineering the game patterns wasn't technically against the rules.
Since then, the board has been reprogrammed with 32 patterns, helping to prevent Press Your Luck from being rigged again. Plus, there are federal laws prohibiting the rigging of outcomes of televised competitions — so despite your most compelling conspiracy theory, Press Your Luck is played fair and square.
Who's the host of the Press Your Luck reboot?
Whereas Peter Tomarken hosted the original Press Your Luck on CBS, a familiar face has been gracing our screens for the reboot. Namely, Elizabeth Banks has added game show host to her already long CV as an actress, director, writer, and producer. She's been around Hollywood since 1998 and has appeared in movies such as Wet Hot American Summer, the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchise, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Hunger Games, the Pitch Perfect films, and much more.
"Elizabeth Banks is exactly the type of woman we want on ABC," the network's president, Karey Burke, said back in 2019. "She's a big star who's smart, strong, and funny. She has everything we need as the host of Press Your Luck, one of our signature summer game shows. If anyone can ride herd on the Whammy, it's Elizabeth!"
Catch all-new episodes of Press Your Luck, airing on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.