What reality are we even living in? Reality competition shows and game shows alike are only getting wilder, boasting all the elements of a bizarre fever dream. NBC's unhinged trivia game show, The Wall, resembles what the love child of The Price Is Right's "Plinko" and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? would look like. But of course, there's a whole lot of drama, screaming, and crying to accompany the playing. Smarts, trust, and luck all come into play and influence how much money the teams win.
Created by Andrew Glassman and LeBron James and hosted by Chris Hardwick, the show — now on Season 4 — requires its sometimes-brainy teams of two to answer a series of questions as balls fall and bounce down the 40-foot Plinko-like wall. The teammates are usually family members, romantic partners, or BFFs. The anxiety-inducing game show, complete with colorful lights and a live audience, has seen teams take home attractive chunks of change. So, what's the highest amount of money won on The Wall thus far?
How does 'The Wall' work?
Let's briefly explain the premise. If teams answer multiple-choice questions (possessing only two answer choices in the first round) correctly, the price amount the ball reaches on the board is added to cash winnings. If answered incorrectly, said price is subtracted from winnings. This is the "Free Fall" portion. Depending on the round, balls can fall into slots with dollar amounts equalling $1, $25,000, $250,000, or even $1 million.
The second round separates the team members, one staying onstage to play the game, while the other enters a soundproof isolation booth. The isolated team member won't have a clue how much money is won or lost in this round.
The team member onstage is now shown multiple correct answers, but not the questions. Based on these final answers and how accurately they think the isolated teammate will answer the corresponding questions, the onstage player chooses which slots they'll place the balls above. Once again, correct answers earn money, and false answers subtract money.
But of course, another disquieting element is introduced in the third round. Not only are cash payouts excitingly amped up in this round (the $1 million slot is added to the board), but the dreaded contract comes into play.
The player in the isolation booth is given a contract with a guaranteed cash payout number written on it. This player has to ponder over and guess whether or not the gameplay that went on while in isolation equates to more or less money than what's promised in the contract. Do they sign the contract, or rip it up? This decision could cause the team to, for example, win $50,000 vs. $1 million dollars. It's sheer chaos.
What's the highest amount of money won on NBC's 'The Wall'?
The Wall has been deemed "the most expensive show on television," as competing duos can win over $12 million dollars in an episode. That hasn't happened yet, however, which NBC is surely happy about. The winnings are known to be used for good, though. So far, brothers Hecthan, a corrections officer, and Hector, an Army veteran, hold the record for the most fruitful win in the history of NBC's The Wall.
The sweet siblings wished to win a hefty prize to aid family and friends affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In Season 3, Episode 11, Hecthan and Hector won a whopping $1,749,907. Being even more amazing, the isolated teammate tore up a contract boasting a guaranteed $55,400!
Though the concept is a bit convoluted and the execution is wildly dramatized, it's satisfying to see good people win big money.
New episodes of The Wall air Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.