1950s quiz show scandals
The American quiz show scandals of the 1950s were a series of revelations that contestants of several popular television quiz shows were secretly given assistance by the show's producers to arrange the outcome of an ostensibly fair competition. The quiz show scandals were driven by a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons included the drive for financial gain, the willingness of contestants to ""play along"" with the assistance, and the lack of current regulations prohibiting the rigging of game shows.The $64,000 Question became the first big-money television quiz show during the 1950s, and the most publicized quiz scandals surrounded that program in addition to Twenty One and Dotto.In 1956, the Jack Barry-hosted game show Twenty One featured a contestant, Herb Stempel, coached by producer Dan Enright to allow his opponent to win the game. The matter was brought into focus in 1958 when Enright was revealed to have rigged the show; this revelation caused networks to cancel their entire lineups of quiz shows. Charles Van Doren was another contestant on Twenty One who eventually came forth with revelations about how he was persuaded to accept specific answers during his time on the show. These elements of the scandal were portrayed in the 1994 movie Quiz Show.As a result, many contestants' reputations were tarnished. In 1960, the United States Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the fixing of quiz shows. As a result of that action, many networks canceled their existing quiz shows and replaced them with a higher number of public service programs. Most networks also imposed a winnings limit on their existing and future game shows, which would eventually be removed by inflation and the rise of the million-dollar jackpot game shows starting in 1999.In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Federal Communications Commission v. American Broadcasting Co., Inc. 347 U.S. 284, that quiz shows were not a form of gambling; this paved the way for their introduction to television. The prizes of these new shows were unprecedented.