This autumn, UK TV viewers can expect a brand new series of popular game show Red or Black. The show, produced by ITV and the SYCO TV company owned by Simon Cowell has found itself extremely popular, averaging 5.3 million viewers in its first series and the second series is believed to do even better. The original show was also the inspiration behind new games featured on the Jackpotjoy bingo site and a Red or Black slot games.
Despite the relaunch, there are plans to change the format significantly. This recommission and change has come after the UK Gambling Commission is said to be working towards guidelines to be issued to broadcasters to guarantee programmes such as Red or Black and Channel 4’s Deal or No Deal don’t contravene general gambling laws. There is a worry amongst the Commission that games which involve no skill whatsoever and are based solely on luck should in fact require the broadcasters to have a gambling licence and force these programmes to air only after the 9pm watershed. Television channels which show bingo and other gambling for example are only permitted after the watershed and this is something the Commission are very concerned about.
The original format of Red or Black saw contestants challenged to guess the 50/50 outcome of a number of extreme stunts and then the lucky finalist would enter the final round where they spin a roulette wheel to try and win a huge £1 million. As mentioned, this format relies solely on chance and luck and is solely down to a 50/50 chance of being right without any trivia or in depth questions posed.
The new season will change the format, with a reduced prize of £500,000 that has the chance of rolling over. The game will also see contestants having to use their own skills and judgement for the chance to win this prize and players are now responsible for their own destinies and have more control over their outcome.
ITV’s Director of Television, Peter Fincham had previously said that the contestants on the show needed to ‘earn their place’ in the game and this new format gives them a chance to do so. Simon Cowell has also commented that he’s ‘delighted’ with the changes as they make the game more ‘unpredictable, scary and a bit nuts’.
The programme is due to relaunch in the autumn, hosted by ITV favourites Ant & Dec and we’ll soon see if the changes are significant enough to keep the Gambling Commission happy. It’s understandable that the UK Gambling Commission need to keep a close eye on the games broadcast before the watershed and this is why you’ll never see a real money bingo or gambling programme live before this time.
It remains to be seen if Jackpotjoy Bingo will once again release special new games to coincide with the launch of the new series – so watch this space for news on this.