Everyone knows about the so-called “quiz show scandals” of the 1950s, when TV programs like Twenty-One and The $64,000 Question got tons of press for rigging or tilting games in favor of popular contestants, which led to President Eisenhower getting involved and Congress making rigging quiz shows a federal crime. Robert Redford in his 1994 film Quiz Show dramatized this little piece of history for America.
To the credit of the government and the major networks, no similar scandal has made headlines since those laws were passed. Still, game shows are not without controversy. Any time there’s a ton of money at stake, people will be tempted to find ways to skirt the rules and beat the system, one way or another—and the controversy over whether these ways are ethical or fair is one reason we watch.
Here’s a list of scandals from recent history when someone made the news for flouting the rules or breaking the system—the true anti-heroes of game show history.