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The Quiz Show

Su Holmes

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

Despite its enduring popularity with both broadcasters and audiences, the quiz show has found itself marginalised in studies of popular television. This book offers a unique introduction to the study of the quiz show, while also revisiting, updating and expanding on existing quiz show scholarship. Ranging across programmes such as Double Your Money, The $64,000 Dollar Question, Twenty-One, The Price is Right, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and The Weakest Link to the controversial 'Quiz TV Call' phenomenon, the book explores programmes with a focus on question and answer. Topics covered include the relationship between quiz shows and television genre; the early broadcast history of the quiz show; questions of institutional regulation; quiz show aesthetics; the social significance of 'games'; 'ordinary' people as television performers, and questions of quiz show reception (from interactivity to on-line fandom).

Key Features

  • Represents one of few book-length studies of the quiz show
  • Offers an accessible introduction to the genre for undergraduate students
  • Draws upon new archival research in order to contribute to knowledge about the early history of the quiz show
  • Demonstrates why the quiz show matters to Television Studies
  • Brings together key approaches in the field with new interventions and areas of study (such as the quiz show in the multi-platform age, and the study of 'ordinary' people as performers).


1. Genre and the Quiz Show
2. Quiz Show Histories
3. Quiz Show Theory: Approaching the Programme Text
4. Knowledge in the Quiz Show
5. The Quiz Show and Ordinary' People as Television Performers
6. 'Asking the Audience': Quiz Shows and their Viewers

About the Author

Su Holmes is Reader in Television Studies at the University of East Anglia.


This book offers an absorbing and thoughtful discussion of a television genre, the quiz show, that has sustained its popularity since the emergence of television, yet only now, in this volume, receives the sustained and scholarly attention that it warrants.
- Professor Garry Whannel, University of Bedfordshire

"this fascinating and insightful analysis"

"Holmes nevertheless provides a welcome introduction to the quiz show and the genre's relationship to television studies in general. Written in an accessible and engaging manner, this is an extremely useful study that offers a long overdue critical analysis of one of television's most enduring and popular genres."

- Lisa W. Kelly, University of Glasgow, Critical Studies in Television 4/2

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