Friday, May 13, 2016

'Winsanity' review: It's good!

Winsanity logo: A screenshot from our
previewed episode.
GSN's upcoming game show Winsanity debuts Thursday, June 9th at 9pm ET. GSN has sent us a press cut of one of the episodes. Here is our review, without spoilers, of the gameplay and what we think of the show:


Host Donald Faison walks out with
a lot of energy.
There are $100,000 worth of prizes to give away in each episode. The largest winnings come at the end with $10,000 and 2 cars split between the contestant and a randomly assigned audience member through the "Green win watch". Ten facts have to be stacked numerically throughout the entirety of the episode with four in the first round, three in the second round, two in the third round and one in the final round.

Kira Soltanovich is the announcer on Winsanity.
She does a good job interacting with Faison
and contestants.
Each list is not locked until Faison confirms with the contestant the phrase "Lock the List", similar to "Final Answer" on Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Similar to Season 3 of Idiotest and
Skin Wars, Twitter handles are
displayed under hosts' introduction.

Host Donald Faison with a contestant,
randomly selected from the audience.
The "Green Win Watch", which each audience member wears, is a glow in the dark, technological watch that lights up green for a member or portion of the audience who is eligible to win prizes. 

A contestant is randomly selected from the audience to play for at least the first round and if that contestant performs well, he/she will play in future rounds then the entire game. In the first three rounds, if there is one misplaced answer, the contestant is replaced with another audience member. The first four numerical facts are provided with the selected contestant. In this episode, the contestant and 49 members of the audience have the chance to win $100 gift cards. If the contestant places the four facts in numerical order, fifty $100 gift cards are given (1 to contestant, 49 to audience). No matter what happens throughout the remainder of the episode, the first prize is kept for the contestant and audience.

The second round has three more numerical facts, which must be put in order on top of/between/below the four facts from earlier. The third round has two more facts, which must be ordered on top of/between/below the seven from earlier, now totaling nine facts. Prizes in the second and third round include more gifts cards and an outdoor movie theater for the contestant and each audience member.

In the first round, four facts have to be
stacked in numerical order.
The contestant presses a button,
which randomly chooses which
members of the audience could
win a prize.
Kira Soltanovich announces the prizes,
shown on the board (gift cards displayed).
In the final round, the last numerical fact has to be placed with the same nine facts from earlier in the episode. The final round plays the game of "risk", where the contestant has to choose whether he or she wants to keep all three prizes won earlier (including the prizes with the audience) without moving on to the final fact with the shot at splitting the $10,000 and the cars with an audience member. The other option is moving on to stack the final numerical fact. If the final fact is stacked correctly, the contestant and one audience member split the $10,000 and take home a car each. In addition, the contestant and all audience members are able to keep the three gift cards/prizes won in the first three rounds. If the contestant stacks the last fact incorrectly, nobody wins anything. If a contestant does win everything, it is called "Total Winsanity."

The show itself

There is a lot of energy, at least more than the latest version of Chain Reaction and Idiotest. The audience involvement definitely helps bring excitement to the show, where members are pumped to agree or disagree with the contestant in mass whether a fact was stacked numerical correct or not. Remember, it is their prizes on the line as well. To some television viewers, the show may come off as too loud and annoying.
The studio audience becomes very
involved in the process.

Audience members win prizes.
This audience member was randomly selected
in the final round to play along with the
contestant. There was a possibility to win
$5,000 and a car for this man.
There is a female announcer, comedian Kira Soltanovich, who also interacts with Faison, the contestant and is situated in the back of the audience at her own desk.

In the episode we previewed, Kira did point out to Faison and the contestant that an audience member wanted to get up and say something. That audience member was handed a microphone and stated he actually disagreed with the contestant's numerical ordering. More of this will happen throughout the show's run I am sure, since the audience relies on the contestant to win the prizes. The contestant here was one of the 30-something audience members in one of the beginning rounds and not the solo contestant in the final round which would win the car and split the $10,000. In the final round, Faison purposely seeks out to ask that audience member for feedback with the contestant since there is a very direct, large cash prize/car at stake.

The audience member is randomly selected as the rules are explained to the contestant as the crew puts on the contestant's studio microphone.

The episode is fast-paced with little timewasters. The only "timewaster" that can be applied is the focus on the audience cheering and realizing they are the portion selected to win the prize.

Winsanity earns an A grade. I may be going easy on the show, but it is a true game show that I really believe the traditional GSN audience will love while the Skin Wars people may not bother. Additionally, unlike Idiotest and Chain Reaction, it is not a cheap show when it comes to skipping on big prizes and money.


  1. So Winsanity's audience is like the audience on Price Is Right? I like how they're giving away prizes along with the cash. I didn't even know there was an announcer. Was Faison any good?

    1. Good comparison. Winsanity is a little like The Price is Right in the sense of picking contestants, but in some episodes it may only happen once per episode.

      Faison was good. Not too loud, not too annoying and not too much focus on humor.

  2. It seems interesting, but after tax, most of whatever is left of the $5,000 would end up going towards paying for the taxes off the car, wouldn't it? I get that the car's value is being added to the 5k, so it's like... what... a top prize value of $20,000 total?

    I just wish GSN would've increased it. If you have to split the money with a contestant, at least make it $20k each. Otherwise, you're walking away with pretty much nothing in cash. Might as well just sell the car privately to make up for it. I miss the days when GSN produced game shows giving away $100k or more as a top prize; even if it was hard to win, at least you had the chance of winning a sizable sum of money. At least back then it was really worth competing. I actually thought that after Lingo, 1 VS 100, Minute and The Chase, that GSN had a new standard when it came to top prize amounts, but now we're finding out that inflation continues to raise the prices on everything, yet prize amounts on GSN shows continue to decrease.

    I mean, at least it's more than on Chain Reaction and Idiotest...

    Was the music any good at least?

    1. For the music, I really do not judge game shows on their theme music. You will have to find out for yourself on June 9th. But in my opinion, it is just your ordinary game show-esque music.

      With the prize money, I'm not sure if that matters too much. Idiotest has had a few seasons now with most duos of contestants only leaving with one or two thousand dollars and at most $10,000. Woolery Lingo and Chain Reaction were very cheap, and those have survived ten years in reruns and no one seems to care about their cheapness.

      I don't care about cheapness and between all the gift cards, $10,000 and cars, as said in the beginning of Winsanity, prizes can total up to $100,000. I do not think that is so cheap.