Ant and Dec’s last doomed game show attempt they knew would fail after the first night
Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnely are by far the most successful modern presentation duo on British television, with a mountain of national television awards.
Just about everything the quick-witted Geordie touches turns to gold on TV, from I’m A Celeb … to Britain’s Got Talent and more.
So it might surprise you to find out when the last time they tried to launch a new game show almost ten years ago, and what a resounding failure it was.
READ MORE: ITV Limitless Win viewers have same complaint about Ant and Dec’s new show
This weekend, the pair launched their first game show in 10 years, Limitless Win, in hopes of banishing the demon from their past flop.
While many fans complained about being confused by the rules in the first episode on Saturday, it ended in a blockbuster as NHS pair Will and Kathryn won half a million pounds.
The pair will pray that history does not repeat itself after their latest Red or Black game show? turned out to be a forgettable flop.
The show was launched in 2011 with much fanfare by ITV, offering the biggest cash prize ever to be seen on UK television – just like Limitless Win.
Red or Black? was also orchestrated by the duo’s Pop Idol and BGT boss Simon Cowell.
Both knew early on that the format was not going to work.
Dec, 46, told Mirror: “We were wrong and we hold our hands on it. We knew it from the first night.”
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From the start, Rouge ou Noir was controversial due to its giant roulette wheel and other obvious signs of play in the format.
The show has been accused of glorifying the game with criticism from the Gambling Commission.
The show was also sponsored by loan company Wonga, with critics also pointing to the irresponsible irony of letting a loan company sponsor a program offering a huge prize based on sheer luck.
The show itself was also the subject of criticism from viewers, as contestants would rack up prizes with challenges throughout the show only to have their actual fate decided by betting on red or black at the very end.
Ant, 46, revealed that the tension was so bad in the studio that he almost passed out in the studio during filming, although he joked that it could have been due to a commercial in late evening the day before.
In a rarity for the pair, ratings hit the ground with viewers accusing the show of being “baffling” and worse “boring.”
One of the show’s winners, Nigel Hagerman, then faced controversy and called for his winnings to be returned after it emerged he had already been convicted of assault.
Addressing the reaction, Ant told The Sun, “We kind of thought it was a Saturday night show. We all messed up and held hands on it.
“When we had a winner the first night we all went back to our locker room and said, ‘We shouldn’t do it again tomorrow, it should be weekly. “
“And we had some unfortunate situations with some of the contestants, which overshadowed the show, probably disproportionately.”
ITV persisted with the show despite the flop of the first series, returning it to service for a second year with a few changes.
The show would only air once a week on a Saturday night, the prize pool was raised to £ 3.5million and the number of attendees per show fell to eight.
Even with those changes, viewership numbers fell from seven million in the first week to just 3.9 million the following week, with the show quietly ending its run that year before fading into oblivion.
With Limitless Win starting this week, 10 years after the Red or Black Disaster ended, Ant and Dec hope they can do much better.
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