The YouTube Files – Small Talk USA.

Small Talk (The Family Channel, 1996-1997)

This is the American version of the game show that ran in the UK on BBC1 in the mid-90s, and this one launched just as that one was ending in 1996. Small Talk (which mustn’t be confused with Child’s Play) was hosted by comedian Wil Shriner, someone who I must admit I’m not that familiar with. Because this version was on a commercial channel instead of the BBC, there was a shorter running time, meaning that there were some rule changes to deal with the time constraints.

Three contestants took part as always, although seven children took part instead of nine. The basic idea of trying to guess what the children’s answers would be to various questions remained though, with most of the humour coming from their sometimes unusual observations on things in life. The set design was also rather similar, with multi-coloured speech bubbles everywhere. vlcsnap-00007

In round one, the contestants have to guess what answer a child would give to a question, such as “do you like cauliflower?” for ten points. Six of the seven are asked, meaning that there are two goes each. The things they say, honestly. If the contestants can guess the response that the majority of children gave too, they score 20 points. Oh yes! This round is then played again, but the points are doubled. vlcsnap-00008

Next is the speed round, where there is one question, and the contestants are simply asked if they thought the child did or didn’t know the answer. There are 60 points for a correct answer. The highest scorer gets $500 and progresses to the final, although the other contestants do take away some consolation prizes, but they don’t include the trophy that you get in the British version, you’re more likely to get some binoculars. vlcsnap-00010

The final is played in a similar style to what is actually the penultimate round in the UK, presumably this is also for time constraints. Again, all of the children are asked a question, and the contestant now chooses them at random by pressing a button. Their aim is to get three correct matches before they give two incorrect ones. If they can do this, they win a bonus $1,000, meaning that the most that could be won was $1,500. vlcsnap-00012

I’m not sure how often the children appeared on the show, whether it was rather regularly and they rotated, or they got one go each like the contestants. This version of Small Talk definitely had as many laughs as you would get in the UK, but it only ran for about three months on The Family Channel before leaving the screen for good.


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