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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 31, 2002

Torture-TV show put to sleep

Advertiser news services

Sadistic treatment of contestants failed to draw a big audience for "The Chamber."


Fox TV's "The Chamber," a game show that quizzes contestants as they are buffeted by wind, water or heat, has been put out of its misery.

The network has taken the show off the air after it drew a paltry 5.6 million viewers for its premiere on Friday. It ranked at No. 89 in Nielsen ratings.

The show pitted two contestants against each other during the first round as they answer pop-culture questions. The contestant advancing to the next round would actually be put in a torture chamber, strapped to a chair and enclosed in a device loaded with the risk of pain and suffering while doomsday music pounded in the background. The torture got progressively worse with each level the contestant made it through.

Fox said "The Chamber" will be back at some future date. Reruns of "Malcolm in the Middle" and "That '70s Show" will fill its 7 p.m. slot tomorrow.

Fox had raced "The Chamber" on the air to match ABC's similar game show, "The Chair." ABC has sued Fox, claiming the network stole its idea.

"The Chair," with John McEnroe as host, may have won its personal battle with Fox, but could be in some danger itself. It drew 9.8 million viewers last Tuesday, ranking No. 57 for the week.

Meanwhile, Fox plans a special for late February, "The Glutton Bowl," in which people will compete by eating large amounts of food.