If the interior decorator from The Adventurers Club collaborated with the decorator from the movie Clue to create a new mansion’s library, you’d get the set of ABC’s new game show, The Hustler. Premiering on Monday, January 4th at 10/9c, this new game show presents contestants with a Whodunit-type premise, albeit not one to solve a crime. One of the five contestants on each episode is the titular hustler and there’s a lot of cash at stake!
Emmy-winner Craig Ferguson is the host and presumably resident of the well-to-do manor that serves as the show’s playspace. If The Haunted Mansion was cleaned up and restored with red accents replacing purple, it would probably look something like this space. It’s so plush, velvety and antiquated and you want to be on the show just to hang out there. Also, it has Scooby Doo style spinning bookshelves that are used when a player gets eliminated.
Five players start the game, one of them secretly the hustler. Host Craig Ferguson reveals a fact about the hustler, followed by a related question. For example, the hustler owns three chickens and then a question about which Muppet is in love with a chicken follows. Each correct answer from the group adds $10,000 to the pot. With 10 questions, getting all of them correct means the prize money could be worth $100,000.
After three questions, there’s an elimination round where each player uses a secret ballot to vote for the player they want eliminated. The host puts them in a bank teller tube and sends it away where only the hustler’s vote actually matters and a player is whisked through a secret bookcase. The game continues until it’s down to the final three players.
In the final round, it becomes even more heated. The hustler wants the pot of money to be as lucrative as possible because if they successfully fool the other players, they get all of it. They want to give away the correct answer without outing themselves based on all of the information shared thus far. And by the end of the ten questions, the other players know an awful lot about the hustler, so they really have to be a master of deception.
In an effort to try and get the hustler to unintentionally reveal themselves, the final question could double the pot if the answer is correct, cutting it in half if they get it wrong. And then to make the odds stacked even more in the hustler’s favor, if the two players who aren’t the hustler can’t agree on who it is, the hustler still wins. Both players have to say the hustler is the real hustler by voting with a card. There is one last chance at redemption with a 2-minute discussion where player’s can try to change each other’s minds, including the hustler.
The Hustler is not your typical game show. There aren’t podiums, buzzers, or women in ball gowns showcasing fancy prizes. There’s just five people, one of whom is a master at deception, and a host in a lush library with hidden doors. It’s a lot of fun to watch, but even more fun to play along, trying to guess who the hustler is alongside the contestants.
I give The Hustler 4 out of 5 Muppet-themed trivia questions.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.