TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Downfall TV Poster Image
Greed, waste trip up high-stakes game show.

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show’s format encourages contestants’ greed by forcing them to risk their existing winnings for the chance to win even more. There’s also a great deal of waste involved, as prizes (or replicas of prizes, as they’re said to be) are sent tumbling off the building to smash into pieces when participants fail a challenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most contestants are good sports in both victory and defeat.


No violence, but contestants who fail to meet the show’s challenges are dropped off the edge of a 10-story building on a bungee cord.


Frequent use of “oh my God.” 


Non-cash prizes include cars, vacations, etc. -- with brands shown/mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, as with most game shows, contestants on Downfall are forced to gamble their winnings for the opportunity to score even more cash and prizes, so greed is often a factor in their decisions. Environmentally conscious viewers may also take issue with the show’s wastefulness in sending “replicas” of unclaimed prizes (which look just like the real things) over the building’s edge to smash into pieces. The show isn’t meant for little kids, since most of the trivia will be over their heads, and very young ones might be startled by seeing people dropped off the building (via bungee cord) when they lose a challenge. That said, the quiz portion of the show is fun to play along with, so tweens and teens might enjoy the high-stakes game.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byFlaming Pencil April 28, 2012

Could have been better...

The format was fine, but it needed some variation. Why not have different ways to fall off a building? A cage, getting pelted by ball during the decent, anyth... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byEvent Horizon October 18, 2010

I'll get my facts other places

It's hard to watch this show. I mean, I love watching gameshows and stuff falling off a 100 ft. building as much as anybody else, but this just feels so wa... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DOWNFALL, contestants must answer trivia questions under the pressure of watching their potential prizes and cash earnings move ever closer to the edge of the 10-story building they’re standing on. In each round, contestants can win an increasing amount of money -- with a possible grand prize of a $1 milion -- along with prizes like furniture, vacations, and cars. The prizes and cash are set on a conveyor belt that ends at the building’s edge, and if the contestant doesn’t answer the trivia questions quickly enough, they’re sent crashing over the edge – the same fate the player faces (on a bungee cord, of course) if he fails the test.

Is it any good?

This high-stakes game show is hosted by pro wrestler Chris Jericho, whose exuberant personality is a perfect match for the series' extreme nature. Downfall's concept takes the traditional game show to a new level (100 feet up, to be exact), since it’s impossible to believe that watching expensive prizes (and in some cases, people, as the contestants must bring a willing supporter to ride the belt and also risk dropping by bungee) literally escape your grasp wouldn’t affect your ability to answer trivia questions.

Unfortunately, the show's positive points are obscured by its surprising tolerance of waste. While those in charge claim that the doomed prizes that take a nosedive off the building are actually replicas of the real things, it’s still hard to stomach watching these “fake” dishes, tables, and cars tumble into oblivion. Greed is also a concern, since the contestants essentially are betting their winnings for a chance to take home more. Still, although the show isn’t for little kids, families with tweens and teens might enjoy pitting their own trivia knowledge against each other -- and the contestants'.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about greed. In general, do you think society encourages or discourages greed? What examples can you think of? Do you ever find yourself being greedy?

  • Tweens: Do you like game shows? What, if any, positive messages can be taken from them? Why are so many modern game shows so extreme in nature? How does this show compare to other game shows you’ve seen?

  • What are the benefits of competition? What can you learn by putting yourself in a high-pressure situation? What role does sportsmanship play in competition? How important is it?

TV details

  • Premiere date: June 22, 2010
  • Cast: Chris Jericho
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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