The Hustler

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Hustler TV Poster Image
Confusing, slow trivia game is OK but rewards deception.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Having someone lie about who s/he/they is and what s/he/they know is central to the game, but it’s all in good fun. 

Positive Role Models

People who appear on the show are from all walks of life. Craig Ferguson is Scottish. 


There are a few semi-heated discussions about who the hustler is, but nothing violent occurs. 


There’s some occasional, very mild, innuendo that will go over kids’ heads. 


Occasional words like "piss" and "damn" are audible. 


Contestants are competing for a cash prize. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References are made to drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Hustle is a trivia-themed game show that contains some occasional strong language ("pissed" and "damn") and some mild sexual innuendo that will fly over kids’ (and some adults’) heads. Alcohol is discussed, but not seen. Disagreements sometimes lead to accusations and raised voices when trying to determine who is lying, but it's all within the context of the game. Due to the slow pace of the show, younger kids probably won’t be too excited about it. 

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What's the story?

Hosted by Craig Ferguson, THE HUSTLER is a trivia-based game show that poses a bit of a gamble. Five contestants must work as a team to correctly answer 10 trivia questions. Each correct answer puts $10,000 in the pot. Meanwhile, they must also determine who among them is the "hustler," a person posing as a contestant who actually knows all the answers and is trying to throw the game to win the cash. As they play, real-life clues are offered about the fake contestant, adding to the mystery. The hustler also gets to secretly vote off two people in order to get closer to the win. At the end of the game, the three remaining contestants vote to identify the person lying about who s/he/they is. The real players who guess correctly win the money. But if they don’t, the hustler gets to keep the cash. 

Is it any good?

Clue meets Trivial Pursuit in this slow-going, rather convoluted series that offers weak attempts to raise suspicions about its contestants. Most of the action comes from contestants surreptitiously looking at each other as they collectively discuss answers to questions. Meanwhile, when not asking the questions, Craig Ferguson, interjects with his own deadpan humor, only some of which land well. 

There is some fun that comes with learning more about who is hustling the contestants. However, The Hustle lacks the excitement of intense game show competitions that have a live audience cheering folks on. As a result, the overall show seems like it’s entertaining for the people who are actually playing it, but will leave viewers feeling like they’re stuck in a room with them as forgotten bystanders. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good TV game show. Is it the game itself? The host? The speed at which it's played? Or is it the cash and prizes that folks can potentially win or lose?

  • Game shows like The Hustler are meant to be fun, but what does a contestants' lying tell us about communication? Are there certain things people do or say that make them seem suspicious (or honest)? Should we be celebrating the fact that people are really good at lying?

  • Slow trivia game is confusing, has occasional strong vocab.

TV details

  • Premiere date: January 4, 2021
  • Cast: Craig Ferguson
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: January 19, 2021

Our editors recommend

For kids who love trivia and game shows

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