Game Shows Wiki
Rick Schwartz
The Chamber.png
FOX: 1/13/2002-1/25/2002
Dick Clark Productions

OPENING SPIEL: "This is the Chamber! Once someone enters, there is no turning back! Tonight, within these steel walls, Human Endurance will be taken to its very limits! Participants will be subjected to unbearable environments and incredible physical stress, scorching heat, subzero cold, and hurricane force winds. If anyone can make it through all seven modes, they could walk away with more than $100,000. Will it be worth it? Welcome (back) to The Chamber."

REST OF SPIEL (Premiere): "Hello, I'm Rick Schwartz. You are about to witness television history. Behind me is the chamber, and everything you heard about it is true. Contestants will make it to this steel hell-hole, and will endure extreme mental and physical stress. All the while, they must try to keep their wits about them, and try to answer rapid-fire questions."

The Chamber was a short lived rip-off of The Chair. It aired on FOX and played similarly to The Chair but with some slight changes.


Pre-game Faceoff[]

To begin, two contestants (always one male and one female) were posed a question by host Rick Schwartz. The contestants went back and forth, providing a single answer that fit the category. Once a correct answer was given, the opponent had to do the same. If a contestant gave an incorrect answer, repeated an answer, or took too much time, the opponent could score a point by giving one more right answer. The first to score two points in this way moved on to the main game, the loser left with nothing.

Main Game[]

Before entering the Chamber, the contestant was offered a $500 buyout to leave the game, which nobody took. To begin, the contestant was strapped into a chair, arms raised over the head. Electrodes, muscle contractors and medical equipment were attached to the player before entering. During the pre-game setup, a computer would choose whether the contestant would play against the "hot" or "cold" chamber.

Just before the player is sent into the chamber, he or she must sign a release form stating that he/she is willing to play the game on his/her own free will, clearly understanding the torture of the chamber. This was likely for dramatic effect, as contestants on any game show must sign forms and contracts before even setting foot in the studio.

Once sealed in the chamber, the game began. Each player's goal was to answer as many questions, and to last in the chamber as long as possible. The game could end in any of the following ways:

  • Answering two consecutive questions incorrectly.
  • The player's "stress quotient" exceeding a predetermined "Danger Zone" threshold for 20 seconds. Viewers only knew that it was an equation that used blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature as variables. However, unlike ABC's The Chair, players were not penalized monetarily for exceeding their Danger Zone. The penalty would have been the same for answering two consecutive questions incorrectly.
  • The show's medical staff could stop the game if they felt that the player would not be able to continue, or if he or she was rendered unconscious from the stress (which did not happen, however, one contestant, Jennifer Basa, nearly reached that point, and had to receive clearance from the show's medical staff in order to continue) but again, would have used the same penalty for answering two consecutive questions incorrectly.
  • Voluntarily ending the game by saying "Stop the chamber!" (which nobody did), but again, doing so would have carried the same penalty for answering two consecutive questions incorrectly.

As each round began, one minute was put on the clock and questions were asked to the player, each worth $1,000 if answered correctly. If the player lost the contest for any of the aforementioned reasons above, that money was halved. If the player could survive the entire minute, the game would go into stop down mode for ten seconds, allowing Schwartz to speak to the contestant and check on their status, after which the conditions inside would intensify, and the game continued. The maximum amount of questions has never been stated, but it has been stated that it is possible to win over $100,000 (this is because with six questions per level and seven levels, the potential top prize would be $126,000).


Depending on the chamber chosen, the player would face a different set of challenges:

Hot Chamber[]
  • The inside temperature would begin at 110 °F (43 °C) and increase toward a maximum of 170 °F (66 °C).
  • Flames begin to appear more furiously than the last level.
  • Muscle contractors would work at progressively greater intervals as the contest proceeded.
  • A simulated earthquake would shake the player (Richter scale 5.0 to begin, going all the way up to 9.0)
  • The chair would begin to rotate back and forth (Level 2), then up and down, through 270°, and finally it would spin in complete circles.
  • On the last episode, foul odors would be piped in after the fourth round.
  • Wind gusts of 40 mph (64.3 k/h) joined in at level two.
  • The oxygen level in the chamber would drop each level (90% down to 70%).
  • Air cannons would blast at up to 140 mph.
Cold Chamber[]
  • The inside temperature would begin at 30 °F (-1 °C) and decrease toward a minimum of -20 °F (-29 °C).
  • Muscle contractors would work at progressively greater intervals as the contest proceeded (Level 4 started its maximum interval "HIGH").
  • A simulated earthquake would shake the player (Richter scale 5.0 to begin, going all the way up to 9.5)
  • Instead of rotating, water jets would squirt the player, causing ice to form on the player. In Level 2, Jets would squirt more furiously (50%), then at its maximum in Level 3.
  • Ice Storm begins at Level 3 (Begins at Stage 4 through 8).
  • Wind gusts of 40 mph (64.3 k/h) joined in at Level 3.
  • The oxygen level in the chamber would drop each level (95% down to 70%).
  • Air cannons would blast at up to 140 mph.

The contestant would answer as many questions as possible while trying to remain focused around the distractions and pain caused from the chamber. The game would end if the contestant could survive for seven minutes in the harsh environment. If the winner could also manage to answer 25 questions correctly, the total winnings would be tripled. Additionally, that environment would be retired, and something new created.

Reportedly, in the unaired episodes, there were three other chambers: an Electric Shock Chamber, a Water Torture Chamber, and an Insect Chamber. Whatever challenges were used in these chambers are unknown at the moment.

Show Format[]

For the first two aired episodes, there were three games played per hour. For the final episode, a fourth game was added to fill out the time. For the first two episodes, host Rick Schwartz was a little more than a color commentator for the Chamber rounds; a male voice asked the questions, and a female voice would let them know when the Chamber was transitioning into higher levels and shutting down. On the final episode, Schwartz asked the questions as well as conducting interviews during the down time.

Matt Vasgersian, formerly of Sports Geniuses, was originally slated to host, but was disgusted by the show's premise and left before it even premiered.

No one ever won the grand prize of $100,000 by answering 25 questions correctly. One contestant, Scott Brown, managed to survive all seven levels in the 'cold' chamber, and finished with $20,000--more than any other contestant on the show--by getting 20 correct answers. However, after his game, he was hospitalized and sued FOX and the producers of the show. The lawsuit was settled out of court, and Brown was awarded an additional $100,000 for compensation.

During the first episode, a controversy occurred on one of the questions, the answer to which was John Glenn. Christina Garner initially said "Glenn", then began debating aloud, "Glenn somebody...somebody Glenn" before offering the answer "Glenn Armstrong." In her post-game interview, she claimed she thought Glenn was a sufficient enough answer (many game shows have accepted just the last name), but when she didn't get a response, she gave a different answer. Since this was a second consecutive miss, her winnings were halved and she left with $10,000.


Official Website (via Internet Archive)
The Chamber @ Game Show Garbage

YouTube Videos[]

Premiere Episode
Full Episode