18 June, 2012

非常了得 fei chang liao de (Chinese TV gameshow)

Ok here's my attempt at writing something like a Wikipedia article. I like this show, and think it deserves more attention.

非常了得 (read as "fei chang liao de", roughly meaning "extraordinarily amazing") is a TV gameshow by the channel 江苏卫视 (Jiangsu Satellite TV) hosted by 孟非 (meng fei) and 郭德纲 (guo de gang). The same channel also produces the popular 非诚勿扰 (fei cheng wu rao) matchmaking TV programme, also hosted by 孟非.


At the start of their turn, contestants are presented with 8 preselected members of the public with unique statements behind them e.g. I'm a rock star; I collect old newspapers. The contestant must then select people and ask them questions to determine if they are telling the truth.

Contestants can also ask for help a limited number of times. A special panel of advisers will ask questions and give their opinion.


The prizes are holidays to various places. Contestants win different prizes after identifying the truth of 1, 2 and 3 people correctly (to win the grand prize, they have to answer 1+2+3=6). After winning a prize, they can leave or continue playing, but if they lose later, their prize is forfeit.

My comments
I find this show interesting because it's an exercise in determining if people are lying. Many times, people are found out not by knowledge of the subject, but by their expression and behaviour, such as differences between telling the truth and a lie, and their responses to unexpected questions. I want to point out ALL the participants have to convince the contestant they are telling the truth. Hence, only those whose statement is false have to lie. I don't know if those being interviewed receive any benefit. Some people use the opportunity for publicity e.g. for a charity. Many episodes of this show can be found on YouTube, for those interested in having a look.

Update 14 Sep 2012
Ok they seem to have changed the game rules. Not sure if the changes are permanent. The basic premise of the game is still a spot-the-lie, but I think it's farer - in the past people telling the truth had no incentive to convince people.

From what I can tell, the new rules are: there are 2 contestants per episode. They take turns guessing. For each guess, they are presented with one claim and 2 people. They have to guess which person out of the 2 is the real person in the claim. There are 7 guesses to make, so the person who starts first guesses 4 times in total and the other guesses 3. Guesses are worth increasingly more points - 1,2,3...7. If a contestant guesses wrongly, the opponent gets the points. It looks like the claims get harder and harder to guess.

There's no mention of the prizes. At the start, the contestants say what they want, e.g. I want to go on a holiday, I want to go to university. I think the prize is a fixed sum of money.

Update 24 Nov 2012
Aand they're back to the old format. The official reasons were:
  1. Viewers wanted to see more people to guess
  2. It's harder to guess when people lie about their identity (job) as well, not just the topic under discussion.
I think it's also because:
  1. The old format was more flexible in timing (if one person kept winning in the new format, the show would be over very quickly)
  2. Maybe they spent less on prize money.

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