Game shows are famous for giving away prizes like brand new cars or Hawaiian cruise vacations. However, on a new game show that recently premiered on TruTV, participants have the chance to win something truly life-changing: the chance to be debt-free.
“Paid Off” is the brainchild of actor Michael Torpey, who came up with the idea after years of chipping away at his wife’s $40,000 undergraduate and graduate school debt. (A Hanes underwear ad job he booked is what he says finally gave them enough cash to pay it off.)
“We wrote this check and when (we) sent it off, my wife started crying and I really started to understand what it was like for her to carry this debt around everyday … this invisible burden that 45 million Americans are carrying around with them,” he said in an interview with Paste Magazine.
— truTV (@truTV) July 10, 2018
If you’re one of the millions of people in the U.S. saddled with student debt, you’re probably familiar with the very real and depressing stats surrounding student debt. Collectively, Americans owe $900 billion dollars in educational debt.
That’s why on “Paid Off” Torpey guarantees that every contestant walks away with at least $1,000, while the winner gets their entire student debt erased.
This is the moment anyone with student debt dreams of. Watch Spanish teacher Ryan go all the way in the final round of the latest #PaidOff. Catch up today at 5/4c or anytime on the free truTV app. pic.twitter.com/rctDMdYBah
— truTV (@truTV) July 25, 2018
The format of the show is similar to that of “Jeopardy.” However, unlike more traditional game shows, the trivia questions on “Paid Off” are easy to answer and sometimes very silly, and that’s on purpose. Torpey isn’t trying to make it hard for contestants to win.
“The situation around student debt is absurdly tragic … Because it’s absurd, we can tell jokes and laugh at it, but there’s still a tragedy there,” he said to CNBC.
Here’s an example of how the show works:
The show reportedly films in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and held open casting calls for the first season. So if “Paid Off” is renewed for a second season, Torpey and TruTV will need more contestants with student loans to pay off. And in 2018, that shouldn’t be too hard to find.