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‘Cash Cab’ returns with Ben Bailey for new season on Bravo

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Ben Bailey is back for a new season of “Cash Cab” – the long-running TV game show set on the streets of New York City. Along with a new batch of shows, “Cash Cab” has a new TV home in Bravo, a new cab for Bailey, new trivia questions with higher stakes, and a wild new batch of contestants; shocked to actually be sitting inside a cab with the host they’ve seen so many times on television.

“Many people still don’t know that the show is back, and their reaction and surprise is genuinely contagious and awesome once I hit the lights and music,” Bailey said during an interview.

On “Cash Cab,” Bailey – a stand-up comedian who also happens to possess a New York City taxi driver’s license - picks up unassuming fares (while often initially hiding his face and disguising his voice) and drives contestants to their destination while giving them the opportunity to rack up thousands in winnings by answering a series of increasingly difficult general knowledge trivia questions.

The stakes become higher and the questions more difficult as contestants get closer to their destination. The contestant is allowed two incorrect answers during the game. If they accumulate three wrong responses, Bailey pulls the cab over and sends them away with nothing.

The rules allow two assists over the course of a game. One is a shout-out via social media. When a contestant selects this option, Bailey pulls the cab over and goes live on the new “Cash Cab on Bravo” Facebook page. He poses the question via live video from inside the cab and social media users have an opportunity to assist contestants by giving the correct answer.

The second (and riskier) assist is the “street shout-out.” When a contestant utilizes this option, Bailey pulls the cab over and the contestant is allowed to ask a pedestrian for assistance.

If Bailey stops at a red light during a game, the contestant is given the “red light challenge,” which involves a question with multiple correct answers (usually four to seven) and is given 30 seconds to correctly answer a minimum amount. If they do, they receive an additional $250. If not, they lose nothing.

Like previous seasons of Cash Cab, the new show is shot both in the daytime and at night, although Bailey’s preference is the latter.

“I love New York at night,” he said. “I feel like it’s a nighttime town and the place really seems to come alive after hours. I’m a night owl anyway, so that might have something to do with it, but people tend to not be in so much of a hurry to get to work or to a meeting or wherever they’re going. They often have a couple of drinks in them and tend to be a little more relaxed. Plus everything looks so much cooler at night, especially with the new lights in the cab.”

“On these new shows, you’ll see a total cross-section of New York, which is incredibly diverse,” he continued. “We have a wider variety of people getting in the cab. The only thing they all have in common is that they can’t believe they’re actually in the Cash Cab.”

65 new episodes were ordered by Bravo earlier this year and shooting for the new season began in August. New episodes air each evening, Sunday through Thursday, at 11:30 p.m., just after “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.”

“We’re almost done shooting this group of episodes,” Bailey told me. “I’ll be out there doing more later today.”

In preparation for this story, I screened the first five episodes of Bravo’s new season of “Cash Cab” and found them to be among the most entertaining in the history of the series.

On one of the new shows, we see four men in drag step into the cab. When they realize where they are, their reaction is priceless.

“That was a fun game,” Bailey laughed. “They had full beards and were dressed to the nines. They were so surprised to be in the Cash Cab. It’s a hilarious episode. We just picked up a couple coming out of a gym that seemed like trivia experts. We have people from all walks of life on these new shows.”

In one of the new shows, three friends made it to the end of the ride and were presented with the option to double their winnings with the traditional game-ending video bonus question. When the contestant sitting in the answer seat made the call to refuse the bonus question and keep their winnings, an argument began and continued on the sidewalk as Bailey drove off for the next game.

“Viewers tend to root one way or the other when it comes to the video bonus round,” said Bailey. “Lots of people say they yell at the TV, but when the contestant answers that last question correctly - doubling their winnings in the process - it’s pretty exciting for all of us.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:54

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