Quiz and game shows are without a doubt one of the most popular forms of entertainment programming on television today. They attract large audiences among young and old alike and feature among the best-liked programs ( Gunter, 1986).
Such shows come in a variety of forms. The games played, the types of contestants featured, the prizes offered, and the seriousness versus the light-heartedness of these programs can vary a great deal. Some shows feature celebrity contestants only, others are played by ordinary members of the public, whereas a small number team up celebrities and the public. Some shows offer big star prizes for winners, whereas others offer only points. Some shows involve a certain amount of skill or put the knowledge of contestants to the test. Others rely mainly on chance and good luck. Some are played by teams, whereas others pit individuals against each other.
Which among these shows and particular features appeal most and least to children? Are there special ingredients of quiz shows that really attract younger viewers to make such light entertainment regular or even compulsive viewing? What is it that they like or dislike about them? This phase of the project set out to answer some of these questions.
Another issue addressed was the fundamental question posed in chapter 1 about children's use of television: Do they control the set or does it control them? Children's relative "activity" or "passivity" in their time spent with television can be assessed in a variety of ways. At the level of their behavioral involvement with television is the question of whether they watch programs selectively. At the level of their intellectual involvement