CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cable racing network SPEED debuted its newest game show on Thursday night. Pumped! gives unsuspecting motorists a chance to win gasoline gift cards for correctly answering trivia questions.
It is a fast-paced, ambush-style quiz show that transforms everyday people into instant game show contestants, all while filling up their gas tanks at their local gas station. Host Greg Fitzsimmons guides players through multiple rounds of automotive and pop culture question and answer games, affording them the opportunity to win cash and prizes while fueling their cars.
Fitzsimmons positions himself at undisclosed Sunoco gas stations in and around some of America’s busiest intersections, “ambushing” unsuspecting patrons for a chance to win up to $1,800 in cash (including $50 Sunoco gift cards) upon successfully answering a series of trivia questions.
Fitzsimmons is a comedian who has performed his standup routine on shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately and Comedy Central Presents, while also hosting his own radio show, The Greg Fitzsimmons Show, on SiriusXM Howard 101. He also offers the Fitzdog Radio podcast.
“I’m just a guy who’s coming up to them and trying to have some fun,” Fitzsimmons said. “I’m not putting pressure on them to play the game. Not trying to tell a bunch of funny jokes, I’m trying to bring out what’s fun in an already funny situation.
“I did improv in college and I’ve done standup. Now, my standup has been a lot of listening to people as opposed to just trying to say funny things. I think in this show, the best games we can play are when the people feel comfortable and respond to how they are feeling,” he said.
“The show is essentially broken down into three games and a bonus,” said Nick Rigg, Leopard Films USA President. “What we see in the first game is kind of a strict ‘true or false.’ Greg wants to push them hard, so they will make it through. He can be quite cutting and tough with them. In the second round, he becomes a bit friendlier. Once they start making some money and (move) into the third round, he’s very much behind and working with them. It’s based on fun and what we’ve found is the contestants have risen to it–and really enjoy it as well.”
Even though it’s a simple concept by design, it’s not always easy to shoot. With each segment set within an ever-changing environment, a multitude of distractions and obstacles can make shooting an episode more challenging.
“You’ve got fire engines and people in reverse making that beeping noise,” Fitzsimmons said. “Then you’ve got gas trucks pulling in to fill up the tanks, and our whole set is on top of where they need to be, so they aren’t the most pleasant guys at that moment. You also have people honking, people in the background waving their arms and helicopters flying overhead. For every take we get that’s clean, there’s another take where we have to stop or re-ask the question, so we’re definitely on our toes to make sure whatever we do, we get it right.”
SPEED, anchored by its coverage of NASCAR, is the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle. Now available in nearly 84 million homes in North America, SPEED, is a member of the FOX Sports Media Group, the umbrella entity representing News Corp.’s array of multi-platform U.S.-based sports assets.