Bil Dwyer
Cheaters Pilot
NBC Pilot (Cheaters): 2002
PAX: 1/6/2003 - 4/14/2003
Jonathan Goodson Productions

Opening Spiel (PILOT): "Tonight, one of these players will be cheating. The cheater, will be given all the answers to all the questions. Watch carefully, as each player looks in their monitor and discovers for the very first time whether they will be tonight's cheater. Alysha Coleman, singer. Are you the cheater? ALYSHA: No, I'm not the cheater! Kevin Pindergas, teacher. KEVIN: I'm not the cheater! Dennis Govens, river rafting guide. DENNIS: I'm not the cheater! Tricia Leman, law student. TRICIA: I am not the cheater! Matt George, magazine editor. MATT: I am not the cheater! Mann Alfonso, child care worker. MANN: I am not the cheater! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Cheaters!"

Opening Spiel (SERIES): "One of these honest players is about to be turned into a Dirty Rotten Cheater. The Cheater will secretly see all the answers to all the questions." (Intro of each player, who denies being the Cheater) "Players, one of you is lying. One of you is the DIRTY ROTTEN CHEATER."

Dirty Rotten Cheater (originally called Cheaters in the 2002 pilot) was a spinoff of The Weakest Link with a twist. Each round, one person gets to see all the answers to the question in the round and then everyone has to vote out who is the Cheater.


At the start of each show six contestants walk up to their podiums, open their monitor doors, and find out if they are the "Dirty Rotten Cheater". After each contestant's name is read, s/he faces the camera and other contestants and claims to not be the Cheater; hence, the sole Cheater is lying.

The game is played in five rounds. Each round begins with a survey question, similar to those on Family Feud. There is only one question in the first round, and two questions in each round thereafter. In the first four rounds, each player gives one answer; if the answer is on a list of the top ten responses given, the player receives an amount of cash equal to the value of its position on the list. If the answer is not on the list, no money is given. The Cheater can see the top ten list of answers, and may choose to either give a high-dollar answer to build their own total, or a lesser answer in hopes of throwing off suspicion.

Unlike Family Feud, lower ranked answers are worth more money instead of higher ranked answers; the value of each is answer is as follows:

Position Value
10th ranked answer $2,500
9th ranked answer $2,250
8th ranked answer $2,000
7th ranked answer $1,750
6th ranked answer $1,500
5th ranked answer $1,250
4th ranked answer $1,000
3rd ranked answer $750
2nd ranked answer $500
1st ranked answer $250

The First Three RoundsEdit

At the end of each of these rounds, bonuses are awarded to the players who scored the most money in that round alone. The first place bonus is $10,000, second place is $7,500, and third place is $5,000. If there is a tie, the appropriate bonuses are combined and split between the tying players (i.e., if two players tie for first place, each receive $8,750).

The players are then given an opportunity to accuse one another of being the Cheater. After a few contestants have opined, they all secretly vote for whom they think is the Cheater; using cards with the players' names on them, the players reveal their votes from camera left to camera right.

The first contestant who receives three votes for that round is eliminated and loses all of the money in his/her bank. That contestant is then asked whether or not he/she was the Cheater.

Depending on the outcome of the vote and the eliminated contestant's revelation, one of three possible scenarios occurs:

  1. If the eliminated contestant is the Cheater, he/she is eliminated from the game with no further participation, the remaining contestants keep all the money in their banks, and one of the remaining players is designated as the new Cheater in the same manner as at the beginning of the show.
  2. If the eliminated contestant is not the Cheater, the remaining contestants lose half of the money in their banks and the eliminated contestant is later given a chance to win money in the final round. The Cheater in that round remains Cheater in subsequent rounds until being eliminated and/or revealed.
  3. If no contestant receives three votes, all of the remaining players lose half their bank and the Cheater must decide which one to eliminate. Each player reaches into their podium, where a button is hidden; this is done to conceal the identity of the Cheater, who has the only working button. One at a time, the Cheater is asked if he/she desires to eliminate one of the other players. Once the Cheater decides to push the button, a red light at center stage is lit and the player who was called on is eliminated, but is later given a chance to win money in the final round.

Round 4Edit

At the end of this round, after the three remaining players have a chance to accuse the other players, the studio audience votes for whom they think is the Cheater. If a contestant receives at least 50% of the audience vote, he or she is eliminated, and as before must honestly reveal if he or she is the Cheater; however, there is no further reduction in score if he/she isn't. If none of the contestants achieves a majority, the contestants' banks are halved, and the Cheater again decides who will be eliminated.

Final RoundEdit

In this round, for each question, the two remaining contestants alternate turns, giving three answers each. After both questions have been asked, the remaining two contestants each have fifteen seconds to plead their cases to the studio audience as to why they are not the Cheater. Any eliminated contestants that were proven not to be the Cheater are brought back out to hear the pleas, and both the contestants and the audience vote on who they think is the Cheater.

While the vote is tabulated, two vaults are brought onto the stage. The vaults, each of which has a trap door inside, are then filled with cash corresponding to the money value in each contestant's bank. The Cheater's identity is then revealed, and any of the eliminated contestants who correctly identify him win $500.

After the Cheater is identified, he/she is given the command "Cheater, go for the money" by Dwyer and reaches into the vault. If the audience correctly identified the Cheater, the money will fall through the trap door and the honest player wins the money in his/her bank. If the audience instead voted for the honest player, the trap door will not open and the Cheater keeps his/her bank while the honest player wins nothing.

Pilot RulesEdit

The pilot, called Cheaters (which was pitched to NBC and taped on the set of The Weakest Link) had different rules than in the series. The most obvious was that because it was for a broadcast network, the stakes were higher:

Position Value
10th ranked answer $25,000
9th ranked answer $20,000
8th ranked answer $15,000
7th ranked answer $7,000
6th ranked answer $6,000
5th ranked answer $5,000
4th ranked answer $4,000
3rd ranked answer $3,000
2nd ranked answer $2,000
1st ranked answer $1,000

Set PicsEdit

International VersionsEdit

The following are a list of countries that have previously aired their versions of Dirty Rotten Cheater:

  • France
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • Vietnam


Official Website (via Internet Archive)
Rules for Dirty Rotten Cheater @ (via Internet Archive)
Jay's Dirty Rotten Cheater Page

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