A Red Light Stick is a penalty maker that was usually seen on the short-lived ABC primetime game show Set for Life which in turn was based on the short-lived British game show called For the Rest of Your Life.
Usually seen in the main round, fifteen "light sticks" (eleven white, four red) are concealed inside stands on the show's stage. If the stick is red, the contestant moves down one step on the time ladder, unless they are not on it, in which case the situation remains unchanged. Since there are eleven on the time ladder and only eleven white sticks, the "Set for Life" jackpot level can only be reached by selecting all eleven white sticks consecutively - either drawing no red sticks at all or only drawing up to three red sticks at the start of the game before any whites are drawn. If the contestant draws all four red sticks, the game immediately ends and he or she does not win any payments at all; basically, in the words of Jimmy Kimmel, "Four reds and you're dead!"
Each time a white stick is drawn, the contestant is given the option of stopping play and leaving with the number of payments they have earned up to that point. However, when a red stick is drawn, the contestant must continue to select sticks until another white stick is drawn.
The Red Light Stick is usually seen as a cylinder design with a red light on the bottom.
Set for Life (2007)