Idiotest (a portmanteau of "idiot" and "test" and stylized as Id!otest) is an American television game show broadcast by Game Show Network (GSN). Hosted by Ben Gleib, the series features contestants in teams of two competing to answer brain teaser and puzzle questions. The winning team advances to a bonus round for an opportunity to increase their winnings to $10,000. The series was announced at GSN's upfront presentation in March 2014; the first episode premiered on August 12 of that year.
Critical reception for the series has been mixed, with one writer calling it "enjoyable" while another called it "uninteresting." Additionally, GSN released an online game midway through the first season that allows users to answer questions from the series' past episodes.
The main game features two pairs of contestants answering brain teaser questions. In the first round, each team faces two questions, taking the form of a visual puzzle. Contestants can work together and must answer by touching the correct answer (or answers, depending on what the question is asking them) on the screen. The question is often phrased so that the contestants may be misled if they do not read it correctly (for example, "Touch the largest greenhouse" could be misread as "Touch the largest green house") The value of the question begins at $300, with $20 deducted for every second the team takes in answering; the money begins counting down when the puzzle first appears on the screen. The money stops counting down when the contestants submit an answer on the touchscreen. For all questions, a correct answer earns the remaining money, while no answer or a wrong answer earns nothing.
In round two, each contestant, without the help of their partner, is given their own question to answer. The opening value of the question is $500, decreasing by $25 each second until an answer is given.
In the third round, one contestant from each team faces the same question simultaneously. Contestants have their own money countdown, which starts at $1,000 and decreases by $50 per second. The other contestant from each team then faces a more difficult question, with an opening value of $2,500 and decreasing by $100 per second. The host usually reads the question to the contestants during this round. After this second question, the team that has more money wins and plays the bonus round for $10,000. If the game ends in a tie, the team who solved the most puzzles correctly wins. If both teams answered the same number of puzzles correctly, the team who answered the puzzles fastest wins.
In this bonus round, each member of the winning team plays the same question individually. While the first contestant is asked the question, the second is isolated offstage so that they cannot see or hear the question. The two teammates have a total of 40 seconds to answer (in seasons 1 and 2, the time limit was 30 seconds); the clock stops when the first contestant submits an answer, and resumes when the second contestant first sees the question. If one team member answers the question correctly, they receive an additional $1,000; if both answer correctly, their winnings are augmented to $10,000.
Midway through the first season, another version of the "Smart Money Round" was introduced requiring a team to correctly answer five questions in 60 seconds, with five-second penalties for wrong answers. Each correct answer is worth $500, with five correct answers winning $10,000.
An online game based on the series was developed for GSN's website midway through the show's first season. The game allows online users to answer questions seen on the actual show. Answering a certain amount of questions correctly allows players to level up and face more difficult questions; a total of 32 levels are available.
The show received very little advanced press before it was announced at GSN's 2014–15 upfront presentation on March 18, 2014. At the presentation, GSN revealed plans to order 40 episodes of the series, while confirming August 12 as the premiere date on June 19, 2014. On October 28, 2014, the show was renewed for a 65-episode second season, which began airing April 1, 2015. The series was renewed for a 40-episode third season on March 16, 2016, with the season premiere airing on April 12. Idiotest was then renewed for a fourth season, which premiered January 19, 2017 alongside GSN's new show, Divided.
The series has also produced some special editions featuring contestants from a preexisting rivalry. These episodes have included competitions between USC and UCLA graduates, as well as an Election Day special between pairs of Democrats and Republicans. This theme was revived with a special episode entitled Political Idiotest, which both taped and aired April 20, 2016 and featured brain teasers referring to political subjects.
The series has received mixed reviews from critics. Carrie Grosvenor of About Entertainment argued the series to be "truly enjoyable to watch" while calling Gleib's hosting "sarcastic and funny." Conversely, Tim Conroy of Media Life Magazine argued that the show "just doesn't do the trick" and thought Gleib had a difficult time "drawing amusing responses from the contestants." Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times was equally unimpressed, saying that the show had "low ambitions" and arguing that Gleib's hosting made the show "even more uninteresting." In 2016, Neal Justin of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution mentioned the series in an article analyzing the challenges of many modern knowledge-based game shows; specifically, he mentioned that the series' "optical illusions, deceptive directions and mind tricks can make even Mensa members look like, well, idiots."
Paired with the mixed critical reception, the series has seen a wide range of ratings for new episodes, bringing in between 245,000 and 561,000 total viewers during the first season. The season two double episode premiere drew 388,000 and 360,000 viewers respectively, while the third season averaged around 400,000 viewers.