New Game Show Will Pay Off Winners' Student Debt: 'An Absurd Show to Match an Absurd Crisis'
Paid Off premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Tru TV
If you’re a college graduate with a mountain of student debt, this might pique your interest.
On Tuesday, truTV will premiere Paid Off, a new game show hosted by actor and comedian Michael Torpey where contestants can play to get their loans paid off.
“One of the mantras is ‘an absurd show to match an absurd crisis,’ ” Torpey told The Washington Post. “A game show feels really apt because this is the state of things right now.”
On the show, three contestants square off for Jeopardy-style rounds of easy, college-oriented trivia. Contestants, who are mostly in their late 20s or early 30s, must be carrying college debt to appear on the show. The lowest-scoring contestant leaves each round, but there’s no penalty for incorrect answers and nobody goes home empty-handed.
According to the Post, depending on how many questions the winner answers in a speed round, the show will pay up to 100 percent of those loans, with TruTV footing the bill.
According to the Post, student debt afflicts as many as 44 million Americans, with the total amount owed in the United States exceeding $1.3 trillion.
Torpey, 38, devised the idea for the show while he and his wife were struggling with student debt.
“My wife and I struggled with student debt and could only pay it off because — true story — I booked an underwear commercial,” he reveals in the clip above. “But what about the other 45 million Americans with student loans? Sadly, there just aren’t that many underpants commercials. That is why I made this game show.”
Speaking to the Post, Torpey admitted the concept of Paid Off is “a little ridiculous.”
“But in a way the show matched my family’s story,” he said. “The only way we could pay off student loans was because I booked an underpants ad? That’s insane.”
Though no politicians are scheduled to come on for the game show’s first season, Torpey is still urging his audience to get politically active at the end of each episode: “Call your representatives right now,” he says. “And tell them you need a better solution than this game show.”
Paid Off premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on truTV.