There are many bizarre game shows out there but i think the Russian “The Intercept” wins the title of the most weird one. You see, in this game the contestants of the show are given a chance to steal a car. If the thief can stay away from the cops for 35 minutes, he or she wins a new car!
“The Intercept” was a Russian extreme game show, popular in 1997-1998. It involves two players, the so-called “hijackers”, accompanied by their assistants, “the navigators”. Each car is equipped with a Lo Jack (vehicle tracking system that allows vehicles to be tracked by police). The goal of the hijackers is to avoid getting arrested for as long as possible.
Their adversaries are “the hunters”, driving six Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors of the patrol service special battalion and they are leaded by a commanding officer. The pursuit took place in the streets of Moscow. The hijackers could use any means in order to hide from the hunters – the only forbidden thing was the violation of traffic rules. If a contestant did violate the traffic rules he or she was obliged to stop for 60 seconds. (the article continues after the ad)
The hijackers started running from places that are known in advance and the hunters may start pursuing them immediately. If the hijacker is not detained in 30 minutes, he can stop the game and pass to the next stage. If he keeps on without getting arrested for 5 more minutes, he gets the car.
During the second season, the hijackers started running with their fuel tanks practically empty. The participants had the opportunity to pick up the fuel can prepared specially for them at the agreed place or to get the fuel in any other way. Also, the hijackers were allowed to take a portable radio transmitter to eavesdrop the communications between the hunters.
The show presenter comments on everything that is happening from a studio full of supporters, and he also speaks by turn with the hijackers and the hunters’ commanding officer.
1. The shooting of “The Intercept” was always scheduled for days when the Russian Road Traffic Safety had their routine trainings.
2. In one of the editions of the show, Moscow Ring Road was blocked in order to catch the hijackers.
3. The hunters once had to ask the river police for help.
4. The participants often had to try escaping in unusual ways: they painted their cars, used railway transport and tried to hide the car to avoid bearing. A very dangerous trick was shown once: the car passed from one train to another while on the run. At times the presenter himself didn’t know what to expect from the hijackers.
5. “The Intercept” is the first Russian show sold abroad on license.
6. According to David Hamburg’s interview to a Russian newspaper, one of the heads of Moscow Road Traffic Safety once declared on TV that the percentage of carjacking attempts decreased significantly since the show had started.
7. In the 13th episode of “The Intercept”, an ordinary patrol car that wasn’t hired for the show started pursuing the hijacker.
8. A real hijacker once participated in the show.
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