Five years after it went off the air after 10 seasons and 200 episodes, Cash Cab will return. The Hollywood Reporter says comedian David Steinberg (a writer from Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and other shows) will reboot the show on the Discovery Channel — although longtime host Ben Bailey, a comic noted for his ability to crack deadpan jokes without flying into a rage while negotiating rush-hour Manhattan traffic, doesn’t seem likely to return. Instead, they’re going to have various celebs shuttle you from A to B while peppering you with trivia. If you make it to your destination without missing three questions, you get to keep the money you racked up.
In case you’re wondering, the rumors that Cash Cab was staged are true. I know this because I was on it with two friends, and the three of us won $2,000. The date — and I promise this is true — was June 6, 2006, which means we all won $666.67 on 6/6/06. Hail, Dark Lord!
We had been at a pub quiz a few weeks prior when a woman approached us asking if we wanted to be on a quick reality show that tapes you for a couple of minutes crowing about your favorite bar or museum or park, and we said sure. She broke a few appointments but eventually we met up outside Bloomingdale’s in Midtown, where she was speaking into a headset.
“Get in this cab,” she said to us. “We’re switching locations. I’ll meet you downtown.”
We got in to a waiting cab, which turned to be the Cash Cab. It was disorienting, since the show was still very new. We had to get out and tape it again, because the producers want you to act elated and not totally baffled. I don’t remember all the questions we got right, but we only missed one: What’s the most common reason for admittance into a hospital? (The answer is pregnancy.)
So we made it all the way to Fabulous Fanny’s, the vintage eyewear shop on East Ninth Street, without getting the boot. I was seated immediately in front of the camera, which had a fisheye lens to capture the full interior and felt like HAL-9000.
Oh, and the cash is also a prop. The check arrived about six weeks later, and I paid my August rent with it. I only caught the episode once, and much to my relief, I didn’t look like a combination of Richard Simmons and C-3PO.
So, in other words, Cash Cab is mostly fake and also, no one really takes cabs anymore. Bon chance, revived reality game show!