Beat the Geeks

Beat the Geeks is an American television game show that aired on Comedy Central from 2001 to 2002. The show was rerun on The Comedy Network in Canada.

Beat the Geeks
Beat the Geeks Season 1 title card
GenreGame Show
Created byMark Cronin
James Rowley
Directed byRichard DiPirro (credited as R. Brian DiPirro)
Presented byJ. Keith van Straaten (Season 1)
Blaine Capatch (Season 2)
Tiffany Bolton
StarringSee below
ComposerJon Ernst
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes130 (1 unaired during original broadcast)
Executive producerMark Cronin
ProducersRichard G. King
Beth Greenbaum
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22 minutes
Production companiesMindless Entertainment
Fox Television Studios
Distributor20th Television
Original networkComedy Central
Picture formatNTSC 480i
Original releaseNovember 7, 2001 (2001-11-07) –
October 7, 2002 (2002-10-07)

On the show, contestants face off in trivia matches against a panel of three resident "geeks" who are well-versed in music, movies, and television, as well as a fourth guest geek with an alternate area of expertise which varies from episode to episode. The object is to outsmart the geek at their own subject; as a handicap, the geeks are given questions of considerably greater difficulty than the contestants. Beat the Geeks was taped at the Hollywood Center Studios.


First roundEdit

In the first season, the three contestants competed against each other to answer eight toss-up questions, two from each category; the Geeks did not play in this round. The first four questions (one per category) were worth 5 points each, and the second four were worth 10 points each. Occasionally, the Geeks would give a fact after the question.

In the second season, four pairs of questions were asked, one in each Geek's category. The first question of each pair was a toss-up among the contestants, worth 10 points. The contestant who answered correctly then played the second toss-up against the relevant Geek. If the contestant answered correctly or if the Geek missed, the contestant scored 10 points; if the contestant missed or if the Geek answered correctly, the contestant lost 5 points.

In both seasons, the lowest scorer at the end of the round was eliminated. In the event of a tie for low score, a question with a numerical answer was asked and the contestants wrote down their guesses. The one who came closer to the correct answer without going over remained in the game; if both were over, the closer guess won.

Second roundEdit

The remaining two contestants each play a head-to-head challenge against the Geek of their choice in order to win the Geek's medal. If the contestants begin the round tied, they are asked a toss-up question to determine who plays first. Otherwise, the player with the most points starts. Once a Geek has lost his medal to a contestant, he cannot be challenged again until the final round.

Season 1Edit

In the first season, four questions are asked, alternating between the contestant and the Geek, whose questions are much more difficult. If the Geek gives a wrong answer, the contestant wins the challenge, scores points, and gets to wear the Geek's medal for the rest of the game. If the contestant misses a question, the challenge ends and the opponent may score 10 points by giving the correct answer.

If all four questions are answered correctly, a Geek-off is played to decide the challenge. The player has 15 seconds to name as many items that fit a certain category as they can think of; the Geek must then do the same in a much harder category. If the Geek cannot come up with more answers, the contestant wins the challenge (ties are broken in the contestant's favor).

Resident Geeks' medals are worth 20 points each, while the Guest Geek's medal awards 30.

Season 2Edit

A maximum of four questions are asked as in Season 1. Now, though, if the contestant misses a question, the Geek must answer it correctly to win the challenge (the contestant does not need to correct the geek’s error to win if they correctly answered their own question). The opponent does not get a chance to score from a missed question. If both sides miss the same questions or if all four questions are asked, a Geek-off is played.

Resident and Guest Geek medals award 20 and 40 points, respectively.

Third roundEdit

The third round starts with two more head-to-head challenges, and the trailing player starts. Gameplay is the same as in the second round, with all medals worth 20 more points (40/50 in Season 1, 40/60 in Season 2).

After these challenges are over, the Geek-qualizer is played to decide a winner. A list of titles is read to the contestant, who must decide whether each is related to movies, music, or TV. The list continues until the contestant gives an incorrect answer, fails to give an answer within two seconds, or exhausts the list. Then, if they have tied or exceeded their opponent's score, their opponent plays their own Geek-qualizer round with the same rules. The player with the most points after the Geek-qualizer advances to the final round. If there is a tie, a numerical tiebreaker question is asked; the winner is the player who comes closer to the correct answer without going over.

NOTE: When a contestant's turn is over, the geek that relates to the last title read explains it.

Correct answers are worth 10 points each, with a maximum of 15 items in Season 1 and 16 in Season 2.

Final Round: Geek to Geek ShowdownEdit

In the final round, the contestant chooses one of the four Geeks to challenge. The contestant and Geek alternate questions, beginning with the contestant. Each turn, the host gives a category, then the player chooses whether to answer a 1-point (easiest), 2 point (harder), or 3 point (hardest) question; the Geek may not choose a point value lower than the contestant's previous question. If answered correctly, they earn the number of points chosen; otherwise there is no penalty. The first player to reach 7 points wins; if the contestant wins they are awarded $5,000 worth of prizes related to the category of Geek they challenged for the final round.


Regular GeeksEdit

The host would mention in most episodes in season 1 that if the Geek's expertise slipped, he would be suspended from the show and therefore replaced by a new geek.

Guest Geeks (alphabetical)Edit

Seasons 1 & 2Edit

Season 1Edit

Season 2Edit

Guest starsEdit

Season 1Edit

Season 2Edit


J. Keith van Straaten hosted the first season and comedian Blaine Capatch hosted the second season. Producers felt van Straaten "was not geeky enough" for a show that had the word "geek" in its title. Capatch proved to be "much geekier" and more suitable for the show.


Reception about the show was mixed. The student newspaper at the University of Miami panned the show, calling it too easy and criticizing van Straaten's hosting skills.[1] The Los Angeles Times was more charitable, calling the show "wackily entertaining" and referring to the panelists as "quirkily amusing as they are knowledgeable".[2]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "'Beat the Geeks' Comedy Central's latest game show effort". The Miami Hurricane. 13 November 2001. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  2. ^ Sachs, Mark (7 November 2001). "More Bang for Fewer Bucks in 'Geeks'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 August 2019.