What does a question producer do?
Does a question producer: a) write questions for game/quiz shows; b) fact-check answers; c) verify contestants’ answers; or d) all of the above?
If you answered ‘d’, then, congratulations, you’ve won one million pou-… Well, no you’ve not, but you do have a pretty good idea of what a question producer does.
Question producers have great general knowledge and an appreciation for TV quiz and game shows. They are good at researching a broad range of subjects efficiently and ensuring the information they and their team provide is factually correct. They are organised and thorough, keeping logs of multiple and reputable sources for the questions that their team have written. They need to have an in-depth understanding of the format of the particular programme they’re working on and ensure the questions have the right tone, theme and length required by the series producer. On long-running shows, they also need to be sure they’re not repeating questions from previous series. They help develop and establish the number of questions needed per episode, the varying levels of difficulty between rounds, the scoring system and more.
Fairness in quiz and game shows is paramount, especially when prizes are involved. The question producer makes sure questions are clear and fair, with no room for misinterpretation. Equally, they and their team make sure that answers are indisputable.
When filming is under way, they work quickly behind the scenes, verifying answers given by players, tallying results and being the first port of call should any contestants challenge a given answer. They will often liaise with an independent adjudicator to ensure fairness.
Question producers are often staff at independent companies who make a lot of entertainment shows but are employed as freelancers on specific productions.
What's a question producer good at?
- Communication: have an ear for the tone of each programme and the language skills to write questions in this manner, be able to write clearly, avoiding any possibility of misinterpretation
- Adaptability: meet the varying workload of different programmes with different formats
- Objectivity: gauge difficulty based on the programme’s brief rather than your own knowledge
- Research: find obscure information and use multiple, reliable sources to verify it
- General knowledge: be naturally curious and have a passion for knowledge
- Creativity: find novel ways to treat often well-trodden subjects