by Dan Gibson
I don't know what this says about me, but running across the AV Club Chicago headline "Cash Cab Is Totally Fake" was the most distressing thing I've seen on the Internet in some time (and there's a lot on the internet you can't unsee):
The A.V. Club hates to be the bearer of bad news, but apparently all the hype has been for naught—Cash Cab is pretty much faked. Well, not entirely faked, but let’s put it this way: It’s basically impossible for a regular pedestrian to get picked up by the Cash Cab.
It’s long been a pretty well-kept secret, but the passengers on the Discovery Channel show aren’t just random travelers—they’re cast, just like actors or Oprah ultimate fans. The process has been detailed online, but here’s the gist: Riders are generally found or screened at a bar or on the street. People who are gregarious, funny, and sometimes half in the bag get told they’ve made it on a non-specified reality show and that a cab will be coming to take them to the shoot. A cab pulls up, and, surprise, it’s the Cash Cab! This might explain why so many improv-comedy types are on the show ...
Other revelations: The cash is fake (winners are mailed a check), and there’s some leeway in the red light challenge.
This is hardly a scandal of Quiz Show severity, but it does ruin the dream of getting in a cab randomly and seeing the colored lights flash on the ceiling.
As someone on Facebook (OK, it was my wife) commented, "I'm shocked. People seem so surprised. This sucks."