The Belgian and Dutch TV quiz show De Slimste Mens (The Smartest Human) sees celebrity contestants competing against each other. Some rounds call for one exact answer to a single question, but a lot of rounds call for associative answers, finding a number of terms related to a single word.

How are the answers judged? Who makes the call if an answer is close enough?

Also, the correct answers are revealed on the scoreboard. Since time is of the essence here, it seems to be done in real time. How is this done?


Clue: Juan Carlos
Words: Spain, former king, Franco, hunter.

If a contestant answers "he was a Spanish king", someone has to make the judgement that "Spanish" satisfies Spain and " was a [...] king" satisfies former king, and highlight those on the score board. This is done in real time, since the contestants react to what they see on the scoreboard; they keep associating until all words are found or they stop.

Also, the precision with which a word needs to be guessed varies. Sometimes "king" would be enough for former king, sometimes the contestant would need to indicate that he used to be but no longer is the king, to score that word.

I'm okay with answers from similar TV quizzes that are scored in real time, if they provide an example that is general enough to be extrapolated to De Slimste Mens.

  • 1
    I assume it's the same as in sports like in gymnastics or diving where an athlete preforms a routine and there judges to give a score quickly. Here you'll probably need just one judge which will make even faster.
    – madmada
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


I'm okay with answers from similar TV quizzes that are scored in real time, if they provide an example that is general enough to be extrapolated to De Slimste Mens.

Summarized from the below bullet points:

  • It's common to have an off-screen jury/fact checker for quizzes.
  • It's not impossible to have the host make the judgment calls, but it's generally better to not distract them from hosting and instead have someone (with internet access) do it instead.
  • While some quizzes have an on-screen jury, it's usually not clear whether the on-screen jury is merely a representation of an off-screen jury that makes the actual judgment call.
  • The need for having a rigourous off-screen jury is directly correlated to how serious the quiz is and how much money is at stake.

  • In Blokken, there is a "jury" who judges the answer's correctness. When a contestant gives a questionable answer, you can see Ben Crabbé (the host) look off-camera towards the jury.

    • We also hear the voice in case Ben disagrees with the jury's decision, or wishes to add a justification to their decision.
    • Though we only hear one voice, it's unclear if the jury consists of more than one person. Ben refers to them as "the jury" at all times (afaik)
    • Blokken has a notoriously strict rule book. The jury often has to intervene here, refusing to give a point for an answer that the contestant clearly knows but misspoke (as your first answer counts - and it needs to be exactly correct).
  • In The Big Fat Quiz, it appears as if Jimmy Carr (the host) makes the judgment calls as to whether someone gets the answer or not. However, there are also marks written down on the answers even before Jimmy has discussed them. So it seems likely that there is still an off-screen jury/checker.

    • There are cases where contestants have received/lost a point based on their justification of the answer after the fact.
    • Jimmy might not be making any judgment calls and instead only conveys the jury's decision.
    • TBFQ is a very casual quiz meant more as an entertaining panel show than a quiz, so there's no need for strict rules and often points are awarded based a general agreement that the answer was "good enough".
  • In Pointless, Richard Osman plays role that's inbetween the comedic (like the comedian commentators in De Slimste Mens) and the jury (adding facts, context and justifications for the questions and answers).

    • It is unclear if Richard is actually doing the fact checking, or he's simply the on-screen representation of an off-screen jury.
  • In Countdown, the mathematical portion is mainly checked by Rachel Riley (who has in vary rare cases relied on off-screen support). The semantical portion is fact checked by Susie Dent who uses a dictionary to check if the given answers are actual words. As we see her use a dictionary and this isn't a particularly subjective ruling, I'm willing to believe that Susie is not just representing an off-screen jury.

  • In general quizzes (not necessarily TV), it's very common to have a fact checker who's able to check any claims made by contestants. It's no unheard of for quizmakers to make mistakes, or question to become outdated or incorrect. While it doesn't happen for TV (bigger budget), it's more common in amateur leagues and casual settings.

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