For a chosen few Americans swimming in student debt, help is on the way — if you can answer some trivia questions in front of a TV audience.
Contestants will compete to have their loans “Paid Off” — the name of a new TruTV game show hosted by actor Michael Torpey, who’s best known for playing Thomas Humphrey in “Orange is the New Black.”
Each week, three contestants will compete to answer trivia questions over three rounds, with each getting a chance to win money toward paying off their loans, though just one will have an opportunity to have the debt wiped out completely.
Americans have about $1.4 trillion of student debt, which has more than doubled in the past decade, according to the Federal Reserve. Torpey came up with the idea for the show after meeting his future wife, who was saddled with a heavy debt load that put a strain on their marriage until he landed a gig as an underwear model.
“When we put the checks in an envelope and my wife started crying, I felt so embarrassed that I didn’t really appreciate what she was going through,” Torpey said. “I didn’t understand the emotional side of debt, and the fact that it came from wanting to get an education felt really crazy.”
The show, which premiers at 10 p.m. today in New York, paid off $450,000 in student loans during the first season’s 16 recorded episodes.