“The Interception” is a Russian extreme game show, popular in 1997-1998. The presenter was Nikolay Fomenko and the main prize was a Daewoo Espero.
The game involves two players, so-called “hijackers”, each in his car, accompanied by assistants, “the navigators”. Each car is equipped with a Lo Jack. The goal of the hijackers is to avoid getting arrested as long as possible. Their adversaries are “the hunters”, driving six Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors of the patrol service special battalion and they are leaded by a commanding officer. The pursuit is taking place in the streets of Moscow. The hijackers can use any means in order to hide from the hunters, the only thing that is not allowed is violation of traffic rules, otherwise the hijacker will be obliged to stop for 60 seconds.
The hijackers start running from places that are not known in advance. The hunters may start pursuing them immediately. If the hijacker is not detained in 30 minutes, he can stop the game and pass to the next program with one third of his car. If he keeps on without getting arrested for 5 more minutes, he gets the whole car. The hijacker has to inform about his decision during the 28th minute of the pursuit.
During the second season, the hijackers started running with their fuel tanks practically empty. The participants had the opportunity to pick up the fuel can prepared specially for them at the agreed place or to get the fuel in any other way. Also, the hijackers were allowed to take a portable radio transmitter to eavesdrop the communications between the hunters.
The show presenter comments on everything that is happening from a studio full of supporters, and he also speaks by turn with the hijackers and the hunters’ commanding officer.
1. The shooting of “The Interception” was always scheduled for days when the Russian Road Traffic Safety had their routine trainings.
2. In one of the editions of the show, Moscow Ring Road was blocked in order to catch the hijackers.
3. The hunters once had to ask the river police for help.
4. The participants often had to try escaping in unusual ways: they painted their cars, used railway transport and tried to hide the car to avoid bearing. A very dangerous trick was shown once: the car passed from one train to another while on the run. At times the presenter himself didn’t know what to expect from the hijackers.
5. “The Interception” is the first Russian show sold abroad on license.
6. According to David Hamburg’s interview to a Russian newspaper, one of the heads of Moscow Road Traffic Safety once declared on TV that the percentage of carjacking attempts decreased significantly since the show had started.
7. In the 13th episode of “The Interception”, an ordinary patrol car that wasn’t hired for the show started pursuing the hijacker.
8. A real hijacker once participated in the show.