Platforms: DOS
Release Date: 1991
Genre(s): Business Simulation
Publisher(s): Rainbow Arts
Developer: Rainbow Arts
Get it: Download
Our Score
GD Star Rating

Mad TV, the ‘other’ classic dos game in the television station simulation genre, is able to sustain your attention for much longer than the earlier ‘TV Mogul‘.

By default, you play Archie, the new programming manager for Mad TV. The station’s manager has brought you in to increase ratings, revenue, range and of course the notoriety of the network. Starting with a small archive of programming, a handful of cash, a news studio, and a small empty studio for general programming, you must guide your network to success. All while chasing after the heart of your crush, television personality Betty.

The innovative layout of Mad TV remains, in my opinion, unmatched as of yet by any other game in the tv sim genre. Sharing a thirteen story building with two other networks and an array of strange businesses and organizations, you manage your network by moving your avatar around the tower, controlling for instance, your programming from your office, and acquiring advertising contracts at the advertising office. From some rooms you may be able to do a range of things – for instance your office is not just where you control your scheduling of shows and commercials – it is also where you acquire new towers and satellites to increase the range and audience of your station, and where you go to save your game.

Just next door to your office is the news room, where you can control what stories your news reports will cover, as well as your subscription to various wire services, which will allow you to cover different types of news stories.

The Office buildingThe Elevator Directory

In Mad TV, news bulletins air in the first 5 minutes of every hour and serve to help build your lead-in to the main program of the hour. By covering more exclusive or expensive stories, your news broadcast will garner high ratings, which may boost the ratings for the show which follows it.

The game’s advertising system is relatively advanced, with the various contracts you can acquire from the advertising office coming with a range of requirements. Some for instance, simply require a minimum amount of viewers, whereas others will additionally seek to be shown during certain types of programs – for instance Action movies. Each contract will generally require its advertisement to be aired a certain number of times within a certain period of days before the contract bonus will be paid out. Should it not be aired a sufficient number of times, or not be aired to a sufficient or the correct audience – your network will be liable and must pay the stipulated contractual penalty. Your ads must be scheduled, from your office’s computer schedule, but only one ad can air in every hour of programming. Keep this in mind before acquiring too many contracts at once. The greatest problem in the advertising aspect of the game, is that during the gameplay if your ratings come to differ too greatly from your competitors, there may not be a sufficient number of advertising contracts available to satisfy your now larger audience.

Especially as you start out, your programming will be largely acquired from the movie agency. While it does carry a large amount of programming, which can be purchased either directly, or through an auction (by clicking on the man behind the desk), you will find yourself nevertheless needing to repeat programming a few days later, especially movies. This is not altogether detrimental to the ratings, with a movie successfully airing in prime time being able to be aired to relative success in a later time slot two or so days later. Nevertheless you will find yourself quickly wanting to begin producing original content.

This is where the game seems to run into trouble. While you start off with a small studio (size 1), relatively limited programming can be produced here. Later, as the game unfolds, more studios will become available (up to size 3), but the programming you may produce remains limited – controlled by the limit scripts you may acquire from the screenplay agency. Specials and studio-based talk shows would seem to dominate the shows produced in-house. While series may be produced, they are limited to a few episodes and there is no way to ‘renew’. They are in this sense more like mini-series.
Betty - Your Crush and lover of all things cultural
As mentioned, the game does feature the B-story of Archie’s quest for the heart of Betty, a television presenter, who has an office on the top floor of the building. Presents and other gifts may be purchased at the supermarket, which can be taken and given to Betty. However, Betty’s love of cultural programming is ultimately the way to her heart. If you’re playing to win her affection as well, make sure you’re airing lots of it.

Your office
The Movie Agency - Buy Movies

In Summary

Thumbs up THE GOOD: 

  • Great game design features innovative methods to run and manage your network.
  • Quirky characters and organizations throughout the game.
  • Advanced advertising system.
  • Ability to expand network by acquiring new towers and satellites is more advanced and interesting than later games.
Thumbs up THE BAD: 

  • Limited potential for producing original content/shows.
  • Advertising system sometimes becomes a chore.
  • Limit cast available for shows produced in-house.

Get It

  • Download from our download center.
  • Alternatively, there is an online version you can play (signup required) over at  Please note this version is quite different to the DOS game, and instead of running as time elapses, is turn based.



MAD TV, 8.2 out of 10 based on 17 ratings
Posted by tvtycoon | 06 May 2011 | Reviews

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Tips, Cheats & Downloads

Remakes of Mad TV

In addition to the original Mad TV game, which can be downloaded here there are a number of remakes and reboots of Mad TV. This is a complete list of known Mad TV remakes and reboots.   Official Sequel The official sequel, Mad TV 2 was released only in...
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Download: Mad TV

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MAD TV: First Studio for Money Cheat

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