‘The Million Second Quiz’: All Hype, No Substance

NBC is attempting to make game shows an event again, which isn’t going to happen with The Million Second Quiz. That’s because the show is boring. While Ryan Seacrest is likeable, he talks too much. To make matters worse, most of this chatter is about contestants that viewers only watching the hour in primetime will never get to see play the game or about how line jumpers became contestants. Clearly, NBC didn’t think through the fact that no one will be sitting at home watching the live stream for the remaining 23 hours a day.

When Ryan isn’t talking, the show is the lovechild of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Twenty One with NBC’s version of the Prize Patrol surprising line jumpers, who are contestants that have been playing from the comfort of their own home and now will be flown to New York City to play the game for money, thrown in for good measure. Like daytime Millionaire, every questions has four possible answers. The elements taken from Twenty One are the fact that two contestants answer the questions at the same time and the “doubler,” which is explained in the rules below.

For some uncanny reason, The Million Second Quiz can pretty much be explained with a modified version of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare rules. Ryan Seacrest asks both contestant a question. They can choose to play the game normally. In which case, both contestants have answer the question and whoever gets it correct receives points. If Ryan asks a question one contestant thinks the other doesn’t have a clue, they can dare them to answer it for double the points. But they have to be careful, because the other contestant can always double back for four times the amount, and then you have to answer the question. The doubler can be used as much as a contestant wants to use it. There are no physical challenges, but that’s probably because the contestants don’t have many opportunities to shower because they must live at the show’s set until they are eliminated.

At the end of the live hour, The Winner’s Defense occurs. Basically, the highest money earner up until that point has the choice of going against the person currently sitting in the money chair or sending one of Winners’ Row’s other members, which is more likely. During The Winner’s Defense, the game is played as usual. However, there is more at stake because one contestant will go home with nothing, while the winner will get that person’s money and join Winners’ Row.

The Million Second Quiz is also rigged in the favor of contestants who are in the money chair when the show airs in primetime. Since the money chair holder receives 10 dollars every second as long as they are in the money chair, contestants in primetime have the advantage of Ryan talking a lot, so they have fewer questions to answer than someone who takes the chair at another time, yet they will receive the same amount of money per hour.

Even though NBC still has to finish its ambitious plans, viewers probably won’t be staying around to seem them completed. If the overnight ratings for The Million Second Quiz are any indication of things to come, the show will probably lose more viewers over the next week and might not regain them until the finale on September 19, if it regains those viewers at all. According to Variety, the show started with 6.8 million viewers, but finished with 6.2 million, which doesn’t bode well for the future of The Million Second Quiz.

About Allison Lips

I am the Toastmasters District 83 Public Relations manager and President of Freehold Phrasers.

Posted on September 10, 2013, in Game Shows, Live Television, NBC, Network Television, Primetime and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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