Author Topic: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  (Read 3202 times)

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Offline goldroadfanatic

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2019, 05:20:02 PM »
Interestingly, in the Terry Crews tapings I attended in 2014, whenever a contestant was taking a long time to deliberate, one of the producers or casting coordinators went onstage and seemed to tell them to make a decision quickly (use a lifeline, lock in a final answer, or walk away).  Obviously, this was edited out in the final broadcast.  But even without the clock, the show must've developed a methodology to hurry contestants along to prevent long deliberations like the one above.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 05:23:50 PM by goldroadfanatic »
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Offline pricefan18

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2019, 05:46:42 PM »
I think blozier's point was more that WWEHAW's post seemed a little...off. Nor is it the only one of his posts to fit that description.

I didn't realize it was as far back as 2000, I could've sworn it happened farther into the run than that. Even if that specific instance isn't to blame, I'm probably still not far off the mark--contestants in-studio were taking too long to make up their minds, and as we've established, studio time isn't free...couple that with declining ratings, and that means the production was losing money. Answer to both problems? Put a clock on the questions--not only does it limit the ability of contestants so sit there and "uhhh, ummm" forever (reducing time required for tapings, thus saving money), while also introducing an element of drama to the proceedings, which (in theory) might help the ratings improve.

You know I wonder. Do you think the Millionaire Hot Seat format would work here in the US if they adopted it? It's been on in Australia (where it first initiated after they took the original Millionaire off in 2004) for a decade now and even expanded from a half hour to an hour in recent years. That version also has a clock, however the one key difference is it doesn't start until AFTER the question and answers are read in full. That was I think the biggest flaw in the clock format when done here and I imagine in UK too, it was too reliant on how fast or slow the host read. Eliminate that, and it may not have been so bad.

Offline Axl

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2019, 06:59:03 PM »
In Regis' case, I'm betting that because contestants at the time were said to be given an unlimited amount of time to reach their decision, he was told to just be patient and indulge the person in the Hot Seat for however long it took them to make up their minds.

That was an especially tricky situation because the contestants are thinking through their answers out loud.  Imagine if a contestant is mulling over one particular answer but isn't sure, Regis says, "You need to go ahead and make a decision," and the contestant relents and locks in the choice she'd been discussing.  If that answer turns out to be wrong, the contestant could argue that the show was deliberately trying to steer her into a wrong answer.  There's no way the producers can call an audible in a situation like that.

Offline whowouldeverhurtawhammy

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2019, 07:04:22 PM »
There's no way the producers can call an audible in a situation like that.

If the Producers instigate it by forcing a decision off-camera, then I would call an audible. This stupid rule being part of the reason why we couldn't have any more million dollar winners anymore...if you can't handle waiting for the contestant/editing the excess time out when the original concept wasn't to rush a contestant in the first place, why have a show at all?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 07:09:42 PM by whowouldeverhurtawhammy »
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Offline gamesurf

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2019, 07:10:15 PM »
That was an especially tricky situation because the contestants are thinking through their answers out loud.  Imagine if a contestant is mulling over one particular answer but isn't sure, Regis says, "You need to go ahead and make a decision," and the contestant relents and locks in the choice she'd been discussing.  If that answer turns out to be wrong, the contestant could argue that the show was deliberately trying to steer her into a wrong answer.  There's no way the producers can call an audible in a situation like that.

IIRC from hearing from people who have been contestants on the show, the producers are EXTREMELY CLEAR to contestants in the preshow briefing that contestants are 100% responsible for all decisions they make in the Hot Seat. They're perfectly clear that Regis' job is to make great TV, not to be a financial counsel or trivia expert, and he doesn't know the answers anyways until after the contestant locks in. I'm sure there's a clause in the rules that explains that if the contestant chooses to let Regis influence them into doing something they otherwise wouldn't have done, it's the contestant's own fault. Part of the job of being a contestant is learning to deal with that sort of pressure.

You know I wonder. Do you think the Millionaire Hot Seat format would work here in the US if they adopted it? It's been on in Australia (where it first initiated after they took the original Millionaire off in 2004) for a decade now and even expanded from a half hour to an hour in recent years. That version also has a clock, however the one key difference is it doesn't start until AFTER the question and answers are read in full. That was I think the biggest flaw in the clock format when done here and I imagine in UK too, it was too reliant on how fast or slow the host read. Eliminate that, and it may not have been so bad.

I dunno, but not in the immediate future.

  • It's already a tough sell to get stations to sign off on a new unproven show, let alone a spinoff of a show that's only pulled in low to mediocre ratings for the past 7 or 8 years
  • It doesn't seem significantly different enough from Millionaire to attract people who didn't watch it in the first place
  • It's different enough that it might draw unfavorable comparisons from people who did watch Millionaire and don't like the changes

In contrast, regularly scheduled Millionaire in Australia had been off the air for a few years, and apparently was quite successful up 'til the end. According to Wiki it was only cancelled because the original host was promoted to become head of the network. But given 5 years from now who knows, maybe the US tv landscape will have shifted yet again and hard quizzers will be back in fashion.

Also, the Wiki page has this chestnut:
Quote from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Wants_to_Be_a_Millionaire%3F_(Australian_game_show)
If McGuire [the host] believes that the contestant is taking too long to make a decision, the contestant may be put on a shot clock of 60 seconds. If the shot clock expires, the contestant is forced to walk away with their current winnings. This rule was introduced because the format was live. The previous format was pre-recorded where the producers could edit the contestant's deliberations in case they were longer than the producers preferred. The host has to make the decision, which is unlike the US version, which adopted a fixed 15 second (first five), 30 seconds (second five), 45 seconds (questions 1114) and total time saved plus 45 seconds (15th question) clock in 2008.
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When you finally get it down so that it looks very very simple, that one has had the most complicated amount of work." -Mark Goodson

Offline Axl

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2019, 07:58:22 PM »
IIRC from hearing from people who have been contestants on the show, the producers are EXTREMELY CLEAR to contestants in the preshow briefing that contestants are 100% responsible for all decisions they make in the Hot Seat. They're perfectly clear that Regis' job is to make great TV, not to be a financial counsel or trivia expert, and he doesn't know the answers anyways until after the contestant locks in.

All contestants on all game shows also sign a contract saying that all decisions of the judges are final.  That doesn't mean the judges (who are usually the producers) can expect to do whatever they feel like irrespective of all the other rules and think they'll get away with it.  Even a contract with clear, iron-clad language can be invalidated in court if a judge believes it is "unconscionable."

To reasonably enforce a time limit, the parameters need to be clearly established ahead of time.  Not all rules have to be explained on the air.  Even the specifics can be a little loose.  Richard/Ray got to start the 3-second clock on Family Feud whenever they felt like it, BUT it was always 3 seconds, and they couldn't buzz a non-answer without invoking it.  All of this was explained to the contestants before air.  Producers who make up whatever limitations they feel like on the spot are asking for trouble.

Offline gamesurf

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2019, 03:51:47 AM »
All contestants on all game shows also sign a contract saying that all decisions of the judges are final.  That doesn't mean the judges (who are usually the producers) can expect to do whatever they feel like irrespective of all the other rules and think they'll get away with it.  Even a contract with clear, iron-clad language can be invalidated in court if a judge believes it is "unconscionable."

To reasonably enforce a time limit, the parameters need to be clearly established ahead of time.  Not all rules have to be explained on the air.  Even the specifics can be a little loose.  Richard/Ray got to start the 3-second clock on Family Feud whenever they felt like it, BUT it was always 3 seconds, and they couldn't buzz a non-answer without invoking it.  All of this was explained to the contestants before air.  Producers who make up whatever limitations they feel like on the spot are asking for trouble.

I get what you're saying about not calling an audible for a specific contestant--I'm just saying the Millionaire producers were more willing to let Regis loose. There were limitations, sure, but they were still willing to give Regis more trust than a host normally would get. (None of the other hosts ever attempted to probe as deeply as he did, although they do get involved to a degree.) The tradeoff was they had to take precautions to keep their host mostly excluded from other production decisions.

But if the showrunners can't secure Regis' privilege to pick a contestant's brain about their thought process--there's no show. Otherwise the viewer has no idea what the contestants are thinking. All you're left with is a nervous contestant staring at a monitor, and that'd be deathly boring.

Or on the opposite extreme--if you have a crazy gambler like Norm Macdonald in the Hot Seat, you need the latitude to poke and prod and let them expose that they actually are are not trivia experts but massive risk takers. Norm's $500K and $1M questions are some of Regis' most memorable moments, precisely because Regis is clearly exasperated by Norm's reckless gambling. He even tries to interject and begs Norm to reconsider when Norm's clearly about to just guess on the $1M. But once Norm says "Final Answer", there's nothing Regis can do. It's Norm's mess, he has to own what happens. And it's obviously driving Regis insane--he's clearly doing all he can do to help out, up to the very limit, but Norm was having none of it. (I friggin' love it, one of my favorite hosting moments)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w-jxs2KE4s" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w-jxs2KE4s</a>
(start at 21:25)

Now, Millionaire definitely pushed it, probably more than any other show before it would ever be comfortable doing. And not every show has an industry veteran like Regis at the helm, so I wouldn't recommend they try. But it was something magical to see, a far cry from some of today's shows where the host repeats the exact same patter every day, and any "get to know you" questions are just a vehicle to get to the next scripted rule explanation the host has to repeat.

In either case, the host doesn't have a gun to the contestant's head, and as long as the contestant is aware of limits like
1) the host doesn't know the answers
2) the contestant can't ask the host for help
3) the host is aggressively trying not to "help"; the host may not favor or disfavor a particular contestant
4) the host's job is to make good TV by picking the contestant's brain and building drama, not by helping or hindering
5) the contestant can dodge the host's questioning with non-answers if they feel it is in their best interest to do so

then I see no issue with giving the host a little latitude to pick a contestant's brain. Just as long as they give the same amount of latitude to all contestants, of course.
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When you finally get it down so that it looks very very simple, that one has had the most complicated amount of work." -Mark Goodson

Offline pricefan18

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2019, 01:32:24 PM »
In either case, the host doesn't have a gun to the contestant's head, and as long as the contestant is aware of limits like
1) the host doesn't know the answers
2) the contestant can't ask the host for help
3) the host is aggressively trying not to "help"; the host may not favor or disfavor a particular contestant
4) the host's job is to make good TV by picking the contestant's brain and building drama, not by helping or hindering
5) the contestant can dodge the host's questioning with non-answers if they feel it is in their best interest to do so

Unless you're in the UK playing Millionaire, then you can lol.

Offline someguy23475

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2019, 03:15:55 PM »
I would love to see the specific rules the contestants are given in their contracts. Regis or any host could certainly hurry a contestant along, unless it specifically states otherwise.

Again, there is no excuse to let someone spend nearly an hour on one question.

Offline gamesurf

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2019, 04:28:49 PM »
OK, I'll bite

The current version does say that
Quote from: Millionaire 2019
ii. Time Limit
Contestants who fail to answer a question within a reasonable period of time, as determined in the sole discretion of the Producer, may be disqualified.

But in 2-3 minutes of skimming the Official Rules from 2000, I couldn't find anything like that, so I guess you show me where it is if it's there.
https://web.archive.org/web/20000815074706/http://abc.go.com/primetime/millionaire/mill_legal.html

The closest thing is this
Quote from: 2000 rules
Game Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any player it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest, acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner and/or with intent to annoy, accuse, threaten or harass any other person, or in violation of these Official Rules.
but then they have to prove intent to accuse or harass, and saying "I want more time to think" doesn't nearly meet that standard. After all, it's OK to say that after 5 minutes, so why isn't it OK after 45 minutes?

I maintain the opposite--unless it says "contestants who take too long on a question may be disqualified" in the official rules agreed to all contestants before the game, a contestant like Kati Knudsen is 100% within her rights to tell the host to buzz off. Otherwise it's favoring/disfavoring a particular contestant, and that's super illegal.

Does it make good television? No. Should they have had something like that in their contract in 2000? Absolutely. Since they didn't, was there anything the producers could have done about it? Nope.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 04:40:34 PM by gamesurf »
"It's the greatest challenge in the world to invent a new game. For every one you see, every concept that is ultimately refined and developed, a dozen are worked on and not worked on, or almost worked on, or dropped because they don't read any more. We test and hammer and test and hammer...

When you finally get it down so that it looks very very simple, that one has had the most complicated amount of work." -Mark Goodson

Offline Reloaden

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2019, 01:30:21 AM »
The syndle show lasted way past it's expiration date. I think when Meredith left the show they should of had a nice send off and ended. The show was already looking tired



When you watch the show today its more background noise then anything. I am sorry but Chris Harrison is a boring host. I hope he doesn't host any revivals. I really can't see Regis coming back to host the show.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 01:33:04 AM by Reloaden »

Offline thatvhstapeguy

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2019, 01:05:17 PM »
A bit late to the party here.

Yes, it's sad to see the show go, but I can definitely understand why it's been cancelled. It got really stale. They haven't given away the million in 10 years (and even that was in a tournament format to force a $1M win), which really doesn't reflect well on a show that has "million" in its title.

I have to give it credit for nearly single-handedly reviving US game shows. No one in 1998 would have thought that a primetime game show would work. Especially since at that time, TPIR was the lone surviving daytime network game and there were only the handful of syndicated shows (WoF, J!).

It'll be interesting to see how the rights play out. My guess is that Sony will end up with them again and just put the format away for now. If the climate is right, it could potentially come back, but I personally wouldn't hold my breath.

The changes they made to the show over the years eventually sped up its demise. I couldn't stand the clock. The shuffle format was irritating and backwards. Cedric and Terry didn't quite fit the program. Chris Harrison, however, has done an excellent job.

TBH this isn't surprising to anyone. It was time.
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Offline pannoni1

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2019, 08:30:50 AM »
The series is going to wrap up with a Second (last?) Chance week next week. Still, with over 3000 episodes, it will still go down as the fourth longest run among all syndicated game shows. For me, it dragged on a lot like what The Simpsons is now, but for me, the golden age of the show ended after the Super Millionaire runs where nobody made it past the 12th question. Yes, there were a couple Million dollar winners, Regis, and an even cooler set and music package, but with the top prize really taken to the limit (and unprecedented to this day), it also was coincidental in that 2004 also produced the last Millionaire in regulation on the syndie series. Even though the Regis run lasted about 300 episodes, it's by far the superior version. Even though modern Million-dollar shows were still cool for a few more years with 1 vs. 100, Don't Forget The Lyrics, and of course Deal or No Deal, that luster that made it must-see TV was fading; the last gasp was the 10th anniversary special in 2009, but by then, the clock format had been introduced, and shortly afterwards, the music package had been changed to something more generic, not to mention that "shuffle" format that seemed better suited for another show. The 2010s portion of the run is best left in the dust, as although the last few seasons remind me of the final months of The Joker's Wild '90, like Wheel of Fortune allegedly, the audience lost its oomph and the contestant pool got worse and worse, although it isn't too surprising; when the ratings where red hot in the Regis era, so many participants tried out, and naturally, this means a better shot at the geniuses being chosen. With that, the show's legacy will live on and perhaps this means that GSN may air these in reruns if Sony does indeed grab the rights to them.

Anybody notice on other game shows was bad ratings how the contestant pool similarly suffers, leading to low payouts? 
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Offline wink87

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2019, 08:45:57 AM »
The contestants were chosen in a more traditional format ie. personality over smarts. At least that's the interpretation I got by reading the Wikipedia page.

Offline COINBOYNYC

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Re: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2019, 10:34:31 PM »
Norm [Macdonald]'s $500K and $1M questions are some of Regis' most memorable moments, precisely because Regis is clearly exasperated by Norm's reckless gambling. He even tries to interject and begs Norm to reconsider when Norm's clearly about to just guess on the $1M.

I was under the impression that the rules were a little looser for the celebrity shows - not in a "game shows are fixed!" or "they're lettin' 'em cheat" sense, but more along the lines of, well, they're celebrities and the money is going to charity.  Celebrities not in the Hot Seat were allowed to throw out "hints" during the first five questions, and each celebrity was guaranteed a minimum amount for their charity.  ($25,000?  $32,000?)
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