Friday, 14 September 2007

Ask The (Dwindling) Audience

According to The Sun (four words that form an inauspicious start to any blog entry,) the idiot bosses of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? are creating a spin-off quiz show based on - get this - the show's '50:50' lifeline. In the show, contestants will be presented with four answers to a question, and will have to pick the two most obviously wrong ones while claiming it to be a random choice. No, only joking. In fact, according to what "an insider" told the "newspaper":

“The couples will be asked a question and then given an answer.

“They can either accept that answer or gamble on another one.

“It’s quite a tense game as the first answer will often sound like the right one.”
Now, this all sounds like a relatively sensible idea, were it not for the facts that a) there's already been a game show called 50:50; and b) the precise format of the suggested show has already been done. Now, to be fair to them, Take It or Leave It is on a relatively obscure channel (Challenge on Sky Digital and maybe Virgin Media or something) and it's possible that 2waytraffic have simply bought the rights to the format. Or already own the format and in fact produced Take It or Leave It and are simply retitling it and flogging it to ITV. (Don't think I've researched this blog.)

Anyway, since it may be heading to an inferior mainstream channel near you sometime, maybe I should explain a bit about the show. Take It or Leave It is a show themed around the idea of deciding between taking what is on offer or rejecting it in favour of an unseen alternative (I know! I had that idea in 2002. It's so obvious!) and more importantly, shoehorning in the question "do you want to take it... or leave it?" as many times as humanly possible. So to begin with, one of the competing couples (couples - how quiantly early-nineties) sees a little video of another couple, and decide whether to take them as their opponents or leave them for an unseen couple. The main section of the game is incredibly dull, and takes ages to explain, but suffice to say it boils down to a true or false quiz and some Deal or No Deal-ey guessing. At the end of it, one couple wins, and goes through to the final round to play for the money they accumulated in the main game - likely ten grand or so.

The final, thankfully, is very clever and quite fun to watch (so if you see the show in the listings - it lasts an hour - only watch it for the last twenty minutes or so). The couple see five questions, each of which comes with a suggested answer, which they either take if they beleive it to be correct, or leave it in favour of the alternative answer which they haven't seen. Now, when this happens in the main game they're then told whether their answer is correct straight away, so all this taking-or-leaving business is just dressing up a true or false question. But here it works a bit differently. They answer the five questions without being told which (if any) are correct. Six safes are presented, one of which contains the prize. The contestants can guess at a safe, or else try to eliminate empty safes with their questions. The five questions are randomly re-ordered, under the condition that the questions that were answered correctly come first, followed by the ones they got wrong. After being presented with each question, they can decide whether to play the question with the answer they came up with, or stop and guess a safe. Playing a correctly-answered question removes an empty safe; playing an incorrectly-answered one ends the game and the prize is forfeit. So if you're confident of a question that hasn't come up yet, you can breeze through all the ones that come up before it, since you must still be on the questions you got right. But if you get right to the end, and the last question you're not quite sure of, it gets trickier. Do you take the 50:50 chance on the questions, or on the two safes remaining? You probably reckon you're more than 50% sure your answer is right. But what would have been the odds you got all five correct, and then they happened to put the slightly dodgy one last? It's all good tense fun.

So, if this show does come to ITV, what do you think they'll do? Come up with a better main game to bring it up to the standard of the final? Or just make the whole thing a sub-Deal guessing game with a few true-or-false questions? If you answer after lines have closed, your entry will not be counted but you will still be charged.

1 comment:

Stephen F said...

Now, I know I've played a game called 'Take It Or Leave It' on my pub's Itbox. I didn't know it was a spin-off from a TV game show.