Tag Archives: game shows

We Love Our Free TV

As part of the new FreeView campaign, the phrase “we love our free TV” is used. There isn’t much to love about free TV these days, especially where channel 9 is concerned but it never used to be this way. With 9 offereing more 20-1 than ever, I thought I’d make my own 20-1 list based on what we used to love about our free TV – mind you, 20 years ago, Free TV was the only option other than hiring movies on VHS video. Considering free TV is no longer the only option, I would have thought they would have improved as opposed to declined.

20. Adults Only was known as AO - a rating, not part of the title. 

19. Overnight you could watch news, music or old movies – no infomercials

18. Kids TV in the afternoon, sometimes till 5.30

17. There were no subscription mobile ads (and of course, no mobile phones, well at least not one smaller than a house brick)

16. Cartoons in the morning

15. Programs to watch between 9am and 11am other than talk morning shows

14. No trashy shows ever. Swearing was for the most part not allowed either (we all remember Kerry Packer ordering the Doug Mulray video show off back in the 90′s)

13. Stereo simulcasts on Fm radio for major movies like Star Wars (and I in fact connected extra speakers to my radio to make my own surround sound in 1986)

12. Timeslot changes and axings were rare and hardly ever happened the way it does now. Shows almost always remained on for their full season.

11. Reliable printed TV guides

10. The nightly current affairs shows once featured quality stories.

9. More Australian shows were on TV

8. Unmissable TV shows like Prisoner

7. Channel 9 news was the only news worth watching

6. Game shows were entertaining and watchable

5. Eddy McGuire was at home watching TV and noone knew who he was

4. 60 Minutes had hard hitting, quality stories

3. If a show was advertised as starting at 8.30, at worst, it would start at 8.31. Never 8.37 or later.

2. The first to TV Sunday night movie

1. Channel 9 always winning the ratings and known as “still the one”

And more: lets not forget those Demtel ads with the catch phrase “but wait … there’s more… ” and K-Tel selling vinyl record holders, and even records including Kamahl. And you might even get a set of free steak knives. There was still summer TV though.  But back then, way before email, mobile phones, SMS, my space, facebook and twitter, you would actually spend time with people and less time in front of the TV, your phone or computer.

Hot Seat Runs Cold

Well I gave it a go. Hot Seat on ch 9 last at 5.30 last night. I was still working at 5.30 so ended up recording it and watching it later at 7pm. I was already sceptical of the show given what I had read about the format change.

The first problem with the show was that it started 3 minutes early at 5.27 – exactly the same way that Deal or No Deal does. Now, anyone who watches deal would be well aware of the early start time. Anyone wanting to give Hot Seat a go, would probably have assumed it would start at 5.30 as advertised. But then again, we all know that times on channel 9 can vary by 5 minutes either way. Nevertheless, starting early would have been a great way to lose a number of the viewers who tuned in late and did not know the rules explained in the first minutes.

The show has 15 questions. A contestant is able to pass to the next contestant if they do not know the answer. The contestant passed to cannot pass again and must answer the question. There are 6 contestants to start with. If a contestant gets a question wrong, then they are out completely, and the maximum possible prize reduces by 1 level. A new question of equal value is asked. The contestant left in the hot seat at the end wins the money provided they answer the questions correctly.

This format is fundamentally flawed. As we saw on the first show last night, a contestant will be more likely to guess an answer in the hope they may get it right and move to the next question rather than pass to to the next contestant. One of them last night even suggested they were not concerned about the final value of the final question and would guess rather than pass in case they did get it right. hat did work for one contestant, but not for long.

The other problem with this format is strategies instead of focusing on getting the questions right. The lady who was the first contestant with the first and easiest question opted to pass in the hope she would get back into the hot seat near the end after the other 6 contestants rather than answer the question. The result was, and lucky for her, that she did end up in the hot seat at the end and did walk away with $20,000. This reminds me a little of the weakest link where contestants would opt to eliminate the strongest players so that there chances of not being eliminated would be higher, rather than keeping in the strong players to help build the cash in later rounds.

The only way this show will give away $1 million will be if one contestant knows all the questions, or one that is passed ot early in the game can also answer the remaining questions.

But what if there is a group of contestants where they all get questions wrong, leaving noone in the hot seat? The show would surely finish early leaving Eddy to fill in time some how? I wonder what the show’s contingency is for this.

I love question and answer style game shows. But it is questions and answers I want to see. I don’t want to hear the life story of each contestant. I don’t want the host to try and talk contestants in or out of answers. I don’t want the host to try and be funny or something he is not. I don’t want the contestant sitting there soaking up their allocated time explaining how an experience in his life has lead to the answer he is going to give for that particular question. This, of course, was a much bigger problem in the standard format of Who Wants to be a Millionaire which had unlimited time for contestants to answer and they would go on, and on, and on. There was one one hour episode I remember once which only had 4 questions as the contestant took so long to get through them, and Eddy kept on going to breaks everytime an answer had been locked in before the answer was revealed.

Anyone who has seen the American version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire will know how fast paced the sahow can be. It is in the traditional Millionaire format, with the 3 life linesa we have all grown to love. Yet, on their half hour show, they can usually get through 2 contestants with each reaching 64 or 125 thousand dollars (thats 3 questions short of the million in the traditional format).

I cannot understand why we can’t do that here. Maybe it is just that Eddy has to talk and can’t help himself? I think he is OK as a host but really needs to stop talking so much to both the contestants and the audience. I really don’t think we need to know much more about a contestant other than their name and a basic interest or 2.

If you consider how many questions are in the show, hot seat has only 15. Temptation used to have around 40 – 50, the old Millionaire as low as 4 in one hour. But in the US, the American version of Millionaire nearly 30 questions, and the best of them all – Jeopardy has 61 questions. And Jeopardy is only 16 minutes once you fast forward the ads and the two minutes of getting to know the contestants.

Anyway, in my opinion, the show won’t work. Its not fast enough, not interesting enough and there’s too much Eddy talk. Even if it was at 7pm, which I initially thought would have been a good idea, I don’t think it would have done much better than 2.5 Men currently does. I think the ratings will only go down, not up.

Expect to see ch 9 do some sort of promo and competition to try and lure viewers with home viewers prizes.

Such a shame so little thought goes into game shows these days. The reason noone wants to watch them anymore is they are not what they used to be. Who wants to see a show where a contestant would rather get the answer wrong than play on with the chance to win more? And who want to hear more about the contestants life than the participation in the show?

FYI: I’ll be recording Hot Seat, but only to see the questions and answers. The talk and the ads will be fast forwarded through. Should only take 10 minutes to watch doing that. Temptation used to be only 15 minutes to watch by recording and playing back on the same basis.