Tag Archives: Hot Seat

The Chase Australia – how to watch the show in less than half an hour! And Hot Seat in 5 Minutes!

I’m a fan of question and answer based game shows, but I hate the fact that the game shows we see on TV now seem to spend more time talking to contestants and hyping up dramas rather than hitting us with questions and answers to scream at the TV!

Look no further than Nine’s Hot Seat for the classic example of a game show with more talk then there are questions – the game – which airs for usually 34 minutes a day only features 15 questions. I love the questions, but when I record Hot Seat I play back and fast forward through all the chatter and just do the questions and answers in less than 5 minutes.

As for The Chase Australia, currently airing on Seven 5pm weekdays (and even Sunday this week – and then there is the UK version as well) I find once I fast forward through all the meaningless banter, the show is done in 30 minutes or less.

So how to do the Chase Australia in less than half an hour?

Firstly – record it!

On play back, fast forward until the first 1:00 clock shows up for the first contestant. Watch and answer the questions. When the first contestant is done with the “cash builder” fast forwarder through the first lot of ads, and then showing who all the Chasers are, then also the Chaser reveal until the contestant settles on what they want to do, then only press play on when the first chaser question starts.

As soon as the contestant wins or loses, fast forward through the ads, until the next one is up with the 1:00 timer and repeat through the four contestants.

After all four have played, play the final chase, then fast forward the ads in between, then the chasers answer to that – and WHAMMO – the show is done usually in 28 minutes or less!

I love the Chase and other question and answer game shows but I just want the questions – not all the contestant history, drama, pregnant pauses while we wait for a decision, etc!

 

Scheduling Frustrations

It’s great to see that channel 9 is now offering late night news at 11.30pm. For many of us, that is a better time to catch up on the news than 10.30 is on channel 10. Last night, I flicked over to 9 to watch the news at 11.30, only to find I had missed the start of it and therefore the first of the main stories which are usually the most important.

This is an ongoing problem for both channel 7 and 9 where programs after 11pm start early, while programs after 7pm start late. If you want to see all of the news on 9 scheduled for 11.30pm, I suggest you tune over at around 11.20 to make sure you don’t miss any. If you plan to record it to watch later in the night, then be sure to set your recorder to take into account those extra minutes before.

Channel 7 has been doing this with 30 Rock for months, which has started as early as 11.20 while still showing on both printed guides and EPGs as 11.30. On the flip side of the equation, channel 9 on Monday night, the last episode of Underbelly did not start until 8.39 and Eleventh Hour that followed Underbelly did not start until 9.45 – it was shown on the schedule as 9.30. That’s 15 minutes late. On that particular night, it was mae worse by having 3 minute HomeMade “Sneak Peaks” both before and after Underbelly, not to mention countless pop-up ads as well as extra ads during the ad breaks.

Last night, whilst working late, I left on 7HD in the background. At 12.53am, I heard the start of Deal or No Deal. After checking the 7HD TV guide on yahoo, I saw that Deal is scheduled to start at 1am. And, the show after it on 7HD – A Country Practice (and being on HD, you can see the rather low quality of the 80’s video compared to now) started at 1.17am – 13 minutes ealier than the program guide and EPG suggests.

The networks have to realise that an EPG is as good as useless if their programs do not match the time on the EPG. Most viewers rely on EPG times to either remind them of when a show starts or to record it to watch later. At least channel 10 keep their EPG times up to date most of the time. What is the problem with ch 7 and 9 – why can’t they keep their EPGs up to date? Surely the one that does stands to benefit the most from viewer satisfaction.

Both ch 7 and 9 need to be called to account for this archaic practise of running programs late or early. It is nothing more than blatant disrespect for their viewers, and such a strategy would only work if viewers watched the same channel all night. They don’t. They all have remotes. They all change channels many times during the night, and they all get frustrated at shows starting late or starting early.

Having said all that, here is my guide of what time you can expect a show to really start based on its advertised time.

Scheduled Time channel 7 channel 9 channel 10
5.00pm 4.57pm 4.57pm 5.00pm
5.30pm 5.27pm 5.27pm n/a
6.00pm 6.00pm 6.00pm 6.01pm
6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm
7.00pm 7.05pm 7.05pm 7.00pm
7.30pm 7.35pm 7.35pm 7.32pm
8.00pm 8.05pm 8.06pm 8.02pm
8.30pm 8.35pm 8.37pm 8.33pm
9.30pm 9.34pm 9.38pm 9.32pm
10.30pm 10.31pm 10.33pm 10.31pm
11.30pm 11.25pm 11.25pm n/a
12.00am 11.55pm 11.57pm 12.02am
12.30am 12.25am 12.25am  
1.00am 12.53am 12.55am  
1.30am 1.18am    

A bit of fine print:

These times are based on my own TV watching experience based mostly on
Monday to Thursday nights, although I have noticed late schedules
running on weekends as well, but not as bad as the weekdays. Times are
a rough average, off the top of my head. I have not sat down and
recorded all scheduled times for example, but have commented about many
of them on TV forums like
www.tvtonight.com.au or www.throng.com.au. Obviously these times
may vary from night to night, but for the uninitiated, can act as a
simple guide. Examples considered here include: ch 9 Mondays with
Underbelly and the show after it as much as 15 minutes late, The
Mentalist on Wednesday nights usually 7 or 8 mins late, Ellen at
11.30pm and now 12am starting early, 11.30 news starting at 11.25, 30
Rock on 7 starting as early as 11.20pm, Deal on 7HD starting at 12.53am
instead of 1am, Heroes from 10.30 – 11.25, always missing the start of
Beauty and the Geek which was on 11.30 Thursdays, and seeing it finish
around 12.20, missing the first stories on 11.30 news on 9, missing the
start of Hot Seat on 1st night and subsequent nights, seeing Antiques
and Mash start 4.57 after 4.30 news finishes, Life on Mars on 10
starting at 9.33 Thurs (now 10.30 Fri) on the dot according to the EPG,
Masterchef starting exactly on time in accordnace to the EPG, same with
Talkin’ Bout my Generation, Rove despite being after reality shows
normally starting as per EPG at say 9.06pm (although printed as a 9pm
start), not above here due to odd time, but Letterman on 10 at 11.15pm
is always on time as well, as is the show following. Yet 7 and 9 are
running early by 5 or more minutes. Obviously it has to do with the
lower volume of ads after 10.30, but the networks would know that
already and their guides should reflect it. Running late from 7 to
10.30pm though is a deliberate action as both A Current Affair and
Today Tonight finish 5 minutes late. Additional lateness, especially by
channel 9, can be attributed to extra self promotion ads thoughout the
night, especially when they through in sneak peaks like they currently
are for HomeMade.

Note that in the case of ch 10, their EPG times actually reflect the times above whereas ch 7 and ch9’s do not and only show 8.30, 9.30, etc.

I have not included ABC, SBS or Foxtel here as they usually run on time with up to date EPGs and therefore saw no point to include them on the table.

Hot Seat Update

I have written enough about this show, so I do not see the need to write another 500 words about it now!

My wife and I watch Hot Seat for the questions only. As we have IQ2, we record it rather than watching live. We were fast forwarding through the obligatory chat with each contestant, and the painful questioning of what the contestant will be locking in.

Now, we leave the whole show on fast forward, giving us about 3 seconds to answer each question – a similar time you get on faster paced quiz shows. We speed up the fast forward during the ads. The show now takes about 5 minutes to watch, and fits perfectly into the first ad break of Jeopardy, finishing in time for questions to resume after their 3 minutes of speaking to contestants.

Pretty sad when you can condense a full 33 minute show into 5 minutes (yes, it always starts at 5.27 – don’t know why the EPG can’t reflect that).

And on the subject of Hot Seat, what is th epoint of putting iton at 11.30pm as well? What a waste, especially since that the printed TV guides will not reflect these changes. And those who watch Ellen late night will be very annoyed.

Hot Seat Runs Cold 2

After watching the 2nd episode of the show last night, I was disgusted that a contestant who had sat there and contributed nothing to the whole show except for answering one question at the end could walk away with $50,000 yet the guy who answered the most questions, and had the sense to pass to the next contestant, ended up with nothing.

If the makers of the show had put some thought into it, they would have realised that this sort of thing would happen and that it really does not make for good television. Game shows traditionally will rate well when viewers see a contestant having a go and being rewarded for their knowledge or performance. Episodes of Temptation, and going back further in time, Sale of the Century, would get their best ratings when the champ was going for the lot – that is, all the prizes.

This format of Millionaire with the idea of passing to the next contestant has no incentive built into it for any of the contestants to work with the team to keep the highest prize alive. As we saw on Mondays’ episode, contestants will guess rather than passing which lowers the final prize for the final contestant.

In my opinion, they should have stuck with traditional Millionaire format. Three lifelines, 2 safe levels, and one contestant in the hotseat decided by fastest finger first. And make it fast like in the US.

But, if you are going to do a show where you have multiple contestants that can come into the hot seat when one passes, why not make there be an incentive for all the contestants to answer correctly? All they would have to do is make it so the share of cash at the end was shared between all of the contestants who had either answered a question correctly or passed to the next one. Only those who answered incorrectly would not be part of the final prize. This would eliminate the possibility of one person, who had been doing nothing through the whole show, walk away with $50,000 for answering one question. While the guy who answered the most questions. did nothing. There’s just no incentive there and its not good television.

The only risk with including contestants who passed was you may have to have a rule built in where they must answer at least one question correctly other than the one that got passed to them, otherwise thay could simply opt just to pass themselves as well and hope to stay in the game.

And my final word on this show: I think I have said enough here and on other blogs about it! If the contestant says the answer is A and to lock it in Eddy, why the hell does Eddy have to go are you sure? final answer? how di you get to that conclusion? This is the most frustrating thing with Eddy doing Millionaire in any format. If the contestant has locked the answer in, that should be it. No doubts, no questions, etc. You don’t see Andrew on Deal, after the contestant has said Deal (or no deal) asking if they are sure, or want to change their mind, etc – he does sometimes, but not to the extent Eddy does on Millionaire or Hot Seat.

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.