Tag Archives: Jeopardy

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.

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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.

Ads Not Adding Up

There seems to ba a new strategy applied to some shows on TV now. It goes something like this: Show starts. First ads appear 20 minutes into the show meaning the first 20 minutes are ad free. Then the remaining 5 ad breaks are roughly evenly placed for the remaining 40 minutes – meaning you have a 3 or even 4 minute ad break occurring every 8 minutes. The net result is that it seems there is as much time dedicated to ads in these 40 minutes as there is to the show itself.

I gave “Pushing Daisies” a go on the W channel last week. I thought they may have arranged their ads this way because it was a new show. But, I noticed this advertising pattern seem sot be the norm on a number of shows. This can be painful if you are watching a show live (thankfully, I hardly ever watch live). The first 20 minutes is obviously fine but the rest of the show ads dominate. Channel 7 and 9 also run this ad strategy for A Current Affair and Today Tonight – no ads for 2o minutes, then 3 ad breaks before the shows finish at 7.05.

No doubt, the reason for having no ads in the first 20 minutes is to keep viewers tuned in and not flicking over to other shows in an increasingly competitive environment. But then you get into the second half of the show and start wondering why there are so many ads. If you have recorded the show, it seems you have just put the remote down from the previous ad break before having to pick it up again for the next. I think evenly distributed ads are fairer.

And while we are talking about ads on the W channel, anyone who watches Jeopardy, 7pm Mon-Fri, would notice the ads are almost twice as loud in volume as the show itself. When watching Jeopardy, my volume output is at about 60, but for the ads, I have to turn down to about 40 to make them appear at equal volume to the show. Having ads that are louder than the show is nothing new, it is just that in the case of Jeopardy the show is so quiet compared to the ads. There was a time when ads on 7HD were much quieter than the show they were airing – which was refreshing to see.

Another problem with Foxtel shows and ads is that the ad breaks appear excessive in order to make a show go for one hour. Most shows without ads are just 40 minutes. That means there is 20 minutes to fill in with ads. For the most part, advertising on Foxtel channels is not as attractive as on free to air channels due to lower audience. That means, that during most shows, there are not enough ads to fill 20 minutes in an hour. The result is countless self promotion ads both for the channel you are watching as well as others. Again, best not to watch live if you have a recorder.

In my opinion, they should reduce the time allocated to ads on some of their channels and maybe have shows starting at odd times. They’d get more shows in and possibly drive up the quality of the ads that do end up there as there would be less time to show ads.

Some Shows I Watch

My own TV viewing is a mixture of shows from each of the free to air networks and Foxtel. Most shows I don’t watch live, preferring to record them to watch later, filtering out the ads. Most week nights I am working till 6 or 7, after which I watch the 6pm news from ch 7, followed by Jeopardy on W on Foxtel – Jeopardy is a 15 minute show once you cut out the ads and bypass the obligatory game show “get to know the contestants” segment appearing after the first ad break. If I have been watching 7 news at 6 live, then I’ll normally leave it on for Today Tonight, but never go out of my way to watch the show. Occasionally I may flick over to A Current Affair if I have seen a story advertised I am interested in, but usually am unaware of what is on due to the fact I watch little ch 9, and when I do, it is recorded. Of all the channels, 9 is the worst to watch live waiting for shows to start late, finish late, and putting up with ads for trash shows like Wipeout or 20-1.

Last week, unmissable television for me was seeing Obama on Jay Leno (Friday night here, Thursday in US). I am surprised that one of the free to airs did not do a deal with Comedy Channel for that show only as I believe it would have rated well. He explained alotof what is going on in terms the audience would understand.

Next on the list, and this is not really in order, is Life On Mars (Thur, ch 10, 9.30). It is different to all other cop shows no at the moment – it reminds me of old cop shows as it should being se tin 1973. With the over-supply of procedural type crime shows on TV at the moment, Life on Mars definitely is different. In a way, I am glad it only has one season, so it does not get tired and fades away, like so many shows do these days. I’m praying ch 10 will keep it on, regardless of poor ratings.

I really enjoy the Mentalist (ch 9, Wed, 8.30 – really 8.35, April 1: 9.30). It does really well in the US, and should do so here as well, but suspect the fact it is on ch 9 and starts late every time its on doesn’t help. Simon Baker helps provide for a show that has some humour, unlike the majority of the other crime procedural shows. For the record, I don’t watch CSI or Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Without a Trace or Bones as they are too similar (in my opinion, but have tried them all at some stage).

I saw on “On Demand” on my IQ2 one day a show called Threshold (SciFi Thur 8.30). Its about an agency called Threshold who deal with alien contact with humans.  Like all the crime shows, there is a group of people within the agency who deal with certain aspects of the investigation, each with their own quirks. Again, its very different and definitely entertaining.

Another one on cable is True Blood (Showcase, Tue 8.30). Interestingly, I noticed that this is on Free to Air in NZ! Story is about vampires, with a similar story line to Twilight. There’s a good review on TV Tonight from a while back (www.tvtonight.com, then search for “true blood”).

I also watch “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Comedy channel. (Comedy, Thur 9.30). Initially, I started watching it prior to the US election last year when they were discussion the issues of the election. While Bill Maher can be quite extreme in some of his views, the show is quite enjoyable and generates numerous topics of conversation at our place.

And yes, I am one of the 2.1 or so who watch Underbelly 2 (Mon, ch 9, 8.35). It’s nothing like it was last year, and there is more nudity than there needs to be, but still I find the story interesting. Again, maybe its the fact that it is set in the 70’s and early 80’s, but to me, it is different to most of what is on TV at the moment.

Which leads me to Packed to the Rafters (Tue, ch 7, 8.35). It stands out because it has nothing to do with crime. Its about a family. What else is on TV like it? It’s funny in parts, you can relate to alot of it, and its not hard to follow either. All reasons why it tops the ratings for ch 7.

Also on 7, City Homicide (Sun, ch 7, 8.30). The episodes have been getting better leading up to the season finale next week. Initially, I thought it felt out of place being on Sunday night instead of Monday. I am glad ch 7 stopped advertising new night for that and Border Patrol as every time I’d see the new night ad, I thought they would move them again. No reason to, they are doing OK at the moment, despite the higher publicity CSI gets.

And, as anyone who reads my stories will be able to tell, I am an ER fan. I am disappointed with 9 for not showing ER during ratings season. After hearing of their announcement of their 2nd SD channel launching later this year, I have some hope that they’ll put ER on that channel (not to mention countless others that have bumped or simply haven’t shown despite having the rights). I hope this channel is here sooner rather than later, but realistically, my prediction is the first week of non-ratings in summer so they can experiment prior to the 2010 ratings year. Currently, ER season 10 screens on 111-Hits, with season 11 about to start in April. I’ve also watched season 8 and 9 episodes on DVD recently.

I could go on for a while here on this subject, but will leave more for later – maybe after Easter when a few of these shows have finished and new ones fill my viewing habbits.