'The Million Second Quiz' Looks to Make Mark on TV, Game-Show Landscape
Inside NBC's 'Million Second Quiz' Marketing Bonanza
Beginning Monday night, a giant hourglass-shaped structure on the far west side of Manhattan will be the site of NBC's 10-night trivia contest, The Million Second Quiz, hosted by Ryan Seacrest.
The set, which sits atop a former Mercedes-Benz dealership that the production has turned into its headquarters, is as ambitious as the show, which runs over 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds -- or 1 million seconds. That it was constructed in New York, rather than Los Angeles or another TV-friendly city, seemed only fitting, according to executive producer David A. Hurwitz. "If you're going to do something on this scale, come to New York," he told The Hollywood Reporter of the live show. "The game that never stops in the city that never sleeps."
In fact, MSQ's primetime set is part of the New York City skyline now, something Hurwitz said they definitely want to take advantage of, even using a blimp to get aerial shots during the live show. And in a bid for greater interactivity, the structure will be uncovered, leaving contestants and the audience exposed to the elements. (There's a contingency plan in the event of extreme weather conditions, say producers.) All of it is designed to draw viewers to a genre that's struggled to launch a new hit -- save for The Voice -- in several years. "I hope this…moves the ball in terms of the way that game shows are done," noted Seacrest. "It's certainly a hybrid of a sport and game, and our hope is that this is something that's innovative and pushes the envelope a little bit."
The primetime hour, which NBC is counting on to help jumpstart the network's new fall season, will consist of three contests. In the first round, the person currently sitting in the "money chair," where the person who's played the game the best will try to stay for as long as possible racking up cash, will compete against someone from the audience. Whoever wins that round will then face off against a "line jumper," someone producers will have selected during the previous night's show, who has played the game the best online and was brought to New York to compete in primetime. The third competition is something the show is calling the "winner's defense," in which the second-round champion will face off against the person from Winners' Row who's played the game the best over the previous 24 hours with the winner taking the other person's money and staying in the money chair. The four contestants who play the game the best will also live on the set in what the show has dubbed "Winners' Row."