Devised entirely within Seven, the new show is unrelated to a US format of the same name and was developed and tested over several months.
“It’s true that we share the name with a pilot that was not produced in America, and that’s the end of the comparison. There’s no similarity at all with the actual game-play or the outcome,” says Executive Producer Grant Rule.
The half hour show comprises several general knowledge rounds with three contestants, one of whom will play for the nightly jackpot round. Within each round there are also cash bonuses designed to tempt a winning player: take some cash but lose your lead. Any money won here is kept, and will serve as the show’s only consolation prize.
The jackpot round of 5 questions begins at $20,000 and builds across 8 nights to $1m. At the end of each jackpot round the champ can decide to take the money and bow out, or risk it to return for subsequent nights and build their jackpot. Game show fans will undoubtedly see a lot of Sale of the Century / Temptation in this game-play but it was a classic formula that certainly worked.
“For me it’s something a little bit different to what I’ve been doing in the past. I’ve never really considered myself to be a game show host, but when this came along it was kind of like a return to something that was familiar,” says host Grant Denyer.
“It’s been stripped back to what a quiz show has traditionally been and what it should be. It’s a bit more generous to the viewers, if you like. You’re not dragged through 7 minute interviews or having long back stories finding out about Aunty Dor’s favourite holiday location. You’re just getting questions, questions, questions.”
For the show to “pop” it will need to give away some big bucks early in its run. Unlike Hot Seat and Deal or No Deal the show is episodic and its order can’t be fiddled with, due to the carry over champion.
Filmed in Melbourne at Global Studios, there’s no audience for this one.
Meanwhile Nine is taking no chances, already announcing a week of Hot Seat big winners next week and a “Heroes” week thereafter.
But Seven, which desperately needs to lift its lead-in to the 6pm News, takes the view it’s not a sprint, but a marathon.
And as for the future of Deal or No Deal? New episodes that are in the can will run at 5pm. While it’s arguably a long shot, officially no decision has been made on the show going back into production.