"Welcome to the richest, most dangerous game in America."
Chuck Woolery at the start of each show.
FOX's answer to ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Created and produced by Dick Clark, and hosted by Chuck Woolery, it was known for being very confusing.Okay, more details — the prize is two million dollars. A team of five is to compete for it. There is a ladder of dollar values, just like in Millionaire (eight questions, worth $25K, $50K, $75K, $100K, $200K, $500K, $1 million and the top prize of $2 million), and there is an option to stop before you get the question for a level, but it's All or Nothing all the way up.There are also opportunities to get rid of teammates in the form of Quick Draw questions, which can be a good idea if you're successful as you get the other player's would-be share of the money, if your team ends up with any money, that is. Also, to sweeten the pot, the randomly chosen challenger, if they choose to duel with someone else, gets a good deal of free money that they leave with no matter what happens, so almost everyone did so.People rarely voluntarily pulled out early in this game, but they frequently wiped out. Although lasting just one season in primetime, you can find it in reruns on GSN.
Advertising Campaigns: When GSN bought the rights to rerun the show, they promoted it with a fun series of commercials between Chuck and a frazzled accountant counting out the $2,000,000 dollar by dollar.
All or Nothing: Miss a question and your entire team left empty-handed, except...
Consolation Prize: If the player the Terminator chooses decides to challenge another teammate; they are given $10,000 right away and keep the money, even if they lose to the other player or the team as a whole loses later on.
The only other exception was just for the Super Greed special, and only applied to teams that had won $1 million (the last three questions' values were doubled in this version). If the team chose to go on and to play for $2 million or $4 million, they were then guaranteed $200,000 if they missed either question.
Confetti Drop: Green confetti was released when a special "Million-Dollar Moment" happened.
Lifelines: The "Freebie," which could be used to eliminate a wrong answer from one of the last four questions. It could only be used once.
Who Wants To Be Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: One of the first (and most blatant) Millionaire imitations, FOX ads gleefully bragged that you could win two million on their show. Emphasis on could, as the questions became so obscure and the penalty for losing so merciless that attempting the two million dollar question was essentially the same as putting your current winnings in a big pile, soaking them in gasoline, and striking a match. note Unless you're Daniel Avila, in which case you'll have a good shot at it but still tragically lose at the last moment
Checkpoint Starvation: In regular episodes, there were no checkpoints at all to fall back on; a wrong answer meant going home with nothing, except for the small amount of money anyone might have made through Terminator challenges. The only option to bail out in the middle of a question was with the Comically Small Bribe below.
Comically Small Bribe: They don't look the part, but upon getting 3 out of 4 answers right in the later questions, captains are offered a tenth of the prize money if they quit at that moment. Given that they usually could have had a half of the current prize money (five times as much as the bribe) if they had opted out of the question entirely, it's not an offer most captains like to take.
Averted for the seventh question (worth $1 million), where the decision to take the bribe was made by each individual member of the team. Anyone who opted out would win a car estimated as being worth $75K, with another $25K in the trunk. That's about the same as a single share of the $500K prize.
And again for the Super Greed shows. Each player was offered a car plus $75K cash as a buyout on that question.
Difficulty Spike: The eight questions are split into two distinct halves, with every question in the upper half exponentially harder than the last. In #5 you have to choose 4 right answers out of 6. In #6, 4 out of 7. In #7, 4 out of 8. In the final question, 4 out of 9, with questions so vague it's often a shot in the dark no matter how much the contestant knows. Example: identify which four of these nine smells is most recognizable to the human nose, according to Yale University. Did we mention you have to pick the correct four answers out of nine choices? Oh, and you only have 30 seconds to talk it over, 10 seconds to give your answers, and no buyout offer.
Only a few teams failed to make it to $100,000. About half made it to $200K, but only a few went on to win more than that. The second-to-last question only showed up three times (twice during the Super Greed special, where teams going for more than a million dollars were guaranteed $200K even if they lost), and the jackpot question only appeared once.
Filler: Flagrantly abused to draw out suspense whenever a team was up to the big money questions. The episode leading up to Daniel Avila's $2,200,000 attempt took this Up to Eleven, using most of the hour to repeatedly review and replay the game up to that point before even prompting the players whether they wanted to play on or take their share of $1,000,000 and leave. The show went multiple commercial breaks without advancing the gameplay one inch.
Negated Moment of Awesome: Daniel Avila, the only contestant in the show's history to go for the $2 million question (actually $2.2 million since the original episodes used a Progressive Jackpot format). Being required to choose the top four most recognizable of nine smells, he hits three of them, resulting in his walking away with nothing instead of a prize that would likely still be a winnings record on any game show to this day.
Nerf: During the first set of episodes, the top prize was $2,000,000 with $50,000 added every game it wasn't won; when the show became a regular series, the top prize was a flat $2,000,000.
Ratings Stunt: The Million Dollar Moments in February 2000 and Super Greed in May 2000. Incidentally February and May are both Sweeps months.
Shout-Out: The Singled Out incident (see the YMMV tab), and another question also involving Wheel of Fortune where a contestant vetoing an incorrect answer addressed Chuck as "Pat" instead.
Stage Money: On the $200,000 and $500,000 questions, the captain is offered one-tenth the value of the question physically, which they can take and split evenly among their team if they are unsure of the fourth answer given. The $10,000 offered for challenging someone with the "Terminator" is also physically shown.
That One Rule: Originally, buzzing-in early during a Terminator meant instant elimination; this was soon fixed so that a contestant could buzz-in early, but Chuck would stop reading the question immediately.
Timed Mission: The final question and the Million Dollar Moments only allow the contestants 30 seconds to discuss the question, followed by 10 seconds to give their answers.
Transatlantic Equivalent: There was a UK version that aired in 2001 called Gr££d hosted by Jerry Springer with a top prize of £1,000,000. It plays almost identically to the American version.
Up to Eleven: Super Greed, which doubled the top prize to four million dollars.
Voted off the Island: The "Terminator". A person is randomly selected. They choose who to battle. There's one question and whoever buzzes in first with the right answer (or doesn't buzz in and get it wrong) wins, and takes the loser's share of the pot. Technically the randomly-selected person can choose not to battle, but they get guaranteed money if they do, and since so many people leave with nothing, most people will battle whomever they feel is worst at the game (or the winner of the previous battle, as they will have a larger share).