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Series / Who's Still Standing?

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Who's Still Standing? is an American adaptation of the Israeli Game Show La'uf al HaMillion (Hebrew: לעוף על המיליון, or Fly on the Million) that aired for one season on NBC from December 19, 2011 to January 30, 2012. Hosted by Ben Bailey (Cash Cab), the show is reportedly the first Israeli game show format to make it to the States as well.

On the show, a single contestant (the "Hero") tries to beat 10 other individuals (the "Strangers") for a chance to win $1,000,000. All contestants stand on trapdoors; the Hero stands center stage, and the Strangers stand in a circle around them.

After the Hero picks an opponent, the two alternate answering questions with 20-second time limits and crossword-style clues (example: "Website that documents common plot elements in media works: _ _ / _ _ _ P _ S"). The questions are mostly general knowledge, but there are occasional "specialty rounds" where all the questions and/or answers share a common theme or word. Contestants can guess as much as they want, and are given credit for correct answers said unintentionally while thinking aloud, but if they run out of time, their trapdoor opens and they're dropped from the stage and eliminated with no winnings. The Hero also starts out with two passes that they can use to force a question given to them onto a Stranger, who cannot pass.

If the Hero wins the battle, they bank whatever money is hidden on that Stranger's podium (ranging from $1,000-$20,000, with no connection to the Stranger's intelligence; at least one episode used amounts ranging from $1-$50,000, as on the Israeli version, and the prize goes up to $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000 regardless on the final three). If the Hero loses, the Stranger who defeated them wins $10,000 (raised to $25,000 in the eighth/ninth rounds, and $50,000 in the tenth).note 

After five Strangers have dropped, Bailey offers the Hero a chance to leave the game with their winnings thus far or stay in to play for more while risking losing everything. He'll also "sweeten the deal" by giving them an extra pass if they stay. If a Hero elects to stay, Bailey will give them the offer to leave again after each Stranger they drop. If a Hero elects to quit, they are allowed to go "through the door" or "through the floor"; unlike what you may expect, several players opted to simply walk out of the studio.

After the Hero leaves, the remaining Strangers (including the one who defeated the Hero) play the "Mach 7 Rapid Fire Ultimate Speed Round" among themselves. They are asked questions going around the circle with 10-second time limits; each correct answer increases the jackpot (by $1,000 in some episodes, $2,000 in others), each wrong answer or time run-out gets a Stranger dropped (if this Stranger had defeated the Hero, they still keep their winnings from that), and the last Stranger standing wins it all. A Speed Round is always played and filmed if at least two Strangers remain; if there's not enough time in the episode to air it, it may be posted on the show's website after the episode airs or included in a later episode.

On May 13, 2012, it was announced that the show would not be getting renewed due to high production costs, despite it gaining acceptable ratings.

This show contains examples of:

  • All or Nothing: Players either walked away with money "through the door" or went "through the floor" with nothing.
  • Bonus Round: After a game concluded, the remaining Strangers played a Speed Round where they were asked questions going around the circle with 10-second time limits. Each correct answer increased the jackpot (some episodes gave $1,000, others $2,000), and the last one standing won it all.
  • Catchphrase: Bailey had several recurring sayings for the contestants.
    • At the start of almost every game, he'll tell the Hero that stepping onto their trapdoor is a "big step" to take and asks them, "Are you ready to take that step?"
    • "Through the door, or through the floor?" (Contestants who walked away with winnings could choose their exit method. Contestants who lost, however, couldn't, for obvious reasons.)
  • Christmas Episode: The series debuted as a special holiday "event". Problem is, those first shows weren't taped under a holiday spirit, so Christmas-themed bumpers and music were shoehorned in during post-production.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: This show took breaks mid-question.
  • Eject the Loser: All of the losers, some winners (if they chose this way out), and finally Ben at the end of the show were disposed of through the floor.
  • Game Over: Used when a Hero lost, before the Stranger that beat them got their $10,000 graphic.
  • Game Show Host: Ben Bailey, taking some time outside of the Cash Cab for once. D. L. Hughley hosted the pilot.
  • Identical Stranger: The Spanish version did actually quite well, lasting for 10 years. In 2014, they got a lookalike of host Arturo Valls on the show: hilarity ensues.
  • Lifelines: Two (later three) Passes for the Hero, none for the Strangers. Passing a question forced the Stranger to answer it, with a fresh 20-second clock. If the Hero chose to continue past the fifth round, he got one more Pass. In the premiere, the Rules Spiel didn't mention the Passes.
  • Musical Spoiler: When the music starts to ramp up, a commercial break's imminent...unless they just returned from commercial, in which case somebody's going out on the current question.
  • Speed Round: The whole show (and especially the "bonus" round) could be seen as one.
  • Think Music: Okay, who thought epic, loud orchestral music would be a good idea for the score of a quiz show?
  • Viewers Are Goldfish:
    • After every single elimination, an animated clip reminds the viewers how much money the Hero now has, how many people have dropped, and how many still need to be eliminated for the Hero to win the Million.
    • Every drop got about 20 different instant replays.
  • Who Wants to Be "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?": $1,000,000 top prize, epic music, circular set with lots of lighting effects, etc. Rather than using a straightforward money ladder, they used a variant of the "shuffle" format the syndicated Millionaire adopted just one year prior. Dollar amounts are hidden behind questions (or, in this case, defeated contestants) and added to a bank, and the final dollar amounts are earned sequentially in traditional money ladder fashion.