Thursday, April 25, 2013

'The Million Second Quiz': I hope NBC thought this through

OK, help me understand this.

NBC has ordered a live competition trivia show called "The Million Second Quiz." It goes on 24/7 for 12 days and nights, captured on live stream and also airing live in primetime.

It takes place in a giant hourglass in the middle of Manhattan.


I'm pretty sure NBC has lost its mind.

The basic premise as set out by the network is a bit unclear, but it goes something like this: Contestants compete online for a bit before the show airs, and then the four people who have remained in the game the longest "get" to live in the clear hourglass. In primetime, they go up against other contestants who are trying to unseat them. The prize is $10 million.

What it basically amounts to is digital overreach. Yes, it includes online and interactive elements -- "Look how with it we are!" -- but it MAKES NO SENSE.

A few questions (aside from what exactly the game entails):

How big is the hourglass, and what exactly is going to be in it (besides four people trapped inside like fish in a fishtank)? The four top dogs are supposed to be living there during the show's 12-day run. Presumably, the individual contestants will rotate as people get knocked out of the competition, but what if one of the four is a Ken Jennings type who survives every round? Are there toilets? Showers? Any kind of privacy?

And if people only get unseated during primetime, does that mean this silly experiment is going to be airing every night? In fall, when the network supposedly will have a full slate of scripted dramas and comedies? If it doesn't air every night, that means even without a super genius, some of these people are going to be trapped in the hourglass for more than one day, at least. I hope it's ventilated.

Paul Telegdy, president of alternative and late night programming at NBC Entertainment, describes the show as, in part, "a social experiment." All I can say is, the network better have a good psychologist on hand, because this thing could get Stanford-prison-experiment ugly.

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