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Question 3: How would you fix 500 Questions?

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Here's my hit list.

 

Tone it down. There's too much forced drama. Too much moodiness in the setting. Too much yelling from the host.

 

Stop reiterating the rules so much. Can you imagine if Alex Trebek explained, "now, this is a Daily Double, which means that only you get the chance to answer it, and instead of having a set dollar value you are able to wager up to the amount of your current winnings, unless you're under the highest value answer for this board in which case you're able to wager that amount?" That still wouldn't be nearly as annoying as 500 Questions gets. If you feel the audience needs more explanation, pop it up on the screen rather than having your host waste time with it.

 

More competition. The "challengers" just stand there for 50 questions and do almost nothing. Some of them seem interesting and smart but don't have a chance to show it. They need to find a way to get them more involved, and play up the competitive angle, otherwise we're just watching a guy answer trivia questions. 

 

Show us the answers. Often times I miss the answer because the contestant doesn't speak loud enough or clear enough, or is drowned out by the music. Flash the correct answer up on the board for me, please.

 

500 questions? Why 500? Would anyone ever actually make it there? Why should we care? We're pretty sure at this point that no one will make it there in the 7 day run. Maybe ask a total of 500 questions throughout the "season" so that there is also a sort of race against the clock.

 

 

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Yeah, I wish they'll just have the person answer questions without having a "challenger." Then when they get three strikes, the next person simply step up (like in Who Wants to be a Millionaire). It's not fair when it's not really a game of challenge like Jeopardy where contestants battle it out through the entire game. There were several people I wanted to see play, but they didn't even have a chance because the rules of the game is so stupid.

 

And please get rid of "Three strikes and your're.....GONE." and "DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND?!!"

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Great list of ideas @ae2

 

Tone it down -- No kidding, It pisses me off when people who don't even know each other start dissing or trash talking each other for TV ratings.  These are supposed to be smart, intelligent people and it makes them come off as kind of assholish along the lines of Real Housewives of Whatever (which is not a good thing).  Plus, Quest should be a bit more impartial as host of the show, and he should stop being so handsy with the contestants, because its creepy. If a woman ever gets up as a contestant, I hope that will diminish. Stopping to announce mundane details needs to stop as well -- after Adam got to his 9th question, Quest announces to the world that he is answering an astonishing 89%.  Wow, that's amazing </sarcasm>, but you can tell that Quest is being fed these details through his earwig.  'Tickling the categories' needs to go as well.

 

Stop reiterating the rules so much -- The part that really bugs me is when Quest asks the contestant to play or pass on a challenge (battle or Top 10) for the umpteenth time, and then asks why like somehow he expects a different answer each time. It's nonsense like this that slows down the show.  And no one cares why, just get to the question already.

 

More competition -- They keep showing the challenger standing there, but most times they are not doing anything -- so why cut to them at all ? It's disappointing that some of the challengers spend all this time on stage and get very little to do.  And they get nothing for defeating the contestant in a single round -- it would be nice if they at least got the dollar value of the question during a challenge (or at least got to bank it if they take over as the new contestant). The Top 10 challenge needs to be worth more dollar-wise much like the Triple challenge.  I would have liked to see Megan Barnes get into the contestant's chair.  The worst is when they get towards the end of the 50 questions in a round, and they're at question 48 with no strikes and they make the challenger stand there when they clearly have no shot.  The biggest change I would make -- one right answer should only wipe out one wrong, not both.  Another change -- every time the contestant gets a wrong, the challenger gets to pick the category.  That will jack up the tension level.

 

Show us the answers -- especially when the contestant rattles off a bunch of answers in a row, you're never quite sure which one is correct answer.  And that's if you can understand what they said.  They definitely need to show the answer every time.  Here's an interesting site that has transcripts for the episodes -- http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/viewforum.php?f=298

 

500 questions? -- Steve got to 168 questions, Dan got to 57 questions, and Adam has so far gotten to 19 questions.  That's a whopping 244 questions and they are already well past the half-way point of the run -- there's only two nights and three hours of episodes left.  And they really do need to indicate if there is some big prize for even getting to 500 Questions (not that anyone has a shot).  Do the contestants have to leave when they get to 500 questions or can they keep going (especially if there is no big prize at the end) ?  It will be truly disappointing if over 7 nights of episodes they only have 3 contestants in total.

 

And please get rid of "Three strikes and your're.....GONE." and "DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND?!!"

 

This can not be said enough.

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More money. Every time one of the contestants hit a milestone (50 questions), I turned to my husband and said "They would've had to answer 4 questions on 'Millionaire' for that, one of them with roughly the degree of difficulty of 'How do you spell cat?'"

 

Make it $5 million to get all 500. $1 million per 100. Or $5,000 per correct answer. Sitting through 50 questions to see someone win a "paltry" (by gameshow standards) $35,000 is ridiculous. A high degree of difficulty combined with a low payout is a recipe for low viewer investment, especially when someone is ostensibly competing against himself or herself. Unfortunately for gameshows, 'Millionaire' changed the game, and unless there's a degree of chance involved (a la "Deal or No Deal"), a low payout makes the show look cheap.

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More money. Every time one of the contestants hit a milestone (50 questions), I turned to my husband and said "They would've had to answer 4 questions on 'Millionaire' for that, one of them with roughly the degree of difficulty of 'How do you spell cat?'"

 

Thanks @Eolivet -- that made me laugh.

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Good idea for a thread. This show has potential, but as it is currently, it drags badly.

 

Challenger. I think the challenger should have more opportunity to answer questions that the contestant misses and if s/he can, it counts as a strike. Or counts as a "win" for the challenger and if they get 3 wins they knock the contestant out. Winning a battle should give them a "plus one" also. If they get three pluses before the contestant gets three strikes, they take over. Or something.

 

The challengers have seemed pretty interesting, but the least interesting one (current) is the only one I've seen take over the game other than Steve. I think the challengers need to be more of a threat, more of a real challenge, come and go more often, and have more to do strategically.

Fewer Questions. 500 questions is simply too many. I'd make it more competitive (so in that way more frequent change, greater difficulty) and cut the questions, maybe to 200. Also show a closeup of the board when correct answers are shown, Quest often goes through them much too fast. And it wouldn't hurt to have the text of the right answer flash up when the contestant says it. Sometimes that bell is slow and he's already said a second one when the first was right.

 

Better Set.  Why is the stage so dark and dreary? There seems to be a large audience and we never see them. Something about the stage and set could be better, brighter (and I'd bring the two contestants closer together and make the challenger more important to the outcome).

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First rule: Make anyone who says the word "tickle" banished from the stage, never to return.

 

More money. Every time one of the contestants hit a milestone (50 questions), I turned to my husband and said "They would've had to answer 4 questions on 'Millionaire' for that, one of them with roughly the degree of difficulty of 'How do you spell cat?'"

 

 

The guy on Fifth Grader last night made it all the way through questions from second-grade level to the final fifth-grade level and banked $500,000. If he had answered the sixth-grade question correctly, he would have won a cool million. Plus that host is Jeff Foxworthy, not some grinning and groping arm-waving obnoxious Brit.

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I saw an interesting twitter feed quoted on the J! Board site, in which one of the 500 Questions writers revealed that the producers were upset at having to pay out so much money, and that they expected much faster turnover of contestants to keep the payouts low.

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I cringe every time the contestants have to explain why they pick a category. If they did that on Jeopardy, only 10 questions would be answered every game. Richard Quest seriously needs to be replaced. I haven't seen such fake theatrics since the latest Maury. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, the adversarial relationship between the contestants is unnecessary, stink eyes and all.

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I saw an interesting twitter feed quoted on the J! Board site, in which one of the 500 Questions writers revealed that the producers were upset at having to pay out so much money, and that they expected much faster turnover of contestants to keep the payouts low.

 

If the writers were complaining about paying out a couple of hundred thousand dollars, what was their budget for payouts ?  Or were they hoping for such quick turnover of contestants that they would maybe have to payout the $5000 at the 25 question mark and that's it ?  Because that seems pretty cheap for "television history" during primetime.  No wonder there was no big payout announced if they hit the 500 Question mark.

Edited by ottoDbusdriver
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They seriously thought there won't be big payouts? Most, if not all, these people are professional trivia and/or game show pros. 

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The host keeps claiming they have the world's toughest questions and that's not even close to being true.

True! Tho a lot are tough, even I, one of the world's greatest lovers of trivia games despite being the world's worst player!, has been shocked to have gotten several (some I thought everyone in the world knew and was very surprised to see the game use).

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Challenger. I think the challenger should have more opportunity to answer questions that the contestant misses and if s/he can, it counts as a strike. Or counts as a "win" for the challenger and if they get 3 wins they knock the contestant out. Winning a battle should give them a "plus one" also. If they get three pluses before the contestant gets three strikes, they take over. Or something.

 

This is a really good idea. I hope the producers of this show read this thread. I've already deleted the show from my DVR, so if it came back on, I'd only watch with some improvements and changes. And PLEASE replace Quest. I'm sure Ryan Seacrest has a few free hours.

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IMO, the difficulty of questions is pretty erratic, some very easy and some difficult.

 

Thank you, that's what I meant to say. Looking back at my post from yesterday it sounds like I was saying all the questions were easy, and they weren't. I didn't know the answers to many of them. But some of them were really easy.

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I would only let them guess three times in the 10 secs. If they don't get it right in three tries, it's an X. I hated that one guy who spent most of the time guessing answers.

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I don't know why they don't call this show 50 questions as a nod to the number of questions per set. Calling it 500 questions is a joke.

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The host keeps claiming they have the world's toughest questions and that's not even close to being true.

 

 

No kidding. For instance, last night the question for first lines in books, "...the clock strikes thirteen" was on both Millionaire AND Jeopardy! in the past week. Do these writers all work together or what? I keep seeing dupe questions across all three game shows. (Square wombat poop comes to mind!)

 

I agree with those who question why one correct answer would wipe out two wrongs. I say one correct wipes one wrong. And if a person gets a wrong, give the challenger a chance to answer and if he/she gets it correct, that person gets $1,000. Otherwise, what is the role of the challenger? And why call them challengers if they never get to challenge?

 

I'd give the person three chances to answer, then wrong. On a list of five out of 10, get all five in a row or else it's wrong. I really have a problem with all the free passes.

 

Eliminate the word tickle from the show altogether.

 

Eliminate the statement "Do you understand?" from the show altogether.

 

Get rid of Quest, lighten the studio, get rid of the crazy lighting and make it into a REAL game show of smarts instead of some ... well, whatever this show is. I agree Seacrest would make a good host. Low key, easy to listen to.

 

When I can say, "After the break" in conjunction with Quest, it's way too obvious and very irritating. Which describes Quest: obvious and very irritating.

Edited by saber5055
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Get rid of Quest. How did this guy even get the job in the first place? He needs to stay on CNN International doing weekends only.

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One change that is like to see: If a contestant gets the question wrong, the challenger gets to answer it. If the challenger gets it correct, they get to choose the next question for the contestant.

It would cut down on the use of Adam's strategy where he clearly bounced between good categories and bad categories.

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I think Tom Bergeron (an ABC guy already) would be an outstanding host. He's low key but not boring (as opposed to Quest who's high key and annoying). He seems to also be naturally funny in a kind way--not easy. Plus, he can make things seem smart and relatable at the same time and his voice and manner aren't grating.

 

I'd like to see this again with a brighter set, Bergeron as host and a more genuinely competitive (and lucrative)role for the challenger. Too much good talent is wasted in the current format (and, while I wanted to give Quest the benefit of the doubt, he really doesn't wear well.)

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I honestly didn't mind Quest that much. I chalked the repetition to TPTB insisting that was what he needed to do. (These are the folks who thought they could get away with low payouts for their geniuses.)

 

I like Saylii's suggested  fixes very much.  I also like kitticup's suggestion of only three guesses in the ten seconds. For me, they can both work in conjunction with each other.

 

I'd like to see maybe Connie Chung or W. Kamau Bell host, if it comes back and retooled.  Both are Americans and both are camera-friendly and potentially available. Ms. Chung could give the show a bit of gravitas, with her background, but she could be similar in tone to Anne Robinson- a bit snarky along with the straight up humor. Mr. Bell is a  really funny, astute dude.  On his fx show, the "man on the street" segments were always pretty great. If neither of them, then maybe Sheryl Underwood could be hired. I've seen her address some serious topics as well as fluffier ones on The Talk, so gravitas isn't a problem.

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Explain the rules ONCE, at the beginning of each show, telling the audience then that if it can't understand them with one explanation, it's too dumb for the show and must move on to "Wipeout."

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4 hours ago, Mockingbird said:

The new host and only five seconds to answer makes this show SO much more watchable.

Agreed.  Even though he repeats the "You're done", it doesn't come across as vapid and with Quest.  Moreover, he's got a good sense of humor as with the age jokes.

I don't mind the contestants bouncing between difficult categories and "safe" ones.  The challenger has enough to do with the Battles and picking the category after a second Wrong.

Much, much better.

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IIRC, the last time around the host was constantly asking about what the contestants"strategy" was for choosing to go first or second in the battles.  This time I think the host only asked once which is much preferable to me.

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Allow for each contestant to choose a category at the beginning of a match.

Grant the challenger something up to three challenges where the current champ gets only one guess for the next question.  If hey use it and the opponent answers correctly, they lose the next right to choose the category on a second miss by the champ.  Allow the current champ the option, for use anytime, to either lock in current winnings in a round, or perhaps to exponentially increase the value of the question, by choosing a single-only answer.  

SHOW THE DAMN ANSWERS.  All of them.  Every time.  We do not need Mr. Insipid Host to read them, either.  Scroll them if you must.  But, give us a real chance to see the freaking answers.

No more of the ridiculous "rivalry"  or "bon homme" repartee.  Do we ever really care about these people?  Is there any chance of this, unless one of them manages to last more than an episode?  It's absurd to try to create an emotional investment with contestants.  Just stick to game-oriented "conversation."

The category board is far too busy.  I need the category names to be much bigger.  It may be right-sized in-studio, but not on our home monitors - especially not when we never get lingering shots of just the board.  We do not need to constantly see the people on stage.  We really don't.  They do not change very often.  And we do not care about any of them. 

On the few occasions where there is a legitimate issue with an answer, be it ambiguity, pronunciation, whatever, go into DETAIL why TPTB decided as they did.  We had an example of an accepted answer and one refused in the latest ep.  Janet Guthrie was the first female for both the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500.  The question should have read that she was a first in two races.  I noted they did an info box after the fact.  The issue with "argentum" was a problem for me.  It was obvious to me that the contestant was confused.  Benefits of doubt should ALWAYS be granted the contestant.

When a battle is declared, just get to it.  There are far too many of them for each to be treated like it is special or unique.

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11 hours ago, Lonesome Rhodes said:

SHOW THE DAMN ANSWERS.  All of them.  Every time.  We do not need Mr. Insipid Host to read them, either.  Scroll them if you must.  But, give us a real chance to see the freaking answers.

 

The category board is far too busy.  I need the category names to be much bigger.  It may be right-sized in-studio, but not on our home monitors - especially not when we never get lingering shots of just the board. 

I've always seen the answers.  For non-battles, they appear behind the contestant.  For battles, they scroll in a special box.  If there are a lot of misses (if the players got 4 out of 14, for example), they have to go quickly, but they are shown.

I agree about the size of the categories, and even more about the questions.  Longer questions are always chopped at the side making them hard, if not imoossible to read.  Neither The Chase nor WWTBAM have this problem.

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7 hours ago, jhlipton said:

hard, if not imoossible to read.

Now that made me laugh

imoossible

adjective
        something so tough even a moose couldn't figure it out.   See Joey Trebbiani's 'moo point'

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On 5/30/2016 at 2:39 PM, jhlipton said:

I've always seen the answers.  For non-battles, they appear behind the contestant.  For battles, they scroll in a special box.  If there are a lot of misses (if the players got 4 out of 14, for example), they have to go quickly, but they are shown.

This part reminds me of Family Feud. They should use a gong sound effect when revealing the unused Battle answers.

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I would cut commercials. Not only are they repetitive, they are way too long and time consuming.  The show itself is enjoyable, except for the theatrics of the host and the same things repeated again and again. Between the 2 things, we lose  at least 1/3 of the show time. I can' t fast  forward, but am real jealous of anyone who can!

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I like the show but I have a problem with game shows where no one can ever really win. No one will ever get to 500 questions, especially in a 7 day format that comes back once a year. It takes too long to talk to the contestants, add in the battles, show the answers etc. it was the same situation with the Howie Mandel show Deal or no Deal. I don't think anyone won the million dollars until the very end of the run; the mathematics of choosing the suitcases versus the offers from the bank just didn't work. After awhile people lose interest. The best game shows IMO, are ones that people don't always win, but they sometimes win. Otherwise, why watch? Many they should change the name to 100 questions. It doesn't sound as good, but it might at least be possible. 

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2 hours ago, Madding crowd said:

I like the show but I have a problem with game shows where no one can ever really win. No one will ever get to 500 questions, especially in a 7 day format that comes back once a year.

The title is somewhat deceptive, but people do win money on this show (at least 3 have won over $30,000.)  So I don't really have a problem with that. 

I was just thinking that Jennings might be sued by the show -- he doesn't know why Mason was cut t the last minute, and if they have good evidence he took a dive, he can be accused of cheating. 

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1 hour ago, jhlipton said:

The title is somewhat deceptive, but people do win money on this show (at least 3 have won over $30,000.)  So I don't really have a problem with that. 

I was just thinking that Jennings might be sued by the show -- he doesn't know why Mason was cut t the last minute, and if they have good evidence he took a dive, he can be accused of cheating. 

This theory seems extremely unlikely. The show doesn't want to highlight the Mason issue and unless he told people that he tanked the show there is no way to prove it. People space on shit they know all the time.

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9 hours ago, jhlipton said:

The title is somewhat deceptive, but people do win money on this show (at least 3 have won over $30,000.)  So I don't really have a problem with that. 

I was just thinking that Jennings might be sued by the show -- he doesn't know why Mason was cut t the last minute, and if they have good evidence he took a dive, he can be accused of cheating. 

No one can win the ultimate prize by answering 500 questions though. On Deal or no Deal, most contestants won some money; but it wasn't possible to win the ultimate prize which is what turned people from the show. 

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1 hour ago, Madding crowd said:

No one can win the ultimate prize by answering 500 questions though. On Deal or no Deal, most contestants won some money; but it wasn't possible to win the ultimate prize which is what turned people from the show. 

At least one person won the million on Deal or No Deal though so it is possible. There's no way anyone can answer 500 questions given that it's a limited event and they apparently can uninvite you back the next season! Personally, I think what killed Deal or No Deal is not because nobody can win the big prize, but because they keep dragging it out with boring sob stories and relatives showing up to give their sob stories and nonsense like that.

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I find the role of the challengers still kind of pointless, and often irritating. (1) They talk trash to the player; (2) They go head to head with the player on the battle questions, but if the player wins, s/he gets to wipe out a prior error or even two, while if the challenger wins, s/he gets nothing. (Why should the challenger have to do so much work just to make the player  get the same penalty s/he'd have gotten by answering a single question wrong?); (3) If the challenger ties the player, s/he gets no benefit at all, and (4) If the player gets two wrong answers, the challengers get to pick the category for the next question, which is probably the only useful (to the challenger) aspect of being a challenger. I think the challengers should be able to build a bank of their own. Every time they answer a battle round question correctly, the answer would count towards the 500 if they get to play. Or maybe, if they get a certain number of battle questions right, they automatically boot the player.

Edited by Ketzel
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I was just thinking that Jennings might be sued by the show -- he doesn't know why Mason was cut t the last minute, and if they have good evidence he took a dive, he can be accused of cheating. 

I think the five-second rule would make it harder to prove he took a dive.  It's not impossible, but it's at tougher case because of that.

The other part is that they brought him on for higher ratings, and it might be VERY tough to prove he would have lasted long enough to move the ratings curve, again with the five-second rule in place.  He could claim that not bringing back the other guy was a distraction, but it wasn't intentional--and the jury would probably *want* to believe him, which is enough for the producers not to sue (but also not to invite him to another one of their shows.)

That last episode demonstrated the problem with the premise.  If someone answers two hours' worth of questions, although it's interesting to see how far the main person can go, there are stretches of low drama.  Any time there are zero wrong questions, you've got a few minutes before they're at risk for elimination.

There are two ways to improve that: first, if the challenger gets a question right that the person on stage got wrong, they get to bank $1000 and pick the next category each time.  That increases the strategy and the motivation.  Second, if the challenger wins a challenge round, they win $1000 plus any other money they have banked, no matter what else happens. (If they never win a challenge and don't get three strikes another way, they go home with a case of Turtle Wax and some Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.)  Questions they answer go to their 500 total, to raise the number they've faced and make it more likely someone gets to 500.  The down side, if you're a producer, is you're giving away more money--but that will work out to about another $30,000/hour--for a national network TV show that if I'm right, will boost your ratings and get you lots of improved PR from people (not winning is sad; not winning but getting $5000 for trying is less so.)

And next year?  Bring back both of the first two season's enders in a best-of-three challenge round, where each correct answer gets you $1000 no matter what.  That would give them both closure and would give them proof someone can answer 500 questions.

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On ‎5‎/‎30‎/‎2016 at 0:15 AM, Lonesome Rhodes said:

Allow for each contestant to choose a category at the beginning of a match.

Grant the challenger something up to three challenges where the current champ gets only one guess for the next question.

SHOW THE DAMN ANSWERS.  All of them.  Every time.  We do not need Mr. Insipid Host to read them, either.  Scroll them if you must.  But, give us a real chance to see the freaking answers.....

The category board is far too busy.  I need the category names to be much bigger.  It may be right-sized in-studio, but not on our home monitors - especially not when we never get lingering shots of just the board.  We do not need to constantly see the people on stage.  We really don't.  They do not change very often.  And we do not care about any of them. 

 

I agree with both these. I'd like to see the categories more clearly, too. Also, they -don't- always show all the answers, especially in a long list. Or even read them. The other night the host had several lists that he read the first few of and then said, "and more like that".  They should fill the screen with the list on a scroll so we can read it, too. We don't benefit it anyway by watching him half-read through it at a distance. I want to know ALL the answers, too!  That's the most interesting part.

My wish list for improvements would include a way to let the challenger get credit for knowing the answer the winner misses and if, for example, s/he gets three of those right, he takes over as winner. That would be a tougher game but some of these challengers are obviously SO smart and really deserve more of a chance to actually PLAY a game, too. (I do like the battles, but it's still not enough.) No one's going to get 500 answers anyway, so it's really just about the money.

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Change the name to All or Nothing.  They have to get all 30 questions without three errors or they get nothing.

11 hours ago, Padma said:

I agree with both these. I'd like to see the categories more clearly, too. Also, they -don't- always show all the answers, especially in a long list.

I think the only way it works is not having lists over 10 or more questions.  If there are 24 answers and only 2 are guessed (which has happened), the game comes to a stand-still until all 22 possible answers are revealed.  I think if they're going to keep long lists, they have to skim some of the missed answers (maybe put the missed answers on their website?).

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