'The Million Second Quiz': What Ryan Seacrest did on his 'American Idol' vacation
Monday, Sept. 9, brings the debut of NBC's "The Million Second Quiz," which literally will last that long ... 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds. Only one hour will be televised nightly (except for Sunday, Sept. 15) until the two-hour finale Thursday, Sept. 19, but the network intends for the show to stick in viewers' minds throughout that week and a half.
In the "American Idol" offseason, Ryan Seacrest will be the host and an executive producer of the competition, with each second a player sits in the so-called "money chair" worth $10. The longer he or she stays there by answering trivia questions correctly, the bigger the winnings; others can challenge that individual in person, at the quiz's hourglass-styled set in midtown Manhattan, or by playing online.
Acknowledging his desire to launch a program that "can sort of shake up the landscape and say to the audience, 'We have something special,' " NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt hopes "The Million Second Quiz" will parallel the effect of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" when ABC introduced it to America in the summer of 1999.
"The entire country was kind of watching that together," Greenblatt tells Zap2it. "It was before DVRs. It was before a lot of things, but it felt like an event. And this idea came to us, this ... concentrated period of time, 24 hours a day. And while (the game is) being played in the center of New York City, you could be playing it at home on a special app that we're building."
And not only that, adds Greenblatt: "You can actually join the game if you get pulled out of your home. There's an element to the game where we're going to go to a city every night and knock on somebody's door and fly them to New York, and they're going to be on the show the next night to compete with the person who is the reigning champion.
"It just feels like a big event. I know I'm going to just drive that phrase into the ground, but that's what it is."