500 Questions, the latest game show on ABC, premiered on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The show was intended to run for nine straight nights. The premise of the game is for the contestants to answer 500 Questions without getting three in a row wrong. Richard Quest, a CNN journalist, is the host of this thrilling new show. Contestants must possess intellect, strategy and stamina to win the game. The premiere of 500 Questions has brought on a new type of challenge for night television and lets the games begin during primetime.
The show is similar in terms to NBC’s Million Second Quiz, a multiple choice bonanza, but different because it does not offer the contestants multiple-choice questions, but rather just a few seconds to figure out the correct answers. The premise of the show is to select the smartest people or genius-equivalents and place them to see which contestant can answer all 500 Questions and make it to the final round, but the challenge is to not get three answers wrong in a row. The game show shares the same concepts as Jeopardy and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire but where it differs is that the number of questions is way higher, with the pressure of having 10 to 15 seconds to answer difficult questions. The pressure is definitely on, as it does involve competitors facing off, and one must answer 500 questions to make it to the end.
Imagine 10 rounds, 50 questions in each round, each round having 10 categories with five questions in each category, and a time limit of 10 to 15 seconds for each answer. Complicated enough? The rules are simple, but the questions are not. The show is putting the geniuses out on a separate island and allowing the viewers to have a sneak peek at their intelligence levels. The audience builds up the excitement and watches who will survive. This exciting new game show, 500 Questions, is a test of one’s knowledge, how well the contestants receive the challenges, and test of each player’s brain power. These elements have the audience curious about who the last man standing will be.
Patience is a virtue, but to get to the end of 500 questions, stamina is an essential element. Answering 300 questions is all good, but the contestant still has 200 more to go and must keep going. Each episode is an hour long and very exciting, as the audience sits and watches the contestants fight through each round of 50 questions.
Recently, the show received not-so-positive reviews, stating that the contestants are not such geniuses after all and are no smarter than the average Jeopardy candidate. This game show is compared to many other game shows on TV currently. The host gives these so-called geniuses an unfair advantage by allowing them to call out the potential answers without penalizing them for calling out the wrong ones. It is very difficult to come up with a unique concept for a game show. There are so many shows out there with similar concepts, all involve questions and answers, and the winner takes the prize at the end.
For the premiere, the ratings were just a little over five million viewers and declined just slightly on the second night to 4.59 million viewers. This show may give viewers the TV game show experience they want, but others view it simply as a replica of other TV shows already placed in the viewers’ minds and is not very exciting, simply because there are more questions to get through to be the last man standing. If viewers are interested in watching a night television show that presents challenging questions, then let the games begin, 500 Questions is the game show to watch this season.
Opinion by Elina Brik
Entertainment Weekly – Richard Quest talks ABC’s latest game show experiment, 500 Questions
US Weekly – 500 Questions Is ABC’s New, Incredibly Difficult Game Show- And US Weekly Played
The New York Times – Review: ‘500 Questions’ (No. 501: What’s a Certified Genius?
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