You're about to experience an international
phenomenon already on three continents in fifteen countries. And
It's Your Chance of a Lifetime
AIR DATES: June 5, 2000 to June 10, 2000
CREATOR: Stephen Leahy
PACKAGER: Brad Lachman Productions/Carlton America Action Time
HOST: Gordon Elliot
WATCH IT HERE: YouTube
When I first started this run of "million-dollar
prime time" shows that tried to leech of the popularity of
"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", I had NO idea that the
show was going to be cancelled by the time I was finished. I just
wanted to show how OTHER shows tried and failed to be like "Millionaire"...never
knowing that, after twenty years, apparently not even "Millionaire"
could be "Millionaire" that we remembered. Now I end it
the way I began it: with a show ending in "Chance of a Lifetime".
But if ANY show was trying to be an absolute rip-off of "Millionaire",
it was "It's Your Chance of a Lifetime". The two chairs
in the middle of a circle, "locking in" an answer, "lifelines"
(which was called "Second Chances" but a rose by any other
name, right?)...this was FOX doubling-up against "Millionaire"
while "Greed" was still going on. The gameplay was changed
slightly but, make no mistake about it, this was FOX fighting "Millionaire"
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
CREDIT CARD QUESTION
A person was picked from the audience to play. The contestant brings
their credit card statemnet(s) (up to a maximum of $10,000) and
the host asks a relatively simple question. The contestant gives
an answer and "locks it in" by pressing a button. If they're
wrong, the game ends then and there. If they're right, they receive
money to pay of the credit card debit and their statements are shredded
right in front of them.
The contestant is shown ten categories. One is picked at random
and the host asks a question on it. Again, the contestant can give
an answer and "lock it in" with the button. If they're
wrong on the first question, they leave with nothing else but the
credit card debt paid off. The first question puts $5000 in their
bank. For each consecutive question, the contestant wagers at least
half of their bank. If they get a question right, the money is added
to their bank. If they get a question wrong, the money is subtracted,
the game ends and the contestant leaves with what's left in the
bank. If the contestant answers nine questions right, they leave
with whatever they have in their bank, up to $1.28 million. The
questions are asked in groups of three on three "levels",
each level harder than the last.
Should a contestant
get stumped on a question, they can use one of two "Second
Chances". One made the question into a multiple-choice question,
with one of three answers being correct. The other allowed the contestant
to swap out the current question for a question in a category of
THEIR choosing. Each "Second Chance" could only be used
once in each level.
If they wanted the set to mimic "Millionaire", they nailed it.
What's more, they made it a bit more "modern"-looking.
The mini-shredder for the credit card bills was a nice touch;
contestants could actually SEE their debt going away.
Elliot had a brief run on "To Tell the Truth" and it served him well
enough. He seemed as excited for the contestants and the
contestants were to be there. Could've been the accent; kinda
reminded me of Bruce Forsythe in "Hot Streak". Still, he was
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
Even Tommy from the Who album could tell this was a BLATANT
rip-off of "Millionaire"...and people were still high ON that show
to want to see it in a different setting, even WITH different rules.
The only differences were that people wagered their money and the
questions didn't have multiple-choice. This made it even
HARDER than "Millionaire" (if you can believe that). Why would
ANYONE bother to watch that?
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
Not anymore. As long as "Millionaire" was around, anyone
could make a "clone" out of it and get at least SOME runtime
out of it. Now that Celador and Disney have shut the game down for
good, any such "clone" that DOESN'T last twenty years
will be considered a flop. So...why take the chance? And THIS one?
It didn't stand a chance in Hades to start with...so why bring it
NEXT TIME: Season 4 gets GSN-y...
Chris Wolvie would rather have a chance of a FEW
lifetimes...but, until he invents immortality, it ain't happenin' Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie
and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.