$1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime
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One Of A Kind Beats A "Full
game is simple: either YOU'RE gonna win or THEY'RE gonna win! I'm
Bob Saget and this is…
1 vs. 100
AIR DATES: October 13, 2006 to February 22, 2008 (NBC); November 15,
2010 to January 11, 2011 (GSN)
HOST: Bob Saget (NBC); Carrie Ann Inaba (GSN)
WATCH IT HERE: YouTube
Just like ABC tried to mix up their line-up
of almost exclusively "Millionaire" with stuff like "You
Don't Know Jack", as NBC was riding high on "Deal or No
Deal" it was looking for ANOTHER million-dollar show to put on
the air. They found one NOT in the UK like they did with "Deal"...but,
rather, in the Netherlands. Endemol had been moderately successful
in the US with shows like "Fear Factor", "Extreme Makeover:
Home Edition" and "Wipeout" (the mock-Japanese physical
show, not the Tomarken show I spoke of in Season 1). It had a decent
hit in Dutch-land with "Eén tegen 100", which, when
translated into the title of the US version, became "1 vs. 100".
One of the biggest "contestant" pools ever assembled battled
for up to a million bucks. And, as exciting as it was, it just didn't
have the staying power of DonD. It was a fun ride but, much like a
roller coaster, it ended too soon to be memorable to too many people...though
it WAS enough to warrant a (very brief) revival on GSN.
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
As the host says, "the game is simple": a single contestant
("The One") faces off against 100 other contestants ("The
Mob") to answer multiple-choice questions. Either the One leaves
with money or, if the One misses a question, whoever is left in the
Mob splits the money accumulated.
A question with three possible answers is shown. The Mob has 15 seconds
to lock in their answers, then the One gets to answer. If the One
answers the question right, they stay in the game and add to a bank
based on how many of the Mob missed the question. In the first season,
money was added for EACH Mob member eliminated, increasing with almost
every question. In the second season (and the revival), money was
added for each ten Mob members eliminated. In either case, should
the One eliminate all 100 Mob members, they leave with one million
dollars (or $50G or $100G in the GSN version). If the One misses a
question at any time, the game ends and all the Mob members who got
the last question right split the money in the bank equally AND get
to stay for the next game; the eliminated Mob members are replaced.
As such, at certain points in the show, the One is asked, "Do
you want the money...or do you want the Mob?" At this point,
the One can take the money and leave or risk it in continuing to knock
out Mob members.
To help the One out, there are three "Help"s. With "Poll
the Mob", the One is told by two Mob members who chose different
answers WHY they answered the way they did (they do not have to give
the truth as to why but they MUST tell the truth about which they
picked). One of them is always the right answer so it also works like
a "50:50" in "Millionaire" as it leaves one right
and one wrong answer. In "Ask the Mob", the One chooses
one of the answers and it is shown how many of the Mob chose that
answer. Finally is "Trust the Mob"; choosing this Help means
the One locks in with the most-popular answer given by the Mob (right
or wrong). They can only use each Help once.
The Mob in the NBC version always seemed to have groups of people
with the same occupation and, usually, a celebrity or two. In the
first few episodes, Jeopardy! uber-champ Ken Jennings was among the
Mob. Also appearing in the Mob were Oscar the Grouch, Wink Martindale,
poker player Annie Duke and "Millionaire"'s first champ
John Carpenter. For Christmas, along with "Santa" and five
of his "elves", they had members based on the "Twelve
Days of Christmas" carol: from 12 USC drum majors ("12 drummers
drumming") to six pregnant mothers ("6 geese-a-laying")
to Danny Bonaduce ("a 'Partiridge' in a pair tree"). There
was also the "most Hated Mob in America", filled with IRS
agents, DMV employees and telemarketers. There were Mobs exclusively
made of kids, exclusively of males against a female One and exclusively
of females against a MALE One (where the only $1M winner was crowned).
In the GSN revival, the Mob all showed up via webcam and rarely were
there any rhyme or reason to the members.
Again, HATED to be one of the Mob who had to climb all the way to
the top row of that set! But the Mob seemed very excited to play...sometimes
even moreso than the One! And the set was futuristic without being
TOO over-the-top. It must've been very intimidating for the One to
see the two hundred eyes in the Mob glaring at them. Also, good idea
to move the question screen from the side to the center of the Mob
in the second season.
Bob Saget was a surprisingly good choice for the host. He was funny
when he had to be and had that sweet, innocent face that hid a very
not-so-innocent mind. Still, he kept the show as family-friendly as
could be expected. And that smile stayed on almost the whole time.
(Carrie Ann Inaba was OK in the GSN version.)
The concept was pretty unique, "Paranoia" nonwitstanding.
It may not have been the first all-against-one game show but the fact
that the questions got harder the more of the Mob that was eliminated
made it comprable to "Millionaire" in its hey-day.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
Changing the payout structure between seasons was, obviously, a way
to prevent people from leaving with TOO much money. And that's a shame.
I more-or-less stopped watching it when it had set amounts for every
ten Mob members kicked out. And the idea FAILED, too, as the very
first contestant of the new format won the million.
Much like "Weakest Link", it seemed NBC were getting hard-pressed
to find contestants later on: most of a whole episode was given over
to 100 former Mob members (mostly celebs) who played a "Last
Man Standing" game with the winner getting $250,000. The winner
was a lawyer who knew Larry King had had more wives than Henry VIII.
As much as I enjoyed "The Weakest Link", the fact that half
their season was celebrity show after celebrity show soured me to
it. And the "Last Man Standing" ep made me worry this show
was coming to that.
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
There is talk about reviving it just like "Deal or No Deal"
on CNBC in 2019...so I guess the obvious answer is "yes".
But, just like "The Money List", the revival on GSN didn't
last very long...so the answer might be..."maybe"? I mean,
*I* liked it a fair bit, even despite the scoring change. Maybe if
the CNBC deal goes through, they could do an "April Fool's"
swap of Saget and Mandel like GSN did way back when. With all the
news about shootings in the world, maybe a FRIENDLY "Mob"
is needed once again.
NEXT TIME: I'ma get exponential on yer ass...
Chris Wolvie wanted to do a netgames version of this...but Mob
AI is not a picnic, believe me. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie
and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.