Dollar Money Drop
Now You See the Million,
Now You Don't
tonight, armed guards picked up one million dollars in cash from a
secret vault. It was transported under maximum security to our protected
set, where the entire million will be handed over to one couple. Their
challenge? Hang on to it through the most heart-pounding game ever
imagined! I'm Kevin Pollack and this is the...
Million Dollar Money Drop
AIR DATES: December 20, 2010 to February 1, 2011
CREATOR: Remarkable Television
PACKAGER: Endemol USA
HOST: Kevin Pollack
WATCH IT HERE: YouTube
From the Netherlands to the UK to the
USA...to practically everyone else. The "Drop" series of
game shows has, much like others before like "Wheel of Fortune",
"Deal or No Deal" and "Millionaire", conquered
the world. While only seven countries still do the show (including
the UK after a two-year hiatus), there is barely a country in the
so-called "first world" that hasn't had an edition. Sadly,
when it came to America, "Million Dollar Money Drop" was
plagued from the get-go. Oh, not that the show wasn't thrilling. After
all, the contestants had the million in hand before the game STARTED
and their job was to hold on to as much as possible. No, the show
had a controversial first game and they were unable to get out of
the stigma for it. Plus,...well, it was on FOX...same guys who did
"Greed", "The Chamber" and "Rich List",
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
Two people with a current relationship (married, family, BFFs, etc.)
play the game. They are shown $1,000,000 in 50 bundles of $20,000
apiece. At the end of the game, whatever money is left is theirs to
The game is played in seven rounds. In each round, the team picks
between two categories. They are then shown possible answers on monitors
beside "drop zones" and then given the question. They are
given a certain amount of time to place the bundles on the drop zones
beside what they think are the right answers. They must follow two
rules for each question: 1) every bundle MUST be on a drop zone before
time expires (any bundles not on a drop zone are lost), and 2) at
least one drop zone must not have ANY bundles on it (thus making it
possible to lose all their money on any given question). After time
expires, all drop zones beside wrong answers are opened and the money
on them "drop" and is lost. The next question is played
with the remaining bundles.
The first three questions have four possible answers and the contestants
have 60 seconds to place the bundles. The next six have three possible
answers. The fourth and fifth questions give the contestants 75 seconds
to place the bundles and the sixth gives them 90 seconds. Once during
the first six questions, the contestants can do a "Quick Change",
getting another 30 seconds to move bundles if they don't feel confident
The final question has no time limit initially and only two possible
answers, meaning the contestants go "all or nothing" on
the final answer. After the bundles are placed on one of the two drop
zones, the host gives a "Final Fact" about the question.
They then have 60 seconds to either change their answer or leave it
alone. After the final drop zone is opened, the contestants take home
any money left. If, at any time, they lose all the money, the game
ends and they leave with nothing.
Never before (outside of the pricing game "Temptation" on
"The Price is Right") has contestants been GIVEN the prizes
before being asked to play for it. This goes against everything game
shows stand for. But that's what makes this show so unique. You don't
have to EARN the money; you have to KEEP as much as possible. And,
like "Millionaire", it was hard AF to keep the million...if
not impossible. Only thing is I kinda wished the "bundles"
were unbundled as they fell. Seeing stacks of bills drop isn't quite
as "making it rain".
Kevin Pollack was a good choice for hosting duties. He was serious
when he needed to be and he made everyone laugh when he could with
his impressions. Sure, he was in his 50s when he hosted but he looked
and acted almost as veteran as any of the game show dieties you could
The first episode intro was pretty cool, too. Not since "$1M
Chance of a Lifetime" were armed guards brought in to protect
the cash. Made the game sound more intriguing than it already was.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
Let's get the obvious out of the way. On the first game, sixth question,
the couple was given a question about what was sold in stores first:
Macintosh computer, Sony Walkman, and Post-it Notes. The couple piled
$800,000 on Post-It Notes...and it all dropped when the answer was
revealed to be the Walkman. Then the internet - being what it is even
back than - commented that Post-It Notes were "launched"
a few years BEFORE the Walkman but FOX backed their own story...until
they didn't. And Pollack was all like, "They wouldn't have won
anyway!" And I'm sure THIS was the reason people turned it off.
The couple WAS offered a chance to play again...but the second season
never happened for them to cash-in on that second chance.
That being said, one problem I had was the way they stacked the money
after each question. For the first, it was all in one nicely stacked
pile. But the "hostesses" would then take the bundles and
spread them out one bundle high, making it harder for the contestants
to gather them in the time required.
As stated before, it was hard AF to keep the million...or, for that
matter, ANY money. Half the couples left with nothing...and the other
half won a grand total of $660,000, with the largest being the last
couple at $300,000. No big surprise that, with every possible million
dropping out of sight, the ratings likewise dropped out of sight.
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
Well, that's what Michael Strahan is banking on. At the time of this
column's posting, he and Endemol Shine North America are trying to
develop a remake of the show. As long as it's on one of the original
"big three" networks, it'll probably be a big hit. After
all, Strahan DID bring back "Pyramid" to ABC and "Joker's
Wild" to cable so...who's to say it won't fit in with, say, "To
Tell the Truth" or the like on ABC? Just keep it from FOX or
cable and it should be golden...as long as they, y'know, RESEARCH
NEXT TIME: Who-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o are you? Who-who-who-who?
Chris Wolvie drops it like it's...mild to temperate, really. Follow
him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie
and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.