This is the penultimate part of my chat with Marty, and this week, we discuss the end of the show’s run, and the effect it had on him. But if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show first, remember that there’s an episode you can watch (in two parts) right here and here.
And now, on with the interview!
SH: How many episodes of the MASTER were recorded?
MF: Eight in total. The first was cancelled after it was recorded as it really didn’t work. The producers decided to label it a “pilot episode”, not that that meant anything. All that mattered was that it wasn’t going to air. Those five contestants got to come back and were split apart into two other episodes. Two of them went on to win $33,300 and $42,300 on their respective episodes, so it worked out well for them.
SH: How many were shown?
MF: Six of the official seven were shown. I don’t really know why one wasn’t, but
there is always a chance your episode won’t air.
SH: Why did the show have such a short initial run?
MF: Some might say one episode is ‘short’ for its initial run… But others said
even that was too long! Personally, I blame the guy in the red chair. I
was told later however that the publicity department didn’t really do their
job and they apparently apologised to the producers later. Before the first
episode went to air, I did two interviews on radio – one in Queensland and one in
South Australia. Two radio interviews didn’t seem like a whole lot of publicity to me. I
remember thinking “couldn’t I just ring up some Sydney radio people myself (I
know a couple) and schedule a chat?”, but I didn’t want to step on anyone’s
toes. Perhaps I should have. When I watched the show, I thought it went
reasonably well. The only problem I had with it was watching myself. Whether
that was because my acting was so bad or because no one likes seeing
themselves act, I really can’t tell.
SH: How did the axing of the show affect you personally?
MF: Having recently come out of therapy I’m finding the night time sweats a
little less frequent now. Of course I’m joking, I was out of therapy years
ago. It was a little embarrassing at first. My friend rang me really early
in the morning to tell me he had read in the paper that it had been axed.
I’m not sure if he rang because he was concerned or if he just couldn’t wait
to tell me. Shortly afterwards, my clock radio came on with Adam Spencer
asking someone why their TV show lasted longer than the MASTER. I thought
“Wow, everyone else knows but me”. I should have rung in and asked Adam what
he was talking about. Seven had forgotten to mention it to me.
If anything, I look at it as a lost opportunity, given that there are now a
number of quiz shows with contestants competing against past champions like
Eggheads, The Chase and of course Tout Le Monde Veut Prendre Sa Place.
Okay, you might not have heard of that one.
In a way, it’s a good balance to have had success on one show and the
opposite on another.
SH: It’s a game show truism that “if your episode doesn’t air, you
don’t get your winnings”; was that the case here? Did any contestants miss
out on receiving what they’d won?
MF: As far as I know, that is true and I assume it’s true for all quiz/game
shows. I remember reading the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contract before I went on, and it said within four weeks of their episode going to air, contestants would receive
their winnings. I.e. if it doesn’t then they don’t. At the time I imagined
someone complaining about that and seeing them being quickly replaced by the
one of the spare contestants waiting in line.
There was one contestant who was a lot of fun but never had her show aired.
She won $41,100. Actually I suppose she didn’t. Bummer. Her episode was the
first recorded. I remember the producers were so impressed with her
personality that they were discussing how she might even be the first one to
be aired even before we had recorded the other episodes. For some reason her
episode never got on TV. I’m guessing it would have had nothing to do with
her but rather how the show ultimately looked compared to the others.
Interestingly her ‘preferred topic’ was The Human Body. I remember being
impressed that she knew her rods and cones. Even ‘the Governess’ on The Chase
didn’t know that the other night. It turns out she was a medical science student.
That wasn’t really fair for the other contestants, so I think that advantage
should have been picked up by the production team. She really should have been given a different topic.
Next week, as Marty and I wind up our chat, I ask him about the fame – or was it notoriety? – the show brought him, and what he learned from the whole experience. That’s next Tuesday, right here at HowToWinGameShows.com!