My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Family Feud’, ‘Deal Or No Deal’, and more… Mr John Deeks! Part IV

Deeksie hosting ‘Family Feud’, in 1996!

Hello!

This week, as my chat with John Deeks continues, we go back to 1996, when his position as a self-confessed “Level 2” game show guy (that is, behind the scenes, rather than out the front) is all about to change….

===========================

SH: You mentioned that you’re happy to have that supportive – and supporting – role.

JD: Yeah very happy.

SH: And yet, in 1996, you ended up hosting Family Feud! Let’s talk about Family Feud. 

JD: I didn’t ask for it, they rang me. I can see it now; I was in the car. Who was that pompous, officious bloke who used to work at Channel Seven, in production?

SH: You’ll need to narrow it down! 

JD: Yes, I know! Anyway, he rang me up and said “We’d like you to take over the hosting of Family Feud in Brisbane. We are replacing Robert Brough.”

I said “Can I think about it?” That surprised him; I think everybody would sell their mother for a shot at hosting a national show.

SH: A coveted role!

JD: And he’s said “THINK ABOUT IT?!” Anyway, it turned out it was Grundy’s who wanted to replace Brough, and they thought that I would be sensational. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t audition for it; I was a very happy camper where I was. So I said “I will…. but I’m not going to give up my booth work, or my announcing work”. 

He said “But you’ll be a TV star! This’ll go forever!”

I said “Oh yeah, righto. But I’m not giving it up” and they go “Oh, alright”. The next thing I know, I’m on a plane, I arrive in Brisbane – a parochial town – I’m up the top of the mountain – Mount Coot-tha, at BTQ and I’m shaking hands with Rob Brough, and he’s saying “Ah well, here I am, handing over the reins here…”

SH: How was he feeling about it all?

JD: Oh, he would have been dreadfully unhappy about it.

SH: Right.

JD: Because he hadn’t done anything wrong! So anyway, I’m on the set and all the crew – who loved Rob – are there, the producer is there, everyone is there… and here I am, shaking hands with Rob, who says to everyone “I’d like you to meet the new host”. And I’m thinking this really is one of those surreal moments. To add to that, my father had died just three days before I went to Brisbane.

SH: Oh no, Deeksie… 

JD: It was just one of those surreal times.

Look, I thought the whole thing was okay; I didn’t mind it. I just went through the motions, because I was always on a set anyway with the talent, so it wasn’t an unfamiliar place. And I had been doing on-camera stuff for a long time. But the thing I remember the most was Brian Mallen – the General Manager of Channel Seven at the time – saying something to me. It was about a month before the Olympics in Atlanta. I was out the front of Channel Seven, and he turned around as he was coming in – I was going out – and he stopped. He said “Deeksie we got big things planned for you!”

I rang my wife up and said, “I’m f***ed”.

SH: That was the Kiss of Death?

JD: Two weeks later they pulled the show, apparently because they wanted to save money and the Olympics was starting. (In commerical voiceover mode) “The following program is bought to you by Swisse; you’ll feel better on Swisse!” Thank God I didn’t give the booth away…

SH: Indeed, indeed. How long did Family Feud last for you?

JD: Oh, about a year… but it wasn’t a role I coveted, it wasn’t something I wanted to do.

SH: It just came your way.

JD: It was like “Well, that was interesting!” I got some nice new Raoul Merton shoes out of it, and a couple of suits, nice! They let me keep those. (LAUGHS).

==================================================================

Well, there’s a lot to be said for Raoul Merton shoes. 

 Next week, our conversation covers Press Your Luck, Jeopardy, and what Deeksie thinks makes a good game show contestant… 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Family Feud’, ‘Deal Or No Deal’, and more… Mr John Deeks! Part III

John Deeks

Hello!

And welcome to the third instalment of my chat with The Man With The Golden Voice; John Deeks! And if you’d like to hear a little sample of that famous voice, just click on the audio file in the top right corner of this page.

When we left off last week, we were discussing the Australian version of the game show institution that IS Wheel Of Fortune. It was a show that Deeksie provided the voice for, for over two decades, so I felt I just had to ask him….

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SH: The different Wheel of Fortune hosts that came and went over the years… what were some of the differences that you noticed between them?

JD: “Turps” was a man of the people he was out there, and the crew loved him and he loved the crew; he just loved people. He was as open as the people were, and he was up for anything. He was true ‘Leagues Club“. 

SH: Yeah.

JD: Burgo, though, was a different kettle of fish, he was more reserved. I would be the everyman and he was sort of above all that, and Adrey, of course, was just gorgeous.

SH: Rob Elliott did it for a while.

JD: Rob Elliott did it for a while, yes absolutely. Rob was great, but he was the most reluctant host I’ve ever known. He wasn’t quite depressive, but he was “Oh, the system hates me”. Eventually he said to the network, “Look I just don’t think I can do this anymore”, and they said………… “Yep, fair enough” and they got someone else.

SH: So his heart wasn’t in it?

JD: His heart wasn’t in it. Then Steve Oemcke did it for a short time, believe it or not.

SH: Did he have a background in sports?

JD: No he has a production company, WTFN and he’s a great guy, a lovely guy. But I tell you, Stephen, I’m just so fortunate because I was offered to go to New Zealand to host Wheel of Fortune over there. And thank God I didn’t take it, because I’m better as the ‘Level 2’ man; I’ll take level 2, because I love supporting the talent. I love it, I really do! I don’t want to be out the front, supporting these amazing hosts. For a long time, as you know, I worked with Andrew O’Keefe (who hosted Deal Or No Deal) who is without question the best performer I have ever worked with in my life. He’s so disciplined in front of the camera. He can come in, learn and process a whole load of information that would take a whole year for me, and he would do it in one night. And he would come in and he would perform on his feet all day, interacting with people, laughing, joking… and you wouldn’t know that he’d had a big night the night before.

SH: And was probably going to have a big night after the record, too. 

JD: Exactly.

SH: Unstoppable.

JD: Loads of heart, a man of the people, funny to work with, and we shared the same wicked sense of humour, too. So I miss him dreadfully to work with. Pretty much everyone I’ve worked with has been very generous, because they’ve got that I’m not a threat. I don’t want their job. I want to make them look the best they can. It was like when I used to work with Debbie (Debbie Phin, with whom Deeksie hosted lotto draws for years) or anyone I work with on camera; the better I can make them look, the better I look, the better the whole thing looks.

SH: That’s right.

JD: But it’s got to come from the heart. 

SH: Exactly. You mentioned that you’ve always been happy to have that supportive – and supporting – role.

JD: Yeah, very happy. 

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…. AND YET, as we’ll see next week, Deeksie is about to be thrust into the spotlight, as the host of one of the most beloved game shows of all time.

How did that come about?

How did he handle it?

And how long did it last?

My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Family Feud’, ‘Deal Or No Deal’, and more… Mr John Deeks! Part II

John Deeks

Hello!

And welcome to the second instalment of my interview with TV game show voice over legend John Deeks.

Before we go any further, I’d like to thank John for very kindly recording a little welcome announcement for the site, which you can see on the top right corner of this page! If you click on it, you’ll hear his dulcet tones bidding you a warm welcome, as only he can.

But now, as we pick up our conversation, we’re still discussing the Melbourne version of The Price Is Right which was shot at Festival Hall back in the eighties…

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JD: It was a huge show with massive sets, with lots of cars, and a huge audience, in the right part of town.

SH: How many were in the audience? 

JD: Oh, 300 – 400. It was jolly big.

SH: For a studio audience for a TV show, that’s very big.

JD: Huge. And the later versions were never on that scale; when we tried to do The New Price Is Right, they really cheapened it. They did it in this tiny studio in Sydney, Larry Emdur was the host, and I think they gave away like a Goggomobil; it was one of the cheapest cars you could find.

SH: As you say, you were the voice of the show and you did its warm ups, from a position in the audience. As such, you would have watched thousands of episodes; would that be fair to say?

JD: Yes.

SH: Were there any times when you were watching, thinking, “No – don’t do that! You’re supposed to be doing this”?

JD: The best people we had – and this applies to all of the shows – except where intelligence is really required, (and thank God I never worked on shows where intelligence was a prerequisite! And I mean that with love). I’ve never worked on a Sale of The Century, that sort of show; they’ve all been game shows and I love the format of the game show; I love the repetitive nature of it; I just really, really enjoy it. You either do or you don’t. I did. But the common thread amongst all those people is that they were natural. They gave of themselves. You can’t have too many barriers; you have to say “Here I am, World!” 

SH: Warts and all?

JD: Yeah, warts and all. The best ones were the ones who had character; they would come out and just be themselves. If they had friends in the audience they could interact with them, so we’d shoot them as well and they got the game. Because I always told the audience, “You are part of the production process. We just come along with this template every week. The template works and now it’s up to you to put the flavour in it.”

SH: And you were also the voice of Wheel of Fortune from 1984-2006.

JD: 22 years, yeah!

SH: Incredible! So again that must have been thousands of episodes, maybe tens of thousands of episodes?

JD: Stop counting.

SH: Sorry.

JD: No, not you – I did.

SH: Oh, you stopped counting.

JD: Yeah, yeah.

SH: I see. Was that always in Adelaide?

JD: Yes it was. Until (co-host) Adriana ran out of husbands, and then we moved it to Sydney.

SH: Right.

JD: Well, there was a bigger pool…

(LAUGHTER)

SH: Yes, sure.

JD: And also, (host) John (Burgess) needed to get new leather pants.

SH: Right.

JD: We’d fly there every Friday to record five shows, and sometimes we had to do ten. It was like; “Oh my God – we are doing ten shows; five on a Friday, five on a Saturday as well!” But now, of course, they’re always churned out that way; ka-chunka, ka-chunka, ka-chunka!

SH: The show had a few hosts over that time… starting with Ernie Sigley, I think?

JD: Ernie was there… and then I was going to be the host after Ernie left.

SH: Interesting!

JD: But I was doing The Price is Right at the same time, and they said “No, you can’t do that; you’ll have to stay on The Price is Right.”

SH: These are both Seven Network productions?

JD: Yeah. So I’ve said “Oh, okay.” Then of course a little time later Price finished, and over at Wheel of Fortune in Adelaide, the guy who’d been doing my job (the voice job), was cleaning leaves out of his gutter, and fell off the ladder.

That I pushed.

And they asked if I could come over for the weekend to do shows, and I said “Sure, but I want to do the warm up as well”. They said “Knock yourself out, kid” (because that was what I was used to doing on The Price Is Right.So I came over one weekend, and 20 years later…  I’m still receiving death threats from the guy who I –

(LAUGHTER)

SH: Can he walk again?

JD: I felt terrible about that night.

SH: That’s showbiz.

JD: It is showbiz, and you know what they say; “Never take a holiday”.

SH: Never take a holiday.

JD: Or clean out the gutters.

SH: Or clean out the gutters.

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Mmm. Good advice for us all.

Join us here next week, for Part III, when Deeksie discusses Wheel of Fortune‘s various hosts, and reveals his favourite Australian game show host of all time! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Price Is Right’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Family Feud’, ‘Deal Or No Deal’, and more… Mr John Deeks! Part I

The incomparable John Deeks

Hello!

This week, I’m very pleased to bring you Part I of my latest exclusive interview for HowToWinGameShows.com. I was delighted, recently, to get the chance to talk to a real Living Legend of the Australian game show landscape. This man has been the voice behind THOUSANDS of episodes of our favourite game shows. He was the voice of Wheel Of Fortune, he was the voice of The Price Is Right, he’s a former host of Family Feud, and after almost 40 years in television, he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down…

He’s also a really lovely bloke, as well. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the one and only John Deeks!

================================================================== SH: John Deeks, thank you so much for talking to me for HowToWinGameShows.com.

JD: My pleasure, Stephen.

SH: It has been – and continues to be – a very long and illustrious career, but I want to take you back to the early eighties, to start with. You were the voice of the Australian version of The Price Is Right from 1981 to 1985.

JD: The Price Is Right was a fantastic show and it was the first game show I did. For a start, we were doing it at Festival Hall, which was massive. And it was the first time I had worked with Ian Turpie. And I had seen him many years before at the HSV Teletheatre in Fitzroy, when my mum took me to see a show and I remember being in the audience and seeing him and Olivia Newton-John. This was in a show called Time For Terry…. back in the 1800s.

(LAUGHTER)

JD: So Festival Hall was sensational, and the audience was mostly made up of our European friends. Because over on Channel 9 you had Tony Barber doing Sale of the Century, where you had to know who the third King of Prussia was (and that wasn’t a question, so don’t answer it, smartarse)*… they couldn’t get that, but they knew how much a fridge was.

SH: Which is what that show is.

JD: Exactly. And our audience had a very large Maltese contingent. There was one instance… and I should point out that I had requested that I do audience warmup as well as being the show’s announcer, so I was integrated into the audience. And Ian Turpie would throw to me and I would say “Mary Vostopopolous! Come on down!”  And Mary on this particular day jumped up – and back in the early 80s, boobtubes were very popular…

SH: Yes…

JD: You know where this is going, don’t you?

SH: I have a rough idea.

JD: And Mary Vostopopolous was a fulsome middle aged lady. So Mary leapt up, and they caught her on camera and, as she ran down to the stage, her very fulsome bosoms went NorthSouthNorthSouthNorthSouthNorthSouth. And as she charged down the stairs, with her arms outstretched, Mary’s top started to slide and slide and slide… and by the time she got to the bottom of the stairs, it was a belt. A very big belt. But Turps handled it brilliantly; he ran up to her and gave her a cuddle while we all tried to get our act together.

There was another time when a very large woman grabbed my hand as she ran past me – because I was positioned in the audience itself – and she’s pulled me out of my seat and taken me with her as she barreled down towards the stage. Now this lady must have been 15 or 16 stone (210 lb – 224 lb, 95 kg – 101 kg). And she’s reached the stage (Did you ever go to the wrestling at Festival Hall? Anyway…) She’s reached the stage, and tripped over, taking me with her; I fell as well.

Thank God she broke my fall.

SH: Oh! There was a bit of ‘cushioning’ there?

JD: A lot of cushioning. So it was an interesting time.

SH: Was she okay? Did she carry on and go on the show?

JD: Yeah, yeah I was okay – thanks for asking.

LAUGHTER

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And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. Next time, Deeksie reflects on Family Feud, and Wheel of Fortune, and discusses what separated the successful contestants from the unsuccessful ones. Until next Tuesday, then.

The Game Show Humane Society would like to advise that no 15 or 16 stone Price Is Right contestants were harmed in the making of this blog post.

* Looks like Deeksie might have been throwing in a trick question here; it seems Prussia only ever had two Kings Of it: King Frederick I (1701 – 1713) and King Wilhelm II (1888 -1918). There were many Kings In Prussia, though.

Controversial.

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part VI – The Conclusion

Martin Flood as ‘the MASTER’, in his big red chair.

 

This week, I wind up my chat with Martin Flood, regarding his tenure as ‘the MASTER’, on the Australian quiz show of the same name. As always, if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show, I’ve put an episode of it up over at the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page. It’s split into two parts, which can be found here and here

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SH: What fame or notoriety did the show give you? And how long did it
last?

MF: While the MASTER was airing, people came up and said hello when they
recognised me, especially when we were holidaying on the Gold Coast. One
woman, as she handed me my milkshake at Sea World, said “You’re Martin
Flood!” For a moment there, I thought she might have been a relative or
friend of a friend because it’s really weird being 1,000 km from home and
someone knows who you are. She was the only one to use my name. Everyone
else called me ‘the MASTER’. That was weird. When people called me that, I
felt so pompous. But as soon as it stopped airing, people stopped coming up
to me.

At the time, I was regularly volunteering for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The
Streets. I was helping kids with their School’s Certificate or HSC study.
The kids didn’t know I had recently won a million dollars. Then they saw the
ads on TV for the MASTER. They were so excited that the guy they knew as Marty
was some kind of TV quiz guy who had his own TV show. I think that was a lot
of fun for them. But it was even more fun the next week, when the show was
cancelled… because they all really enjoyed ribbing me about it!

SH: If you were invited to be part of something similar tomorrow,
would you do it all again? Is there anything you’d do differently?

MF: I was invited to audition for The Chase. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to
do it, but I found the audition really fun.

With the MASTER, I would have focused more on my on-air persona. I needed
to have spoken with you and perhaps gotten you to write some of my lines. I
was so focused on studying and making sure I’d be really difficult to beat.
I didn’t want to give away free money. But – no surprise! – nothing of what I
studied came up in the eight episodes, so I could have gotten away with doing
no study. I think how I performed as a personality would have been far more
important.

SH: What do you think was the most important thing you learned from
your MASTER experience?

MF: TV is very deceptive. We all know that what we see on TV isn’t completely
real, and it’s usually edited. But I was surprised just how clever producers
are with the ‘magic of television’. I won’t give away any secrets, but I’m
sure you know them.

SH: That all happened in 2006 – what’s been your involvement with the
world of quiz shows and game shows since then?

MF: Nothing. But I like to watch.

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And so do we! I’d like to thank Martin for generously giving so much of his time for this interview, and taking us through his unique journey from game show contestant to game show star! I’m really very grateful to him. And ever so slightly jealous too, if I’m honest…

Next week, a special announcement, as I prepare to do something here at HowToWinGameShows.com that I’ve never before done, in the site’s entire four year history.

What could it be?

Check in next Tuesday, when All Will Be Revealed….

Until then, then!

 

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part V

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!

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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?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part IV

Well, it’s a really big chunk of my chat with Marty this week, so we’ll get right into it. But if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the MASTER first, there’s an episode you can watch (in two parts) right here and here.

And now, on we go!

================================================================

SH: Watching the early part of the MASTER (in particular, from the 01:27 mark to the 02:05 mark), I notice that there’s a montage of you winning Who Wants To Be A Millionaire...

… Except that it’s not, because the Seven network doesn’t hold the rights. (I don’t think the host’s even allowed to mention the name of that show!) So that scene’s obviously a re-enactment. How did you find the experience of shooting that?

MF: Yes, you’re right. They couldn’t use the original footage, so I acted out
winning the million in a really big dark empty studio at Seven. It was the
same big empty studio you see me walking out of in the opening sequence of
the show. I found that difficult and a bit weird. At times I’m sure it
looked like the “Would that it were so simple” scene in Hail Caesar!, but when I just imagined I was really thinking through a quiz question, the producer was happy with how it came across. At least he didn’t scream at me, and for that producer (and you know who I’m talking about) that must have meant he was happy with how I performed.

SH: Your role as the Master required you to observe, interact with,
and compete against the contestants… did this give you any new insights on
the game show contestant experience, “from the other side of the podium”, as
it were?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part III

The set of ‘the Master’, in between takes.

Hello! As Martin Flood and I continue discussing his time AS ‘the Master’ ON the MASTER, I wanted to find out about the birth of the show, and any teething troubles it may have had… So I asked him! 

But before that, just a quick reminder that there is an episode of the Master up on the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page for you to watch. So if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show, the episode’s in two parts, and you can watch the first part here and the second part here.

And now, on we go!

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SH: As this was a brand new show, with a brand new format, I imagine that
quite a bit of tweaking and finessing was still taking place during
pre-production and early production. Was that the case? And if so, what form
did it take?

MF: When I was asked to be ‘the Master’, I think Seven had been working on the show
for quite some time. I was probably the last person to join the team. I
think someone from the production team had told me they had already tried
Red Symons as the Master. Originally, (Executive Producer) Grant Rule had imagined that the show would look like a wrestling match, where contestants would be called out of
the audience – much like The Price is Right – to come up on stage and take on
the Master. Perhaps they could have had Michael Buffer announcing “Let’s get
ready to …”

Or perhaps not.

By the time the people at Seven had vetted Grant’s original idea and decided on what they thought would be appropriate, the show looked very different.

SH: When it came to the production, how did you find actually being
the star of the show? What surprised you most about performing that
role?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part II

Martin on the set of ‘the Master’

Hello! As Martin Flood and I continue discussing his time as ‘the Master’ on the quiz show of the same name, I wanted to go right back to the beginning, to find out how it all came about, and why he said yes. 

Oh, and just before we go any further… as I mentioned last week, I’ve put an episode of the MASTER up on the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page. So if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show that we’re discussing… the episode’s in two parts, and you can watch the first part here and the second part here.

And now, on we go!

================================================================

SH: How were you initially approached to be ‘the Master’?

MF: I was sitting at work one day early in 2006, wondering what I was doing there
given how much money had recently come my way, when the phone rang. It was
some young bloke from Channel Seven, I guessed around 30ish. He sounded very
enthusiastic for all things television and asked if I’d be interested in
looking at a new quiz show they were producing. I didn’t know that he was
the legendary Grant Rule, executive producer of countless TV shows including
Countdown. He was actually 60 at the time. I think you know him, Hally, and I
guess you might understand why he sounded so much younger over the phone.

SH: What made you say yes?

MF: You did.

SH: Really?

MF: Yes. I had never imagined anything past winning on Millionaire. I had visualised
so much about winning the million, but all my visualisations stopped at Eddie
handing me the cheque. I thought it was possible something else might come
along, but being a TV guy was never one of my dreams or goals. The thought of
being a regular on a TV show was just too foreign for me… let alone being the
eponymous ‘Master’ and star of my own TV show! Of course it wasn’t my show; I think Mark Beretta was the real star as he really suited and played
his role as host perfectly. So I asked a number of friends if they thought I
should do it and they all said yes. The last person I asked was you, after
trivia at Bondi RSL one night. Regardless of how we both thought the show
would turn out, you said “Of course you have to do it! That goes without
saying”. For better or worse, you convinced me with that.

SH: Okay, no pressure…. So who or what was the character of ‘the Master’? Were you just playing yourself?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part I

Hello! So this week sees the first instalment of my EXCLUSIVE interview with Martin Flood; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire winner and star of the 2006 Australian game show the Master. I was really curious about Marty’s time as the star of this brand new format, so I grilled him on every aspect of it, from its creation, to its gameplay, to the effect it had on his career and his life. He was very generous with his time, and I’m very grateful to him. Now, if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show we’ll be discussing…

As I mentioned last week, I’ve put an episode of the Master up on the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page. It’s in two parts, and you can watch the first part here and the second part here.

Or, if you’d just prefer to dive right in to the interview… Here it is!

================================================================

SH: Marty, thanks for talking to me today about the Master, for HowToWinGameShows.com. For those who don’t know (or who may have not done their homework!), what was the format of the Master?

MF: Five contestants would compete against each other, much like Sale of the Century, Temptation and Million Dollar Minute. The winner would then take on
‘The Master’ in the endgame, in a literal face-to-face best of five
questions (multiple choice).

There were some variations on the Sale of the Century theme. In all but one
round, contestants did not lose points if they answered incorrectly. They
would only be locked out of the next question if they were wrong. This
format was also played out on Seven’s Million Dollar Minute. Which reminds
me; the ‘points’ they received for each correct answer was $100, which they
got to keep. Nice touch by the producers. So most went home with some money.
There was only one round where contestants would lose cash for incorrect
answers. Each contestant would be asked a list of questions from their
‘preferred subject’. Correct answers scored $100, while incorrect answers
lost them $200. Most contestants seemed to go backwards, so the producers
decided to call it ‘The Master’s Mean Minute’. What would we do without
alliteration?

The winner of the five contestants would be given $50,000 on top of their winnings from
the rounds. Then Mark Beretta, the host, would ask how much of the $50,000
they were prepared to risk against me, the Master. They could risk anything
from $10,000 to the whole $50,000. If they risked it all, they got to decide
on the subject, otherwise I would decide. If they risked $10,000 they played
for $100,000 total. If they risked $20,000 they played for $200,000 total
etc. But if they risked all $50,000, instead of playing for $500,000 (as you
might expect), they got to play for $1,000,000 and the chance to become the
new Master! For some viewers, I think the numbers might have been a little
complicated but I think the basic idea of “how much will you risk?” was quite
clever. I assumed most would risk $40,000 (leaving them $10,000 to take home, guaranteed) and play for the $400,000, but most only ever risked $10,000 (keeping $40,000 to take home) and played for $100,000. That really surprised me. In truth, many really should have gone for the million, as some of their Preferred Subjects were my
worst nightmares, and they could have beaten me easily.

The end game was like a soccer penalty shootout – best of five.
Theoretically, the quickest game could finish with 3-0 (no point in going on
from there)… but in one case, the contestant and I went to 5-5 and into a
sudden death playoff. Interestingly, both the producer and the executive
producer had confided in me at separate times that they hoped the final
score would not be 5-0 as that wouldn’t make good television. Each time I pointed out that a clean sweep in a ‘best of five’ game stops at 3-0, whereas a 5-0 result could only happen in a ‘first to 5’ game. I would then politely ask them if they were sure they knew how this quiz show worked, especially given that they had designed it.
I think the producers found such smug remarks of mine quite delightful.

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No doubt! Next week, our discussion moves on to cover how Marty was approached, why he said yes, and the tricky territory of playing the character of “the Master”…. So, we’ll see you then!