My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Hard Quiz’ winner Markos Hasiotis – Part III

Hello, and welcome to the final instalment of my exclusive interview with Hard Quiz winner Markos Hasiotis, where Markos gives us his top three tips for success on this show. But before we get to that, there was another aspect of Hard Quiz that I wanted to get to the bottom of….

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SH: Part of (host) Tom Gleeson’s schtick is that he repeatedly insults the contestants on Hard Quiz... And yet the contestants often give as good as they get – do you all come up with your own “burns”? Some of them are pretty funny!

MH: We do come up with them ourselves. I suspect that the producers at the auditions look out for people who are somewhat witty and can respond to an insult with a snappy retort, as opposed to stunned silence… or tears!

However, the final two are told to prepare an interesting answer as to what we’ll do with The Big Brass Mug if we win it, so I came up with a Bondian answer: “I’ll drink Vodka martinis out of it, shaken not stirred.”

'Hard Quiz's Ultimate prize... THE BIG BRASS MUG!

‘Hard Quiz’s Ultimate prize… THE BIG BRASS MUG!

SH: What are the three most important things you’d tell someone wanting to go on Hard Quiz? The things you wish someone had told you beforehand?

MH: Firstly, I’d definitely recommend that you wait until Tom has finished the question before buzzing in (or at least wait until you’re certain what the question will be). There were a couple of instances where I wrongly assumed what the question would be based on the first few words so I buzzed in and got it wrong, which cost me precious points.

Secondly, try and be somewhat memorable in the audition, whether it’s a funny anecdote or mentioning one of your strange hobbies. I suspect that’s why I wasn’t successful in my first audition, I faded into the background a bit.

… And thirdly, don’t give up, even if things aren’t going your way during the show, just stay focused and calm and you can do it!

SH: Is there anything else about the experience that you’d like to share? Anything I haven’t covered?

MH: I’d like to say, for the record, that Tom is quite a nice guy when the camera is off.

SH: Markos, now that you’ve won Hard Quiz‘s ultimate prize (The Big Brass Mug), do you have any plans to go on any other quiz shows? Millionaire Hot Seat? The Chase Australia?

MH: I’d love to try another quiz show…I’ve auditioned for The Chase Australia and am currently in the “contestant pool”, so I may get on there at some stage. I’ve applied for Hot Seat too, but haven’t heard back and I would’ve loved to have done Pointless, but I couldn’t find a teammate. I’m excited for Australian TV to create some brand new quiz shows in the future and I’ll happily throw my hat into those rings. No rush!

SH: Markos, thank you so much for your time today, and for sharing your thoughts…. And of course, congratulations!

MH: Thank so much. Was a pleasure, Stephen.

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And that’s where we bid a fond farewell to Hard Quiz winner and trivia enthusiast Markos Hasiotis! I hope you found Markos’s story interesting, and picked up a few useful, actionable nuggets of information along the way. Just a reminder, you can follow Markos on Twitter (@FactBuffet) for a daily dose of fascinating facts… I know I do!

I wish Markos all the best with all his future quiz-related endeavours, and I’ll see you back here really soon! 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part VI

And so now here we are at the climax of Judd Field’s Millionaire Hot Seat journey. The top prize amount on offer in Judd’s episode has turned out to be $50,000, and Judd has now battled his way through several questions to get here. He started the game in the Hot Seat, he’s been out of the Hot Seat, and is now back in it again, and he’s just about to have a crack at the big one…. ==============

SH: Before the final question, Eddie made you sing for your supper, literally. Presumably, this was something you’d worked out beforehand?

JF: Haha, yeah that was the song I sung down the barrel of the camera in my audition to stand out, for a bit of fun. I knew they would ask me to do something, so was ready to bust it out. In the recording of the show, they actually showed part of a clip of the song I helped write for a UK RAF war widow charity, that ended up being filmed in Westminster Abbey as the only song ever allowed there. After they played that, Eddie asked me to sing something else. The video clip part of the conversation never made it to air, which is a shame cause I might have got 10 seconds of royalties as well. Haha.

SH: Your final question – for $50,000 – was

“Well, nobody’s perfect” is the final line of which classic film?
A) Some Like It Hot
B) Chinatown
C) A Clockwork Orange
D) Psycho

You hadn’t seen any of them recently… but you were leaning towards A. Why was that?

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part V

Welcome to the fifth instalment of my exclusive interview with Millionaire Hot Seat winner Judd Field. At this stage of proceedings, Judd’s been in the Hot Seat, he’s chosen to pass on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles question, and so has returned to the contestant queue. None of his competitors have lasted long in their turns in the Hot Seat though, and we’ve cycled through them all quite quickly, and now Judd’s back in prime position. His next question is about rice, and it’s worth $4000…
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SH: Judd, you seemed pretty sure of your next question…

Which of these rice varieties is named after a town in Italy?
A) Arborio
B) Basmati
C) Calrose
D) Japonica

You seemed sure it was Arborio. Of course, it WAS Arborio, and that answer earned you $4,000.

JF: Yeah. I actually started a chef apprenticeship in an Italian restaurant when I left school, so I was very sure.

SH: For the question after that…

Which of these current model motor vehicles is not produced by Holden?
A) Captiva
B) Equinox
C) Mondeo
D) Trailblazer

 

At first you seemed unsure, but you then locked in “Ford Mondeo”. That was correct, and you were now sitting on $6,000.

JF: Haha, yes! That was one of those questions where the words of the producer’s pre-show talk were ringing in my ear; “Read the question properly”. I remember working through which of the options it wasn’t; “Holden Captiva”, “Holden Trailblazer”, “Holden Captiva”… they all sounded kinda right. Or at least not wrong. “Holden Mondeo”? No, that did sound wrong – it’s “Ford Mondeo”. Also, I used to have a Captiva and my Ford-mad uncle used to have a Mondeo (I used to tease him….haha!) So I was sure… once I had read the question 5 times haha.

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part IV

Welcome back to my interview with Judd Field. Let’s dive right back in!
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SH: The show starts with 15 questions in the ‘Fastest Finger First’ format – did you do any specific training for that?
JF: Yes; playing the iPhone app quiz games, just trying to answer as quickly as possible. It’s a hard one to prepare for, as (on the show) it’s effectively an iPad with a stylus pen. The question comes up on screen and you have to click on the answer. It’s hard to hover the pen, as then you can’t see the answer. After a terrible start (the pen didn’t seem to register on the iPad), I did okay, and got a number right. That included having the only correct answer to a visual question (“Which of these cathedral rooves is the Pantheon roof?” Maybe my spiritual background helped haha), but anyway I finished third, and that helped my confidence levels.

SH: Central to the format of Millionaire Hot Seat is the contestants’ option to ‘Pass’ on a specific question, and go back to the queue, hopefully to have a another turn in the Hot Seat later in the episode. Did you have a particular strategy about how and when to use this?

JF: The lack of lifelines in the Millionaire Hot Seat format makes it a lot harder to just sit in the chair and answer everything. Something I noticed when watching over the years was that there was often that one question completely out of my interests or field of knowledge, and that was the hardest thing to prepare for.
As much as I wanted to turn off the TV and just study encyclopaedias, I realised you do need every bit of information from current events too. You need to be a sponge, but even then, there are always your weak areas.
For example, in my episode, there was a 92-year-old man – sharp as a tack, he nearly won the ‘Fastest Finger’ section – and when he got to the Hot Seat, he answered quite a number of difficult questions very confidently. His general knowledge was becoming very intimidating and I was starting to wonder if the gameplay would even get back to me. But he hit a question from current events;
American footballer Colin Kapernick appeared
in a 2018 ad campaign for which sports brand?
A) Converse
B) Adidas
C) Under Armour
D) Nike
He clearly had no idea, tossed up between Adidas and Converse and incorrectly guessed Adidas. I love sports, and remembered the “kneeling for the national anthem” controversy on Facebook, and was pretty sure it was Nike.*
It’s hard sitting in the next seats “hoping” someone gets it wrong so you can get back in the Hot Seat, but I must admit as soon as I saw that question, I breathed a sigh of relief, as I had a feeling that a modern sporting current event question might be outside his field of knowledge.
And that’s the thing; with the lack of lifelines in this format, it highlights strategically using the “pass” as the only other way you can avoid those left-field questions, short of being a certified, card-carrying genius like your good self Stephen.
SH: Oh, you’re too kind!
JF: Not at all. So my plan was; if I drew the first or second seat, I wanted to pass early to reduce my chances of hitting that kind of curve-ball question in the mid rounds. Watching the show, I’ve noted if you pass when you’re the third contestant, it’s likely you won’t get another chance, so if you are in those seats (third or above) you really have to just go all in, all the way.
SH: Judd, I’d like to run through your game in a bit more detail now, in the hope that that’ll be helpful for our readers. Now, your first two questions were…

Which of these is not the name of a Melbourne Cup winning jockey?

(3 names + the joke answer “Anita Winn”)

A cultural phenomenon beginning in the early 2000s were impromptu group performances known as what?

(Flash mobs)

Your answered both of these easily, but then your third question was….

The options being:

A) Lasagne

B) Pizza

C) Macaroni and cheese

D) Garlic bread.

Judd, when you passed at that point, were you thinking that your ‘Hot Seat’ journey was over? Or were you thinking that the other five contestants would all cycle through, and you’d get a chance to get back into the Hot Seat again before the episode was done?

JF: As I mentioned earlier, I’d always wanted to pass early – in fact, the earlier the better – so as soon as I had the slightest hesitation in my answer I decided I’d pass. Almost as soon as I left the chair, “Pizza” dropped into my head, but I was completely happy with the pass.

SH: And lo and behold… the other five contestants DID all cycle through, and you found yourself back in the Hot Seat again, with a shot at the new top prize of $50,000. What were you thinking at that moment?

JF: I can only reiterate this calm feeling I had that I was going to win. In my head It was like someone is watching over me and “it was all just meant to be.”

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Aha! But WAS Judd’s win actually ‘all meant to be’?** You’ll have to check back here next Tuesday to find out!

* For those of you playing along at home, it was Nike.
** SPOILER ALERT: Yes.

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part III

Hello and welcome to the third part of my chat with Judd, about his Millionaire Hot Seat experience.
You’ll see at the start of this section that I bombarded poor Judd with a load of questions about his experience in the studio on the record day, but I must confess I was surprised by the direction our conversation took after that…
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SH: I understand that Hot Seat tapes six episodes on each record day… before we get down to the nitty-gritty of your particular game, Judd, can you talk a bit about the studio experience itself?
What surprised you about the way the day was run?
What did you notice about other contestants, and the way they handled it?
How did you manage your energy levels?
Were there any elements of the show itself – such as the studio audience, the host Eddie McGuire, the speed of proceedings, or even the physicality of the set, the brightness of the lights, the loudness of the music – that surprised you?
JF: Having done a lot of TV work in my singing career, the whole studio lights stuff didn’t faze me at all. You soon realise that it’s all smoke and mirrors, and that TV sets always look smaller in real life.
They provided a light lunch and some snacks for the audience during the show.
All the waiting contestants became the audience for the other shows. There was very little turnaround time between each of the three episodes recorded before lunch; basically they move the new contestants’ audience partners into the stand directly behind the contestants chairs as they are filing the new contestants into the stage and it all starts again. It was hard to even duck out to the toilet once the machine was rolling! They don’t pause very long for ad breaks and so just fire from one segment to the next almost straight away; it’s all very fast-paced.
The lady seated beside me on the show was super nervous. She had flown in from Perth the night before. I felt for her and tried to make a few light-hearted jokes to relax her. But she settled down and actually won the ‘Fastest Finger First’ section, so she walked away with the $1000 cheque. Some of the other contestants in my episode were also clearly nervous.
I did feel quite sorry for the other contestants; it’s a long day to get maybe one question that just happens to be the curly one, out of your field, and bang, you are going home to Perth with nothing. I was also fortunate that my episode was the second one recorded on the day, so I got to watch episode one, which helped me settle… and then I basically got to relax for the rest of the day! I felt for those episode 1 contestants (with no warm up to watch), and also for the last two episodes’ contestants; having to nervously wait all day must have been torture.
I will also add the importance of being calm and relaxed will definitely help you think clearly. If you are a meditation type or religious praying type, I think that will all definitely give you something to fall back on in the heat.
For me my faith definitely helped me have a quiet confidence. Now, this may all sound bizarre, and maybe even far-fetched… but if you want to honestly know how I felt emotionally, this is how it went down for me. I had had a very, very rough few weeks prior to the show. My house had been broken into, my wife had been in hospital, my kids had been going through school bullying issues, and I’d had a business deal go sour with a “friend”. He was trying to take a project from me that I had been working on for three years.

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part II

Hello and welcome to the second part of my chat with Judd Field. When we left off last week, Judd had successfully got through the general knowledge test part of the audition, he’d made a good impression in the camera test, and he’d received the call telling him he’d been selected to appear on the show! Now read on…
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SH: When did you record your particular episode of Millionaire Hot Seat?
JF: My episode was postponed from an initial late January record, to Mon 18th of Feb 2019.
SH: And when did your episode air, and what was it like keeping your BIG SECRET in the meantime?
JF: I was initially told the episode would air sometime in May… then about two weeks prior, I was emailed and told the episode would air 30th April. The BIG SECRET was a delightful torment haha… I wanted to shout it from the roof sometimes. But after telling my wife, we decided to keep it a complete surprise. We even kept it from our kids. They knew I had gone on the show, but at the time we just told our kids we had won $1000, to put them off the scent.
So we cunningly decided to have a special surprise watching party for our family and friends. It was actually a lot of fun to have this big “secret”. Family and friends were all bamboozled, and it was quite hilarious, particularly in the week leading up to the surprise. All the theories our friends and family had, some thought we were pregnant, some thought we were moving overseas. Good fun.
So it was hilarious to watch their reactions when I finally turned on the telly to the show live, and shared the excitement with them all. I even filmed their priceless reactions. And so nice to share the night with the nearest and dearest.
SH: That’s brilliant, Judd. Well played! I’d love to know about the preparation you did for your appearance on the show. When did you start preparing (assuming you did!), and can you talk us through what you did?

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part I

Hello and welcome to my latest EXCLUSIVE interview, and this time it’s with Judd Field, a contestant who recently had a very good run on Millionaire Hot Seat, here in Australia. It’s a multi-parter, and Judd goes in to a lot of detail about the entire adventure… so let’s get right into it!

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SH: Judd Field, hello and welcome! Thanks so much for talking to me for HowToWinGameShows.com today. You, sir, are a certified, genuine brand new game show winner, so firstly – congratulations! Now, the show that you were on – Millionaire Hot Seat – is an offshoot of the original Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? format, but it has some significant differences, doesn’t it? Some regular visitors to this site may be unfamiliar with its format, so could you give us a quick description of how the show works?

JF: Hey thanks kind sir, pleasure to share my two cents with you! The Hot Seat version starts with six contestants sitting in random preset order. They compete in a ‘Fastest Finger First’ series of 15 questions, for a cheque for $1000. The winner of this cheque can then trade that in for a lifeline, once they get into the Hot Seat, which is when the normal Millionaire question format begins.
The Hot Seat twist is that for the other 5 contestants, there are no lifelines. However, all contestants can pass if they don’t know the answer. The next contestant then jumps in the Hot seat and has to answer that question. (They’re not allowed to pass on that question).
When a question is answered incorrectly, the player leaves the game with nothing, a new contestant jumps into the Hot seat and continues to answer from wherever the previous contestant was up to (total prize money-wise), however the potential total prize money is reduced.
So for the first question answered incorrectly, the total prize money available goes from $1,000,000 down to $500,000 and so on… reduced by one level for every incorrect answer.
This continues until the final question, and whoever is in the Hot seat for that final question either wins that final reduced amount, or wins $1000. Everyone else (except the Fastest Finger First $1000 cheque winner) walks away with nothing.
Gosh…that wasn’t exactly brief sorry, I feel like I was describing Aussie Rules footy to an American.

SH: No worries at all, love that detail! To begin with, I’d like to establish the timeline for your Millionaire Hot Seat adventure. When did you initially register your interest, or apply to go on the show?

JF: June 2018.

SH: When did you audition?
JF: August 2018.
SH: And when did you get The Call to say you were on?
JF: November 2018. Just a side note to this audition process… I think being from Melbourne, and the show being recorded in Melbourne, was an advantage in my getting on the show. The lady who sat beside me in my episode was from Perth and had auditioned 8 years ago! She had almost forgotten she had auditioned.
In my episode there were only 2 contestants from interstate.
I know it is all about ratings, and I know they want a “mixed bag” of contestants (old / young / male / female / ethnicity etc) so maybe there were too many of her “type”, and maybe my stupid abnormal hair and singing career meant I might have been a more “entertaining” choice… and so I think I got cast pretty quickly in comparison.
Knowing a bit about how TV works, I definitely played up to that angle in my audition, singing to the camera and making sure I had “entertainment value” and humour in all my audition answers.
Would you like a bit more background info about the audition?

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This week’s post is completely relevant, and absolutely on topic. Mostly.

Hello!

Look, I get it. At first glance, this week’s post may look like some shameless self-promotion for something that has nothing to do with winning game shows.

I mean, yes, okay – I was one of Sam Petersen’s guests this week on his most excellent podcast Confessions Of The Idiots.

If you haven’t heard it, Confessions of The Idiots is about….. well, some confessions of some idiots. Each week, Sam invites a couple of comedians / actors / interesting people to examine, dissect and give advice on some confessions that have been posted online. It’s a great idea, that Sam executes beautifully, and he’s also nabbed some great guests in previous episodes.

Anyway, in this week’s episode, Sam paired me up with the brilliant young comedian Dave Warneke who – I think it’s fair to say – also has quite an interest in game shows, and we looked at the latest confessions that Sam had unearthed from his treasure trove.

BUT (and here’s the thing)… before we got to the ‘Confessions’ part of the show, both Sam and Dave* were quite curious to hear about various game show adventures of mine. So, for the first 17 minutes or so of this podcast, that’s what most of the chat is about. (There are even a few game show winning tips in there). So, if you don’t have the time to go back through the HowToWinGameShows.com archives to find the “official” versions of these stories (which are here and here, by the way) you can just listen to the first 17 minutes of this podcast!

I would recommend staying till the end, though… just because I think it’s kinda fun! But I should point out, there is some M-rated language. But not much.

So there’s my tip – download and listen to this week’s episode of Confessions of the Idiots, for some handy bite-sized game show advice, followed by some pretty funny and bizarre confessions talk. And once you’ve listened to that, why not try some others in the series? I must admit, I’m quite a fan; it’s given me quite a few Laugh Out Loud moments. And I never laugh at anything.

Until next time!

* Not THIS Sam & Dave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… Just to be clear.

More on Martin’s ‘Millionaire’ moments…

Just a bit of an update today, on one of the first ever Game Show Winner interviews I did for this site!

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Back in August 2013, I interviewed Australia’s first ever Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire, Martin Flood. Martin gave me a very detailed and thorough account of his whole WWTBAM adventure, covering all his preparation, the homework he did, the tactics he employed, the mental exercises he did, and the methods he used to keep the right attitude…. which culminated in him winning the ultimate prize – $1,000,000! The interview ran over 9 instalments, and I think it’s ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL READING for anyone contemplating going on that particular show.

Martin got in touch with me recently to let me know that somebody has now uploaded his two episodes to YouTube. So you can watch them right now, by clicking on the image below…

BUT I’d suggest reading my interview with Martin alongside watching the episodes on YouTube… that way, you can see (and hear) the exact moments from the show that Martin describes in the interview, as he describes them. A fully immersive HowToWinGameShows multimedia experience!

So, here are the links to my interview with Martin:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

And once more, here’s the link to his two episodes on YouTube….

And while we’re on the subject of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, you might also be interested to visit (or re-visit) my exclusive interview with the show’s Executive Producer Steve Gilbert. You can find that right here.

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… And that’s it for this week! And while we’re on this subject, if you’re an aspiring Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant – or a former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant – please do drop me a line, and let me know how your WWTBAM experience compares to Martin’s!

Until next time! 

 

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!

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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!