Million Dollar Money Drop (does this have a future?)

So I’ve watched the first two weeks of episodes of this new Fox game show. Some thoughts:

  • There is an absolutely ridiculous amount of fat. The pacing makes Deal or No Deal look like Jeopardy. Particularly annoying is how the host pads out the drop by repeating the obvious over and over and over. (“If that answer is wrong, you lose $800,000! You don’t want that! That would be highly undesirable! Because you want to win as much money as possible! It would make you quite sad if you lost $800,000! That’s an eight with five zeroes after it!”) Thank goodness I have a DirecTV connection; I couldn’t watch this live in a million years. Which is approximatey how long each episode lasts.

  • Okay, having all that cash out there and saying "We’re giving you a million dollars in cold, hard cash RIGHT OFF THE BAT!!! (whichyougettokeepifyouputthewholeamountontherightanswerallseventimes) is a cute novelty. But not very practical. Chips would work just as well. Or forget physical objects entirely and have the podiums register how much the contestants place on each answer. Hey, then they can have computerized animations of the money being torched! That’d be cool, right?

  • Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be no natural progression whatsoever in the difficutly of the questions. One contestant got “Which brand of cookie is America’s best seller?”; the next one the same episode got “Which of these words has all its letters in alphabetical order?” :rolleyes:

  • If you’re the type of viewer who gets a schadenfreudian kick out of seeing hapless contestants get their hopes demolished in an instant, this is the show for you. The pair that got that aformentioned creampuff starter question made it to the fifth round with $860,000. They were only able to narrow it down to two, so they split about 55/45. Correct answer was the one they had nothing on. Game over.

  • Thus far it’s been incredibly hard for anyone to take home any significant amount of cash. The biggest payout so far has been $240,000, and they got really lucky. In fact, it’s possible to be flawless for the first 6/7 of the game, get the lady-or-tiger final wrong, and burn the whole 1 mil, just like that. For those that actually managed to win anything, anwhere from $20,000 to $80,000 is typical. The problem is that, much like Weakest Link, this just isn’t the type of game that encourages big risks (or if it does, it’s too big a risk). Of course, it doesn’t help that a lot of these folks are…to put it charitably…way out of it. (One pair got “Sesame Street character that was introduced last”, choices Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Ernie, and I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when they put the entire million on Cookie Monster. Luckily, they retained enough sense to use the Quickchange…whereupon they switched half the stack to Elmo. Geez.) I mentioned this before with Moment of Truth, that it doesn’t matter how nifty the premise is, if people don’t start winning, it’s going to kill interest. It’ll be interesting to see what measures Fox takes to encourage better payouts; right now it looks like easier questions is NOT the answer.

I think this one has potential. There’s tons of legit drama, the trapdoors are a neat visceral touch, and allowing the contestant to take a small loss to avoid catastrophe is a great concept. I also like hearing the host deliver facts pertaining to the questions. If they cut out a lot of dead air, streamline the money placement process, make the questions fairer, and eliminate that dumb “leave one open” rule, this could be very good. It certainly has a much better chance than Moment of Truth.


It is a very good DVR game show. I record it and then watch the entire relavent part of each episode in about 10 minutes. See the question, see how they placed the money, see the drop. All the rest gets cut.

So it is about 3 minutes faster in that way than Minute to Win It.

That’s what bothers me the most about MDMD—“How many pairs of shoes does the average American woman own?” is supposedly an EASIER question than “Which Star Wars sequel/prequel was the most recent?”

For that matter, what survey methodology are they using to get the answer to a question like how many pairs of shoes does the average American woman own?

It is an enjoyable show, but hard to get too involved in.

I watched a few episodes of this when it premiere a couple weeks ago, and while the premise is interesting, the only way it is watchable is on the DVR when it becomes a 10 minute show. I don’t think I’ve seen another show with so much useless time where *nothing *is happening.

Is this something that is supposed to be obvious? Because I have *absolutely *no idea which character was introduced last. :confused: I would have thought they were all around since the beginning.

Elmo was introduce in the early 80s (Wikipedia says 1979, but that’s not technically the Elmo of today, though it was the same puppet design). The rest were from the very beginning in 1969.

But is this really something that you’d think the average person would know? It really seems like an arcane piece of trivia. I’m just not understanding why **DKW **seems so shocked that they didn’t know the correct answer.

That’s the thing about trivia. The things we are familiar with we think are widely known, so it’s hard to judge just how many really do.

There’s a great UK game show called Pointless that often relies on this assumption.

You forgot the best part of that episode, when after they answered the question one guy said “I don’t think Cookie Monster was there in the beginning because he was the one in the garbage can.”

That’s my favorite part of the show. I don’t care about the questions, or the answers. It’s, as far as I know, the only trivia-based game show featuring two people working in teams. It’s great having to see all these people have to argue with each other to come up with the answer and their ridiculous reasons to why they’re right (“Well, I don’t like video games, so I know the answers not video games.”)

Well, it’s no Jeopardy.

It’s too obviously manipulative (“Ooh – we’re jacking up the tension now! Aren’t you on the edge of your seats? Let’s go to a commercial!”) and more than a little cruel. The questions are crap.

But mostly it’s the pacing. Way too much filler for an eight question show. The discussions are kind of interesting, but that’s maybe 10 minutes from an hour show.
Once the novelty of watching piles of money drop through a trapdoor fades, the show probably will too.

Gee…I watched a lot of Sesame Street as a kid, and I very distinctly remember Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and Ernie being there from day one (and, off the top of my head, Bert, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Barkley, Prairie Dawn, and Guy Smiley). I didn’t even hear about Elmo until at least high school. So yes, I’d certainly be surprised at any American in his 30’s who had access to television growing up who wouldn’t recognize Elmo as a later addition.

To be honest, however, I’m a lot more puzzled by the two friends who didn’t know whether The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones came later. How can you be a carbon based life form in America and not know this??

Just thought of something else. IMO, later questions should have more answers, not fewer. Yes, I know they want to build tension and create a climactic all or nothing blah blah. Trouble is, at that point the “all” has dwindled to a pittance. It’s very simple: More choices, more wrong choices, more ways to screw up. And get rid of that dumb leave-one-open rule, at least in the early going. The point is seeing whether the contesant is will take a definite small hit or risk taking a big one. There can still be either-ors, but no more than two or three, and make them simple.

Ooh, one more thing: Anyone think it would be a good idea to provide some kind of safety net for, say, the first half of the game, so they can lose a little early without anguish? Make hedging and prioritizing answers a viable strategy. They can still lose it all in an instant, and crunch time is still as tense as ever.

It won’t last, for two reasons:

First, too many of the questions depend upon opinion polls, with answers that no person could be expected to know for certain. “According to Pollster X, what is the most commonly used password?” Really? People are supposed to risk obscene amounts of money on whether they know the outcome of one particular poll? That’s just plain unfair.

Second, there’s no escalation. In pretty much every other show, from “Deal Or No Deal” to “Minute To Win It”, the action gets more and more intense because the stakes get higher and higher as more and more money is involved at each level. By nature of its format, the tension on “Money Drop” starts at its peak and slowly tapers off as the show progresses. There’s no climax.

I usually enjoy most trivia-quiz based game shows, but the partial episode I watched was interminable.
First, as others have mentioned, there is *way * too much down time. It took like a half hour to get through 3 or 4 questions. Boooring!
And the contestant couple was incredibly annoying. They were loud and constantly talking over each other. Ugh, shut up! I ended up wanting them to lose everything, which they eventually did.

Don’t think I’ll watch again.

Somewhere along the line, TV executives decided that dumb contestants made for better television than smart ones. The only problem with their thinking is that it’s not true.

The highest prime-time game show ratings in at least the last 30 years is from when Millionaire had contestants from the phone-in testing. Once they introduced auditions (which brings in a perkier, but dumber average contestant), ratings were on the way down.

And of course, Jeopardy! keeps on plugging, despite having the brightest contestants on the air - which appears to be anathema to the TV execs who are picking contestants for shows like “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader”, a show which seems to prefer contestants who aren’t even as smart as a road grader!

The big practical problem I see with the show is that it’s way too easy for the contestants to go home with nothing. Even if nothing else, you absolutely must get the final 50-50 question right to win anything at all, plus of course it’s also possible to go broke any time before that. Watching a bunch of people not win anything gets boring really quick.

The second practical problem is that the game can be any length. What do they do when someone does go broke on the first question? Just start the next contestant in the same episode, and use less padding so it takes the same amount of time? You end up needing to film a huge amount of padding and then editing most of it out to make it workable at all.

And the quality of contestants is a joke. I saw one question which basically boiled down to “Who was president when such-and-such celebrity was born?”. The contestants agreed (and were correct) on how old the celebrity was, but couldn’t figure out who was President 17 years ago.

What the fuck did Kevin Pollock do that made him get involved with this? Gambling debts? Tired of waiting for a callback for Usual Suspects II? I mean he’s not exactly an A lister or anything, but I still think it’s weird.

If anyone has Primetime On Demand with their cable service, Million Dollar Money Drop is on it.


I’ve been watching this on Hulu while doing chores and such because you don’t need to be paying attention for 90% of each episode to understand what’s going on. That being said, the most recent episodes have gotten better with the pacing. One episode had two different teams get through nearly all of their questions, which is double the pace of the first few episodes. They’ve also shown a team lose it all on the first question, which I though was interesting (and hilarious).

I agree though, the contestants are really annoying and a lot of the questions are stupid and impossible. I’d rather they ramp up the difficulty of the trivia questions than use questions about polls.