NBC this fall will be mounting one of the most ambitious unscripted efforts ever attempted. The network has ordered The Million Second Quiz, a new live competition that combines trivia knowledge and endurance. The contest, where time equals money, will last 1,000,000 seconds or 12 days (11.57 days to be precise.) It comes from All3Media America (formerly Studio Lambert USA), the company behind CBS’ Undercover Boss, and Universal TV. Created by Stephen Lambert, The Million Second Quiz will air live in primetime and on NBCUniversal’s digital platforms the rest of the time in a type of coverage reserved for major sporting events like the Olympics. The Million Second Quiz will originate from a gigantic hourglass-shaped structure built in the heart of Manhattan. Its walls will be made out of glass so the contestants and the game play is visible from the street, somewhat in the vein of David Blaine’s stunts.
The four players who have remained in the game the longest at any time serve as reigning champions and get to live in the hourglass. To avoid being unseated in the primetime show where one of the reigning champions gets challenged, the four must continue to play 24 hours a day, taking strategic breaks to rest and sleep.
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Viewers will be able to play along at home in real time and sync to the live primetime broadcast in what NBC calls “the first fully convergent television experience.” Viewers playing from home who win will be flown to New York to appear on the show in primetime. When the million seconds draw to a close, the champions will battle it out and the ultimate winner could claim a cash prize of up to $10 million, a record for a reality/game show. “The Million Second Quiz is a genre-redefining spectacle,” said NBC’s head of alternative Paul Telegdy. “It is a game, a social experiment, and a live interactive event all wrapped into a uniquely sticky entertainment experience. What is exceptional about The Million Second Quiz is that it embraces technology’s ability to allow everyone in America to actively participate and compete in a way that has never been done.” The Million Second Quiz is executive produced by Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman and David Hurwitz.
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