Who wants to be a millionaire and The Weakest link Essay
In this essay, I will be comparing the two popular television game shows ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? ‘, shown on ITV, and ‘The Weakest link’, shown on BBC1 and BBC2. They are both shown on popular television channels, and at prime times, attracting a wide audience. Both shows are, in the general run of things, the same, in that they both ask questions and money can be won, the more questions you get right the more money you get at the end.
Excluding this, the shows are different in many ways, including the fact that one presenter is male, while the other is female, and one has nine contestants, who gradually get voted out down to the last two who fight it out, where the other has ten, going down to one at the beginning. All of these aspects play an important role in what type of people watch them; there are also thing like the lighting, stage and music, which also are vital factors in the show as a whole. ‘The Weakest link’ has a total of nine contestants at the beginning, all-playing to stay in the contest and win the end cash prize.
The amount of contestants varies, however, as each round people are voted out as ‘The Weakest link’. When all but two of the contestants are out, it becomes a struggle to beat the other person and get more of the answers out of five. The presenter for this show is a female, Anne Robinson, and acts as though she has no sense of humour, as to make it harder for them to think she discerned favourites, and really just stands and asks the questions. ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? ‘ has a beginning of 10 contestants who are introduced and asked to answer a selected question.
The person who answers the question in the fastest time is selected to play the main game, while the others are all dropped. This person then goes into the middle and is asked up to 15 questions to get to a million, each harder than the last. Each time they answer a question, they win more money, and there are certain points at which that amount of money is guaranteed at the end. If they answer any question wrong, they go down to their last ‘set’ amount of money and the game is over, but they have some things to give them help.
To get them to win as much money as possible, they have 3 life lines, 50:50, phone a friend and ask the audience, each giving them a better chance of winning more money. The host is a male, Chris Tarrant, and, as well as asking the questions, he also attempts to be humorous, because there’s only one contestant in the main game, so he can’t discern favourites. The opening of ‘The Weakest link’ has the title of the game show and the theme tune for the programme. The camera then focuses on the presenter, Anne Robinson, who is already standing on the stage.
This happens with just the theme music and no applause because there is not a live audience. Anne Robinson then goes on to explain what the show is and how it works. It then introduces the 9 contestants, giving general information like their job and name. Each contestant is placed behind a pedestal with their name on the front, so people can keep up with who is left in the game. Each round is timed, and money is gained by answering the questions asked by the presenter, the more questions answered, the more money won.
To keep the money, a contestant needs to say ‘bank’ before he/she answers, which then stores the money won so far, but it goes back down to the minimum amount of money that is able to be won off of a single question and the same happens again, until time runs out. When the round is over, all contestants vote on whom they want to be kicked out, and the person with the most votes against them is made to walk the ‘walk of shame’ off towards the backstage. Once backstage, they are interviewed on what they think about being kicked out of the game, and whom they think will win or be voted out next.
The opening of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ is the same in that it has the theme music for the show and the title but, unlike on ‘The Weakest link, there is a live audience, so there is also applause. When it comes to the presenter, Chris Tarrant, instead of being there at the beginning of the show, walks onto the stage through an archway. The ten beginning contestants are lined up behind pedestals in the dark, and then asked a question to answer. The person with the fastest time becomes the person to play for 1million.
When the contestant has been decided, Chris Tarrant asks ‘are you ready to play for 1million pounds’, and the contestant answers ‘yes’. Chris Tarrant and the contestant then go and sit on some chairs in the middle of a raised platform, which, in turn, have a pedestal in-between them with the presenters questions and such on it. Chris then asks the contestant some things about themselves, and also, almost always, who is watching them in the crowd, i. e. family and/or friends. After all of this done, the game commences with the first question.
The presenter for ‘The Weakest link’ is a female named Anne Robinson, and she is well known for the fact that she hosted ‘Watchdog’ before this on BBC1. She dresses in smart, formal wear but on the game show, she acts as if she has no sense of humour, coming across as serious and stony. When contestants get voted off, she tends to be nasty towards them, saying the deserved it, and makes fun of them rather than congratulating on how they did. They are than made to walk ‘The walk of shame’.
She is also very blunt when it comes to how the other people did; she tends to make fun of them on how badly they did, instead of consoling them on how well they didn’t do. During the show she acts as if she would rather be somewhere else, instead of hosting the show. It seems she is being a nasty person, and bad sportsman, but really she does do it to all the people in the show, not just one or two, so it isn’t bullying in the proper way, but rather as a front so people don’t assume the show is fixed or anything.
The presenter on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? ‘ is a male named Chris Tarrant, and is also well known for another show he presents on Channel four, called ‘Tarrant on TV’. He, also, dresses in formal clothes for the show. He is well mannered when hosting the programme, and it doesn’t matter whether the person has won a million or a hundred, he will be polite to them. He asks things about the players, and comes across as a polite, friendly person. He gives a lot of encouragement to the participant, almost trying to make them win the million pounds.
He also gives the contestant a chance to change their answer before they say if it’s right or wrong. He also teases players with money, even getting out a check and waving it round in front of them, then telling them ‘but we don’t want to give you that’ and tries to get them to win more. He also asks a question just before the break, and then makes everyone wait till after it for the answer. ‘The Weakest link’ is shown on BBC1 and BBC2, which are ad-free, making it a more filled time slot, as they have to fill in the 2-3 minutes that other channels give over to breaks.
The contestants have an allocated time on how long they have to answer a question, each round a person is voted off, and 15 seconds are taken off of the time allotted to answering the questions. The show takes the same amount of time, and by the end of it there is always someone who has won the programme. ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ is set up on ITV, and therefore has to leave some time for the adverts, giving it a crucial conjunction with the BBC programmes. The programme itself has advert breaks every 10-15 minutes, and then it takes 2-3 minutes for the adverts to finish.
The contestant has as long as they like to answer a question, in reason, and also has help with this because of the three lifelines, mentioned at the beginning. The questions themselves are multiple choice, and there is only one correct answer to them, out of the four possible choices. ‘The Weakest link’ has no audience to speak of, and therefore no applause or feel of being involved in the show. This is a very different choice to ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? ‘. ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ has a live audience, sitting in a circle around the centre where Tarrant and the contestant sit, with room for one large entrance at one point.
The audience plays a key role in the whole game, actually being one of the lifelines ‘ask the audience’. When a player chooses ‘ask the audience’, the audience have keypads on which the press the answer they would choose, with this done, the contestant can choose to go with the audiences decision, take another of the two life lines, if they have one left, or walk out with the money they have pocketed so far. ‘The Weakest link’ is segmented into rounds, with a time limit to each.
Anne Robinson asks the questions, and the people answer to get money, the more they answer in a row the more money they can get before they bank. If any of the contestants get a question wrong, or bank the money will go back to the lowest they can get for answer a question, and they will have to go through it all again. ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? ‘ gives one player the chance to win a million pounds, but a lot of prizes below this are easier to get. There are a total of 15 questions, and each one gains the participant more money. Money in this game is not guaranteed, and a player can walk away with nothing.
There is a way to stop this, however, if the player reaches a ‘save point’ which is a set amount of money, and the contestant will walk away with at least this much at the end of it, i. e. i?? 16,000 and i?? 32,000. Both shows have losers in different places, ‘The Weakest link’ has losers coming out from near the beginning to the end, totalling to eight and a winner, while ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ has nine people who don’t answer the quick fire question fastest, then it could have the person who does answer it fastest walk off with nothing or a million.
The people who call to become a participant on the show and don’t get on are also classed as losers. Both shows have a pedestal where the main presenter sits/stands, this is where the questions are displayed for the presenter to ask the contestants, and also show the answer so they can tell if its right or wrong. The contestant on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? ‘ has, in front of them, all the lifelines they have left, and also the amount of money they have currently managed to quibble away.
They both have a bluish colour scheme, with lighting panels in the floor for added affect. Both shows have their theme music playing throughout the show, both of them sounding a little bit like the heart, and at least having the same basic beat. This would remind the contestants that they are on camera being recorded to be shown to millions of people, this would be off-putting, and could well make them answer a question or two wrong. The shows don’t show a difficulty level in questions, although ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? seems to get harder the more money the question is worth, but really it is down to how much common knowledge you have.
‘The Weakest link’ makes it harder for the contestants to win money, because they have to answer the question faster. Neither of the shows is run at the same time, to avoid conflict between the two. The ending of both shows is also different, ‘The Weakest link’ has a winner who gets the money, and a runner up who gets nothing, and you see both walk off, and then they both give an interview account on how they think it went and how they feel about winning/losing.
Who wants to be a millionaire’ finishes when time has run out, or there’s no one left to go and answer questions, but it could end with a person not having finished answering, they then have to come back the next episode and finish. If someone wins a million pounds, balloons and tapers fall down from the ceiling making it a big celebration. When the shows finish, they have the end credits saying who has been on the show and who makes the show happen. Both shows have many merchandise available to buy, with quiz books, computer games and board games, these can all be purchased by fans of the show, or someone just out for a game to play.