I watched Imagine’s new game show, Big Money this weekend. I’m sure its interesting and engaging for people who watch millions of hours of television and can recite the slogan for every brand of washing powder. When there are only two answers for every questions you always have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, which takes out some of the tension. Trying to create fake tension by dragging it out – “are you sure? are you totally sure? shall we lock it in? ok…… its locked…… and the correct answer is………………… “A” you were correct – is more irritating than successful. Maybe when it gets up to the ‘Big Money’ it will be more dramatic, but when the money is small and the questions take forever, its not that absorbing. Its certainly no KBC.
Here’s the thing that really jarred with me: no live audience. This had two effects.
One. The family was much more relaxed. The kids were doing little dances and being super cocky. The parents kept trying to change their positions and then the kids would argue and it would all go back to how it was. The parents were still aware that millions of people would be watching them so they were a big nervous, but the kids were quite in the swing of it – they obviously were unaware of the consequences of getting questions right or wrong and they didn’t look to their parents for approval they way they would in front of a crowd. Put the family in front of a few hundred cheering people and they will behave quite differently. It was sort of like the TV audience was peeking into their lounge room while they played a game. There was none of the ‘event’ feel that comes with having an audience in the room. Imagine American Idol with no audience?
Two. In game shows there is normally a dynamic between the audience, and host, and the contestants. The crowd cheers and shouts approval, the contestants look at the audience for their reactions. It’s just natural – if you are in a room with a few hundred people, you are going to look at them from time to time. Here that dynamic was gone. The contestants never looked at the camera, which normally shoots from an audience perspective, they just looked at each other or at the host. That sense of seeking the audience approval for their answers was also missing…. that desperate wish that someone in the audience will give them a hint. This situation also took away the chance for the charismatic host, R Madhavan, to interact with the audience in any way, which can make for great television.
Putting in fake audience sound effects between the rounds really didn’t help much 🙂