NBC's 'Million Second Quiz' moves slowly

AP News
Posted: Sep 17, 2013 5:42 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC's game show "The Million Second Quiz" is running out of time to make an impact.

The network hoped to make a big splash in the two weeks before the start of the traditional TV season with the game show hosted by Ryan Seacrest. But "The Million Second Quiz" is taking a critical lashing and viewers are staying away.

The show debuted last Monday to an audience of just over 6.5 million viewers, and proceeded to get a smaller crowd watching it each succeeding night last week, the Nielsen company said. It dropped to 5.8 million on Tuesday, 5.2 million on Wednesday, 4.2 million on Thursday, 4 million on Friday and 2.9 million on Saturday. To be fair, Fridays and Saturdays are the least-watched TV night of the week. Contestants answer general knowledge questions. Sept. 19 to win $2 million grand

The show rebounded to 3.7 million this Monday, but that's only a little more than half what it had Monday a week ago.

Although the format sounds simple — contestants answer general-knowledge questions in competition for a grand prize of $2 million — critics have called the show confusing, saying producers jumped into the game with little explanation of what is going on and why it was important.

"Let's just find the person who said 'yes' to this and do something evil to them — like make them watch it," wrote Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter.

Catriona Wightman of Digital Spy wrote that "it took me ages" to figure out what was happening.

"Is there any need for things to be this complex?" Wightman asked. "I suppose NBC couldn't devote a full hour every night for 10 days to mere questions and answers, but perhaps something a little simpler could still have been exciting enough."

NBC certainly isn't bragging about the ratings, but points out that the game improved the ratings that NBC had gotten in some of the individual time slots for most of the summer. The network, which built a huge set for the game on the rooftop of a Manhattan building and hired Seacrest, had hoped the game could appear occasionally through the year as a special event. It hasn't said whether "The Million Second Quiz" has a lift after it ends this week.

With new fall programming still largely on the horizon, football dominated the television schedule this past week.

Largely due to its Sunday night football game, NBC won the week with an average of 7 million viewers in prime time. CBS had 6.7 million, ABC had 4.5 million, Fox had 4 million, Univision had 3.1 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1 million and the CW had 870,000

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ESPN was the most popular cable network of the week, averaging 4.1 million viewers. USA had 2.6 million, The Disney Channel had 2.3 million, History had 1.8 million and Fox News Channel had 1.7 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.3 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.9 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.1 million viewers.

For the week of Sept 9-15, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: San Francisco at Seattle, NBC, 20.54 million; "Football Rain Delay," NBC, 17.84 million; NFL Football: Philadelphia at Washington, ESPN, 16.52 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 15.22 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 12.45 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 11.31 million; NFL Football: Houston at San Diego, ESPN, 10.95 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 10.08 million; "Under the Dome," CBS, 9.72 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.24 million.


ABC and ESPN are owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.