Photo Credit: Rodolfo Martinez/NBC
What is The Million Second Quiz? Technically, it's a new, trivia-based reality TV competition (premiering live on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC). But network execs prefer the term "fully convergent television experience."
So… what does that mean? Is it like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, maybe? Well, the player does sit in a neon-bright hot seat and answer multiple-choice trivia questions. But said seat is situated inside a three-story hourglass in midtown Manhattan. And the ultimate prize here is up to $10 million. Watch a preview here:
In this game, you earn money based on how long you can remain in the seat. Right answers keep you there. A wrong answer gets you kicked out, and another contestant takes your place and gets his own shot at staying put.
If you get displaced, but you're one of the four competitors who held out the longest, you get to live next to the hourglass -- and continue to answer trivia questions, 24 hours a day. Since the game lasts for one million seconds (that's roughly 12 days), you'll get breaks to use the bathroom (hopefully in an area unseen by the Manhattanites below) and sleep.
Viewers can play online, and long-running online winners (remember, it's about how long you can keep getting answers right) might just get a knock on their door from a local NBC affiliate to be whisked away to New York City for a place on the actual hot seat.
The host? Why, naturally it's Ryan Seacrest, who obviously possesses a superpower that allows him to do four to five jobs simultaneously (American Idol host, radio DJ, reality TV producer, red carpet interviewer, etc.). Seacrest's involvement would seem like a safe bet, though this week has brought signs that he may not be quite so universally loved. When Seacrest appeared at Denver's Sports Authority Field to count down the start of the 2013 NFL season, he was met with boos from football fans in attendance.
But that's not a sign that the show itself won't be a hit. There are dozens of factors that dictate how an audience responds to a new concept. The giant hourglass is pretty cool, though.
Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.