Show Discussion: Moneyball

By | October 29, 2021

Saturday, 6:30pm,
ITV

Well what a story this show has had – a name change from The Money Shot as it’s a bit rude, the mechanism apparently not working on their first set of recordings so it all had to be postponed and reshot more recently… it’s a miracle it seems to have made it at all. But here we are, rewarded with a shoulder peak slot competing against the extremely solid The Hit List rather than Strictly which may or may not work out for it.

In Moneyball, contestants answer questions to load a track with cash, then release a ball and where it lands determines how much they can add to their bank. It’s hosted by football pundit Ian Wright, who was all the rage hosting gameshows about twenty years ago but I think this is probably the first one since The National Lottery Wright Around the World – he was Mr Saturday Night for a bit, I wonder why that stopped?

It feels rather ill-fated but let’s not write write write it off before it lands. Watched it? Let us know what you thought in the comments.

28 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Moneyball

  1. MrCT2u

    As I mentioned on you’re Twitter page, I did the ill-fated run through back in March and after tomorrow night’s first episode I shall post my observations and thoughts and I hope the show does well because it is an interesting but mercenary format.

    Reply
    1. David

      I’d be interested to know what changed between March and September. There was talk of a cannon failing in March. I didn’t see a cannon last night, although I didn’t manage to watch until the end so maybe I missed it. Was the ball launching mechanism changed to simply dropping the ball rather than actively launching it? It may go some way to explain why it was such a boring centre piece.

      Reply
  2. Poochy.EXE

    They just uploaded a “first look” video to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ersLdfxDAn4

    The description says “Here’s an exclusive preview clip of how the game works” and the clip explains absolutely nothing about how the game works, which does not bode well for the rest of the show.

    Reply
  3. Whoknows

    Is it just me or are they using some of the Tipping Point sound effects?

    Reply
  4. Cliff

    Absolutely useless.
    – The questions are way too easy.
    – The ball mechanism is boring to watch.
    – The only bit of strategy the contestants have is where to position the launcher, but without seeing what would’ve happened in other positions it’s completely abstract. Is there a sweet spot? Is the game hackable?
    – The Moneyball round appears to be a matter of sheer luck. In Rolling in It, contestants’ general knowledge affected their chances of winning, but in this everybody gets the same chance.

    Reply
  5. Joey Clarke

    It felt to fast paced for me.
    Probably won’t be watching again as i feel it’s going to suffer the same fate as the Void.

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  6. Henry R

    I went in with an open mind but it was incredibly boring. Ian is fine but I couldn’t care where the ball finished up.

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  7. Magnus Torkelsen

    The game feels like Show Me What You’ve Got mixed with (*shudder*) The Colour of Money and Rolling In It. Not that it’s a bad thing though. The camera angles feel very Game of Talents-y, but “That question knocked me a bit” about matching Liverpool up with Everton? Looking at how safe these first players played makes me feel like this could be a minor hit or a big flop. Oh, and “I don’t know who he [Marvin Humes] is?” Great advertising for ITV, no? Especially as he’s on the other channel at the same time as you.

    No-one’s ever going to get close to the £250,000 jackpot, it’s not like The Cube, where £250,000 looks perfectly possible, even if we know it won’t happen. Unless you’re Mo Farah.

    Ian Wright’s a great host: I might be in the minority but he’s professional. He’s thankfully missed the opportunity for a Final answer-y catchphrase before a Perfect Match. Except for that shouting “HARD! HARD! GO BACK! GO BACK! This is good… This is good… DROP IT!” sounds awfully fit for primetime ITV.

    Games could easily straddle Millionaire-style, and it’s made the mistake of Show Me What You’ve Got back in 2006: too many references to “the perfect game”. There’s a good, exciting game in Moneyball, but for me the excitement gets lost in translation to my living room. Roll on Strictly. 6.5/10

    Reply
  8. Brig Bother Post author

    I think this did a lot of things well – Ian’s a great host, congrats on your return to the genre. I enjoyed how LEAN it was – appreciably speedy, very little wasted airtime. I thought the questions were fun – although I don’t think they were ever really a challenge, perhaps that’s not the point.

    So the whole thing is going to hinge on How Compelling Is The Thing? And sadly here it falls down a lot – not visually all that interesting (I think effectively working on a single plane hurts it), we’re watching thirty seconds of a ball slowing down but the only interesting bit is when it looks like it’s going to stop, which is quite a lot of dead television. Can watching something slow down be compelling? Yes it can be, but this doesn’t really manage it.

    [Just going to repeat some stuff from Twitter now:]

    At its heart, the format of Tipping Point is basically ‘answer question, randomly discover if you win escalating jackpot or zero’ – you can play the format of it with a quiz book and a pack of playing cards if you want. It’d probably not make good TV though. There’s enough visual variance in outcome in the way it’s presented to keep it compelling. It’s not easy to get right. And I don’t think Moneyball does. I think physics based success/failure interest requires movement on two planes at least, watching a ball go back and forth on a single plane not sure has it.

    That’s my current working theory at any rate.

    So yeah, can’t see it being a success but I don’t think it’s a complete failure.

    Reply
    1. Poochy.EXE

      My theory is the problem isn’t that it’s on a single plane — Plinko on The Price Is Right is on a single plane, and that’s a fan favorite. Rather, I suspect the problem is twofold: (1) for the first 20 seconds of the roll, you have absolutely no clue where the ball might stop, and (2) there isn’t really a definitive moment where the outcome becomes clear to serve as a mini-climax.

      Compare Plinko, where if the chip veers left or right, it’s more likely going in one of the low-value slots, while a chip headed towards the center is more likely to be either a big winner or a 0, then you have the definitive moment when the chip lands in the slot. Similar for Rolling In It, you get a rough idea of what section of the board the coin is going to land in pretty quickly, then the definitive moment is either when the coin falls flat on the conveyor belt or when it goes into the slot, depending on the roll.

      Likewise for Tipping Point, a counter that lands on top of another is likely not going to score much, while one landing in a part of the pusher with counters hanging over the edge mean we’re likely to see some action, then there’s the definitive moment when the counters fall over the edge.

      Moneyball, on the other hand, is 20 seconds of “absolutely no idea where it’s gonna stop… still no idea… still haven’t a clue…” then 10 seconds of “looks like it might stop in £10K… yup, probably £10K… and it stopped in £10K.” The former feels like a waste of time, the latter feels dragged out and anticlimactic.

      But more than that, the all-or-nothing luck-based final ball is absolute rubbish. It feels like the impossibly arcane 8th questions from the first couple series of Million Pound Drop all over again, only without even pretending there’s an element of skill.

      Reply
      1. John R

        At least on Million Pound Drop the contestants were forced to play all 8 questions compared to Moneyball where they can seemingly bail at any point leading to some very short games!

        ‘THE PERFECT GAME IS £250,000!…err no thanks I’ll just see if I can win my £12,000 now please Ian!’

        Reply
        1. Joey Clarke

          Well the going straight to the final gimmick is a bit reminiscent of cashing out on 1000 Heartbeats.

          Reply
  9. Whoknows

    Only 1.6m for this last night and considering the failed first recording would have cost a fortune I’d consider this to be an expensive flop.

    I went in and out of the room a few times when it was on and it seemed that every time I came back in the contestants would either be releasing the ball from the exact same point or the ball would be landing on the £1000 column.

    I feel like ITV very much wanted another Beat the Chasers style fast paced ‘questions-excitement-lose-questions-excitement-win’ game as this felt like it was trying to fit that mould but no, it just isn’t a good format.

    Reply
  10. Mart With An Y Not An I

    Ignoring the fact that the set resembles what would happen if you gave someone the task of constructing ‘The Wall’ using only IKEA pictograms upside down, in a mirror and missing half a page…

    My biggest problem is the launch position. The ball should, repeat, should line up with the LED powerball graphic on the side of the wall – but it doesn’t. It’s starting drop position is just above the block.

    OK, pendantry maybe, and having the ball start 1.6cm higher than the graphic won’t make much of a difference, but when you see the first one launched from above the line, you can’t unsee it again…

    ..but it won’t let that stop it getting on my hall of shame, because it was fairly solid, good host, had pace and a nice take on when a development team watch The Wall on Iplayer on constant pause, working out what they could do better.

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  11. Andrew Hain

    1. What happens if the contestant gets a question wrong?
    2. What happens if the ball lands in the Danger zone?

    Reply
  12. Mart With An Y Not An I

    The assumption that I have would be to those two questions..
    1. They are off the show
    2. They are off the show winning nothing.

    Reply
    1. Brig Bother Post author

      As far as people have suggested, getting a question wrong or hitting Danger means a visit to the Danger Board, where the ball will decide if they can keep going or get eliminated. The danger increases with each visit.

      Reply
      1. Andrew Hain

        Have you watched the show yet and/or has that happened yet, as in do you know that for a fact? I’m guessing that’s why contestants are asked before each question if they want to play another question or play the Moneyball.

        Reply
  13. Brig Bother Post author

    So despite myself, some things I noticed on episode 2:

    * The sponsorship bumpers for HiHi seem to suggest you want to hit the red zone, even though that’s the Danger area.

    * We’re two episodes in, one clue ball has been used, nobody has got a question wrong and nobody has landed in a danger area. So what is the point of them?

    * Right, this might be just a trick of my eyes so if anyone wants to PROPERLY ascertain this with Photoshop or whatever then please go ahead – I reckon the money shot works out at roughly 55% lose, 45% win (*). BUT. Tonight a guy managed to get six figures in his bank, and looked to my untrained eyes like the win segments were slightly bigger to accommodate the sixth figure, closer to 50/50.

    (*) Although the more I look at it the closer to 50/50 the usual set-up it starts to look.

    Reply
  14. Joey Clarke

    Maybe next week we may get a win of more than £100,000 or maybe we could have our first six-figures win on The Wheel.

    Reply
  15. Michael

    Maybe it’s due to the black hole that was Bank Balance but every other new gameshow in 2021 has felt better by comparison.

    The questions for this game seem to be set at the “A Fool could guess it” level ie even at their most difficult it’s multiple choice so there’s a level of if A is B, then C must be D to the answers. I dislike games which rely purely on chance luck, or have a fundamentally unfair aspect (this was the killer for The Void, as fun as bits of it were) – however, from my limited Moneyball watching, it seems like the ball roughly goes the same place per how high/low the release mechanism is launched from, so in theory you could game(show) theory the system to a big win. If the show wasn’t getting cancelled after one run by sounds of it above.

    In short, flawed but it feels like it could work with tweaks. The host works (Ian seems genuinely delighted at every contestants success), it can be described in a sentence. It’s just a bit basic and repetitive. But far better quizes have been axed this year…

    Best,
    Michael S. Collins

    Reply
  16. Lurky McLurkface

    (I’ve accidentally also posted this comment in “The Tournament” section. Sorry, and may you please delete the comment there?)

    Tonight’s episode saw both the first occasion of the ball landing in the red “Danger” zone following a correctly answered question, and a contestant getting a question wrong.

    In both instances, the subsequent board had 3 blue “Safe” zones” and 2 red “Lose” zones. If the, now red, ball landed in the “Lose” zone, the game stopped mmediately and the contestant(s) went home with nothing.

    Reply
    1. Andrew Hain

      When both those things happened, if the ball landed in the “Safe” zone, did the contestant move on to the next top prize round or did they stay in the same round?

      Reply
      1. Crimsonshade

        Moved on; and the landed in “Safe” zone becomes a “Lose” zone should the contestant have to make a red ball again. This actually turned out to be pivotal in one recent game…

        Reply
  17. John R

    Interesting moment in the last game this week where the ball during cash out to the untrained eye essentially ended up pretty much exactly in between the winning segment and the losing segment (in fact to me it looked slightly more in favour of lose!)

    Wonder if there are sensors with exact measurements or if the independent adjudicator had to go onto set with the measuring tape

    Reply

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