Show Discussion: The Fortune Hotel

By | May 12, 2024

Monday-Thursdays, 9pm, also repeated around 11:45pm and 3am
ITV1

Thanks to The Traitors, we’re probably in for a full raft of strategic reality games where people hold some sort of secret but we as the audience know everything and the contestants don’t. For The Traitors, our privileged position works, conversations aren’t just conversations, they are loaded conversations and the results are dramatic and funny and the strategy is long-term. Here Tuesday Child are hoping the same magic works with, effectively, Find the Lady.

Ten couples check into Stephen Mangan’s Fortune Hotel and are handed a briefcase. One of them contains £250,000, eight are apparently empty, one of them contains an “Early Checkout”. They will do challenges and the night ends up with a case swapping party in Lady Luck’s Bar (I would presume doing best in the challenge means getting to swap a case last but I don’t know). Keep hold of the money, avoid the Early Checkout. It feels like the game is not so much having the money as avoiding the elimination, so with nine suitcases effective victories I’m not entirely sure “we know everything” is going to have quite the same cache. I’m hoping there’s some nuance that’s not coming through with the press releases.

We’ll see though, ITV have gone quite big on this, it almost seems a shame to have wasted a big sunny getaway resort just as the UK is beginning to bask in a load of sunshine. I’m afraid because this is peak period for my actual real life job I’m not going to get to watch this as it goes out, I’ll be playing catch-up, but I look forward to reading your comments below.

17 thoughts on “Show Discussion: The Fortune Hotel

  1. JC

    Reddit is describing this as “low-rent Carrot-in-a-box”, which seems about right. The format apes the Traitors pretty shamelessly, from the slow eerie pop song covers to the needless labelling of the contestants as “unfortunates”/”fortune hunters” and the way they stroll into the round tabl… sorry, the “lady luck bar”. It lacks the gravitas of the traitors so far – the bar doesn’t feel as dramatic as the round table, the decision of who goes home feels fairly random at this point (a random requirement that two pairs swapped cases came out of nowhere early on). Having said that, the challenge has more of a gameplay purpose than it does in the traitors as it determines the order contestants get to swap their cases.

    Can’t see myself coming back but then again I said the same thing about the traitors after the first episode so who knows.

    Reply
    1. Whoknows

      Totally agree about the start of The Traitors, although there was at least *something* about The Traitors that kept me coming back, even when I couldn’t put my finger on it, whereas this had nothing. I’ve got no reason to return tonight to be honest.

      Incredibly annoying music choices I have to say. Also I feel like it surely won’t take long for them to figure out which one has got the money in it.

      Reply
  2. Brig Bother Post author

    This is a curio and no mistake.

    I watched episode one and my immediate thoughts were it was really slickly produced almost to a fault – if everyone’s comparing it to The Traitors that’s largely its own fault, not helped with the Gothy pop covers and the like. In the main though I did enjoy the episode, although I can’t work out why you had a map reading challenge and then gave everyone a taxi anyway.

    As predicted there’s a bit too much playing it safe in the early stages which is correct strategy but slightly crap TV – you can’t win on night one but you can certainly lose. It’s just not that exciting in TV terms to have so many people just sticking with their cases. I also wondered how long it would be until the game became “solvable”, once you’ve had the case it ought to be pretty easy to follow the money until the end, and when everyone knows where the money is where’s the fun? The entire thing will just come down to winning the last challenge, presumably.

    Episode two bought to light a couple more things – the Room Service challenge goes *some* way to offer potential to break the knowledge chain (opening with ten minutes of people sipping bleak cocktails was a choice), however the drama of being given the Early Checkout card is rather nerfed by the fact that all you have to do to get rid of it is not come last in the challenge because then you can just hand it off to someone who finished below you, which is basically the central strategy of the episode. I think they need to up the value of holding onto the money because right now it’s largely irrelevant and not really worth finding.

    The other thing that came to light is more pressing, namely that when someone is wrong or under a misapprehension on The Traitors, it’s *funny* and provokes a reaction. When someone goes “X and Y have the money” here and are wrong it mainly leaves me a bit bored.

    It looks pretty and Mangan’s alright, he’s no Claudia, but if you have to wait six episodes in of eight before it starts getting a bit juicy then it’s not good enough really. Ultimately it’s got to be more ‘oooooh’ than ‘oh’.

    Reply
  3. Brig Bother Post author

    1.33m/10.4% for episode two.

    I wasn’t anticipating this doing amazingly but I’m surprised it’s this much of a bin fire. Perhaps it will double on catch-up.

    Reply
  4. Brig Bother Post author

    LOL, ep 3 they’re fed up with everyone playing it safe, they’re letting the people with the money at the end of the night take £10k out of the pot.

    I expect I’m going to end up watching all of this through sheer bloody-mindedness, so that’s something I suppose.

    Edit: I’ve been thinking about this, it occurs they’ve marketed this all wrong, the endgame is the Poisoned Chalice from Jamie Theakston’s The Search more than it is Find the Lady, perhaps they should have leant into that a bit more.

    1.2m overnight against Race Across the World, although they have been releasing them in the morning which won’t count, although given that none of us who are normally in the know knew until yesterday they were doing 7am releases, I don’t know how much it will be secretly adding.

    Reply
  5. Whoknows

    I’m pretty sure that 1.2m includes all catch-up made on the day so should include the 7am drop.

    It’s amazing how un-Caribbean this all looks. The rubber ring game (which looked cheap as hell) almost looked like it could have been North Wales, especially as they went under that motorway flyover!

    I really hate the Room Service VTs and the way they’re laughing at Manghan’s excruciatingly unfunny bits.

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    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yeah, I said on Twitter after watching ep 1 this needs to be less Traitors more Death in Paradise, although mind you the rain hasn’t helped, you may as well have set it in The Jury’s Inn Manchester.

      Reply
  6. Brig Bother Post author

    Episode four started off a bit disappointingly actually, it really felt like they’d figured out they can use case swapping to lay up the Early Checkout to take out bigger rivals but then they blew it and just handed it back to the losers so that was a waste of a cliffhanger.

    Tonight was the first episode where it felt like stars aligned for it a bit, a couple who have not worked out the situation getting the Card, winning the challenge, choosing to send the wrong couple home (who tried some good gameplay to try and save themselves) setting up for quite an interesting back half. The timing of the cliffhanger was really annoying though, we know the result, we’re made to wait for the reactions. Annoying.

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  7. Brig Bother Post author

    1.2m last night against the 3.1m might of Sewing Bee. That weekend bounce didn’t last long, then.

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  8. Brig Bother Post author

    1.3m vs 3.0m for Race Across the World last night. It’s consistent at least.

    Ultimately, I think this is the main issue, is that I’ve quite enjoyed my fortnight at The Fortune Hotel in the end, but if you asked me how I’d punch it up for a second series I’d be at a loss, I don’t think there are many easy wins here (other than show off the location a bit more). Even if you made everyone swap cases every night, it’d still be a bit boring in the early stages because so much of it would be irrelevant, even early Round Tables have a visceral joy of people fighting for their time and stabbing in the dark, the cloak and dagger nature means we’re just not going to get that here.

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  9. Brig Bother Post author

    The first episode of this consolidated to 2.26m all in, but only just made the BARB Top 50 so no idea how the others did, although we ought to get a ballpark figure from Thinkbox in due course.

    Edit: Thinkbox doesn’t make great reading – 1.9, 1.7, 1.6, 1.6 in that order, you can probably add 200k-ish for pre broadcast and devices so still likely the wrong side of 2m for much of it. Possible saving grace in the demos, 700-800k ABC1s, and it doesn’t *completely* disgrace itself in A16-24, although A16-34 not quite so good.

    Reply

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