Right, these are actually tomorrow, so check back tomorrow night for some opinion.
Most interestingly, tomorrow’s pilots are going to be hosted by… Michael Ball. Let’s hope he doesn’t set one step out of time eh readers? It’s eyebrow raiser to be sure, and I’m not overly convinced but we will give him a fair crack of the whip. Edit: Or the second one is, at least.
Right, I’m back.
- Yes, two pilots today. The early one was hosted by Ben Shephard. Does the thought of Ben Shephard hosting a show get you excited? Me neither. Especially a show like this.
- The first one may have overrun a bit, as this started about an hour and a half late. To its credit, it was a pretty straightforward recording when it got going.
- So yes, Michael Ball. actually, I thought he was quite good – I’m not entirely certain he’s the perfect fit, but in a show that has a lot of music and fun, his avuncular luvvie-ness counts in his favour. Friendly without being too matey, he interacts with the contestants well and has just about the right amount of piss-taking. Whatsmore, for someone who suggested he had no idea what he was doing there, there were minimal fluff-ups – only three or four pick-ups for mistakes in the entirety of the show.
- The set is rather bare in comparison to the French show – a blank curtain they can turn whatever colours necessary, then a sort of concentric rib cage effect round the studio with coloured panels dotted around hapahazardly. The champion’s chair is red and similar to the French one. The set lacks a bit of warmth but it’s colourful. The graphics, from the glances I was able to make to the monitor, are identical to the French show.
- There is no having the audience pointing to the chair and shouting “… YOUR SEAT!” which in an everyman sort of show is a misstep I think.
- Champion gets his own lounge looking like the french one, with the portraits of previous winners on the wall.
- The game is basically the same as the French show with one addition I will get to in a moment. Round one (titled “Round One”) features six contestants each getting two questions each – top four go through, champion breaks ties presumably. About three or four of these were music questions, and the audience were encouraged to dance, sing and clap in their seats – samples probably went on a bit too long, and they were faded out rather than having Ball cut them out which is a shame. Chats were fairly lengthy, and there was a lot of banter between host, challengers and champion watching from the large monitor. “Duo, Square or Got it!” replaced by “Duo, Quad or Got It!” it is a shame they couldn’t think of a better term than “Got it!”
- Break then round two, again exactly like the French show – three duos, three quads, two got its and then the Champion’s question. Only two get eliminated here. Actually different to the french show is that the questions aren’t on a given category.
- Break then the all new round three with the two remaining challengers – six subjects go up on the board, each challenger will answer three in turn, but the champion will select who gets which question. Champion gets to decide who goes through if the scores are tied.
- Break then final (titled The Stand-Off) – this is exactly like the French original, although if the viewers at home could see the category the Challenger is strongest at, this wasn’t conveyed to the audience.
- The pay-off is £100 a point which I think is a real gamble in a 5pm slot on ITV in 2011 – that means on most days it will be giving away less than Weakest Link. I maintain that £250 a point would feel more exciting and not break the bank, but then it’s not my money. If the early episodes lead to £500-600 wins, they’d better hope the audience finds what is basically a fairly standard quiz with fun musical elements has enough of a hook to keep them watching at an hour at a time.
- If the Champion matches the score of the Challenger, the Champion wins – this has always been the case, but I wonder if it will appeal more to the UK’s sense of fair play if in the event of a tie the Champion keeps his seat but the money is split between them? Just a thought.
- Yes, I’m broadly positive. In fact this might give ITV a bit of a headache – The Chase currently pulls in a large audience of almost three million people in the slot and it’s unlikely they want to give that up. Hold On To Your Seat demands contiguousness, and there’s no guarantee it will work here in the way it is successful in France. It’s probably a nice problem to have, but you don’t really want Seat to have lengthy breaks in the way The Chase can. Of course, the idea that Seat is intended for the 5pm slot might be way off.
I’m off to see Pointless tomorrow! In the meantime, here’s some music: