That’s Your (Pi)Lot: Hold On To Your Seat!

By | January 26, 2011

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.

You can read about the original French show here.

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:

40 thoughts on “That’s Your (Pi)Lot: Hold On To Your Seat!

  1. Tom Scott

    Blimey, that brings back memories. That might well have been the first Eurovision I ever watched.

    Also, is it me or is that the most confusing key change ever? He holds a note all the way through it.

  2. Dan Peake

    Well, if any would-be piloters want to find a host that’s not mainstream, I’m available. And I’m cheap! Actually, all my friends say that too. Hmm.

    I enjoyed both Chase and Deal online today. A good day show wise!

  3. JonT

    I heard Michael Ball was recording the second of the two shows today. Saw some of his recent ITV afternoon shows in the summer, which were good imo. Will be interesting to hear how the recording go today.

  4. Brig Bother Post author

    Broadcast suggesting Miranda Hart will be the voice of the Don’t Scare the Hare hare. Now that’s an interesting thing and likely to go down better than Barry Davies.

    8x 40 minutes plus a best of. It soinds as they they’re going in a slightly different direction from the pilot.

    1. Alex

      For me that’s literally the only thing that could have made the show worse. I despise Miranda.

  5. CMD in yet another browser

    While we’re waiting, a Belgian prank hidden camera show, “Basta”, managed to infiltrate one of their national call-and-lose channels, getting one of their moles employed as a presenter for six months. Said presenter covertly recorded lots of shenanigans and discovered the derivation of one of the particularly unlikely answers to a guess-the-correct-answer number game. The explanation is about 2:35 through this video (Flemish language) and the show is available in five parts, starting here. I haven’t phlegmed my way through the latter.

    1. Simon

      Holy ****. The answer to that numerical sum make rawl plugs seem a positively obvious answer.

    2. David

      Jeez- they used every trick in the book for that one question (and a couple of tricks not the book it looks like)…

  6. David Howell

    From what I can tell, Hold On To Your Seat! feels like it could/should be a lunchtime quiz. (Are there any gaps in the schedule either side of the ITV Lunchtime News? Are any likely to be created by deregulation?) Brig’s point on continuousness is a very good one.

    To be honest, a show like this at this stake level could make a fantastic early evening show for Challenge now it’s about to be on Freeview. You’d have to think they’d get the ratings to justify what might be a £1k-per-episode prize budget, although whether Michael Ball comes affordably as a game show host is beyond me.

  7. Noy2222

    I was pretty bored with the show.

    I’ll start with the good things:
    Set looked great, very flashy and colourful. I’m guessing it would look great on TV.
    Michael Ball did a good job interacting with the contestants, the “last show” winner and the audience.
    The actor/normal person portraying “The Seater” did a great job, but I suppose that just helped the pilot, not so much an outlook on how the show would be.

    The bad:
    I found answer selection (selection) process (pretty much a backwards Millionaire) confusing and unnecessary, watering down the general knowledge process. A two answer selection (selection) (i.e a “got it” and “quad” or “got it” and “duo”) would feel better in my opinion, if a straight out answer is simply too much to ask.
    The unaccumulative point system that resets every round (4 different set of points, with only the last affecting the money earned) didn’t sit right with me. It requires the viewer to pay attention to 4 consecutive separate elimination games in one show.
    Too many contestants in one show (6 plus the previous winner).
    Everyone dancing whenever there’s YET ANOTHER damn musical question felt cheesy.
    Assuming all the viewer cares about is how much money SOMEONE is going to win by the end of the show, he’ll be greatly disappointed until the final 2 minutes of the show, when the winning contestant’s final (4th) round of points is revealed.
    The maximum amount of money the previous winner can add to his score is

    1. Noy2222

      The maximum amount of money the previous winner can add to his score is £2800 or £3000 for the contestant. That’s pretty low, even for an afternoon gameshow.
      The previous winner’s odds of winning are a lot greater than the challenging contestants, with him wielding too much power in the last few rounds in terms of question vetting. Would you really be interested in watching the same guy winning for 39 shows in a row and getting “only” (well, it is a gameshow, not real life) £44,200?

      I don’t think I’d be interested in watching this, even on the off chance of it being on and I have nothing better to do.

      On the upside, it’s still better than Golden Balls…


      1. Brig Bother Post author

        No, it’s £3000, if both challenger and champion tie in the final, the champion wins and the money is always decided by what the challenger scores so they’d both need to score perfect rounds.

        I don’t think the answer selection is *that* confusing – fewer options, more points, allowing for a reasonable amount of strategy.

        I’d also suggest that seven contestants is not that many given Weakest Link has nine, and 15-to-1 was happy with 15.

        A lot of the interest in this comes from the fact it’s massive in France. I think it’s a good quiz, whether it will be as popular over here remains to be seen – if it gets some interesting champions early it could do well. Interestingly, with the added round it fits more content in a shorter time, taking away the ad breaks. As I’ve said, it’s a pretty standard general knowledge quiz at its heart really. With extra rhythmic clapping, it depends if you find that sort of thing fun really. I think many people will.

      1. Tom H

        I don’t think “I bet it’ll be a mixed bag” qualifies as a definitive answer civilian shows are returning.

        But I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of you being right, Joe.

    1. Travis P

      Nope, doesn’t convince me. It only mentions an 18 month contract would mean 4-8 live shows (if they’re going down that route).

      1. Travis P

        BTW, is that really Joe or someone trying to be him? It’s not like him to swear on here…

        1. Brig Bother Post author

          No, that is Endemol Joe. I know we don’t always like what he has to say, but that doesn’t always mean he is wrong.

  8. Jennifer Turner

    “Does the thought of Ben Shephard hosting a show get you excited?”

    He’s the anti-Marmite: difficult to have a strong opinion about either way.

  9. Barry

    >Break then the all new round three

    The second contestant has a big advantage here. Tactics!

    They had to add a round in otherwise the first round would be torturously long.

    In other long running champion news it’s adieu Alexandre from Les 12 Coups De Midi after 74 wins and €417k in cash and prizes (including 7 scooters!).

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      It’s interesting that, because in the episode as it was filmed the champion was obviously favouring one contestant over the other, and gave his favourite (a very camp Glee fan) Musicals so that he could set the standard.

      It’s interesting the pilot, they seemed to be playing it as if it was for real, or they were very good actors. The idea was it was episode 400-something, and the current champ had 38 wins and £43,000 under his belt, and as a result of his celebrity had appeared on Loose Women.

      I was convinced I’d seen him on something else before, I think one of the challengers, and Oxford lawyer, was a contestant on Only Connect or something of that ilk.

      1. David B

        Hmm, the producers of this must be delusional or something. Someone wins £64,000+ on Millionaire every other show, why would anyone care about someone winning £43k?

        And it proves that it’s going to be £1k per show or thereabouts, which again feels broken.

        Then again, I said the French original was broken and did they listen?

        1. art begotti

          Hold on, I feel I’m missing something here. Pointless, which I gather is considered by the Patrons of the Bar to be “quite good,” technically averages 1000 pounds per show, not counting any extra money for pointless answers. Perfection, which I’m having a hard time to draw a Bar verdict from (though it seems generally “positive with a few tweaks”), averages 1k per gams as well. And now we’re complaining about the same amount for Seat? Yes, there are still shows that produce larger average wins (or have a larger average prize budget per play, however you want to look at it), but isn’t it sort of a double standard to immediately knock the current rate for Seat when other “good” shows potentially produce smaller average wins?

          1. David B

            I’m on record saying that the prizes on Perfection are too low for the style of show they’ve gone for.

            If Seat is a happy clappy kind of show then maybe £1k per episode is appropriate, but no way will the contestants become the kind of national celebrity they’re touting.

            Pointless averages more than £1k a show because of the £250 bonus, so the prizes reach a decent £6-7k within 3 or 4 shows. A handy enough win for a couple you’re not going to see again.

            My point is that if the prize on Eggheads can reach £40k (which it has done) without the world’s press clambering for the story, the prospect of Seat players becoming minor celebrities seems neither likely nor particularly appropriate.

          2. Brig Bother Post author

            This is a fair point, but it’s all about perception of the audience/timeslot, that sort of thing. The jackpot on Pointless isn’t the main attraction really, it’s just a focal point. What’s given away on Seat and the associated perks very much are the point – the whole show is geared towards how great it is to sit in that chair. Winning a couple of hundred quid is not all that exciting really. Maybe twenty years ago.

          3. art begotti

            I understand your point and David’s point, but I still can’t help but feel like maybe, just maybe, we’ve finally come down off the million dollar high. The way I see it, it seemed like once WWTBAM hit the scene, every new game show started using 1 million moneyunits as the new default prize, or something else in that seven-(or high-six-)digit prize range. That was perhaps ten or twelve years ago, and so the novelty of a 1mil prize has worn off, although it might be sort of expected. But perhaps, due to whatever economic factors, such as production companies not having as much to put into a prize fund, or, in conjunction with that, people understanding the economic crunch and being happy with a smaller prize (so long as it’s something), the perceived “comfortable” size of a prize has come down as a result. It’s stupidly idealistic thinking, but I can’t help but wonder if we might be heading in this direction. Or, it’s just me wishing it were that way.

      1. Greg Scott

        Aww, Lee – Bless you… Just the sort of re-assuring comment I needed after being overlooked for the UK pilots. Sigh. Sob. Sniff.


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