Not to be confused with 50-50.
“Ok, Computer, take away two random wrong answers, leaving (Contestant’s name) the right answer and the one remaining wrong answer.” - Chris Tarrant
”Okay, let’s take away two incorrect answers, please.” - Chris Harrison
"Okay, alisin natin ang dalawang maling sagot." ("Okay, let's take away the two incorrect answers.") - "Bossing" Vic Sotto
"Chúng tôi xin nhờ máy tính bỏ đi hai phương án sai" ("We would like the computer to take away two incorrect answers, please") - Lại Văn Sâm
50:50 is a lifeline in the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game. When a contestant uses this lifeline, two of the wrong answers are removed, leaving one wrong answer and the correct one, thus giving the contestant a 50% chance of answering the question correctly or incorrectly (though a better chance at answering correctly), hence the name.
In versions that include both the 50:50 and Double Dip lifelines, it is possible for a contestant to use both and automatically get the question right (most notoriously, in Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire, although no contestant did so, but in the Russian, Turkish, Filipino, and Austrian Format, a few of them did); however, the rule regarding this is that the contestant must use the 50:50 lifeline first.
Originally, using the 50:50 lifeline usually removed the two most obvious wrong answers. Later, it was turned into a random selection (a fact some hosts emphasize before the answers are removed).
The U.S. version featured the 50:50 lifeline since the show's premiere in 1999, in both primetime and during the show's first six syndicated seasons. It was discontinued after introducing the clock format at the start of the seventh syndicated season, in favor of Double Dip. However, it was reintroduced in 2015 at the start of the fourteenth syndicated season replacing the Jump the Question lifeline as part of the format revamp.
The UK version kept it until the program finished in 2014. When the UK introduced the clock, if a contestant used the 50:50, the clock would stop, and restart after the two wrong answers were removed. The lifeline returned as part of the "20th Anniversary".
In the Brazilian version, the lifeline looks different: in the middle is a vertical strip, and on both sides fractions 1/2 are indicated instead of digits to indicate that 1/2 of the answers are removed.
In other versions it differs again, shown as 1:1, meaning 1 right answer and 1 wrong answer.
Possible scenarios when using the 50:50 lifeline
Most contestants' biggest concern when using the 50:50 lifeline is that it will always leave them with the two answers the were originally torn between. When the questions are written, the elimination of incorrect answers is not decided in advance by the question writers; when the host tells the computer to activate the lifeline, an operator working behind the scenes will activate the lifeline, and from there, the computer will randomly decide which two incorrect answers to eliminate. This can result in one of three possible outcomes:
- Scenario 1: The 50:50 lifeline leaves the contestant with the two answers they were originally torn between.
|$250,000 (13 of 15) - Not Timed|
|The Reina Sofia Art Center is located in what European city? |
'50:50' lifeline used
|• A: Madrid||• B: Lisbon|
|• C: Rome||• D: Vienna|
|Norm thinks it's Madrid. Then, in a classic sequence:
Norm: "Hey, lemme ask you something, if I say 'Hey, I think it may be Madrid or Lisbon' and then I use the 50:50, it's not gonna say Madrid & Lisbon is it?" Regis: "You don't know. But it may not be the two you're thinking of."
Norm: "Ok, but there's not a dude in the back, or anything?" [Audience laughs]
Regis: "Noooooo, these've been locked in for months"
Norm then uses the 50:50, which of course, leave A & B. He glares at Regis (while the audience erupts in laughter) before making A his final answer and winning $250,000.
- Scenario 2: The 50:50 lifeline eliminates both of the answers the contestant was town between, and instead leaves them with the two answers they had previously ruled out.
- Scenario 3: The 50:50 lifeline eliminates one of the answers they were torn between and leaves the contestant with a clear choice.
|₱70,000 (8 of 15) - Not Timed|
|What kind of food is pastrami?|
'50:50' lifeline used
|• A: dried salmon||• B: smoked beef|
|• C: cured ham||• D: salted bacon|
|Howie wasn't sure if it was C: cured ham, so he used 50:50, which removed C and D. He then revealed that he was actually stuck between B and C. He picked B as his final answer and won ₱70,000.|
Ideally, contestants would always want scenario 3, and not scenario 1 or 2. Even in scenario 3, it is possible that the contestant's choice is incorrect.
- Example: Tom Colletta, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (USA), primetime.
|$16,000 (9 of 15) - Not Timed|
|Which of these appears on the reverse of a 20 dollar bill? |
'50:50' lifeline used
|• A: Lincoln Memorial||• B: U.S. Capitol|
|• C: White House||• D: U.S. Treasury|
|Tom was torn between B and D, but the answer was C.|
Examples of all scenarios are needed.
Tips with 50:50
- If you plan to use 50:50 with Phone-a-Friend, always use 50:50 first. This gives your contact a better choice, and they are more likely to be sure in their choice if they think they know the answer.
- If you plan to use 50:50 with Ask the Audience, always ask the audience first. If the audience's vote is inconclusive or you think they're wrong, you have another lifeline to confirm.
The sound when 50:50 is activated and the 2 wrong answers are removed.
|Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? lifelines|
|50:50 • Phone-a-Friend • Ask the Audience • Switch the Question • Ask the Expert • Double Dip • Three Wise Men • Extra Help • Jump the Question • Plus One • Crystal Ball • Cut the Question • Power Paplu • Code Red • Chat Room • People Speak • Ask the Host • Ask the Star • Three of the Audience • Ask Two Experts|
|Millionaire Hot Seat: Pass • 50:50 • Switch the Question • Ask A Friend|