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Millionaire Hot Seat, also known as Hot Seat, is an Australian television quiz show. The show is a spin-off of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? which began airing on the Nine Network on April 20, 2009. As with the original version of the show, it is hosted by Eddie McGuire. A special prime time edition aired on June 8, 2009.

The show has been repeated on UK channel Challenge starting in February 2015 making it the first foreign Millionaire to be broadcast in the United Kingdom.

Original Format (2009-2016)

Designed to be a faster-paced game than the traditional format of Millionaire, Hot Seat involves six contestants playing each episode taking turns trying to be the one in the "Hot Seat" who reaches the goal amount answers the question of that amount correctly. The goal amount starts at the highest amount on the money tree (shown on the right). The traditional three lifelines are replaced by a single "pass" lifeline, which will pass the current question to the next contestant in line (who cannot pass that question further) and send the current contestant to the end of the line.

Each question is given a time limit to be answered (with the timer starting after McGuire reads through the question and the four possible choices): with 15 seconds allocated for the first five questions, 30 for the middle five, and 45 for the last five. If a player fails to give an answer in the time limit, it is considered an automatic use of the pass lifeline. In the case that time expires and the current contestant cannot pass the question (either because they were passed the current question or they used their pass already), they are treated as if they gave an incorrect answer.

Unlike other Millionaire formats, the game does not immediately end on a wrong answer. Instead, the current contestant is eliminated from the game, the next contestant in line becomes the "Hot Seat" contestant while all remaining players move up one chair, and the goal amount is reduced to the next lowest tier on the money tree (unless it is lower than the current tier). Once the players are shuffled around, a new question is now asked and play resumes. Additionally, contestant may not walk away from the game under any circumstance.

The game ends either when all contestants are eliminated or when the question for the highest value in the money tree is answered. If the question on the last tier is answered correctly, the answering player receives the value of the question. If it is answered incorrectly, the last player to be eliminated receives either nothing (which means that nobody receives any prize money for that show), or $1,000 if the fifth question milestone is reached. No final contestant has ever gone away empty-handed. Another difference from the traditional format of Millionaire, the only guaranteed sum of money is the $1,000 for answering the fifth question correctly. This sum will be awarded to the contestant that is playing the final question of the money tree.[15] If a contestant did not get a chance to answer a question and sit on the hot seat, they may get a chance to return at a later time to play the game as the producers often invite such contestants back. However if a contestant had a chance to play a question but passed their place in the seat, they are eliminated and will likely not be invited to return.

During the second half of 2011, audio and visual questions were introduced to the format. Either an audio or a visual question would be asked once per episode, usually towards the beginning of the game.

Revamp Format (2017)

$1,000 cheque

Starting 23 January 2017, Millionaire changed its format to mix both the traditional format with the Hot Seat format. In this format, the show was lengthened to a 30-minute show but is divided into two parts: Fastest Finger First and Hot Seat.

Fastest Finger First

In this version of Fastest Finger First, all six players will be using a touch screen to lock in their answers. The round is played similar to the original format of FFF, where there is a question presented with four possible answers and the contestant must lock in the singular answer to the question. (This is different than the second version of FFF where the contestants must put the four possible choices into a designated order.) A minor difference between the original version and this new version is that the players will only have 10 seconds to lock in a guess rather than the normal 20 seconds. Additionally, some questions may be audio or visual questions with an accompanying audio clip or visual still accompanying the question. In this part of the game, there will be fifteen questions asked to all six players. Whichever player answers the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time will receive a bonus $1,000 cheque. That check is theirs to keep unless they choose to give it back during the Hot Seat game in exchange for a lifeline. After all fifteen questions have been asked, the game moves into the Hot Seat round starting with the player in the first player position (regardless of how they finished in Fastest Finger First).

New Hot Seat Game

The new Hot Seat round plays exactly like it did before with one exception, the player with the $1,000 bonus from Fastest Finger First can now buy a lifeline when it is their turn in the Hot Seat. If a player is stuck on a question, they may return the $1,000 cheque to McGuire to pick one of the following lifelines: 50:50 (the computer chooses two random wrong answers and eliminates them), "Ask A Friend" (similar to the U.S.' "Plus One" lifeline, the contestant brings a designated companion to the stage to help with the question), or "Switch the Question" (the current question is removed from play and is replaced with a new one). To use a lifeline, the contestant will simply ask for a lifeline to stop the clock, much like in the clock format, and McGuire will present the lifeline choices to the contestant. Once a lifeline is used (save for Ask your Friend, where the clock is restarted after reading all possible answers), the clock restarts normally. If he/she doesn't use the lifelines until the end of the game, the $1,000 will be added to his/her total prize money. Since 2,151st episode, in show the "Ask the Host" lifeline added instead of "Ask A Friend".

Seasons

Season No. of episodes Time of broadcast
1 1 - 20 (20) April 20 - May 15, 2009
2 21 - 372 (352) May 18, 2009 - November 25, 2010
3 373 - 577 (205) January 31 - November 18, 2011
4 578 - 730 (153) January 30 - December 26, 2012
5 731 - 933 (203) January 14 - December 27, 2013
6 934 - 1,133 (200) January 6 - December 12, 2014
7 1,134 - 1,347 (214) January 19 - December 16, 2015
8 1,348 - 1,544 (197) February 1, 2016 - January 20, 2017
9 1,545 - 1,744 (200) January 23 - November 30, 2017
10 1,745 - 1,906 (162) January 22 - November 23, 2018
11 1,907 - 2,060 (154) January 28 - November 27, 2019
12 2,061 - 2,181 (121) February 3 - December 2, 2020
13 2,182 - 2,320 (139) January 18 - November 25, 2021
14 2,321 - ? (?) January/February - November/December 2022

Money Tree

Question

No.

Correct Answer Value

Extra Winner Correct Answer Value Amount lost for

a wrong answer

15 $1,000,000 $251,000 $249,000
14 $250,000 $101,000 $99,000
13 $100,000 $51,000 $49,000
12 $50,000 $21,000 $19,000
11 $20,000 $11,000 $9,000
10 $10,000 $7,000 $5,000
9 $6,000 $5,000 $3,000
8 $4,000 $3,500 $1,500
7 $2,500 $2,500 $500
6 $1,500 $2,000 $0
5 $1,000 $1,000 $500
4 $500 $600 $300
3 $300 $400 $200
2 $200 $200 $100
1 $100 $0 $0

Lifelines

  • Pass: Normally the only lifeline available on Hot Seat, this lifeline allows you to skip the question and join the back of the contestant cue. The following player will not be able to pass the same question.

These lifelines were added in 2015:

  • Switch the Question (April 13, 2015 - May 8, 2015, September 21-25, 2015, January 23, 2017 - present): This lifeline could only be used on the day's final question. The question would be swapped, but the contestant would stay the same. In 2017, this lifeline is now available for all questions, but only the contestant who correctly answered the most questions in the fastest time in Fastest Finger First and it's worth $1,000 that they won on Faster Finger First.
  • Ask A Friend (September 14, 2015 - September 21, 2020): Similar to Plus One, the contestant would be allowed to use the help of a friend in the audience. In 2017, this lifeline is now available for all questions, but only the contestant who correctly answered the most questions in the fastest time in Fastest Finger First and it's worth $1,000 that they won on Faster Finger First.

In 2017, an another lifeline was added:

  • 50:50: This lifeline could take away two wrong answers on a question. This lifeline is available for all questions, but only the contestant who correctly answered the most questions in the fastest time in Fastest Finger First and it's worth $1,000 that they won on Fastest Finger First.
  • Ask the Host (October 12, 2020 - present). Contestant can ask the host for help to answer the question (it was added instead "Ask A Friend" lifeline in empty studio).

20th Anniversary

  • On May 6-9, 2019 (episodes 46-49), at 5 PM on Channel 9 specials aired out on the 20th anniversary. From Monday to Thursday every episode catched up with past winners and highlight the best moments from the last two decades.

For 20 years ask more than 40,000 questions in 2,000 episodes and given away nearly $80,000,000 in prizes.

Top Prize Winners

Top Prize Losers

AU$250,000 Losers (incomplete)

  •  ??? - ? (July 27, 2009) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Martin - ? (2009) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Hayley Bryant - AU$1,000 (2009, the same date as the one above)
  • Philip Dowling - ? (August 12, 2009) (lost on qualifying question)
  • James Shannon - AU$1,000 (June 28, 2010)
  • Siobhan O'Dwyer - ? (July 5, 2010) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Cameron Dening - AU$1,000 (July 5, 2010)
  • Nicole Pascual - AU$1,000 (November 15, 2010)
  • Jamie Fitzgerald - AU$1,000 (until November 2010)
  • Carole Mann - AU$1,000 (until January 2011)
  • Paul Simopoulos - AU$1,000 (May 16, 2011)
  • Penny Sanders - AU$1,000 (May 24, 2011)
  • Kinta Riches - ? (June 7, 2011) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Derek Milligan - AU$1,000 (June 7, 2011)
  • Scott ??? - AU$1,000 (July 18, 2011)
  • Jonah Jonah - AU$1,000 (July 26, 2011)
  • Jane Dillema - ? (August 8, 2011) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Mitchell Hayden - AU$1,000 (August 8, 2011)
  • Danny Viney - AU$1,000 (August 22, 2011)
  • Liz Palumbo - AU$1,000 (September 13, 2011)
  • Gordon McGregor - AU$1,000 (2010-2013)
  • Sam ??? - AU$1,000 (2010-2014)
  • ??? - AU$1,000 (January 20, 2015) (also lost on the jackpot of $15,000)
  • Matt Taylor - AU$1,000 (September 7, 2016)
  • Julie Brennan - ? (October 17, 2016) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Andy McQuie - AU$1,000 (October 17, 2016)
  • Pammie Harrison - AU$1,000 (November 1, 2016)
  • Ramon Watkins - ? (January 23, 2017) (lost on qualifying question)
  • Heather Pettersson - AU$1,000 (January 23, 2017)
  • Bianca Debrincat - AU$1,000 (April 3, 2017)
  • Jean Hartigan - AU$1,000 (November 13, 2017)
  • Steve Brough - AU$1,000 (July 6, 2020)

AU$541,000 Winners

AU$250,000 Winners

AU$100,000 Winners

  • David Sturdy (May 13, 2009)
  • Anthony Swann (August 5, 2010)
  • Samara Hodson (September 13, 2010)
  • Brian Martindale (September 27, 2010)
  • David Coulthard (November 8, 2010)
  • Darryl Schultz (2010, re-aired December 1, 2010)
  • Seph McKenna (2010, re-aired December 8, 2010)
  • Carole Mann (2010, re-aired January 10, 2011)
  • Chris Bourke (January 31, 2011)
  • June Kane (February 7, 2011)
  • Phil Sutton (February 16, 2011)
  • Janine ??? (March 21, 2011)
  • Khaled El-Katateny (July 28, 2014)
  • Rhylee Wood (May 13, 2019)
  • Clint Cassidy (May 24, 2019)
  • Paul Roast (June 28, 2019)
  • Harika Rao (July 22, 2019)
  • Michelle Dunner (September 2, 2019)
  • Erin Signal (September 3, 2019)

Hot Seat curse

The first six Top Prize Losers shown above have fueled superstitions of a "Hot Seat curse," in which contestants who get to the $1 million question answer it incorrectly and plummet $249,000, leaving them with only a measly $1,000. The curse is made even harder by the facts that contestants do not have the option to walk away, so if they flunk out, they flunk out, and that they have a strict time limit to answer the question, which, if it runs out, will penalize the contestant as if they gave an incorrect answer, resulting in the contestant losing prize money anyway.

It was not until the August 29, 2016 edition of the show, when Edwin Daly finally won the $1 million prize by answering the million dollar question correctly, ending the curse. However, since then, no other contestant has since been able to repeat this achievement. The contestant who made the million dollar question after Edwin’s win was Craig Anderson, but unfortunately, the Hot Seat curse claimed another victim, as he got the question wrong.

Notable cases of contestants doing poorly on the show

This version of the show is also notorious for its "epic failures", in which some contestants have flunked out on one of the first 5 questions, similar to the U.S. version of the standard format of the show. One particular case that went viral is the case of Whitney Beseler, a young, blonde, female physical education teacher, who was asked the following question for $100:


AU$100 (1 of 15) - 15 seconds
Which of these is not a piece of jewellery commonly worn to symbolise a relationship between two people?
• A: Engagement ring • B: Anniversary ring
• C: Wedding ring • D: Burger ring
Beseler did not read the question properly, and chose B: Anniversary ring as her final answer, but the correct answer was D: Burger ring, and she did not realize her mistake until it was too late. (Burger rings are an Australian snack food that resemble onion rings, but are designed to mimic the flavor of cheeseburgers.) After she flunked out, she admitted that it was the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to her, and asked if she could start over. Host Eddie McGuire told her that there are no second chances on the show, and that she was out of the game, and gave her a bag of burger rings as a consolation prize.

More examples are needed.

Trivia

  • The Ask A Friend lifeline first appeared in the same episode that Erin Lamkin won $250,000 by guessing 8 times in a row.
  • Khaled El-Katateny won $100,000 on July 28, 2014. After that, he told the media that he answered the questions correctly not by his knowledge, but, by watching the body language and facial expressions of Eddie McGuire as he reads out the choices and watched the studio audience behind him to see what choices made their faces light up. At the end, Khaled gets to keep his winnings because that wasn’t technically against the rules.
  • At the moment, the seven players managed to get to the 15th question. Six times they were wrong and left the game with minimum amount, and the latter answered correctly and became the first winner in the history of the show, this is Edwin Daly. The last player who ventured to answer the 15th question, but lost and left with $1,000, was Kevin Short.
  • In a series of special editions of "Mega Cash Jackpot", at which participants representing each state of Australia played to accumulate a jackpot, which was played on March 16, 2015. The winner of the series with a win of $541,000 was the actor Gerard Lane. At the moment this was the biggest win of the game until Edwin Daly won $1,000,000.
  • On September 4, 2009, the 100th episode aired.
  • On September 7, 2009, the oldest contestant appeared (87 years old).
  • In 2009-2010, contestants both Siobhan O'Dwyer and Cameron Dening answered the penultimate question wrong. She went home with $0, but he lost $99,000 and walked away with $1,000.
  • In 2010 episode, Sam Reichstein become first contestant, who answered the 3rd question incorrectly.
    • On May 7, 2012, other contestant Michael "Wippa" Wipfli answered the 5th question.
    • On December 16, 2014, Whitney Beseler made antirecord, who answered the 1st question wrong and walked away with nothing.
  • On August 3, 2011, the 500th episode aired.
  • On June 2, 2014, the 1,000th episode was aired.
  • On October 12, 2016, the 1,500th episode aired.
  • On July 30, 2019, the 2,000th episode aired (source).
  • For 1,000 episodes, $24,000,000 won and 6,000 contestants appeared, including 16 contestants to have $250,000. For 1,500 episodes, in show $38,000,000 won and over 9,000 contestants appeared. After 2,000 episodes, approximately 40,000 questions asked and $80,000,000 prize won.
  • In its 20-year history, 20 contestants have been asked the $1,000,000 question, with only three answering correctly; this run of misfortune has been dubbed the "Hot Seat curse". One contributing factor in the Hot Seat curse is the fact that the player cannot walk away on the last question.
  • Over the years, Millionaire has presented several celebrity specials, with some of Australia’s biggest names winning money for charity. Notable winners include Molly Meldrum scored $500,000, Shane Warne and Trevor Sauer (a previous winner of $500,000) who teamed up to win another $500,000, Tracy Grimshaw with $125,000, actress Rachel Griffiths who also won $125,000, and game show legend Tony Barber who won $250,000.
  • A whopping total of $82,785,000 has been won on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Millionaire Hot Seat over the past 22 years.
  • Episodes from March 22 to 30, 2021 were shown on air, but did not posted on the website under the corresponding numbers. As a result, the total episodes of Season 13 was in fact 145, though the season's last episode was posted under number 139.

References

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