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“Last night so many of you were playing along on your MSQ apps that you actually crashed the system,” Ryan Seacrest raved at the top of tonight’s Million Second Quiz – the new game show that was supposed to showcase NBC’s social TV cutting-edge-ness but instead embarrassed the network in its premiere one night earlier. “The good news is you made us the No. 1 free app on iTunes,” the host added. Wild applause from the live audience. “But wait, there’s more good news,” said Seacrest, who is maybe the only live-TV host who could pull off that gag with a straight face after last night’s debacle. “They tell me it’s actually fixed – I hope so,” he added, hedging his bets. An NBC exec told Deadline tonight they’d decided to have Seacrest address the snafu at the top of the second show because, “We want to be as transparent with the audience, especially when breaking new ground on network TV with second-screen applications.”
“Breaking new ground” is what NBC did when its app crashed about halfway through the East Coast premiere Monday night. The network had hoped to get the app back up in time for the premiere’s West Coast feed, but that never happened. The app — with which viewers were supposed to not only play along with the live show but continue to play round-the-clock in hope of qualifying to become a contestant on the broadcast competition — did not return until late this morning.
NBC this fall will be mounting one of the most ambitious unscripted efforts ever attempted. The network has ordered The Million Second Quiz, a new live competition that combines trivia knowledge and endurance. The contest, where time equals money, will last 1,000,000 seconds or 12 days (11.57 days to be precise.) It comes from All3Media America (formerly Studio Lambert USA), the company behind CBS’ Undercover Boss, and Universal TV. Created by Stephen Lambert, The Million Second Quiz will air live in primetime and on NBCUniversal’s digital platforms the rest of the time in a type of coverage reserved for major sporting events like the Olympics. The Million Second Quiz will originate from a gigantic hourglass-shaped structure built in the heart of Manhattan. Its walls will be made out of glass so the contestants and the game play is visible from the street, somewhat in the vein of David Blaine’s stunts.
The four players who have remained in the game the longest at any time serve as reigning champions and get to live in the hourglass. To avoid being unseated in the primetime show where one of the reigning champions gets challenged, the four must continue to play 24 hours a day, taking strategic breaks to rest and sleep.