NBC Preaches Patience on the ‘Social Experiment’ That Is ‘Million Second Quiz’ — Especially After ‘Huge Glitch on Opening Night’

Sep 12, 2013  •  Post A Comment

NBC’s 24/7 live trivia game show “Million Second Quiz” opened to just OK numbers Monday night, and the show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, drew criticism from viewers trying to play along at home after the server supporting the show crashed under the strain, The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports.

“Following a rare company-wide promotion across all NBCUniversal platforms, NBC quickly increased the server capacity to prevent alienating at-home players eyeing a chance to be flown to New York to compete on the live broadcast,” the story reports. “Tuesday’s broadcast — facing reduced competition — dipped two-tenths of a point in the demo, registering a 1.5 rating.”

“Million Second Quiz” will air nightly (except Sundays) through Sept. 19 and is being used as a promotion for NBC’s 2013-14 lineup.

THR spoke to Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late-night programming, to get his take on the show’s performance so far.

Said Telegdy: “This is a show that is viral, so we’re tracking all sorts of other metrics beyond the ratings about people’s engagement and their involvement with the show. We had a huge glitch on opening night with the play-along-at-home app, which was driven by a surge in demand that we hadn’t anticipated.”

The network exec added: "I think every person in America can remember a moment in their life when they experienced frustration with a piece of new technology."

Commenting on the show’s early ratings results, Telegdy indicated he expects the audience to grow. "You ask a television executive if he wants more ratings than he got and there’s not a single show to which that doesn’t apply — every time we wake up wishing we got more," Telegdy said, adding: "When you think of the touch points we have on a show like ‘Million Second Quiz,’ the benefits to the company are a bit more than the rating."

Telegdy added: "This is a show that is a progressive competition in terms of the amount of money at stake. The stakes grow with every second that passes. The understanding of the social experiment component and the endurance component — which is winner’s row — people are just getting to grips with what it means, both the contestants and the viewers. … We have hundreds of thousands of actively engaged participants on the digital side and have people who are starting to understand the game. Every hour that passes, they’ll care more about these contestants whose journeys they’ll want to follow. That takes time."

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