NBC takes big risk with 'Million Second Quiz'

Huge demand for the online version of the game causes servers to crash, yet the television show sees disappointing ratings.

By Jonathan Berr Sep 12, 2013 10:21AM
Million Second Quiz set in New York City on September 7, 2013 (The Million Second Quiz via YouTube)Comcast's (CMSCA) NBC has struggled to attract prime-time audiences, but its relentless promotion of "The Million Second Quiz" may have worked too well.

As the Hollywood Reporter noted, the online version of the quiz show crashed Monday following its debut, forcing the network to ratchet up its server capacity by 1,200%.  

The game worked fine for Tuesday's broadcast "apart from some user error-generated complaints," NBC President of Alternative and Late-Night Programming Paul Telegdy told the trade publication.

The "Million Second Quiz" television show, which is hosted by Ryan Seacrest, hasn't proven to be a ratings juggernaut, though. At least, that's the case so far. The Hollywood Reporter says it earned a "modest" 1.7 rating among adults age 18-49, the demographic coveted by advertisers, getting trounced by ESPN's "Monday Night Football." 

The rating for "Million Second Quiz" fell to 1.5 on Tuesday. The show, which NBCUniversal has promoted across the company's media properties, airs every night but Sunday through Sept. 19.

Telegdy, not surprisingly, is taking the show's ratings performance in stride. He argues that "Million Second Quiz" provides the network with cross-promotional opportunities with other shows such as local newscasts, which will help it increase its audience. NBC is planning to use the program to market its new prime time line-up, which features Michael J. Fox's return to the Peacock Network.

"We have hundreds of thousands of actively engaged participants on the digital side and have people who are starting to understand the game," Telegdy tells the trade publication. "Every hour that passes, they'll care more about these contestants whose journeys they'll want to follow. That takes time."

Comcast, which earlier this year fell to fifth place in the ratings, has little choice but to be patient.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks.  Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Sep 12, 2013 2:01PM
All tv is now is watching other people live their life instead of living your own.
I don't want more reality
i don't want more game shows.
I don't want more contestant shows (idol, xfactor)
I want more quality tv (fictional) with drama, comedy, and action.
Sep 12, 2013 1:45PM
Game shows are boring and so is Seacrest.
Sep 12, 2013 2:45PM
seacrest started the kardashians so I hate him forever and anything he is part of period
Sep 12, 2013 2:52PM
i tried watching the show the first night.  got bored very quickly; didn't hold my attention.  too much talk from seacrest, as one person below stated.
Sep 12, 2013 2:27PM
Ryan Seacrest is probably the reason for low ratings. I just cannot watch anything he's part of.
Sep 12, 2013 2:26PM

No more Seacrest. No more quickies Q&A shows. Terrible.  Give us some quality programming.

Enough of empty contents!!

Sep 12, 2013 3:50PM

What is the big deal about Seacrest hosting everything?  Give somebody else a job. 

Sep 12, 2013 3:31PM

This show is as good a reason as I know to avoid NBC this fall. They seem like they're throwing anything they can get their hands on against the wall, hoping and praying that SOMETHING will stick.


Lately paint drying wins a higher audience share than NBC prime time.

Sep 12, 2013 2:37PM
Saw the show, liked the idea, but too much chatter from the MC.  Les gab and more competition might save the show.
Sep 12, 2013 3:48PM

The novelty wore off after the first night ...  PLUS there's Seacrest, too.



Sep 12, 2013 5:47PM
I tried watching the show but I'll swear there were more commercial minutes than there wee game minutes.  I finally said "to hell with it" and switched to something else.  There is entirely too much greed associated with the show and I will not play their game.
Sep 12, 2013 5:48PM

I generally like game shows and would've given it a try, however:

1) Too Complicated

2) Cross between game show and reality tv... are the winners row people living there?  What is that all about?

3) Does the contestant make money just sitting there while the commercials roll?

4) Don't care for Ryan Seacrest

Basically, if I can't understand the game (or any show for that matter) why would I watch it?

Sep 12, 2013 6:57PM
The problem with the show is it is sooooooo boring to watch, which is probably why its not a ratings juggernaut.
Sep 12, 2013 6:13PM
I have watched this show each night. I like Ryan Seacrest ok but he talks tooooo fast. The Qand A are fun and it is an intelligent show but it is too complicated for me..I can't see this lasting.  Deal or No Deal was simpler and more fun to watch.
Sep 12, 2013 4:50PM

Could go for a "Million Second Law & Order" (Original)....


Du- Dunnn

Sep 12, 2013 5:26PM
Thumbs up for the show! Great idea, NBC. Seacrest  is good. I like him.
 Reality shows are about life. REAL LIFE. No law says you have to watch. Lots of people DO watch..
 Detractors DO NOT have to.
Sep 12, 2013 2:55PM
I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Other than the commercials being so long and little game play in between, I am HOOKED and sure wish I COULD BE A LINE JUMPER...and yes I am registered to play....lol.
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