Here's something that's new and different. Millionaire started broadcasting today the Touronament of 10 series of 10 shows. Here 's how it works:
1. There is a pool of 10 qualifiers, one who won $250K, 4 who won $100K and 5 who won $50K and used 1 minute 13 seconds to 2 minutes 19 seconds. Each day they move up from the bottom of that list to ask a $1,000,000 question. If that individual chooses to answer it, they forfeit all but $25,000 of their original winnings. If they get it right, then they either establish the first position as a potential $1 million winner or they knock out the already established person from that.
2. The regular show goes on till the end of the 3rd commercial, then it flips into Tournament mode for the last short segment, in which contestants have the amount of time remaining form their original allotment plus 45 seconds to answer a very tough question. This was over 3 mintues for the bottom qualifier. They are discouraged from doing so by several things, the forfeiture of their winnings the primary one, the fact that there are no Lifelines available (very common when you reach the $1 million question) and no access to the Internet (which you do not have in the studio but your Phone a Friend will inthe unlikely event that you still have that lifeline). The odds for these questions are barely above 25% that someone will get it right since it's going to be a guess.
3. Let me examine the probabilities here. A $25,000 forfeit( it could be more for the laster contestants) is compared to a 25% of maybe getting $1 million. I am assuming that anyone who gets the $1 million question right will at least get their original winnings back if they are knocked out. So the upside is either a 25% probability of return of the $50,000, a net present value of $12,500, or a net present value of $250,000. I don't know how to estimate the chances of that but as you can see it would take only about a 16% chance of ultimately winning the big prize to break even on this bet. I would take the risk if I were competing.
4. Today's first contestant, Alex Ortiz, got this question:
Which First Lady is a 9th generation descendant of Pocohontas?
Now that's a tough question and one with an equal probability of any answer being right unless you are lucky enough to know it. Alex refused to guess so she could keep her winnings. The correct answer was Edith Wilson.