Millionaire Hot Seat is a fast-paced spin-off of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, in which six contestants go head to head to try and win $1 million in cash.
The Hot Seat format debuted on the Nine Network in April 2009 as a 5:30pm lead-in to its evening news bulletin.
Designed to be a faster-paced game than the original format of Millionaire, the show involves six contestants each taking turns at trying for the top prize of $1 million.
The traditional three lifelines have been replaced by a single "pass", in which a contestant could pass the question to the next contestant; the following contestant is then required to answer the question without passing.
Each question is also given a time limit, 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 out an answer in the time limit, it is considered an automatic "pass". If that particular question cannot be passed on, that player is eliminated and the highest value available is removed.
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 last question is answered correctly, the player receives the amount of money. However, if the player answers the question incorrectly or does not answer in time, then the last player to be eliminated receives either nothing (which means nobody receives the prize money for that show) or $1,000 if the fifth-question milestone is reached. Only questions 5 and 10-15 are worth money; the other values on the money tree are worthless.
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.
During 2015, the "Switch" lifeline was added for contestants on the final question. This allowed the contestant to switch to a different question if they were unhappy with it. This feature was soon dropped on 8 May 2015, but was brought back for a week of episodes from 21 to 25 September of the same year.
Later in 2015, the "Ask a Friend" lifeline was added in for contestants. Similar to the traditional "Phone a Friend" lifeline, the contestant is able to ask their designated friend or family member in the audience to help them answer the question. Before the player can use the lifeline, they must answer three consecutive questions after the $1000 'safe level'. The feature was added for a week of episodes from 14 to 18 September 2015.
Starting on 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 full-hour show but is divided into two parts: Fastest Finger First and Hot Seat.
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 from the second version of Fastest Finger First 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 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 $1000 check. 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).
The new Hot Seat round plays exactly like it did before with one exception, the player with the $1000 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 $1000 check to McGuire to pick one of the following lifelines:
- 50-50 – The computer will randomly choose two wrong answers and remove them.
- Ask A Friend – The contestant's in-studio companion will be tasked with talking to the contestant in the Hot Seat and guiding them towards the correct answer. The timer for the question is restarted and the contestant and companion will have to talk to each other to reach an answer before it expires. (By rule, the contestant still cannot turn to look at the companion.)
- Switch – As in "Switch The Question" where 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 and McGuire will present the choices to the contestant. Upon resolution of the lifeline, the question clock will restart.
The Money TreeEdit
The amounts go up as follows:
- "$100" ($0)
- "$200" ($0)
- "$300" ($0)
- "$500" ($0)
- "$1,500" ($0)
- "$2,500" ($0)
- "$4,000" ($0)
- "$6,000" ($0)
A Board Game based on Millionaire Hot Seat was made by UGames.
On 29 August 2016, 67-year-old Edwin Daly became the first contestant to correctly answer the $1 million question in Australia's Hot Seat format, thereby becoming the third contestant on any Australian version of the Millionaire franchise to win $1 million.
- "Hot Seat: Could you answer these questions for $1 million?" - News.com.au, 29 August 2016 (sourced 30 August 2016)
- "South Australian war veteran will donate part of $1 million 'Millionaire Hot Seat' win to charity" - 9news.com.au, 29 August 2016 (sourced 30 August 2016)