NBC's 'Million Second Quiz' Falls Flat

Finale Draws 5.4 million Viewers, and NBC Says Online Players Were in the 'Millions'

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NBC's "The Million Second Quiz" did not turn out to be the must-see live event the peacock network may have envisioned.

Columbia Law School grad Andrew Kravis on 'The Million Second Quiz'
Columbia Law School grad Andrew Kravis on 'The Million Second Quiz' Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Disappointing ratings and app issues plagued the game show, which aired live for 10 nights and allowed viewers to play along and continue watching game play even when the show wasn't on TV.

Some 5.4 million viewers tuned in to see Ryan Seacrest declare a $2.6 million winner Thursday night, initial ratings indicate. While the finale's audience topped the show's six prior telecasts, it was still below the series debut of 6.5 million viewers. "Million Second Quiz" premiered on Sept. 9, and by Sept. 14 had lost more than half its audience.

Critics have called the game show confusing and boring, but the show did lift NBC above its normal rating levels for early September, expanding its platform to promote the rest of its fall lineup, including the return of powerhouse "The Voice" on Monday.

NBC had high hopes for "Million Second Quiz," aggressively promoting it across its properties and even bringing in Ryan Seacrest to host. Its first night got off to a rocky start when its play-at-home app crashed and didn't start working again until the following morning, preventing viewers from racking up the points required to try to become "line jumpers" with a chance at playing on TV.

With those issues resolved, a spokeswoman for the NBC said "millions" of people played the game's app, and engaged in 28 million bouts, but said she was still waiting on a more precise figure on Friday. Of those home players, 440,000 earned enough points to qualify to play on TV, 300,000 of which filled out the form to actually try to appear, she said.

While the spokeswoman had previously said it is a possibility that NBC would try to keep the show alive in some way after its 10-day run, on Friday she declined to comment on plans to that effect or whether the show would get a second season on TV.

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