Million Dollar Money Drop: How Should the “Controversy” Have Been Handled?

Million Dollar Money DropOn December 20, 2010, FOX debuted their new primetime game show, Million Dollar Money Drop. If you haven’t seen it, the game basically works this way: a pair of contestants (usually a couple) are given $1 million as the show begins. They must then answer a series of seven multiple choice questions. They can distribute the money, in bundles of $20,000, on the answers but must leave one empty. They end up losing money only if they put it on a wrong answer. The last question has two answers and the contestants must put all of the remaining money on one answer or the other.

On the first episode, Gabe Okoye and Brittany Mayti got to the fifth question with $880,000. The “Inventions” question asked which product was sold in stores first: Post-It notes, the Sony Walkman, or Macintosh computers. The couple put $800,000 on the Post-it notes and $80,000 on the Walkman answer. The show said that the Walkman answer was correct (first sold in 1979) so they lost the $800,000. In the next two rounds, they lost the remaining $80,000.

It turns out that the answer to the inventions question wasn’t as cut and dry as network researchers were initially told. Post-Its were sold in test markets under a different name in 1977, as Post-Its in four cities in 1979 (possibly pre-dating the Walkman), and then nationwide as Post-Its in 1980.

Ultimately, the Post-It error didn’t change the outcome of the game. Had they moved onto the sixth round with $800,000 (instead of the $80,000), they still would have lost all their money because they chose the wrong answer in the last round.

Since there was an error in the game (and possibly because of bad press), the couple has been invited back for another try. The show’s executive producer, Jeff Apploff, said, “As a result of new information we have received from 3M, we feel it is only fair to give our contestants, Gabe and Brittany, another shot to play Million Dollar Money Drop even though this question was not the deciding question in their game.”

The contestants haven’t decided if they want to play the game again, saying that the experience was very stressful.

What do you think? Do you think the network should just give them money, even though the Post-It error wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game? Should this error determine the show’s fate? Should it be cancelled because of it?

What should FOX have done?

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13 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. chuck says

    I think the show should have them back on & start over were things went wrong. Give them there $800,000 back and then ask them the last 2 questions & see if the win or lose. I don’t think the show should just give them the $800K because I was actually watching the episode & yes the lost on that question losing the $800K but the did still have $20K and went on to the final question. Were they got it wrong and lost the $20K they still had. So I don’t think the show should just give them the $800K because if the shoe had been right with the awnser they would have still lost all there money. Its not like they got the final awnser right and walked away with $20K instead of $800K. If show didn’t want to bring them back on then just settle and give them $400K regardless I liked the concept of the show I just thought. They seemed to drag the show out to long. Usually having one couple compete on the one hour gameshow were if they speeded it up or edited it differently I think it would have been much more interesting plus having many more contestants. But when watching a one hour show were they only awnser 7 questions is a little on the slow side.

  2. cp says

    This was the most depressing game show ever. Contestants reach the end and inevitably lose their money. I mean really, people would end up crying on the floor and that’s just sad, not entertaining. Also, maybe a host that doesn’t look depressed most of the time(which may be due to the nature of the show).
    The show just needs tweaking, contestants need options. The last round should let contestants try to double their money and answer the question…or decide to end their game and go home with $1000(or whatever amount the network would deem appropriate).

  3. Viola says

    i really enjoyed this show-especially seeing what a million dollars looks like-please keep this show-i feel it’s a keeper

  4. sam says

    The producers of this show cannot be trusted. They cheated those players out of the money. After the money dropped the players were rattled. Game shows MUST gain the trust of the public immediately or they just become another scam. What sponsor will advertise on a show that cheats? The producers lost $800,000?? They lost 100 times of that in confidence.
    cancel this scam.

  5. Adam Decker says

    The show seems very hard and complicated. It seems that this show might be better of cancelled regardless of this decision.

  6. adam says

    I think that we’ll never know whether this really didn’t affect the outcome of this (very slow-paced and otherwise rather tedious) game. Like the first poster said, getting that kind of psychological blow might have affected their thought process. Of course, it may have had no bearing at all, but since the show was in error, the contestants should get the benefit of the doubt.

    I disagree with Greg as to the correctness of the answer. The question was when the product was invented. Although it went under a different name, it was clearly the same product, and the question as I understood it was when the *product* was invented, not the choosing of the brand name. Therefore, I believe the contestants were correct. But I *agree* with Greg in that I am aghast that so many people think the contestants should be awarded the $820K without finishing the game.

  7. edward says

    I think they should be given the 820,000. and start from the question they lost to the right answer on and finish the questions. That makes it fair, and makes the show look good!!!!!!!

    • Grandizer says

      I agree, to be fair, they should return to the show and be placed in the same condition as they were if the answer they had was counted correctly.
      At that point they should be allowed to continue as if nothing happened.

  8. says

    LOL at 33% saying they need to just give them the $800k. That’s what’s wrong with society today. “Give me free money” is the mantra that will bring us down.
    I say give them another shot to shut everyone up, but in reality they should simply suck it up and move on. Post-it notes might have been sold under a different name, but the first time Post-It notes, by that name, went on sale was correct on the game. The question wasn’t whether or not “Billy’s yellow sticky note items” were sold first.

    • Grandizer says

      Wrong, maybe…
      If someone said Kleenex registered trademarked, then there is only one thing they are talking about. However without the registered and trademark symbols, ANY NUMBER of knockoffs, INCLUDING “Billy’s yellow sticky note items” would be acceptable.

  9. Anonymous says

    A person tends to think differently after a tragic fall. How can you expect the contestants to answer the rest of the questions corretly when you had already crush them pshcologically with your misleading answer. Plus, people tend to think different when their given 800k versus 80k.

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