TV Game show payday


Yesterday proved to be a very big payday in afternoon game shows.

Hot Seat gave away its biggest ever cash prize of $540,000 while a Million Dollar Minute contestant declined a $500,000 prize to chase a $750,000 prize.

Hot Seat gave away a total of $540,000 (comprising $20,000 plus a Mega Cash Jackpot of $520,000) to Gerard Lane, 31.

He correctly identified Radiohead as having released the album OK Computer to win the loot. Lane holds four jobs. He is a drama teacher, suit salesman, trivia host and actor.

The money is believed to be the biggest ever cash prize on an afternoon game show, just eclipsing $535,500 won by Dougal “the Human Google” on Million Dollar Minute last October.

But the record may not last long if Million Dollar Minute‘s current contestant Andrew Skarbek is successful. Yesterday he won a staggering $500,000 but chose to play on for the magical million dollars.

Skarbek, already the longest running champ in the history of the show, was diagnosed with MALT Lymphoma 18 months ago. His six month battle with the cancer drained the family’s finances but sparked a new-found fighter’s instinct within.

“In the week I finally beat cancer and was medically given the all clear, I was called up to go on Million Dollar Minute so I feel like this is all happening for a reason,” Andrew said.

“I came here to win one million dollars and that is what I am going to do,” he said.

Host, Simon Reeve, said, “Andrew is clearly one of the best players we’ve ever had so I totally understand why he is going for it.”

Today he becomes the first contestant to play for the $750,000 jackpot, but risks losing $185,500 if he is eliminated.

Both Hot Seat and Million Dollar Minute air at 5:30pm on Nine and Seven, respectively.


  1. oceanographer

    Millionaire was never designed for the Hot Seat format. Whether you win money on that show depends where you are in the order of contestants. Contestants passing on the $500 question to came back later and answer one question and win $50,000 is a joke. Not much skilled required just dumb luck mostly in being the last contestant to answer a question.

  2. Millionaire Hot Seat and Million Dollar Minute: great prizes on offer for contestants, the overwhelming majority of whom are from Melbourne or at least Victoria. Simon Reeve cunningly avoids telling us where Minute’s contestants are from, and Eddie’s Melbourne-centric banter with his contestants is just annoying. US quiz shows draw their contestants from all cities, not just where they’re recorded. So, for example, Jeopardy’s contestants aren’t just from Los Angeles.

  3. Unfortunately the format of Hot Seat doesn’t reward contestants for doing well throughout the show – it is just whoever is lucky enough to be in the Hot Seal for the last question who gets any money – and that was the same last night – that guy was lucky enough to be there for the last questions and answer correctly – any normal episode he would have left with just $20,000 – hence no big deal and ratings kinda reflect that.

    At least on MDM, contestants work towards what they win, episode after episode, and risk it on the way – therefore a win of $500k is much more substantial on MDM than HS.

  4. I watch Hot Seat even though I am not an Eddie fan. I have never been able to understand how he gets away with blatant favouritism towards some contestants. It is extremely annoying and very unfair.

  5. The difference between the two shows is that Hot Seat has Kindergarten questions whereas MDM has University type questions. Oh and Eddie more often than not will help answer the questions….so in fact they are Pre-school questions. No comparison.

  6. While I am very happy for Gerard Lane I would have liked someone from one of the other states to have won.
    In regards to Million Dollar Minute Simon should have waited until Andrew had got all 5 right before inviting his wife up on stage. At least should Andrew lose the drop isn’t so much as to when Lisa was playing for the million.

  7. Seven have made such a big deal of him in promos from the start you know he is going to go all the way. Seven’s promo team is never subtle.

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