Some quiz shows don’t need to give away cash every week in order to keep viewers coming back.
Hard Quiz wins its slot by giving away a brass mug. Have You Been Paying Attention? recycles its prop trophy every week. And Einstein Factor and Mastermind are two more that rely on a sense if achievement as reward enough.
The Chase also wins its slot with very few winners defeating the all-knowing Chaser.
Now it adds short-run primetime specials with the spin-off Beat the Chasers.
On a very shiny Sydney set four Chasers – Brydon “The Shark” Coverdale, Matt “Goliath” Parkinson, Issa “The Supernerd” Schultz and Cheryl “Tiger Mum” Toh are separated by perspex screens.
There’s even a socially-distanced audience ready to see single contestants take on 2, 3 or 4 Chasers. In the first episode several will try their luck in condensed rounds which differ from the afternoon gameplay.
They include Nick, the son of Sale of the Century queen Virginia Knowles and Sale legend David Poltorak, who entered the Guinness Book of Records when he won Grundy’s biggest showcase.
The first round is a multiple choice to bank up to $5000 which can then be increased subject to the time and Chasers they will take on.
From here things move pretty speedily via skilled and theatrical host Andrew O’Keefe, but I did find the gameplay somewhat confusing and it took a few contestants for me to grasp its variation from the daily show.
It’s also a bit imbalanced. I spotted one person answer all 5 initial questions correctly being offered one sum in the range of $95,000 and another offered $85,000….
Gone are the show’s “pushback” opportunities and team building, but the upside is seeing the 4 Chasers working together -and occasionally failing.
O’Keefe is full to the brim with puns, assorted accents and cultural nods, proving why he is immaculate at this genre and worth keeping even when health issues jeopardise his role.
The top 7 winners will also proceed to a Grand Final episode, and the impact of COVID is particularly noticeable when a winner isn’t able to share a hug or even a handshake. Damn you 2020, how do we express human joy?
This format may not usurp the simplicity of the original but after a year like no other, what’s wrong with a little fun on the side?
Beat the Chasers airs 7pm Sunday on Seven.