NBC Orders 24-Hour Live Competition Series 'Million Second Quiz'

NBC is taking the plunge with a new 24/7 live reality show that will test contestants' limits.

Taking place over 12 straight days and nights, live competition series The Million Second Quiz will see contestants battling one another as they test the limits of their knowledge, endurance and will to win, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The series is expected to air in the fall.

NBC will broadcast the show in primetime live from an hourglass-shaped structure in the heart of Manhattan -- which also will serve as the living quarters for the players -- instead of the typical studio setting. And unlike other competition shows, players have to play Million Second Quiz 24 hours a day in order to avoid getting eliminated.

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As the 1 million seconds run out, champions then will battle it out and an eventual winner will win what NBC is touting as an "unprecedented" prize of as much as $10 million.

Home viewers also will be able to play along in real time and win the opportunity to appear on Million Second Quiz in primetime. Additionally, NBC affiliates can interact during the day and while the primetime telecast is taking place to give local flavor for their respective regions.

"The Million Second Quiz is a genre-redefining spectacle," said Paul Telegdy, NBC's president of alternative and late-night programming, in a statement. "It is a game, a social experiment and a live interactive event all wrapped into a uniquely sticky entertainment experience. What is exceptional about The Million Second Quiz is that it embraces technology's ability to allow everyone in America to actively participate and compete in a way that has never been done."

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The news comes as networks are shifting focus to live event programming (see: awards shows and sports games) to goose viewership as DVRs continue to affect viewing habits, especially for scripted offerings. “There’s a real hunger for that [live] experience, which in some ways has been further fueled by the growth of DVR,” E! president Suzanne Kolb told THR earlier this year.

Not to mention the hope of manufacturing buzz online as the show takes place. “In today’s world of social media, live TV starts the conversation that lives on Twitter and other social networks,” said AXS TV's Mark Cuban, whose network relies heavily on live programming. Joel Stillerman, AMC's executive vp original programming, whose network airs topical live talk shows accompanying established dramas, added: “The whole idea is to create an event atmosphere. There’s something that is just a little better and a little more energetic when you’re counting down to a live broadcast.”

All3 Media America, Studio Lambert and Universal TV produce, with Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman and David Hurwitz as executive producers.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com
Twitter: @insidethetube