March 15th, 2010
12:24 PM ET

'Minute to Win It': Skip it

Remember the classic game show "Beat the Clock," where contestants performed silly physical stunts for prizes?  What if you took that game and added 21st century theatrics and enough dramatic pauses to drive you batty?

You'd have "Minute to Win It," the new million dollar game show that premiered Sunday night on NBC.

The show is simple enough - successfully perform 10 stunts to win $1 million - but the presentation is convoluted and frustrating.

The show suffers by embracing some of the traits and gimmicks common in recent prime time game shows, such as money trees, lifelines, dramatic mood lighting  and awkward cuts to commercial.  The latter was extremely blatant, with the show going to commercial several times before stunts were about to begin.

The camera work also gave me a headache during the stunts.  Was there a real reason to go from video to film to "cinema verite" and back again, outside of someone thinking it "looked cool"?

The stunts themselves were unique - I especially liked one where a contestant had to stack 10 heavy hex nuts (the ones you buy at the hardware store) using a chopstick.  But every stunt had to be introduced with dramatic, over-hyped fanfare, complete with the disembodied voice of a British-accented woman explaining how each stunt worked.  "Minute to Win It" already has an on-camera host - wouldn't it have been easier to have Guy Fieri explain the games?

Fieri wasn't too shabby as host.  He had a good rapport with the contestants, and he looked genuine when discussing his excitement for the show. But there were times where Fieri made comments that had me scratch my head in disbelief.  Why talk about a contestant setting a show record in a stunt when he's apparently the first contestant in show history?

There were also times where you could tell that Fieri's comments were added in post-production, long after the taping concluded.  A number of recent prime time efforts ("Deal or No Deal" and "Million Dollar Password" come to mind) had the same problem, making the shows look slipshod and rough in the final cut.

In the end, "Minute to Win It" looked like what I feared - a show that was rushed into production by a network needing to fill holes in a post-Olympics and post-Leno prime time environment.  If you want to see how a show like this can work, go to YouTube and check out episodes of "The Cube," the British game that "Minute to Win It" appeared to get much of its inspiration from.  Or, better yet, watch some old "Beat the Clock" clips.

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Filed under: television

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. snooksiella

    Oh, I miss my Guy...Fieri! (Yes, Guy Fieri) Loved to see him cooking, but LOVE to see him even more on MINUTE TO WIN IT (!!!). I heard a NEW SEASON airs on NBC on Tuesday, Dec 7th (8/7c). I'm not usually a game show person, but MTWI keeps me on my toes– very refreshing. Plus new HOLIDAY episodes coming up this season. I wish I could go on! I always get so panicked for Check it out:"

    December 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. anonymous

    This show is pretty sweet and definitely starting to become my favorite game show on TV. Really cool concept!!! Fun stuff that everyone can do with really cool household items. It's so easy to learn to and all you have to do is submit your very own user video and you can get a chance to win. I'm Super Excited that it's now on Tuesday Nights too!!! Tuesdays and Wednesday? I can't get enough!!! NBC definitely out did themselves with this show. And Guy Fieri is the man! Go Minute To Win It!!! Tuesdays and Wednesdays 8 p.m. on NBC.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    I would have been much happier if they had adapted "The Cube" for a US audience. That show is much better than "Minute to Win It." I like Guy F., I just wish he wasn't saddled with THIS show.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sandy

    Seriously? Dana, Kari, Mary, Michael and perhaps, Jennifer(?), somehow, you all seem to be in the same well-tuned, well-practiced choir. Are you the parents of people on the production staff? Your thoughts are a little too glowing for a show I couldn't even sit through to the end, and definitely fast forwarded through most of what I did watch. The tissue challenge seems wasteful (yeah, I do care about the 1/1000th of a tree that went into making a :60 pile of trash on stage). Beyond that, I couldn't get over the sweatiness of it all. Overall, I'd rather watch videos on youtube.

    March 16, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jennifer

    I really like the premise of the show, especially since these are all stunts you can do at home (keep the kids busy!) but I agree the cuts to commercials were annoying as were the silly explanations of the stunts. This is a really good idea for a show and hopefully the powers that be will listen to us.

    March 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Michael

    I watched it with my 8 year old daughter and we both loved it. It was nice to have something we both could watch.

    March 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mary

    We enjoyed the show very much. Guy did a good job as host and we found ourselve rooting for the contestants as time ticked down. I think it will be around for awhile also.

    March 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kari

    I liked it, we skipped all the talking and commercials by recording it on DVR first. But we were at the edge of our seats the whole time. This is a show that anyone can be a part of and there's something comforting and really appealing about that.

    March 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dana

    It was only the first show, give them time to work out the kinks. I liked the show and think it is good family entertainment on a sunday night and you can just see familes trying these at home together.

    i think it will be around for a while.

    March 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |

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