Division: not for me

September 2, 2013 in Quiz Show

Division logoA few weeks back I posted an excited notice of an upcoming quiz show which will air on RTÉ this Winter. Yet, after applying and going through an interview, I contacted the show’s production company early last week to ask for my name to be taken off the list of potential contestants.

Why this change of heart? Put simply, Division is reality television crossed with a quiz show.

The show’s format sees an initial 32 strangers entering a studio and drawing a card, which will be either red or blue, from a hat. The red and blue teams, thus formed, go their separate ways and wait for round one’s quiz category to appear. When it is revealed each group has five minutes to decide who will be their representative in a one-v-one quiz on the topic. No-one knows anything about anyone else so, obviously, the producers are hoping for some on-screen banter, self-promotion or maybe even an argument. The sort of thing that’s no doubt referred to as ‘good tv’ in media circles.

By hook or by crook the nominees are selected and they come to the studio centre to face sudden-death questions. Someone will win, someone will lose. The important thing is that, following this outbreak of quizzing, the entire team represented by the loser will be eliminated. Gone, just like that.

The winning team is disbanded and the red and blue cards are used once more to divide the remaining 16 into two teams of eight. Rinse and repeat until you end up with just two survivors and, ultimately, a winner.

Hopefully, just reading that summary will inform you as to why I withdrew. This isn’t really a quiz show. It’s as if one took the ‘Fastest Finger’ round from the start of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and thought “Let’s expand that round, introduce some conflict, and diminish the actual answering of questions”…

The show will be an hour long and feature just five sudden-death rounds of questions. The rest will be made up of introducing the contestants and watching them argue about who should get to actually take part in quizzing.

I doubt anyone likes the idea of letting someone else quiz on their behalf* but here 30 people in the first round will have to put up with that. If someone does like that thought, well good news, they could dodge answering questions throughout and, if lucky, reach the final round!

Sure, you might argue that if I really don’t want to rely on another quizzer I could simply argue on my own behalf, outline my achievements and brow-beat my team-mates into letting me out front. Even if I thought I could do that (which, after thinking about it, I don’t) it does rely on the category being one I’d feel confident about. If I was there taking part, on one of the teams, and the category announced was ‘Soap Opera babies’ I’d simply put my hands up and say “I’m out, argue amongst yerselves.”

Three minutes later, if our representative was unlucky or had bluffed regarding their own knowledge, I’d be ushered out of the studio without having had the opportunity to answer a single question.

No, not for me.

All that being said, everyone involved in the production of Division has been pleasant to deal with and I wish them well. Here’s hoping the show achieves whatever aims they’ve set for it and (if we’re lucky) ushers in a new era of quiz shows on Irish TV.

Would it be too much to ask that these other shows be reboots of Mastermind and Fifteen to One?**

Footnotes:
* Unless Pat Gibson or Kevin Ashman were on your team, perhaps!
** After the Fact, the TV show, anyone?

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