It was hard to get excited as the pig farmer became Red or Black's latest millionaire on Thursday night. He's the third millionaire on the show within a week. Call me grouchy, but when a gameshow gives away a huge prize so frequently doesn't it lose its impact after a while?
I can remember the buzz of Who wants to be a Millionaire launching 13 years ago. A prize of £1m was unimaginable back then in the UK and people were glued to the screen to see if the contestant could win it. The show has kept the buzz going by ensuring contestants rarely win the top prize. And when they do, it's because they've demonstrated some skill to get there. Far more skill than required in a glorified game of heads or tails.
The media is desensitising us to money. The vast sums of cash you can win on gameshows now seem almost meaningless. Most of us could do with more money and who wouldn't want to win a million pounds? But once you've seen a few people win a million pounds over the course of a week the prize becomes less exciting. Television viewers have an insatiable appetite, we always want more.
It's not going to be long until shows like Red or Black, Who wants to be a Millionaire and Million Pound Drop are going to have to offer more. It's similar to what Red or Black producer Simon Cowell says to daredevil acts on Britain's Got Talent, "I want to feel there's a risk you could die if something goes wrong during the act."
So how do you make the show's outcome more exciting now? Does £1 million become £10 million? Perhaps the contestants have to gamble their home on the outcome too? Maybe they get exiled to Siberia for a year if they lose?
No. We need to stop getting carried away by enormous cash prizes. Bring back the days of Bullseye when contestants were happy with £80 and a Bully. Even if they were a little disappointed they didn't win the speedboat. I'd watch Bullseye over any £15m budget gameshow any day.
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