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'Who wants to be a Millionaire' and 'The Weakest Link' have boosted the popularity of quiz shows. What are the reasons for their appeal?

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'Who wants to be a Millionaire' and 'The Weakest Link' have boosted the popularity of quiz shows. What are the reasons for their appeal? The quiz show has become a big part of television since its arrival to the screen in the 'boom' years of American television in the 1950's. These early quiz shows in a way showed that anyone could win big or the American dream as it is better known. The format of these show was very popular with viewers and advertisers, as they were able to improve the number of sales by advertising and product placement. The quiz show in America then lost its reputation with a series of 'fixing' scandals by the producers to ensure bigger audiences meaning the show keeping its 'prime time' spot. Quiz shows never really earned this reputation back until the recent success of a certain Anne Robinson and her mean ways in 'The Weakest Link'. An example of an early quiz show is 'What's My Line'. This was aired on television in the 1950's when quiz shows were first introduced. The host was called Eamon Andrews. The main plot of the show was that a contestant had to mime a certain person's job while a team had to guess what it was they were miming in a certain time. By the mid 1990's quiz shows had lost some of their popularity because there were too many of them with the same idea and the audience got bored of seeing the same things over and over again but with slight changes e.g. the set and host. The general public wanted to see new things, things that were different, more appealing and most importantly more exciting. ...read more.


The narratives of each show are important to how they became so popular. Have you ever seen a quiz show with not one point where the tension is higher? No you haven't because it wouldn't be aired on television because it would not appeal to the viewers. This is because without different stages where the tension is higher, we would have nothing to keep us hooked watching the show till the end to find out the outcome of the show. The Representation of a show is very important. It gives the show more appeal. This is done by how the host and contestants are dressed and what persona the host adopts on the show. Some people say that Anne Robinson's personality is really cruel and nasty but they are wrong because the way she acts on-screen is put on. This is called her persona. Personality and persona are two very separate things. Personality is what the person is really like and how their family and friends know them. A persona is how the person pretends to be. People like quiz show hosts put this on so the show seems more appealing. Anne Robinson's persona is a very nasty one. She is unfriendly towards the contestant and makes fun of things they do. How people dress and their body language helps this persona like Anne Robinson wears all black clothing including a very long black coat, which makes her seem daunting. Her body language makes her seem unbreakable. She stands very straight with her hand behind her back and she never smiles. The tone of her voice is sharp, stern, strict and very serious. ...read more.


The producers do not just come up with an idea and put it together. They think of many things like Narrative, Representation and Ideology, which I have explained to boost their appeal to the viewers and make it a highly popular television programme. The narrative is there so the show has some sort of storyline where the tension of the show increases to make it seem more exciting. Representation is there so the show looks professional and gives a serious look so the viewers do not just flick over thinking it is a low budget quiz show with on excitement at all. Ideology is very important because without it the viewers would become bored of the show very quickly because it does not suit them and they cannot relate to the idea of the show and the contestants. The show that appeals to me most is 'Millionaire' this is mainly because of the high prize money but that is not all. There seems to be less pressure on it as the host is friendlier and isn't trying to stop you in your way for the prize. You are also given more time to think about the question asked as in 'The Weakest Link' where you are against the clock and the pressure may kick in forcing you to say a silly answer costing your team some money and possibly ending your game. I do not think these show will still be popular in 10 years time because times change and the viewers will become bored off seeing the same thing over and over again. Also new quiz shows will be introduced with fresh ideas and possibly bigger prizes which will attract the viewers because of the idea of being able to win more money which would match the capitalist society they live in. ...read more.

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