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Getting Rich Quick:
The Rise of the TV Quiz Show


Speaking

1

1) Are there any 'big money' TV quizzes in your country?
What do you have to do, and what kind of prizes do you win?

2
Read the text below about TV quiz shows. Note:
  1. the name of two 1950s quiz shows
  2. when Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? began.
  3. the names of the three lifelines on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
  4. the name of the first $million winner.
  5. why Lertlak Panachanwapron was both lucky and unlucky.

Quiz shows first became popular in the USA in the late 1950s, with radio and TV shows such as The $64,000 Questions and Twenty-One pulling in huge ratings. But scandals about feeding correct answers to the contestants (later the subject of the Robert Redford movie, Quiz Show) undermined the public's faith in the shows, and the TV quiz went into temporary decline - in the us at least. With the growth of television in the '60s and '70s, the prizes gradually got bigger - and the formats for the shows more

lavish
and imaginative.

A key breakthrough came with the British quiz, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? which first appeared in 1998. The formula was simple - 15 multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty, with the contestant in the hot seat having three lifetimes if they're stuck - 'phone a friend', 'Ask the Audience' and '50:50', where the computer takes away two wrong answers, and leaves the correct answer and one remaining wrong answer. The big prize money that attracted viewers to the show was funded by an equally simple idea: would-be contestants paid a small charge to call telephone hotlines to enter their names for the show. These proved so popular that viewer had to phone dozens of times to stand any chance of appearing. This ingenious formula proved so successful that the show has been sold to more than forty countries worldwide. In fact, it's probably being shown somewhere in the world as you read this!

John Carpenter became the first $million winner on the American show in 1999 - but things haven't always gone according to plan. On the Thai version of the show, Lertlak Panachanawapron had exhausted her three lifelines by the fifth question when she was amazed to see the answer she thought was correct highlighted on her monitor screen. She picked it and continued choosing the highlighted answer until she had answered all fifteen questions, winning 1 million baht in the process. 'I didn't notice anything,' said the presenter. 'Just that she was very smart despite not having much education.' unfortunately, the show's producers were more suspicious and Lertlak later confessed to noticing the highlights around the correct answers - the computer was mistakenly showing her the host's screen! After her winner's cheque had been returned, she was given another chance ... and failed on the fourth question.
However, contestants have come up with other ingenious ways of reaching that elusive million....

Speaking

3 Discuss these questions in groups.
  1. Has there been a version of Who Wants To Be a millionaire? in your country?
  2. Would you like to appear on a show like this? Why / Why not?
  3. How many times would you be prepared to phone the contestants' hotline in order to get on?
  4. What kinds of questions would you most dread in general knowledge quiz? What would be your strongest areas?
  5. Can you think of any ingenious ways of winning any TV quiz show that you watch? Tell the class and decide whose idea is the cleverest.

Rich Kids

Today there are more and more young people under the age of 25 becoming millionaires. Coming into money at an early age can be tremendously exciting but it can also be fraught with its own dangers and problems. Here are 4 young people who have found themselves in quite extraordinary financial situations very early on.

A TOM HARTLEY

The thoughts of his contemporaries are of football, computer games and the latest designer trainers. Yet Tom Hartley, who struck his first deal selling a Porsche when he was 11, has just become Britain's youngest self-made millionaire at the age of 14.
Hartley has a private chauffeur, mobile phone and wardrobe of designer suits, and in the past year alone he has been responsible for clinching deals worth £8m for his father's luxury used-car business.
   Hartley left school at 11 and since then has been educated partly by private tutors but mostly by the so-called 'university of life'. 'I am serving an apprenticeship and I learn something every day,' he said. He admits it's not for him but he certainly doesn't criticise a conventional education for others. 'If someone wants to be a lawyer or a doctor, they should take the normal exams. But for what I want to do. school doesn't suit me.' he said.
  His father said of Tom, "He has been talking with customers on the phone since he was 12 and the thing; which really gives him the edge is his ability to know when to close the deal. Tom is a level-headed young man who can keen his cool in all sorts of circumstances. Actually, he's really more like a partner which is why I got him a Ferrari - he'd so earned it."

Tom Hartley Simon Cunlifee-Lister

B SIMON CUNLIFFE-LISTER

At the age of 15 Simon has been left a £l0million estate with a manor house, priceless antiques and a butler. All inherited from a distant bachelor cousin.
Solicitor's son, Simon, who plays the saxophone in a band called Shagwagg, surveyed his new domain yesterday: 'The house would be perfect for a rave - but I suppose that's out of the question.' Simon will be responsible for the 380-year-old Burton Agnes Hall, near Bridlington, Humberside. Paintings by Renoir and Gauguin, which hang from its oak-panelled walls, and collections of bronzes, porcelain and furniture attract 30,000 visitors a year. However, Simon's untidy bedroom at his current home is covered in pictures of pop stars.
Simon is a pupil at one of the most famous schools in the country, Winchester, which costs a hefty £15,000 a year. His long-term ambition is to become an engineer after completing an appropriate university course. In the short term though he is planning to show his girlfriend, Helen, 15, round the house and its 42 acres. He added: 'I've been told to keep an eye out for gold diggers and I suppose most women would be impressed by all this but I told Helen what to expect and she wasn't overawed at all which is great. Actually, the people at school have teased me quite a bit. They keep asking if I can lend them £10million!'

C TRACEY MAKIN

Tracey Makin

The National Lottery's youngest millionaire confessed yesterday that she would have been delighted with a mere £53. 16-year-old Tracey Makin thought she would be collecting that modest windfall after matching four numbers in Saturday's draw and it was only the next day, as she was checking her numbers again, that the GCSE student realised she had picked them all - and a win of more than £lmillion.
Earlier her mother said Tracey seemed to be taking the enormous win in her stride. Karl Crompton "She is being very cool about it, but obviously she is ecstatic" she said. "I don't know how she is managing to study for her exams, but she is and she'll be taking her exams in the summer, money or no money"
Tracey chose her numbers from a combination of friends' birthdays. "I probably will continue playing the lottery although I was told lightning never strikes twice in the same place," she laughed. "It's slowly sinking in but I still haven't really had the chance to think properly about what I'm going to do with the money."

D KARL CROMPTON

What do you give the man who has everything? Well, in the case of Karl Crompton, something to do wouldn't go amiss. Amazingly, just a fortnight after scooping nearly £llmillion on the National Lottery, the 23-year-old is - to put it bluntly - becoming bored out of his brain.
Having become one of the richest young men in Britain, you might expect him to be drinking champagne, jet-setting around the Caribbean, or out on the town clubbing to his heart's content every night. Instead, the former electrical store worker dines on fish and chips at home, spends his evenings watching videos and goes out motor cycling with his mates.
Yesterday, unshaven and facing another dreary day of riches beyond the dreams of avarice, Karl admitted: "I hate sitting around doing nothing. When I was at work it could be repetitive, but at least I kept meeting different people."
"It's hard to comprehend how much money I've got and when I actually stop and think about it, to be honest, it's too much and I haven't got a clue what to do with it. All I've ever wanted is a nice bike, a nice car and a nice house - and it's hard to know what else to get. I suppose I'll buy a house at some stage, but I've lived at home all my life and don't see why I should move out now."

Discuss

Discuss with other students what difficulties young people might have if they became very rich overnight.
    Read the text quickly to find out in what different ways each of the young people became rich.
    1. For each question you will need to look for a 'parallel expression/sentence' in the text. This might be a phrase /sentence which reflects or illustrates the meaning of the question but uses different words. You will not find exactly the same words in the text as in the question. The parallel expressions /sentences for each question below have been underlined to help you.
    2. Choose your answers from the list of people on the right. When more than one answer is required, these may be given in any order
    Which rich kid(s)
    doesn't feel very positive
    about their new financial situation?
    1 _____
    is a little concerned about people
    who will try to get money from
    them now they are rich?
    2 _____ A Tom Hartley
    believes a conventional school
    education only prepares children
    for conventional jobs?
    3 _____ B Simon Cunliffe-Lister
    is very style conscious? 4 _____ C Tracey Makin
    have impressed their parents 5 _____ 6 _____
    haven't really adjusted to the
    idea of having so much money?
    7 _____ 8 _____
    initially thought they had only
    won a small amount of money
    9 _____ D Karl Crompton
    has good negotiating skills 10 _____
    haven't changed their lifestyle
    very much
    3
    Add two more questions to those in Exercise 3. (Make sure you find parts of the text to justify the answer.) Ask another student to decide which person or people is/are being referred to and which parts of the text justify their answers.
    4
    Discuss with other students. How do you feel about each of the four people in the article? Do you think you would like/dislike them? Give examples from the text to support your opinions.
    5
    Work with another student. Spend a little time thinking about who you are, your attitude and how you will approach the conversation.
    6

    Match the words to their meanings

    1. Overawed Definition B Image
    2. Raking in Definition A Image
    3. Meer Definition C Image
    4. chauffeur Definition D Image
    5. gives him the edge Definition E Image
    6. out of the question Definition F Image
    7. hefty Definition G Image
    8. It's slowly sinking Definition H Image
    9. The penny dropped Definition I Image It clicked Definition J Image
    10. Scooping Definition K Image
    11. Wouldn't go amiss Definition L Image
    12. Taking it for granted Definition M Image
    13. Take it in your stride Definition N Image
    7 Which rich kid(s) ? Choose from
    1. A Tom Hartley.
    2. B Simon Cunliffe-Lister
    3. C Tracey Makin
    4. D Karl Crompton

    Choose which rich kid or kids match each of these. There might be a phrase or sentence which reflects or illustrates the meaning of the question but uses different words. You will not find exactly the same words in the text as in the question. The parallel expressions /sentences for each question below have been underlined to help you.

    1. Doesn't feel very positive about their new financial situation?
    2. Is a little concerned about people who will try to get money from them now they are rich?
    3. Believes a conventional school education only prepares children for conventional jobs?
    4. Is very style conscious?
    5. Have impressed their parents
    6. Haven't really adjusted to the idea of having so much money?
    7. Initially thought they had only won a small amount of money
    8. Has good negotiating skills
    9. Haven't changed their lifestyle very much
    8
    Add two more questions to those in Exercise 3. (Make sure you find parts of the text to justify the answer.) Ask another student to decide which person or people is/are being referred to and which parts of the text justify their answers.
    9
    Discuss with other students.
    1. How do you feel about each of the four people in the article?
    2. Do you think you would like/dislike them?
      Give examples from the text to support your opinions.
    3. Match the pictures below to the rich kids in the text above.
    Tracey Makin
    Karl Crompton
    Tom Hartley
    Simon Cunlifee-Lister

    What do you think?

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