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ABC Tests Knowledge and Endurance on 500 Questions

ABC Tests Knowledge and Endurance on 500 Questions
Alex Davis

We’ve got an exclusive preview of the rules and what to expect from ABC’s newest quiz show.


ABC, which has been a long-time supporter of game shows since Who Wants to be a Millionaire, is getting ready to launch the Next Big Thing. Billed as an all-new game show event, 500 Questions launches May 20th and will air for nine consecutive nights. The network is attempting to make the newest game show sensation, which hasn’t had a big hit in a while, and they’re bringing out the big guns to do it. The series is from the people behind such giant hits as Survivor, The Voice, Mastermind (UK), and countless others. 500 Questions has been kept under wraps for some time. However, we’ve finally got a rundown of the rules so you know what to expect.

500 Questions sees one contestant try to make it through ten rounds of 50 questions each. Each round has ten categories of 5 questions each. The contestant can move around and choose his strengths and work his way through the round. Standing opposite the contestant is the challenger who studies the moves and strategy of the contestant. Why? After missing two questions in a row, the challenger will choose the category the contestant should answer in hopes to knock that person out.

A right answer at any time resets the contestant’s strikes. Three strikes, though, and the contestant is out of the game, replaced by the challenger, and that person will start his journey towards 500 questions. If the contestant beats a round, the challenger is changed.

NOTE: We previously mentioned a 10 minute clock, this was incorrect. It’s ten seconds for each question still.

Most questions are standard, where if you’re wrong you get a strike. However, there are three types of special questions to play through. One is a “Battle” question where the contestant and challenger face off. They are given a category and go back and forth giving correct answers. If the contestant gives a wrong answer, the contestant gets a strike. Second is a top ten challenge, where the contestant must give 5 right answers out of a possible ten. If the contestant doesn’t want to waste time on this one, the contestant can just end the question (for a strike) and move on. Third is a “Triple Threat” where you have to give three answers within the time limit.

No word on the prize just yet.

So what do you think so far? It’s interesting to say the least. It’s more complex than the last big quiz show (which bombed), Million Second Quiz, but it is way more interesting and it does solve a lot of the problems that show had. 500 Questions is prizing itself on speed, very smart contestants, and tough questions. It’s worked for shows like The Chase and Jeopardy! has had a bit of a renaissance recently. Let’s see if it works out for ABC. Fingers crossed.

We’ll have more as we get closer but be sure to mark May 20th on your calendar. Don’t miss the premiere of 500 Questions on ABC. Hopefully video will come soon but in the meantime check out some photos.

Edit: Two slight edits. One to the timer, and one to what happens after three strikes.

  • It’s definitely something I’ll be watching. It doesn’t seem like ABC is trying to gimmick it as a live event, or as “the biggest prize in game show history”, like NBC tried to do with MSQ to get people to watch it. ABC is specifically advertising it as a game show and as it having difficult trivia questions. The last time I remember a promo this intense for an ABC game show was back in 2007 when they were advertising Duel as the next Millionaire. I hope 500 Questions turns out to be the next Millionaire. I’d love to see it return in September for another season. Plus, with the difficulty of the task at hand, I’m sure the payout has to be at least $500k, if not $1 Million. People will be tuning in to find the next Ken Jennings, that’s for sure. Maybe I should’ve applied… could use the cash…

  • Josh Woo

    This just seems like it would get old after a while, but then hopefully the different rounds will keep it moving at a decent pace.

    I’ll give it a shot. Sounds interesting, anyway, although having tried out for the show I’m almost glad I didn’t make it on. This sounds grueling for the contestants.

  • Aaron Wolfe

    $500k? that may be a decent sum of money, but if the questions are as hard as the
    promos are saying they’re gonna be, that’s not enough. (oh and Scott, this was apparently recorded a few weeks ago.