Dropping Like it’s Hot

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The Capital Maharajah Group and Sirasa TV are back at it again, bringing world class quality entertainment to Sri Lanka through its latest international hit TV show, The 5 Million Money Drop.

Two contestants, seven questions and 5 million rupees at stake. The 5 Million Money Drop is a game show that makes millionaire duos. This game show was aired on Fox TV in both United States and Canada. It is based on the UK flagship series The Million Pound Drop. Televised in more than 50 different countries, and having aired over 2,500+ episodes of the game show internationally, it’s now time for the show to drop in our very own island nation, Sri Lanka.

In the competition, a tag team duo with some pre-existing relationship (friends, family, significant other) partner up to face the seven questions and walk home with a massive prize money. But there is a catch.

Unlike Sri Lanka’s flavour of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, known as Sirasa Lakshapathi, the contestants aren’t playing to win the prize money, but to protect it, from the drop that is inevitable.

In a series of seven multiple choice questions, four answers are provided. At the start of the show, the contestants are given the prize money on the spot. But to keep the five million (or what’s going to be left of it anyway), the contestants have to wager their money on what is the correct of the four answers. Get the answer right and the money survives for another round. But get the answer wrong and the money drops into oblivion (for the contestant anyway).

Those who are smart, will definitely try to spread out their odds by wagering on multiple answers, which is allowed and a clever strategy, but each round grows increasingly intense as the odds of the money surviving grown increasingly small until the final question is a winner takes all, go big or go home 50/50 challenge, where the contestant either goes home with the surviving balance, or returns with a story to tell of the exciting time they had as a contestant for the 5 Million Money Drop.

After being shown a brief demonstration of how the games is played, Ceylon Today had the opportunity to speak with the team behind the 5 Million Money Drop and more about the work that had gone into bringing this show into television screens across Sri Lanka.

Needless to say, the biggest question had to do with the numbers. Each of the planned 50 episodes for this season of the 5 Million Money Drop starts with the contestants being given 5 Million rupees (which still goes a long way even in this inflation period). That amounts to the station needing at least quarter of a billion (250 million rupees) for the prize money pool alone, a staggering amount. That’s also not mentioning the various fees and payments Sirasa would have had to make to license the show in order to be aired in the country. Then there’s also the set design and all the back-end effort needed to be taken, a mammoth undertaking.

But Sirasa doesn’t have to bear the burden alone thanks to its sponsors, Sampath Bank, Airtel and Unilever, who are partners in bringing the 5 Million Money Drop to Sri Lanka.

Of course, finances aren’t the only challenge. Creating a set with the adequate specification and technology to operate the show in was another challenge. But with the experience gained through creating world-class sets for other international productions such as Sirasa Lakshapathi and The Voice Sri Lanka, Sirasa has been able to make use of its in-house expertise with very little outside help from the licensor to build the current set. In fact, the team in the press briefing revealed that other South Asian nations have utilised Sirasa and Stein Studio’s expertise when building their own sets for international licensed shows.

The 5 Million Money Drop is also a show about a new generation. This starts with the production team and the entire crew behind the show itself, mentored by legends of reality TV from before, The 5 Million Money Drop is in sense, a passing of the baton to a new generation, and from what we’ve seen, the future of reality TV is bright for Sri Lanka.

But most of all, The 5 Million Money Drop is about the contestants, and the struggle to maintain loss in a high stakes, high pressure show that tests their relationships, the ability to make quick decisions and still have fun and put a good laugh as the show concludes. No one knowns what will happen until the money drops, and we look forward to see who will step forward dial 7788, those four fateful digits to step up and test their mettle with a show that undoubtedly will be a hit among the people of Sri Lanka.

(Pix by J. Weerasekara)

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage