Minute to Win It (American game show)

This is a good article. Click here for more information.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Minute to Win It
GenreGame show
Created byFriday TV
Presented byGuy Fieri
Apolo Ohno
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons4 (2 on NBC, 2 on GSN)
No. of episodesNBC: 68[1]
GSN: 40[2]
Executive producersNBC:
Craig Plestis
Tim Puntillo
Mattias Olsson
Jock Millgårdh
Estelle Bodén
Michael Binkow
Running time42–44 minutes
Production companiesUniversal Media Studios (2010–11)
Universal Television (2011)
Friday TV
Smart Dog Media
Shine America (2013–14)
Original networkNBC (2010–11)
GSN (2013–14)
Original releaseNBC:
March 14, 2010 (2010-03-14) – September 7, 2011 (2011-09-07)
June 25, 2013 (2013-06-25) –
April 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)

Minute to Win It is an American television game show which features contestants playing simple games with common household items in an attempt to win a cash prize. The series originally ran on NBC with host Guy Fieri and was revived in 2013 on Game Show Network (GSN) with Apolo Ohno presenting the show.

The series premiered on NBC on March 14, 2010, airing the first two episodes back-to-back. A second season began on December 7, 2010. On May 13, 2012, NBC announced that the show would not be renewed for a third season. On February 4, 2013, GSN green-lit a revival of the series, and the first season began airing on June 25, 2013. A second season of the GSN version premiered on February 25, 2014.


Contestants are presented with a blueprint for the first challenge (level) and must successfully complete a game within 15 minutes to move past the first level and advance to the next level. The challenges are games that require contestants to perform tasks with various household items (such as releasing a balloon's air to blow a certain number of plastic cups off of a table, or rolling marbles at an upright-standing pencil in order to knock it over).[3] Contestants who can complete all ten challenges win the show's top prize[1] ($1,000,000 in the NBC version, $250,000 in the GSN version).

The difficulty of the games progressively increases throughout the show. If time expires or the conditions of the game cannot be fulfilled (such as exhausting any allotted attempts or breaking a rule within a challenge), the contestant loses a "life", three of which are provided throughout the game. Contestants who lose all three of their lives have their game end and their winnings drop to the previous milestone they passed. After successfully completing a game, contestants can leave with the amount of money already won before seeing the blueprint for their next level.[1] If they elect to play the game, however, they cannot walk away until that level is complete or they have exhausted all three of their lives.

Episodes featuring celebrity contestants competing for charities and teams of two contestants tweak these rules slightly. In celebrity episodes, all levels are milestones,[4] while in episodes featuring teams of two contestants, some games are played by both, while others are played solo. A contestant can only make three consecutive attempts at solo games (including re-attempts following losing a life; an intervening team game does not reset this count). After a contestant makes three attempts, the other contestant is forced to attempt the next solo game.[5]

Special editions[edit]

Besides celebrity specials and editions featuring teams, other special editions have been conducted by the NBC version of the series. To begin the show's second season, three special Christmas-themed episodes were produced and aired in December 2010. For these specials, two extra games were added, with the 11th game worth $2,000,000 and the 12th game worth $3,000,000. In addition, some games contained a "Holiday Bonus," in which a contestant won a gift if the level is passed.[6] A visual representation of the gift was placed inside of a box, which was opened if and when the level was successfully completed. The gifts included an extra life, an extra ten seconds to be used during a challenge, and a bonus prize.

The series also featured other episodes that featured twists to the format. In "Head to head" matches, two teams of two players compete against each other in a best-of-seven match. Winning a challenge earns the team a point; the first team to four points wins a guaranteed $50,000 and a chance to play for the million starting from Level 6 with three lives remaining.[7] In "Last Man Standing" episodes, 10 contestants play against each other; the one with the worst result at the end of the challenge is eliminated. This continues until there is one contestant left. The winner wins $100,000 and plays a million-dollar game for a chance to win the top prize.[8] In addition, during a few summer episodes, one member of the audience would be selected to play a million-dollar game at the end of the episode.[9]

Payout structure[edit]

Successfully completing a level is worth a specific cash prize. Contestants who successfully complete levels on milestones (prize amounts in bold) are guaranteed to leave with no less than the cash award at that level should they fail any later stunts. Gold indicates the top prize. Dark Green indicates that the challenge was the Christmas level 11 or 12 and a milestone.

Level Value
1 $1,0001
2 $2,500 $2,000
3 $5,000 $3,000
4 $10,000 $5,000
5 $50,000 $10,000
6 $75,000 $15,000
7 $125,000 $25,000
8 $250,0002 $50,000
9 $500,0002 $100,000
10 $1,000,000 $250,000
11 $2,000,000 N/A
12 $3,000,000

1Added midway in season 1 of NBC version.

2Added early in season 2.


Guy Fieri, host of the original NBC version.
Apolo Ohno, host of the revived version on GSN.

About two years before the series premiered on NBC, Guy Fieri's agent, who had attended a meeting in France, contacted him, pitching to him the idea of hosting the show.[12] Fieri was eventually chosen to host the series, and the show premiered with two back-to-back episodes on March 14, 2010, airing 27 new episodes through September of that year.[13] The second season, which consisted of 41 episodes, began on December 7, 2010, with a Christmas special.[13] Executive producers for the NBC versions included Craig Plestis, Tim Puntillo, Mattias Olsson, Jock Millgårdh and Estelle Bodén.[14] On May 13, 2012, NBC canceled the series, electing not to renew it for a third season.[15]

Shortly after the NBC version's cancelation, reruns of Minute to Win It began airing on Game Show Network (GSN) July 24, 2012.[1] Citing the NBC version's ratings success in reruns, the network announced plans to produce a revival of the series on February 4, 2013.[2] The GSN version was hosted by American speed skating champion Apolo Ohno,[16][17] with Michael Binkow serving as executive producer.[18] The first season premiered on June 25, 2013,[18] although a full episode sneak preview was shown on May 23, 2013.[19] The series then went on a short hiatus, returning to air new episodes (advertised as a second season) February 25, 2014.[20]


In a pre-broadcast review, Cinema Blend's Kelly West praised Fieri's "enthusiastic" performance and his ability to interact well with contestants. West also noted that the show could do well with families and viewers who have a preference to non-intellectual game shows; however, West criticized the challenges for needing "little to no skill" to accomplish.[3] In October 2010, Minute to Win It was awarded the C21/Frapa Award for best "studio based game show" format at the MIPCOM Television Festival in France.[21]

Alyssa Davis of Hollywood Junket called the GSN version of the series "decent;" however, she also provided some slight criticism of Ohno's hosting, arguing that while "he is likable," his "personality is not strong enough to host a game show."[22]


The NBC version's ratings were generally average, with episodes toward both the beginning and end of the series' run generally earning between five and six million viewers.[23][24] Ratings for the GSN version were slightly better than average for the network's standards. The May sneak preview earned 452,000 viewers,[25] while the first two new episodes debuted to a combined total of 875,000 viewers, with 525,000 at 8:00 and 350,000 at 9:00.[26] The GSN version would later climb to a series high of 596,000 viewers on August 6, 2013, while serving as a lead-in to the series premiere of The Chase.[27]


The first licensed merchandise for the series was a video game produced by Zoo Entertainment, which was released for the Nintendo DS, Wii, Kinect for Xbox 360, and iOS devices on November 2, 2010.[28] In May 2011, NBCUniversal agreed to a deal with Wendy's allowing the restaurant to release kid's meal toys based on five challenges seen on the actual show.[29] Other home versions based on the series' format include a board game and card game format of the show, both released by Mattel in 2011 and 2012 respectively,[30][31] and an "Ultimate Party Pack" released by Sportscraft featuring many of the game's challenges.[32] A summer and holiday activity guide were also released.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "GSN Acquires Off-Network Rights to Minute to Win It" (Press release). GSN Corporate. July 17, 2012. Archived from the original on October 10, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "GSN Orders 40 Original Episodes of Popular Game Show Minute to Win It" (Press release). GSN Corporate. February 4, 2013. Archived from the original on October 10, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  3. ^ a b West, Kelly (March 13, 2010). "Minute to Win It Review: Fieri Shines as Host". Cinema Blend. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  4. ^ Minute to Win It. Season 1. Episode 11. May 12, 2010. NBC.
  5. ^ a b Minute to Win It. Season 1. Episode 12. July 30, 2013. Game Show Network.
  6. ^ Minute to Win It. Season 2. Episode 1. December 7, 2010. NBC.
  7. ^ Minute to Win It. Season 2. Episode 13. February 16, 2011. NBC.
  8. ^ Minute to Win It. Season 1. Episode 20. August 23, 2010. NBC.
  9. ^ Minute to Win It. Season 1. Episode 13. July 7, 2010. NBC.
  10. ^ Minute to Win It. Season 2. Episode 9. February 2, 2011. NBC.
  11. ^ Grosvenor, Carrie. "GSN Previews Their New Minute to Win It Game Show". About Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  12. ^ Nguyen, Hahn (March 12, 2010). "Minute to Win It: Guy Fieri's got game at NBC". Zap2it. Tribune Interactive. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Minute to Win It: Episode Guide". NBC Universal. Archived from the original on December 19, 2011.
  14. ^ End credits lists of appropriate Minute to Win It episodes.
  15. ^ Seidman, Robert (May 13, 2012). "Fear Factor, Minute to Win It, Who Do You Think You Are? and The Sing Off All Canceled by NBC". TV By the Numbers. Zap2It. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  16. ^ "GSN Announces Speed Skating Champion Apolo Anton Ohno as Host of Minute to Win It" (Press release). GSN Corporate. March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  17. ^ Lee, Luaine (July 20, 2013). "Post-Olympics, Apolo Ohno finds himself skating faster than ever". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "GSN Announces Premiere of Minute to Win It on June 25 at 8:00 PM ET/PT" (Press release). GSN Corporate. April 9, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  19. ^ "GSN Announces Sneak Peek of New Original Series Minute to Win It on May 23rd at 10:00 PM ET" (Press release). GSN Corporate. May 21, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  20. ^ "GSN Premieres All-New Episodes of Minute to Win It Hosted by Speed-Skating Champion Apolo Anton Ohno" (Press release). GSN Corporate. January 22, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  21. ^ "Minute to Win It scoops C21 Format Award for 'Best Studio Based Game Show'". NBC Universal. July 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  22. ^ Davis, Alyssa (March 28, 2013). "Ohno is Oh-kay as Minute to Win It host on GSN". Hollywood Junket. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  23. ^ Armstrong, Jennifer (March 29, 2010). "Ratings: NBC up with Minute to Win It and Celebrity Apprentice, while CBS wins with Amazing Race and Undercover Boss". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  24. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 8, 2011). "TV Ratings Wednesday: America's Got Talent Rises, Big Brother Falls, Buried Treasure Hits Series High, As CBS & NBC Tie For Adults 18-49 Lead". TV By the Numbers. Zap2it. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  25. ^ "Thursday's Cable Ratings: "Swamp People" Tops Demos, Viewers for History". The Futon Critic. May 24, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  26. ^ "Tuesday's Cable Ratings: Rizzoli & Isles, Catfish Returns Win Originals Race". The Futon Critic. June 26, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  27. ^ Bibel, Sara (August 7, 2013). "GSN's New Series The Chase Delivers Ratings AND Cash Winnings on its August 6th Debut". TV By the Numbers. Zap2it. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  28. ^ "Minute to Win It: Wii, iPhone, Xbox 360, NDS". IGN. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  29. ^ "NBCUniversal and Wendy's Ink Deal". Global License. May 6, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  30. ^ "Minute to Win It (2011)". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  31. ^ "Minute to Win It Card Game (2012)". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  32. ^ "Summer Family Games". ABC 7 Chicago. June 12, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2014.

External links[edit]