The Chase Australia
|The Chase Australia|
|Creative director(s)||Michael Kelpie|
|Presented by||Andrew O'Keefe|
|Theme music composer||Paul Farrer|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||599|
|Production location(s)||Melbourne, Victoria|
|Running time||60 minutes (inc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||ITV Studios Australia|
|Distributor||ITV Studios Global Entertainment|
|Original network||Seven Network|
|Original release||14 September 2015 –|
The Chase Australia is an Australian television quiz show based on the British program of the same name. It is broadcast on the Seven Network and hosted by Andrew O'Keefe. Four contestants play against an opponent, known as the "chaser", who plays for the bank. The show premiered on 14 September 2015 with Brydon Coverdale, Anne Hegerty, Matt Parkinson and Issa Schultz as chasers, with Mark Labbett joining in 2016. Shaun Wallace and Cheryl Toh also appeared as guest chasers in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
In mid-2014 it was reported that the Seven Network had considered producing a local version of The Chase on the back of good ratings for the British version of the show which has been airing in the 3:00 pm timeslot since August 2013. A pilot episode on the UK set was made, but ultimately it was decided not to proceed.
However, interest in a local version was renewed in May 2015 and in July the Seven Network commissioned the show to eventually replace Deal or No Deal and Million Dollar Minute in the 5:00 pm timeslot in a bid to revive ratings for its struggling 6:00 pm nightly news.
Cash Builder and Head-to-Head rounds
Each contestant comes up one at a time and is given one minute to answer as many questions as possible with each correct answer worth $2,000. This element is known as the "cash builder". After the minute is up, the money earned from the cash builder is placed three steps down on a seven-step money board. The contestant may remain at this step and play for the money in their bank. However, the contestant may also elect to be positioned one step lower down the board for a lesser award (the lowest amount), or one step further up the board for a greater award (the largest amount), with each award's value being set by the chaser.
If the contestant elects to play for the greater reward, the chaser starts two steps behind and the contestant must answer six questions correctly to reach home. If the contestant elects to remain at the standard starting position, the chaser is three steps behind and the contestant must answer five questions correctly to reach home. However, if the contestant elects to play for the smaller reward, the chaser is four steps behind and the contestant must answer four questions correctly to reach home.
Once the contestant nominates their starting position, questions must then be answered correctly in order to reach the bottom of the board and bank their money. Both the contestant and the chaser are given the same multiple-choice question with three possible answers. Each must then individually press one of the three buttons on their keypad to lock in their answer, which is kept secret until the host reveals the response each selected. When one person locks in their answer, the other is given five seconds to lock in, or else be locked out. For every correct response, the contestant will move one step towards the bank. Additionally, the chaser also moves one step down the board for each correct answer. No movement is made (either by the contestant or the chaser) if each give an incorrect answer. The chaser's job is to catch up to the contestant and eliminate him or her from the game by capitalizing on the mistakes the contestant makes before he or she can bank their money. If this happens, the contestant is out of the game and no money is added to the team's total. However, if the contestant successfully banks his or her money, this is put into the team's prize pot which will be contested for in the final round. In the case the contestant chose to play for a negative amount and wins his or her Head-to-Head round, the contestant remains in the game but the team's total pot is reduced by the negative value. This is repeated for all four contestants.
The contestants who successfully outrun the chaser proceed to the Final Chase. If all four contestants are caught by the chaser, the chaser offers a certain amount of money and the team nominates one contestant to proceed to the Final Chase.
Final Chase round
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In the final round, called the "Final Chase", the remaining contestants have two minutes to answer as many questions as possible. During the commercial break, the contestants blindly choose one of two question sets, A or B, with the other set being put aside for the chaser. The contestants are given a head start of one space per contestant participating in the round. The contestants must press their own buzzer to answer a question and only the one who pressed their buzzer first can respond; if any other contestant responds the question is treated as an incorrect answer, even if the original response was correct. The buzzer is not used if only one contestant is in the Final Chase. Every correct answer moves the contestants ahead one space. Unlike in the British version, the Chaser stays onstage to witness the contestants setting the target on the Chase.
After the two minutes are up (and following a short preview of the 6:00 pm news) the chaser is also given two minutes of quick-fire questions to attempt to catch the team. If the chaser gets a question wrong or passes, the clock is briefly stopped and the question is thrown over to the contestants. They are then allowed to discuss the accurate response among themselves. A correct answer from the contestants pushes the chaser back one space, or moves the team ahead by one if the chaser is at the starting line. If the chaser succeeds in catching the contestants before the clock runs out, the contestants lose the prize pot and leave with nothing. If the contestants are not caught by the chaser, the prize pot is split equally between those contestants participating in the Final Chase. If there is only one winning contestant remaining, the contestant wins his or her head to head round amount.
Rule variations and special episodes
On 8 October 2015, an episode aired during Channel Seven's Sunrise. In this episode, one person would play in the Cash Builder round, and the next person would play for the money earned in the individual chase. $1,000 instead of $2,000 was awarded for each correct answer in the Cash Builder.
Occasionally, half-hour episodes have aired to fit in with other programming on Channel Seven. These episodes feature two contestants instead of four. Each contestant plays the cash builder round, and the contestant that earns the higher amount of money plays for the combined total of the two contestants in the individual chase. The Final Chase is played with both contestants.
From 21 August to 23 September 2019, Seven premiered the celebrity edition of the show, entitled The Chase Australia: Celebrity Edition, in which celebrities compete against the chaser to win prize money for their chosen charities. It aired on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm.
- Brydon Coverdale (2015–present)—Appeared on several Australian quiz programs, including Million Dollar Minute where he won $307,000 in 2014, becoming the first grand champion of Pass the Buck where he won $38,788 in 2002. He also won a total of $32,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, appeared on The Weakest Link in 2001, Deal or No Deal in 2005 and was a quarter-finalist on Letters and Numbers in 2011. Nicknamed "The Shark".
- Anne Hegerty (2015–present)—Appeared on several British quiz programs, including Mastermind (twice), Fifteen to One, Today's the Day and Brain of Britain; semi-finalist on Are You an Egghead?. Holds the rank of Grand Master in the UK quiz rankings. Ranked 40th in the World Quizzing Championships 2014. Best known in Australia for being one of the chasers on the original UK version of the show. Nicknamed "The Governess" and "Frosty Knickers".
- Matt Parkinson (2015–present)—A championship winner on the television game show Sale of the Century in the 1990s and a frequent member of the "brains trust" on The Einstein Factor in the 2000s. Nicknamed "Goliath" or "Colossus" due to his hulking body size.
- Issa Schultz (2015–present)—Six-time winner of the Australian Quizzing Championships in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and six-time pairs champion (2012–17). Appeared on The Rich List where he won $200,000 in 2009. He also appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and The Einstein Factor. Nicknamed "The Supernerd".
- Mark Labbett (2016–present)—Appeared on Mastermind, University Challenge, Fifteen to One, The Syndicate and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (twice, winning £32,000 and £16,000); runner-up on The People's Quiz, runner-up on Brain of Britain, part of a winning team on Only Connect, represented Wales from 2005–2007 at the European quiz championships. Ranked 134th in the World Quizzing Championships 2014. Best known in Australia for being one of the chasers on the original UK version of the show as well as the sole chaser on the US version of the show. Nicknamed "The Beast", "Beastie Boy", "The Man Mountain of Maths" (due to him being 6'6" and a Maths teacher by trade) and "The Transatlantic Giant".
- Shaun Wallace (guest chaser; 2018)—Appeared on Fifteen to One, Weakest Link, Beat the Nation, BrainTeaser, Greed and The Waiting Game; winner of Mastermind, finalist on the first series of Are You an Egghead?. Best known in Australia for being one of the chasers on the original UK version of the show. Nicknamed "The Destroyer" and "Legal Eagle" (due to him being a barrister by trade). Ranked 455th in the World Quizzing Championships 2014.
- Cheryl Toh (guest chaser; 2019–present)—Appeared on Temptation, The Einstein Factor and Million Dollar Minute. Nicknamed "The Tiger Mum".
Since debuting in September 2015, The Chase Australia has generally performed well in the ratings, often beating the Nine Network's Millionaire Hot Seat and Network Ten's 10 News First in the important 5:00 to 6:00 pm timeslot. The debut episode drew 520,000 for its first half-hour, and 720,000 for its second half-hour which went up against Millionaire Hot Seat. This was a key factor in Seven News regaining its crown as Australia's most-watched news service, but, as of September 2017, it continues to trail Nine News across the eastern seaboard, while it still leads comfortably in the Adelaide and Perth markets.
In response to continued strong ratings for The Chase Australia throughout 2016, the Nine Network announced rival game show Millionaire Hot Seat would extend to one hour from 2017, meaning both shows compete for the same duration. As of May 2017, The Chase Australia remains well ahead of Millionaire Hot Seat in the ratings, often winning by an average margin of 100,000.
Primetime Spin-Off: Beat The Chasers
In August 2020, it was mentioned to Chase Australia getting new spin-off Beat The Chasers, that includes all Australian Chasers: Brydon Coverdale, Issa Schultz, Matt Parkinson and Cheryl Toh. Contestants are trying to beat all them in order to win Big Cash prizes.
The Chase Australia airs at 5:00 pm on weeknights in most markets, however, on the Gold Coast it airs at 4:30 pm due to Seven Gold Coast News airing at 5:30 pm. In New Zealand, episodes of The Chase Australia air weekly on TVNZ 1. On 14 March 2016, The Chase Australia began airing on UK TV channel Challenge, also available in Ireland.
A localised version of the iOS and Android game from Barnstorm Games was released. The app features all five chasers and can be played by up to four people, as in the actual show. There is one significant difference between the show and the app; only three choices are presented for questions in the Cash Builder and Final Chase rounds, and no Final Chase is played if all the players are caught in their individual chases.
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