Ultimatum (game show)

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Ultimatum was a Quebec quiz show, broadcast from 2001 to 2004 on the TVA network. Its visual style and lighting were largely inspired by the success of the British show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The rules of the contest are, however, different.

Synopsis and basic rules[edit]

Standard game[edit]

The game was played with five contestants, including a returning champion who was the first "controller". The controller picked a question category from a set list, then read the question and directed it to another contestant. If the contestant answered correctly, they became the new controller and the outgoing controller lost a "life". If the contestant answered incorrectly, the controller retained control and the contestant lost a life. Each contestant began the game with three lives, and if they were reduced to zero, were eliminated from the game.

However, each player also had access to a number of "tools" to encourage strategic play. Each tool could be invoked only once by each player over the course of the game. They were:

  • Ricochet, which could be used by a player who was asked to answer a question to redirect the question to any other contestant (except the controller) as if the controller had asked them directly.
  • Miroir (mirror), which could also be used by a player who was asked a question, but would instead direct the question back on the controller, reversing the roles.
  • Piege (trap), which was used by the controller. If a controller found a question they were sure they knew the answer to, they could "trap" another contestant of their choice, answer the question themselves, and, if correct, cost the trapped player a life. If wrong, the trapped player assumed control and the outgoing controller lost a life.

When any of these tools was invoked, or if the contestant had no tools left to use, the host would declare a question to be an "ultimatum", with more dramatic lighting and more tense background music was played.

After all contestants but one had been eliminated, the remaining contestant was declared the winner, and went on to play the bonus round. At one point during the series the contestant who won the game received $500.

Bonus round[edit]

The bonus round pitted the winner of the standard game against the collective brain power of the eliminated contestants, with a bit of a twist: for each life the winner had remaining at the end of the game, they could eliminate an opponent, meaning they would not be allowed to help the rest answer the question. In this fashion, if a winner had all three lives left, the bonus round would effectively be one-on-one.

Later in the run, the bonus round was altered; the contestant chose a category, and was read a question. They had 10 seconds to think and, if they answered correctly, won $1,000.

Tournament play[edit]

On several occasions during the run, a multi-week tournament would be held. The five contestants played every day from Monday through Friday, with the player who won the most money invited back for the finals, then four weeks would be played each with five new contestants. When five finalists had been crowned, they played an additional week against each other, with the winner of the finals receiving $40,000.

See also[edit]