|Olivia Fox & Jennifer Aguero (Season 1)|
Erin Elizabeth & Anastacia McPherson (Season 2)
|BermanBraun/Single Shot Productions|
Duel was a game show that was developed in France for broadcast in the United States. The game show, which aired 16 episodes over two seasons, combined elements from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and The World Series of Poker.
The first season of the show was premiered on December 17, 2007 and ran for five consecutive days until December 21, with a final episode airing on December 23. The show was renewed for a ten-episode second season, which premiered on April 4, 2008. The show was canceled five episodes into the second season due to low television ratings. The remaining five episodes of the second season were burned off from June 27, with the final episode airing on July 25, 2008.
Two contestants would go head to head by answering questions for big money. The contestants had to put poker chips down on what the right answer was.
Each player began a duel with ten chips, each worth $5,000. Before each question was asked, a screen rose between the contestants to hide their answers from each other. The duel always began with the catchphrase "Let's Duel!" before the question was heard. Each question was multiple choice with four choices. The question was read by the host while the contestants used their chips to cover choices, one chip per choice. They were allowed to cover any number of choices, provided they had enough chips. After both players had locked in their answers, the screen was lowered so contestants could see each other's choices, and the correct answer was then revealed. All chips placed on wrong answers were collected and their value was added to a jackpot.
While there was normally no time limit for locking choices in, contestants could "press" each other to impose a seven-second time limit, after which their opponent's answers were locked in automatically. Each contestant had two presses per duel.
The duel continued until at least one contestant failed to cover the correct answer to a question. If only one contestant failed to answer correctly, that contestant was eliminated; any chips the contestant had not played were not added to the jackpot, though any played on wrong answers were still added. The winning contestant became champion and won the value of any chips they still possessed, including the one covering the correct answer. That money was theirs to keep, regardless of the outcome of future duels.
If neither player covered the correct answer, however, the duel went to a sudden death "shootout". For the shootout, there were no presses and each player received four new chips with no cash value. If only one player answered correctly, that player won the duel and became champion, but won no money. If both players answered correctly, the player who covered fewer choices won. (It is unknown what would have happened in any other situation, as no such situation ever aired.)
The champion then chose a new challenger from a randomly-selected group of three from the remaining members of the "Players Gallery" (those in the contestant pool who had not yet participated), based on a small amount of information revealed about each potential contestant. Contestants who had dueled were ranked by number of duels won, and then by cash winnings as a tiebreaker. After five nights, the four top contestants competed for the jackpot on the finale.
During the finale, the top-seeded player was given the choice of which other finalist he/she wanted to face in the first semifinal duel, leaving the two other finalists to play in the second. The winners of each semifinal advanced to the final duel to play for the entire jackpot. The final round duels played the same as the qualifying duels, with lost chips continuing to add to the jackpot, and any winnings kept. The winner of the final duel claimed the jackpot, as well as all earnings accumulated in previous duels.
The finals consisted of the top four players overall during the first five nights, ranked first by the number of duels won, then by total winnings. In the final round, the contestants played for a jackpot totaling $1,720,000. Ashlee Register's winnings totaled $1,795,000 (she had earned $75,000 in previous duels).
The way questions were played remained the same, but the producers changed the format to accommodate a continuing weekly format. First, each contestant received one press per game instead of two. Second, the chips had no monetary value; instead, the prize value of a duel was determined by its length. Thus, unlike the first season's tournament, the potential prize, which was revealed after the catchphrase "Let's Duel!" (which started the game immediately), increased as a duel progressed:
For the weekly series, a bonus round was added after each duel. The winner was asked a single "Max Question", for which they got one chip and seven seconds. A correct answer doubled the contestant's winnings from the just-played duel, for a potential maximum of $100,000. There was no penalty for a wrong answer.
Winning contestants then had the option to take their winnings and leave, or to risk them to play another duel against their choice of three contestants. If they lost in their second or third duels, they forfeited all their winnings, while a loss in their fourth or fifth duel cut their winnings in half. A contestant who won five duels in a row won a total of $500,000. When a contestant chose to leave or won the jackpot, the next two contestants to play were the ones not chosen by the champion for the previous duel.
If both contestants missed a question, or starting in this season, if both contestants answered the tenth question correctly, the value of the duel was frozen at the previous value; the format of the "shootout" used to determine the winner was identical to the tournament format.
On Friday, May 2, 2008, Gabriel Reilich, an unemployed 24-year-old from Los Angeles, California, and founding member of The Hot Press won five duels to claim the $500,000 prize (he had won $75,000 in his four previous duels). Gabriel won on the question, "What Rolling Stone was a student at the London School of Economics?" The four choices were Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Robert Plant, and Mick Jagger.
Gabriel had only one chip remaining while his opponent, Jennifer Smith, a 23-year old executive assistant from Huntington, West Virginia, had three chips remaining. Gabriel used his one chip to cover Jagger, while Jennifer used hers to cover the other three answers. Jagger was indeed the correct answer, giving Gabriel his fifth duel win. He was the only person to win five duels (plus all four Max Questions) in a row in this season.
Besides an international version in its native France, there were versions of this show in the United Kingdom and in Hungary.
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