Millionaire Hot Seat, also known as Hot Seat, is an Australian television quiz show. The show is a spin-off of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? which began airing on the Nine Network on 20 April 2009. As with the original version of the show, it is hosted by Eddie McGuire. A special prime time edition aired on 8 June 2009.

The show has been repeated on UK channel Challenge starting in February 2015 making it the first foreign Millionaire to be broadcast in the United Kingdom.

Original Format (2009-2016)Edit

Designed to be a faster-paced game than the traditional format of Millionaire, Hot Seat involves six contestants playing each episode taking turns trying to be the one in the "Hot Seat" who reaches the goal amount answers the question of that amount correctly. The goal amount starts at the highest amount on the money tree (shown on the right). The traditional three lifelines are replaced by a single "pass" lifeline, which will pass the current question to the next contestant in line (who cannot pass that question further) and send the current contestant to the end of the line.

Each question is given a time limit to be answered (with the timer starting after McGuire reads through the question and the four possible choices): with 15 seconds allocated for the first five questions, 30 for the middle five, and 45 for the last five. If a player fails to give an answer in the time limit, it is considered an automatic use of the pass lifeline. In the case that time expires and the current contestant cannot pass the question (either because they were passed the current question or they used their pass already), they are treated as if they gave an incorrect answer.

Unlike other Millionaire formats, the game does not immediately end on a wrong answer. Instead, the current contestant is eliminated from the game, the next contestant in line becomes the "Hot Seat" contestant while all remaining players move up one chair, and the goal amount is reduced to the next lowest tier on the money tree (unless it is lower than the current tier). Once the players are shuffled around, a new question is now asked and play resumes. Additionally, contestant may not walk away from the game under any circumstance.

The game ends either when all contestants are eliminated or when the question for the highest value in the money tree is answered. If the question on the last tier is answered correctly, the answering player receives the value of the question. If it is answered incorrectly, the last player to be eliminated receives either nothing (which means that nobody receives any prize money for that show), or $1,000 if the fifth question milestone is reached. No final contestant has ever gone away empty-handed. Another difference from the traditional format of Millionaire, the only guaranteed sum of money is the $1,000 for answering the fifth question correctly. This sum will be awarded to the contestant that is playing the final question of the money tree.[15] If a contestant did not get a chance to answer a question and sit on the hot seat, they may get a chance to return at a later time to play the game as the producers often invite such contestants back. However if a contestant had a chance to play a question but passed their place in the seat, they are eliminated and will likely not be invited to return.

During the second half of 2011, audio and visual questions were introduced to the format. Either an audio or a visual question would be asked once per episode, usually towards the beginning of the game.

Revamp Format (2017)Edit

Starting 23 January 2017, Millionaire changed its format to mix both the traditional format with the Hot Seat format. In this format, the show was lengthened to a full-hour show but is divided into two parts: Fastest Finger First and Hot Seat.

Fastest Finger FirstEdit

In this version of Fastest Finger First, all six players will be using a touch screen to lock in their answers. The round is played similar to the original format of FFF, where there is a question presented with four possible answers and the contestant must lock in the singular answer to the question. (This is different than the second version of Fastest Finger First where the contestants must put the four possible choices into a designated order.) A minor difference between the original version and this new version is that the players will only have 10 seconds to lock in a guess rather than the normal 20 seconds. Additionally, some questions may be audio or visual questions with an accompanying audio clip or visual still accompanying the question. In this part of the game, there will be fifteen questions asked to all six players. Whichever player answers the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time will receive a bonus $1000 check. That check is theirs to keep unless they choose to give it back during the Hot Seat game in exchange for a lifeline. After all fifteen questions have been asked, the game moves into the Hot Seat round starting with the player in the first player position (regardless of how they finished in Fastest Finger First).

New Hot Seat GameEdit

The new Hot Seat round plays exactly like it did before with one exception, the player with the $1000 bonus from Fastest Finger First can now buy a lifeline when it is their turn in the Hot Seat. If a player is stuck on a question, they may return the $1000 check to McGuire to pick one of the following lifelines: 50:50 (the computer chooses two random wrong answers and eliminates them), Ask Your Friend (similar to the U.S.' Plus One lifeline, the contestant brings a designated companion to the stage to help with the question), or Switch (the current question is removed from play and is replaced with a new one). To use a lifeline, the contestant will simply ask for a lifeline to stop the clock, much like in the clock format, and McGuire will present the lifeline choices to the contestant. Once a lifeline is used (save for Ask your Friend, where the clock is restarted after reading all possible answers), the clock restarts normally.

Money Tree Edit

Question Prize
15 $1,000,000
14 $250,000
13 $100,000
12 $50,000
11 $20,000
10 $10,000
9 $6,000
8 $4,000
7 $2,500
6 $1,500
5 $1,000
4 $500
3 $300
2 $200
1 $100

Lifelines Edit

  • Pass: Normally the only lifeline available on Hot Seat, this lifeline allows you to skip the question and join the back of the contestant cue. The following player will not be able to pass the same question.

These lifelines were added in 2015:

  • Switch the Question: This lifeline could only be used on the day's final question. The question would be swapped, but the contestant would stay the same. In 2017, this lifeline is now available for all questions, but only the contestant who correctly answered the most questions in the fastest time in Fastest Finger First and it's worth $1,000 that they won on Faster Finger First.
  • Ask A Friend: Similar to Plus One, the contestant would be allowed to use the help of a friend in the audience. In 2017, this lifeline is now available for all questions, but only the contestant who correctly answered the most questions in the fastest time in Fastest Finger First and it's worth $1,000 that they won on Faster Finger First.

In 2017, an another lifeline was added:

  • 50:50: This lifeline could take away two wrong answers on a question. This lifeline is available for all questions, but only the contestant who correctly answered the most questions in the fastest time in Fastest Finger First and it's worth $1,000 that they won on Fastest Finger First.

Top Prize WinnersEdit

AU$541,000 winners Edit

AU$250,000 WinnersEdit

Top Prize LosersEdit

Hot Seat curseEdit

The six Top Prize Losers shown above have fueled superstitions of a "Hot Seat curse," in which contestants who get to the $1 million question answer it incorrectly and plummet $249,000, leaving them with only a measly $1,000. The curse is made even harder by the facts that contestants do not have the option to walk away, so if they flunk out, they flunk out, and that they have a strict time limit to answer the question, which, if it runs out, will penalize the contestant as if they gave an incorrect answer, resulting in the contestant losing prize money anyway.

It was not until the August 29, 2016 edition of the show, when Edwin Daly finally won the $1 million prize by answering the million dollar question correctly, ending the curse. However, since then, no other contestant has since been able to repeat this achievement.

Notable cases of contestants doing poorly on the showEdit

This version of the show is also notorious for its "epic failures", in which some contestants have flunked out on one of the first 5 questions, similar to the U.S. version of the standard format of the show. One particular case that went viral is the case of Whitney Beseler, a young, blonde, female physical education teacher, who was asked the following question for $100:

AU$100 (1 or 15) - 15 seconds
Which of these is not a piece of jewellery commonly worn to symbolise a relationship between two people?
• A: Engagement ring • B: Anniversary ring
• C: Wedding ring • D: Burger ring
Beseler did not read the question properly, and chose B: Anniversary ring as her final answer, but the correct answer was D: Burger ring, and she did not realize her mistake until it was too late. (Burger rings are an Australian snack food that resemble onion rings, but are designed to mimic the flavor of cheeseburgers.) After she flunked out, she admitted that it was the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to her, and asked if she could start over. Host Eddie McGuire told her that there are no second chances on the show, and that she was out of the game, and gave her a bag of burger rings as a consolation prize.

More examples are needed.


  • The Ask A Friend lifeline first appeared in the same episode that Erin Lamkin won $250,000 by guessing 8 times in a row.
  • Khaled El-Katateny won $100,000 on July 28, 2014. After that, he told the media that he answered the questions correctly not by his knowledge, but, by watching the body language and facial expressions of Eddie McGuire as he reads out the choices and watched the studio audience behind him to see what choices made their faces light up. At the end, Khaled gets to keep his winnings because that wasn’t technically against the rules.
  • At the moment, the seven players managed to get to the fifteenth question. Six times they were wrong and left the game with fireproof amount, and the latter answered correctly and became the first winner in the history of the program, this is Edwin Daly. The last player who ventured to answer the fifteenth question, but lost and left with $1,000, was Kevin Short.
  • In a series of special editions of "Mega Cash Jackpot", at which participants representing each state of Australia played to accumulate a jackpot, which was played on March 16, 2015. The winner of the series with a win of $541,000 was the actor Gerard Lane. At the moment this was the biggest win of the game until Edwin Daly won $1,000,000.
  • On June 2, 2014, the 1,000th issue was published.