Millionaire Hot Seat

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? and began airing on the Nine Network on 20 April 2009. As with the original Australian version of the show, it is hosted by Eddie McGuire, and follows a similar format.

Millionaire Hot Seat
Millionaire Hot Seat.png
Also known asHot Seat
GenreGame show
Presented byEddie McGuire
Theme music composerRamon Covalo
ComposersRamon Covalo
Keith Strachan
Matthew Strachan
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons13
No. of episodes2,251 (as of 9 June 2021)
Production locationsGTV-9 Melbourne, Victoria (2009–10)
Docklands Studios Melbourne (2011–present)
Running time30 minutes (2009–2016)
60 minutes (2017–present)
Production companies2waytraffic (2009–2019)
Sony Pictures Television
Original networkNine Network
Picture format576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release20 April 2009 (2009-04-20) –
Preceded byWho Wants to Be a Millionaire?
1 vs. 100
External links


Rumours about a new shortened version of Millionaire first began circulating in February 2009 after a man named Nicholas Sherridan was the 1st winner of the million dollars and Eddie McGuire had called him out for cheating in the game show[1] and were confirmed when the Nine Network produced a pilot version of the format titled Millionaire: Russian Roulette in March 2009.[2] The official title was announced as Millionaire Hot Seat,[2] but this was later shortened to simply Hot Seat.[3] The new format was originally promoted as a short-run series,[4] with advertisements featuring McGuire exclaiming "20 nights! 20 million dollars!"[4] It was announced on 7 April 2009 that Hot Seat would begin airing on 20 April 2009 in the 5:00 pm6:00 pm weeknight timeslot[5][6] and would compete against the high-rating game show, Deal or No Deal, on the Seven Network.[5][6] As expected, the show's format was shortened to 30 minutes and given an overhaul of the rules and gameplay, in a system based on the Italian version of the show.

Previously, a half-hour edition of the original version aired for a two-week period in June 2004, aimed at attempting to arrest declining ratings leading into its most-watched news service.[7][8]

The Nine Network commissioned a second series of the show, to begin airing the week after the original 20-episode order had finished airing on 15 May 2009.[9] The second series began airing on 18 May 2009.[9]

A special prime time edition of Hot Seat aired at 8:00 pm on Monday, 8 June 2009,[10] featuring a contestant, Barry Soraghan, playing for the format's first million-dollar question.[11] Ultimately, Soraghan answered the question incorrectly, and won only $1,000.[11] At the completion of the taped episode, Soraghan was visited live on air at his Blackburn home by McGuire,[11] who then awarded him a two-week holiday for him and his family, as well as $5,000 in spending money.[11] The episode achieved a ratings figure of 1,224,000 viewers nationally,[12] and was the eleventh-highest rating program for the night,[12] which was a vast improvement from the 812,000 viewers that Hot Seat managed in its regular timeslot on the same night.[12]

Hot Seat was originally filmed in the iconic Studio 9 at the GTV9 Richmond premises; however, as of February 2011, it has been filmed at GTV9's new home at Docklands Studios Melbourne. The show's 500th episode went to air on 3 August 2011; that day's contestant winning $100,000.

On 15 August 2011 the four remaining couples from the 2011 season of The Block appeared on the show, attempting to win $1,000,000 for charity. But the final couple in the hot seat faltered on the seventh question. The last couple won only $1,000 for their charity.

On 3 October 2011, a The Farmer Wants a Wife special went to air, ahead of the final that was to air later that night. Farmer Frank, the last contestant in the Hot Seat, had a chance to win $100,000 for his charity but lost, winning only $1,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors Services.

On 27 July 2012, Hot Seat stopped airing for the London 2012 Olympic Games until 13 August 2012.

A local version began airing exclusively for Western Australian viewers in 2014.[13]

On 2 June 2014, Hot Seat celebrated its 1,000th episode. In this episode, that day's contestant Janine won $50,000. In addition, McGuire called back all the contestants telling them they each won $1,000 for appearing on its 1,000th episode.

On 16 March 2015 the top prize of $20,000 jackpotted to $541,000 and was won by Gerard Lane from Victoria, Australia.

On 13 April 2015, Hot Seat had its first revamp since it launched in 2009. The intro was slightly changed, a new set with higher resolution LED screens was introduced and new graphics using the Eurostile font. A new lifeline was also added for the final question, the Switch lifeline. The contestant on the final question could use it to change the final question to another one of the same value. This lifeline was dropped after 8 May 2015 episode, but was reinstated for episodes airing between 21 and 25 September of the same year.

The program marked 1,500 episodes on 12 October 2016.[14]

In December 2016, it was announced that Millionaire Hot Seat would extend to one hour from 2017. Having rated strongly since its launch in 2009, which led to Nine News regaining its ratings dominance nationally, the show started to lose ground to rival show The Chase Australia in the last fifteen months.[15] Despite this revamp, Millionaire Hot Seat continues to languish behind The Chase Australia in the ratings, often by an average margin of 100,000 viewers;[16] however, Nine News, which immediately follows Millionaire Hot Seat, has continued to retain its ratings dominance on the east coast.[17][18]

Since January 2019, Hot Seat has stopped airing in December each year, due to a clash with the summer of tennis includes Australian Open until resumes in late January and early February.

In February 2020, in Adelaide only, the show was moved forward to 4:00 pm in order to combat poor ratings for its flagship 6:00 pm bulletin.[19]

From 25 January 2021, the show now airs at 3.00 pm in Perth, swapping slots with Tipping Point.[20]



Question Value
1 "$100" ($0)
2 "$200" ($0)
3 "$300" ($0)
4 "$500" ($0)
5 $1,000
6 "$1,500" ($0)
7 "$2,500" ($0)
8 "$4,000" ($0)
9 "$6,000" ($0)
10 "$10,000" ($0)
11 "$20,000" ($0)
12 "$50,000" ($0)
13 "$100,000" ($0)
14 "$250,000" ($0)
15 $1,000,000

Designed to be a faster-paced format compared to the traditional Millionaire, Hot Seat involves six contestants playing each episode. The contestants take turns trying to be the one in the "Hot Seat" who reaches the goal amount and answers the question correctly. The goal amount is the highest amount on the money tree (shown on the right) and is reduced by one step for every wrong answer given. The only cash prizes awarded are either $1,000 or $1,000,000; all the other amounts on the money tree are worthless. 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: with 15 seconds allocated for the first five questions, 30 for the middle five, and 45 for the last five. The timer starts after McGuire reads the question and the four possible answers. 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 highest amount on the money tree. Once the players are shuffled around, a new question is now asked and play resumes. Additionally, contestants 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 or to the last remaining player after the other five players are eliminated.[21] 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.

During 2015, the "Switch" lifeline was added for contestants on the final question. This allowed the contestant to switch to a different question if they were unhappy with it. This feature was soon dropped on 8 May 2015, but was brought back for a week of episodes from 21 to 25 September of the same year.

Later in 2015, the "Ask a Friend" lifeline was added in for contestants. Similar to the traditional "Phone a Friend" lifeline, the contestant is able to ask their designated friend or family member in the audience to help them answer the question. Before the player can use the lifeline, they must answer three consecutive questions after the $1000 'safe level'. The feature was added for a week of episodes from 14 to 18 September 2015.


Starting 23 January 2017, In response of the continued strong ratings of Seven's The Chase Australia since 2016, Nine's Millionaire Hot Seat 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 as opposed to half an hour show and is divided into two parts: Fastest Finger First and Hot Seat.

In this version of Fastest Finger First, all six players use 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 from the second version of Fastest Finger First where the contestants had to put the four possible choices into a designated order.) A minor difference between the original version and this new version is that the players only have 10 seconds to lock in a guess rather than the normal 20 seconds. Additionally, some questions incorporate audio or visual clips or a visual still accompanying the question. In this part of the game, there are fifteen questions asked to all six players. Whichever player answers the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time receives a bonus $1,000 cheque. That cheque 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).

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 cheque to McGuire to pick one of the following lifelines:

  • Pass - Passes the question to another contestant.
  • 50-50 – The computer will randomly choose two wrong answers and remove them.
  • Ask A Friend – The contestant's in-studio companion (if one is present in the audience) will be tasked with talking to the contestant in the Hot Seat and guiding them towards the correct answer. The timer for the question is restarted and the contestant and companion will have to talk to each other to reach an answer before it expires. (By rule, the contestant still cannot turn to look at the companion.)
  • Switch – As in "Switch The Question" where the current question is removed from play and is replaced with a new one.
  • Ask The Host – Replaced the lifeline 'Ask A Friend' in late 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This lifeline allows the contestant to ask for the host's advice on the current question and give the best possible answer. If used and the contestant answers, both the contestant and host do not see the correct answer until the computer reveals it.

To use a lifeline, the contestant will simply ask for a lifeline to stop the clock and McGuire will present the choices to the contestant. Upon resolution of the lifeline, the question clock will restart.

Top prize winner(s)Edit

Edwin Daly (29 August 2016)Edit

On 29 August 2016, 67-year-old Edwin Daly became the first Australian contestant (and the fourth worldwide) on the Hot Seat (and the third in Australia) to win the top prize of AU$1,000,000.[22]

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
Commonly known by his nickname, what was the full name of 'Banjo' Paterson?
⬥ A: Albert Burke ⬥ B: Andrew Barton
⬥ C: Adam Beaufort ⬥ D: Adrian Banks
Daly's A$1,000,000 question

Antony McManus (25 November 2021)Edit

On 25 November 2021, Antony McManus became the second Australian contestant on the Hot Seat to win the top prize of AU$1,000,000, using the Switch lifeline he won in Fastest Finger First to swap the question.[23]

Original question (Answer was selected after the Switch lifeline was used):

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
How many Australian prime ministers have been members for electorates in Queensland?
⬥ A: 1 ⬥ B: 2
⬥ C: 3 ⬥ D: 4

Switch question:

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) - 45 seconds
Which of these classic literary works was published first?
⬥ A: The Count of Monte Cristo ⬥ B: A Tale of Two Cities
⬥ C: War and Peace ⬥ D: Les Misérables
McManus' A$1,000,000 question

Top Prize losersEdit

Barry Soraghan (8 June 2009)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
Which of Hollywood's four Warner Brothers died on the eve of their landmark premiere of 'The Jazz Singer'?
⬥ A: Albert ⬥ B: Harry
⬥ C: Jack ⬥ D: Sam

Jeff Tarr (28 September 2009)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
Horowitz is the original surname of which American actor?
⬥ A: Matt Damon ⬥ B: Johnny Depp
⬥ C: Julia Roberts ⬥ D: Winona Ryder

Paul Wolfenden (14 June 2010)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
Famous for his Chinese Theatre, Sid Grauman had earlier opened which other Hollywood theatre in 1922?
⬥ A: French ⬥ B: Egyptian
⬥ C: Roman ⬥ D: Arabian

Jim Graham (20 June 2011)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
On the current flag of the United Nations, which country is shown closest to the top of the flag?
⬥ A: New Zealand ⬥ B: Norway
⬥ C: Chile ⬥ D: Iceland

Alan Edwards (16 April 2012)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
In 1935, which of these countries became the first to use an image of the future Queen Elizabeth on a bank note?
⬥ A: Australia ⬥ B: New Zealand
⬥ C: England ⬥ D: Canada

Kevin Short (13 May 2013)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
Which of these Gilbert & Sullivan operettas was performed first?
⬥ A: The Gondoliers ⬥ B: The Pirates of Penzance
⬥ C: The Mikado ⬥ D: The Yeomen of the Guard

Craig Anderson (1 October 2018)Edit

AU$1,000,000 (15 of 15) – 45 seconds
How many essential vitamins make up what is known as the 'B-complex' group?
⬥ A: 6 ⬥ B: 8
⬥ C: 10 ⬥ D: 13


In one episode, a contestant gave an answer to the final question, but McGuire told the contestant that she had not answered it in time and checked with the producers to see whether this was a "pass" or she was to be awarded $1,000. While the decision was being made, the contestant insisted that she had two seconds left on the clock. In the end, the contestant won $1,000.[24]


  1. ^ Knox, David (17 February 2009). "Rumour: A new look Millionaire?". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Knox, David (20 March 2009). "Eddie locks in Millionaire". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  3. ^ Knox, David (14 April 2009). "'Millionaire' not locked in for Eddie". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b Knox, David (6 April 2009). "Millionaire: "20 nights! $20M!"". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  5. ^ a b Knox, David (7 April 2009). "Game on. It's Eddie v Andrew". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  6. ^ a b Devlyn, Darren (8 April 2009). "Eddie McGuire and Andrew O'Keefe to go head to head". Herald Sun. Retrieved 11 June 2009.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Warneke, Ross (23 June 2004). "No big Deal for Nine". The Age. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
  8. ^ "Why Nine called Eddie". Crikey. 9 June 2004. Archived from the original on 27 August 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b Knox, David (1 May 2009). "More Hot Seat for Eddie". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  10. ^ Knox, David (5 June 2009). "Hot Seat goes primetime, for now". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  11. ^ a b c d Deery, Shannon (9 June 2009). "Barry Soraghan misses million". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  12. ^ a b c Knox, David (8 June 2009). "Week 24". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  13. ^ Knox, David (9 December 2013). "Nine Perth announces local content". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  14. ^ Knox, David (11 October 2016). "Hot Seat marks 1500th episode". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  15. ^ Knox, David (9 December 2016). "Nine to extend Hot Seat to one hour in 2017". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  16. ^ Saw, Amelia (10 April 2017). "Eddie McGuire's Hot Seat may be scrapped after makeover fails to close gap on Seven's The Chase". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  17. ^ @MrTVAus (22 July 2017). "Congrats 👏 🎉 Won 21 weeks out of 40 (ratings survey): • @9NewsSyd #1 for 7 years running. • @9NewsMelb #1 for 6 years running. #9News" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 13 March 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2017 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ "Nine News dominates weekly ratings, sitting at the top in its 21st week". Sydney Confidential. The Sunday Telegraph. 23 July 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  19. ^ McKnight, Robert (16 February 2020). "Eddie McGuire's HOT SEAT bumped from prime slot". TV Blackbox. Archived from the original on 17 December 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  20. ^ Knox, David (25 January 2021). "Update: Hot Seat at 3pm in Perth". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  21. ^ "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE – HOT SEAT ("THE PROGRAM")" (PDF). Nine Network Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016. The Contestant that occupies the Hot Seat for the fifteenth question will win the money available to be won at the level of that question (as determined by the number of preceding incorrect answers) if they provide the Correct Answer to the question and will win $1,000 if they provide the Incorrect Answer to the question.
  22. ^ "South Australian war veteran will donate part of $1 million 'Millionaire Hot Seat' win to charity". Nine News. 30 August 2016. Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Antony McManus wins $1 million on Millionaire Hot Seat". The Age. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  24. ^ Knox, David (4 July 2009). "Lock it in, Eddie". TV Tonight. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.