- Midnight Zoo
Format Live, Phone-in Quiz show Created by Ambience Entertainment / Opera Telecom / Telecoms TV Starring Angie Richards
Country of origin Australia Production Producer(s) Jack Dita Running time 90 minutes Broadcast Original channel Seven Network Original run 31 July, 2006 – 21 October, 2006
Midnight Zoo was an Australian late-night interactive game show broadcast in parts of Australia on the Seven Network. Midnight Zoo debuted on 31 July 2006 and was broadcast from Sydney. The same show currently has success in America, the U.K, South Africa and Poland. It was shown live throughout Victoria, Sydney and Brisbane and ran from 12:30 am to 2:00 am Weekday mornings. The final airing of the show was on 21 October 2006. The show was hosted by host Steven O'Donnell, Angie Richards and Charlotte Connell.
The somewhat unusual name of the show stems from the name of the show's creator, Jack Dita aka 'The Zoo Keeper'. Dita is known as a pioneer in the field of British interactive television. The presence of 'Midnight' in the name also hints at the show's late timeslot.
Midnight Zoo was hosted by:
Angie Richards - Host, Hollywood Set
Charlotte Connell - Host, Bikini Beach Cabana Set
Steven O’Donnell - Host, Cash Corner Set
Each host was allocated a location, as shown above.
Midnight Zoo was similar in concept to the Ten Network's (Australia) 'Up Late Game Show', hosted by former Big Brother housemate, Simon Deering aka Hotdogs.
The 90 minute runtime of Midnight Zoo was split into three 30 minute slots. Each slot was allocated to one host/location pair. The puzzles were mostly Brainteasers and questions relating to popular culture and are regarded as relatively simple (for example, 'Name a movie starting with B'). Money is awarded via the gameboard, which dictates the amount of money won for a particular answer. A puzzle featured in a previous slot was carried over to the next slot, suggesting that one puzzle can sometimes occupy the entire 90 minute runtime.
To maintain interest in the show over the course of its duration, there were several segments featured during each slot. These were mostly to encourage callers during slow periods, which in turn encourages human interaction with the show. These include:
Cash Grab - A 5 minute period where all money on the game board is doubled.
Double Money - If successful, the next 2 callers will be awarded double their winnings.
Call Rush - A "short amount of time" where callers are further encouraged to call by on-screen graphics.
All segments came with the added incentive of being featured on live television as a caller. At the same time, a puzzle's jackpot amount steadily increased throughout the show.
As an added bonus, all successful callers were offered a chance at the Bonus Board. The Bonus Board featured 12 numbers, of which the contestant much choose 3. If the contestant chose all three correctly, their winnings were increased by a jackpot amount which varies from $2500-$12000
Criticism and problems
On 11 August 2006 satirical comedy series The Chaser's War on Everything featured a segment on the influx of late night phone-in quiz shows. The segment mocked the standard of all late night quiz programs and their questions. For Midnight Zoo, particular reference was made to the female hosts wearing bikinis .
One Australian TV critic has even classed Midnight Zoo as the worst of the genre  based on the use of bikinis.
Channel Seven's morning program Sunrise showed a clip one morning of the show the night before where a picture of Sunrise host David Koch was used in a "name that face" type game. The Sunrise team criticised the Midnight Zoo for spelling his name wrong and the show in general.
The only probability present on Midnight Zoo that can be computed is the chance of success on the Bonus Board. This is equal to 12c3 = 1 in 220.
The relative ease of the questions featured on Midnight Zoo suggest easy winnings for contestants. However, one must consider two important factors present in the game that restrict successful callers. Firstly, one must consider the chance of actually being chosen as a contestant. Secondly, one must consider the number of possible answers for the questions with respect to the number of available answers on the game board.
Pricing and procedure
Midnight Zoo contestants were charged a maximum of 55c/per minute (more from mobiles). The method of player selection was handled by registering interest via SMS or landline. When selected, players would receive a call from Midnight Zoo. Problems arising from this method include Midnight Zoo's use of a private line, eliminating a number of mobile users who ignore such calls.
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