How Million Dollar Money Drop Dropped the Ball

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Actor/comedian Kevin Pollak hosts Million Dollar Money Drop

Mike Yarish/Fox

Game-shows should work on the same premise as math: the answer is either right or wrong. But yet again, we’re confronted with an instance of 1+1=3 and it might have ended up costing one couple a small fortune.

Million Dollar Money Drop is Fox’s latest attempt at cracking the highly competitive game-show market. But Monday night’s premier didn’t go smoothly. Couples have to answer their way through a series of questions posed by Kevin Pollak and start with the maximum prize money on offer, a cool million bucks. Contestants get multiple-choice options and can spread their cash over the answers, as long as one is left blank.

(See the top 10 game-show moments.)

So far so good, right? Unfortunately not. The first couple to take part lost $800,000 of their remaining $880,000 on the following question: was the Macintosh computer, Sony Walkman or Post-it Notes sold in stores first. The confident couple placed $800,000 on Post-its and $80,000 on the Walkman.  The program said that the Walkman was the correct response, seeing as it debuted in 1979, while Post-its apparently turned up the following year (the Mac came out in 1984).

It’s since transpired that Post-its were test-marketed in four cities in 1977 under the name “Press & Peel” (see more in this archive article from our sister publication, People). What’s more, the official Facebook page for Post-its mentions 1977, as does — and this is especially embarrassing for Million Dollar Money Drop – the inventor Art Fry in an interview with the Financial Times.  As CNN points out, the show’s question was badly worded — the actual date of countrywide sales does point toward 1980 — and adding the term “nationally” could have solved the issue. Should the note to self have read: Million Dollar Money Drop: Must try harder?

Perhaps so but the show has been in touch to try and set the record straight. In an emailed statement, Jeff Apploff, the Executive Producer wrote, “The integrity of the questions and answers on our show are our No. 1 priority. In this case, our research team spoke directly with 3M, and they confirmed that although they had given out free samples in test markets in 1977 and 1978, it wasn’t until 1980 that Post-Its were sold in stores. Million Dollar Money Drop stands behind the answer that was revealed on the show.”

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