Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fox Refuses to Pay Black Couple $800,000 on Their Show Fox "Million Dollar Drop"

"Million Dollar Drop" Says Black Couple Answered Wrong

On Fox's premier episode of "Million Dollar Drop", on Monday, a Black couple prepared to answer a question presented to them worth $800,000.00.  The couple answered the question correctly, but Fox claims the wording of the question made the answer wrong and refused to pay the Black couple the $800,000.00.  A blogger caught the show and posted that the producers of the show were wrong for claiming the contestant got the question wrong.  Gabe Okoye and Brittany May felt confident that the category "Inventions" would be easy to answer for them.  The host asked them this question:
"Which product was first sold: the Macintosh computer, the Sony Walkman, or 3M's Post-It Notes."
Okoye answered that 3M's Post-It-Notes was the first product.  The controversy is over the wording of the question, versus the technicality of the answer.  Also keep in mind that the category was inventions.

The producers of the show gave the host Pollak the answer that 3M was not the first product, and that the correct answer was the Sony Walkman.  Richard Lawson of expressed his doubts. Post-Its first started trickling into the marketplace as early as 1977 — so, earlier than the Sony Walkman, which debuted in 1979 (and not, as Okoye guesses on the show, in "the '90s").

It seems that by including 3M in the answers, that the entire question is a trick question.  You see 3M Post-It-Notes although nationally marketed, were only given away to a select area, for free in 1977.  The marketing ploy made headlines and garnered some free press nationwide.  I personally remembered stories about the actual inventor of Post-It-Notes getting ripped off by 3M, i.e. although he invented it, he got nearly nothing compared to the millions the company made, because he was under contract with 3M at the time.

The Post-It-Notes were not made available in stores nationwide until 1980.  Now although the product was available for free in a select few markets, I personally got a stack before 1980, in Nevada.

However, Fox sticks by their fact-check of the question, as directed by 3M that they were available for sale nationwide in 1980.  My guess is, that Fox did not ask 3M when was the product invented and introduced to the market.  It's like the difference between you getting your hands on a new Hershey's chocolate bar, and not knowing it's not in a store, versus the actual first contract to sale them in stores.

My guess is that 3M provided Fox with the answer to the question they asked, i.e. when were Post-It-Notes first SOLD.  I guarantee if Fox had asked: "when were Post-It-Notes first invented and made available to the public" they would have gotten a completely different answer.

The executive producer of "Million Dollar Money Drop," Jeff Apploff issued a statement to Gawker, "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."

However, upon further research, it seems the producers have let a few questions slip between their grasps, as several sources have found their answers to be wrong in addition to this question.

In my opinion Fox is splitting hairs on this answer.  And, we are talking about splitting hairs on a $800,000 question.  It seems that their integrity is rightfully in question if at this early stage in the show this controversy is already arising.

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