Calling all trivia buffs — you might not feel as confident in your bar trivia prowess once you check out ABC’s newest summer game show, 500 Questions. The series, which premieres Wednesday, May 20, is the most difficult quiz around — even for the certified geniuses competing.
The “smartest people in the country,” per ABC — who have competed on many of your other favorite trivia shows — try their hand at answering 500 of “the most difficult general knowledge questions ever devised,” and lose if they get three wrong in a row.
ABC is not kidding. Even when a hard-working publicist devises 50 “easier,” pop-culture-focused questions for host Richard Quest to play a mini version of the game with you in an interview…you still feel like a failure. Even if you’re pretty great at pub trivia and shouting the correct answers (questions?) at your screen during Jeopardy!, a) it becomes much harder to think of the answer in 10 seconds and b) who knows anything about botany?!
“The real knack is it be able to have the educated guess,” Quest told Us Weekly after a failed attempt to remember South American geographical boundaries. (What is the continent’s other land-locked country, aside from Bolivia? Paruguay, in case you weren’t so great at geography under pressure either.) The good news is that the contestants can guess as much as they want during their allotted 10 seconds until they come up with the correct answer, so they’re not penalized if their first guess is wrong. “They just immediately launch into something that may be possible,” Quest added.
Unfortunately, all the guesses in the world won’t help you name every other famous member of Drew Barrymore‘s acting family if you only know John. But don’t worry, we knew M*A*S*H had the highest-rated finale in history, the names of Winnie the Pooh’s friends, and the famous American author whose first and middle names were Jerome David.
Because the challenger on deck gets to pick the category if you get two questions wrong, there’s also strategy involved in letting on to what categories are your strongest.
“There may be some things you know you’re strong on so you may want to hold them, but you might want to get off to a good start,” Quest advised.
For the entertainment reporter, that meant TV facts and acting families were probably the easiest, and botany was most definitely the hardest.
“I’m pleased we’ve done this,” Quest said after we made it through just nine questions of our mini game. “You’ve now got an idea of how hard not just the questions [are] but the 10 seconds and the stamina — because you’ve got to keep going! Let’s say you get to 300 questions. That’s very good, but you’ve still got 200 to go!”
Rest easy — they did pause filming for drinks of water (not only for the contestants, but for host Quest as well!), and the televised version of the show will be spread across nine nights. Can you keep up with the trivia experts? Find out beginning Wednesday, May 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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