The Chase Australia is an Australian television quiz show based on a British television program of the same name. The show is broadcast by the Seven Network and is hosted by Andrew O’Keefe.
In mid-2014 rumours emerged that the Seven Network had considered producing a local version of The Chase based on good rating from the British version of the show which had been airing at 3:00 pm since 2013. A pilot of the show was initially made in 2013, but ultimately did not proceed.
However after renewed interest in the show, the Seven Network decided to move ahead with commissioning the show in an effort to replace Deal or No Deal and Million Dollar Minute in the 5:00 pm timeslot, in an attempt to revive ratings ahead of the 6:00 pm news scheduling.
What is the format of The Chase Australia?
The main format of the show involves four contestants playing against an opponent known as the ‘chaser’. The Chaser plays for the bank. The show first premiered in 2015 and features Brydon Coverdale, Anne Hegerty, Matt Parkinson and Issa Schultz as the chasers. Mark Labbett joined the show in 2016. Shaun Wallance and Cheryl Toh have also appeared on the show as guest chaser in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The layout of the show involves what is known as the cash builder and head-to-head rounds. Every contestant is given the opportunity to come up one at a time and is given one minute to answer as many questions as possible with every correct answer being worth $2,000. The part of the show is known as the cash builder. After the minute is up the cash that is earned from the cash builder is place three steps below down on the seven step money board.
Contestants may then remain at this step and play for their money in the bank, or they could be placed one rung down on the board for a lower award, or one rung down for a greater award. Each award’s value is set by the Chaser. If the contestants decides to play for a greater reward then the chaser starts two steps behind and the contestant must answer six questions to correctly reach home base.
If the contestant decides to remain at the starting position then the chaser is three steps behind and the contestant must correctly answer five questions to reach home base. However if the contestant decided to play for only a smaller reward then the chaser is four step behind and the contestant must correctly answer four questions to reach home.
Once the contestant has chosen their starting position they must correctly answer each question to reach the bottom of the board. The contestants and the chaser both receive the same multiple choice questions with three possible answers.
They must then press their answers into the keyboard before the can proceed. After one contestant locks in their answer, the other only has five seconds to lock their answer in before they get locked out of answering. Every correct response moves the contestant one step closer to the bank. The contestant does not move forward if they give an incorrect answer. The chaser must catch the contestant and eliminate them from the game before they reach the bank, they do this by capitalising on the contestants mistake and catching them on the game board.
If a contestant is eliminated then they are out of the competition and no money is added to their team’s total. If the contestant is able to successfully reach the bank, then their money is added to the team total. The total team pot of prize money is then contested in the final round. If the contestant decides to play for a negative amount and reaches the bank, then the total pot of prize money will be reduced. The contestants who are able to stay ahead of the chaser remain in the game for the final chase. If all team members are caught, then one is nominated for the final chase.
During the final chase round, the remaining contestants are given a couple of minutes to answer as many questions as they possibly can. The contestants are given the opportunity to choose from two question sets, with the second set being put aside for the chaser. The contestants are given a one space as start on the chaser. Contestants have to press a buzzer to answer a question, and the contestant who reaches the buzzer first must answer. If a contestant who buzzed in after answers, the answer is treated as incorrect even if it was answered correctly. Ever correct answer moves the contestants forward by a single space.
After the allocated time is up the chaser is given their two minutes and must try to catch the team. If the chaser answers the questions incorrectly then the clock is stopped and the contestants are given the opportunity to answer the question. If the contestants answer correctly then the chaser is pushed back one space, or the team is moved forward if the chaser is at the starting line.
If the chaser successfully catches the contestants then they lose the prize money and walk away with nothing. If the contestants are not caught by the chaser than the prize money is split equally amongst the final chase participants. If there is only one final contestant left in the show, then they win the amount that they won during the head to head competition.
In 2015 a special episode aired on Sunrise which featured a variation to the rules. During the episode one person would play during the cash builder round and the next contestant would play for the money that was earned during the individual chase round. The money for each correct answer was halved, with contestants winning $1,000 instead of $2,000.
On occasion, shortened half-hour episode will air to fit in with other programs on Channel Seven. These episodes each feature two contestants instead of four. These contestants play the cash builder round and the contestant that earns the highest amount of money then goes on to play for the combined total. The final chase round is played by both contestants.
Who are the Chasers?
There are several Chasers on the show including;
Brydon Coverdale joined the show when it first began in 2015. He has been featured on several Australian quiz TV programs including Million Dollar Minute, where he previously won $307,000 in 2014. He has also appeared on Pass the Buck, where he won $38,788 in 2002. He also won $32,000 on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’, and ‘The Weakest Link’ in 2001 and later on ‘Deal or No Deal’ in 2005. He was a quarter finalist on Letters and Numbers in 2011.
Anne Hegerty joined the show in 2015. She has appeared in several British quiz television shows including Mastermind, Fifteen to One, Today’s the Day and Brain of Britain. She holds the rank of Grand Master in the UK quiz rankings and ranked 40th in the World Quizzing Championships in 2014. She was also a Chaser in the original British version of the show.
Matt Parkinson made regular appearances on the game show Sale of the Century in the 90s and was a frequent participant on the Einstein factor in the noughties.
Issa Schultz is a six-time champion of the Australian Quizzing Championships competition, having won in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2016. He has appeared on the Rich List, and won $200,000 in 2009.
Mark Labbett ranked in 134th place fort the World Quizzing Championships and appeared on both the UK and US versions of the show.