80 complain over Nicky's gameshow

Nicky Byrne on his new gameshow

By Majella O'Sullivan

RTE and the National Lottery have defended their new TV gameshow, following criticism from viewers that the games were too complicated and the prize money "stingy".

To date, RTE has received 80 complaints about The Million Euro Challenge which aired on Saturday night, which they say represents less than 0.017pc of the viewers who watched it.

An average of 487,000 viewers tuned in to watch Nicky Byrne present the The Million Euro Challenge and while comments about the host were favourable, the loss of Europe's longest-running gameshow, Winning Streak, irked some viewers.

The average viewership for Winning Streak between September and December last was 333,900.

Chief among the complaints were that the prize money didn't compare to the amounts given away on Winning Streak and that a viewers' game required access to a computer, which they didn't have.

The new Saturday night gameshow involves three players, joined by a family member or friend, who compete for a chance to play for €1m.

Viewers at home can also play but, crucially, have to register their codes on the lottery.ie website.

Gone also is the popular Spin and Win, where one player got to spin the wheel. Instead, one of the players goes on to the Million Euro Challenge pyramid for the chance to win €1m.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery insisted that The Million Euro Challenge was the highest prize-paying TV gameshow in Europe.

"The odds of winning €1m are 1:17, which is many times better than any other TV gameshow ever offered by the National Lottery," the spokesperson said. "The odds are, to the best of our knowledge, the best TV gameshow odds in the world of winning a million."

A spokesperson for Nicky Byrne said the show was in its first week and there were always teething problems with first nights.

"Nicky's a very positive person and will continue to do the best with what he has," she said.

Viewers also took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the new show.

Among them was Fine Gael TD for Limerick Patrick O'Donovan who tweeted: "Did Nicky Byrne just say 'Kevin are you still awake'? Think that says it all."


Another commented: "You'd need a Masters in Engineering to understand that game. Poor aul ones haven't the foggiest what's happening."

Another viewer suggested if might be easier to find Tutankhamen in the pyramid than €1m.