500 Questions is an American game show broadcast on ABC. The show premiered on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at 8:00 pm EDT,[1] and ran for seven straight weeknights, with a weekend break. ABC promoted it as a game show event, similar to ABC's original run of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, or more recently, NBC's Million Second Quiz. The show, hosted by CNN journalist Richard Quest, features contestants who try to answer 500 questions without getting three wrong in a row.[2] The series was renewed for a second season on October 1, 2015.[3]


Each contestant's run is divided into ten rounds of 50 questions each.[4] Each round has ten categories (one of which is always "Random", consisting of general knowledge questions) with five questions each. The contestant can choose a question from the categories in any order. Whenever the contestant answers a question correctly, the correctly-answered question is highlighted silver within its category. Answering a question incorrectly results in a "wrong", with three wrong answers in a row eliminating the contestant. Also, whenever the contestant incorrectly answers a question, it is highlighted in red under its category. However, answering any question correctly will erase any wrongs the contestant has accumulated.

Standing across from the contestant is the challenger. The challenger will also occasionally answer questions per the question descriptions below. In addition, if the contestant has accumulated two wrong answers, the challenger chooses the contestant's next category in hopes of knocking out the contestant. Successfully doing so results in the challenger taking the contestant's spot, and starting their own journey towards 500 questions. If a challenger fails to eliminate a contestant in a round (i.e., within 50 questions), then the challenger is eliminated and a new challenger takes over. This is the only means by which the challenger can be eliminated.

If the contestant completes a board of 50 questions, the money won on that board is guaranteed. However, any wrongs that a contestant may have at the end of a round carry over into the next round. If a contestant is eliminated, only money banked in previous rounds is awarded, all money in the current round is lost. The exception is the "milestone" which occurs at every 25th question of a round. If the contestant can answer the question correctly on the first response, the contestant receives a guaranteed $5,000, separate from the bank (in addition to earning the standard award for the question). There are no bonuses for completing individual categories or rounds; as no contestant has yet completed more than three rounds, it is not known what happens at or above 200 questions.

There are four types of questions, which are randomly distributed throughout the board. The type remains unknown until the question is selected.

  • Regular questions: The contestant must correctly answer the question within a ten-second time limit. Multiple guesses are allowed, but the contestant only earns $1,000 for the question if the first response given is correct. Not providing a correct answer to the question within ten seconds results in a wrong.
  • Battle questions: The contestant and challenger face off, going back and forth giving answers to a question with a limited number of correct answers. Before the question is revealed, the contestant chooses whether to go first or second based solely on the category. Only five seconds are allotted per response, and only the first answer is accepted. If the challenger gives an incorrect response, the battle ends and it counts as a correct answer for the contestant, who earns $1,000. An incorrect response from the contestant counts as a wrong answer. If all correct responses are given, the battle ends in a draw, the contestant does not earn $1,000, does not get a wrong, and does not have any accumulated wrongs eliminated.
  • Top Ten Challenge questions: The contestant must provide five out of ten possible correct answers (incorrect guesses are allowed) within a fifteen-second time limit. Doing so earns $1,000, but if the contestant runs out of time, it counts as a wrong. Before the question is revealed, the contestant may pass this question to the challenger. If the challenger succeeds, the contestant receives a wrong; however, if the challenger fails, the contestant earns $1,000.
  • Triple Threat questions: Triple Threat questions have three correct answers. The contestant must provide all three correct answers within a ten-second time limit to earn $3,000. Running out of time results in a wrong.


  • Dan McCarthy
    • Eliminated on question 57 by Steve Bahnaman (episode 102), winning $35,000
    • Defeated Ogi Ogas (episode 102)
  • Steve Bahnaman
    • Eliminated on question 168 by Adam Villani (episode 105), winning $110,000
    • Defeated Jonathan Corbblah (episode 102), James Holzhauer (episode 103), Megan Barnes (episode 105)
  • Adam Villani
    • Eliminated on question 146 by Richard Mason (episode 107), winning $80,000
    • Defeated Pam Mueller (episode 106), Mehrun Etebari (episode 107)
  • Richard Mason
    • Returning for season 2

International versionsEdit

  • RTL Television commissioned a local version to air in Germany in 2016.
  • ITV picked up the rights to air a British version of the show in 2016.


  1. 500 Questions – About the show. ABC. Retrieved on June 10, 2015.
  2. Friedlander, Whitney (September 18, 2014). ABC Orders Mark Burnett Game Show ‘500 Questions’ Straight to Series. Variety. Retrieved on June 10, 2015.
  3. Dixon, Dani (October 1, 2015). ABC Renews '500 Questions' For Season 2, Series Will Return in 2016. TV by the Numbers. Retrieved on October 1, 2015.
  4. Davis, Alex (April 16, 2015). ABC Tests Knowledge and Endurance on 500 Questions. BuzzerBlog. Retrieved on June 10, 2015.

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