Telly passion sustains contestants in punishing marathon screening
It's not just about winning the $150,000 prize. The 27 finalists at ATV's Korean drama marathon say it's their passion for watching TV that keeps them going during 150 hours in front of the screen.
'I love watching TV,' said Angela Tang Wen-bo, 15. 'I always sleep late because of TV. I can watch all day doing nothing else but eating. I'm confident I can continue until the last minute of the contest. I would love to win, but it's more important to have fun.'
The second part of the marathon kicked off at 7am yesterday, after four intensive days watching the first 80 episodes of ATV's new Korean period drama, Woman's World.
The number of participants was whittled to 27 for the final round from an initial 45. Some were disqualified because they could not answer periodic quiz questions or fell asleep. Others quit because they couldn't take the pressure.
In the second round of the challenge being held at ATV's studios, the contestants, aged between 15 and 52, will have to watch the drama an average of 17 hours a day.
From 7am tomorrow, they will have to start watching the show non-stop for 24 hours. The result will be announced on Friday. A sole winner will take home $150,000 but if there is more than one, the amount will be equally shared.
'Initially we were worried about them doing it just for the money, but it turns out most are just huge TV fans,' said Chung Yat-ming, an assistant controller at ATV's programme centre.
Meals and drinks are served throughout the contest. A short break is taken every three episodes.
Contestants said the second part was more stressful. 'Questions in the first part were a lot easier because they were multiple choice. But you won't be given an answer to choose from in the second round,' said Ms Tang.
Kiana Chan, 15, took five days off school to take part, only to be eliminated yesterday after she suffered a sudden fever. 'I want to keep going because I love watching TV,' she said, wiping away tears.