TODAY | September 09, 2013
>> the biggest prize in game show history begins tonight right here on nbc. it's called the million second quiz and i had about a million questions about it. so i went right to the host, meeting up with ryan seacrest near times square .
>> a million seconds.
>> reporter: it's a battle of knowledge, strategy and endurance. rapid fire trivia questions 24/7 for 11 days straight.
>> so this is kind of your home for the next 11 days, 13 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds.
>> really well studied savannah.
>> a million seconds.
>> yes, this is the million second quiz. i'm not on the 24/7 but the con contestants are around the clock.
>> this is it.
>> this is the money chair. this is where they play when we're not on primetime.
>> if you're sitting in this chair, you're accumulating money.
>> that's right.
>> there's a lot of different ways to get on this show.
>> you can show upright here and walk in and try and compete. you can complete by playing on the app. they get a certain of number of points that are eligible and each night we'll be in someone's house and bring them here for the show. we'll say hi, thanks for playing the app, and come join us.
>> the top four players at any given time will actually move in, living on the million second quiz campus as long as they keep winning.
>> this is where they sleep?
>> this is it. this is a pod. see how comfortable it is.
>> were pillows not available.
>> sheet spray and pillows are optional.
>> will cameras be watching everyone sleep.
>> oh my god.
>> hey world.
>> i don't know how much sleep you're going to get. you're in a fish bowl here.
>> it's amazing how you volunteered to sleep here to understand how the contestants feel.
>> i figure i would get to know them by rotating through the pods.
>> snuggle with them.
>> it's the way i investigate.
>> let's go upstairs because that's where the magic happens.
>> are you ready?
>> let's see the hour glass.
>> that magic happens in the heart of manhattan in what they call the hour glass of time. five stories high, it took more than a month to build and weighs 18,000 pounds.
>> this is the office.
>> and it's here each night ryan hosts competition live.
>> yeah, it's really -- at night, it's amazing when they light up all the buildings around us.
>> reporter: ryan invited me to compete so i took my place in the money chair.
>> it's the drink holder.
>> you're here for a long time.
>> 1,000 contestants are expected to sit in this chair answering a total of more than 20,000 questions. i did.
>> castro once banned cuban citizens from playing which board game . a clue, b risk, c monopoly or battleship?
>> yes it is. you get a point.
>> australians call it fairy floss . what do we call it? dental floss , glitter, cotton candy or easter glass.
>> b, glitter.
>> c, cotton candy .
>> oh, come on.
>> that's all right. savannah smiles , caramel delights and mango creams are three varieties of what, starbucks beverages, girl scout cookies --
>> girl scout cookies .
>> congratulations. let's say you won and then you go on to face your next challenger. we'll be right back and you keep making money .
>> it's going to be great.
>> i have one question for you, how long is a million seconds.
>> i have a feeling you know the second.
>> 11 days, 13 hours, 46 hours and 40 seconds.
>> we're counting down from a million seconds. that's how i find out.
>> thank you for having me.
>> good to see you.
>> that's going to be cold up there that set.
>> cold, windy, loud, exciting.
>> well it is, it's completely exposed. if you drive down 11th avenue , you will see it. it looks like a spaceship ready to take off.
>> our hour glass.
>> they call it the hour glass.
>> you did well.
>> you won $30.
>> i'm an nbc employee, i'm prevented from winning.
>> they should try out.
>> anybody can. you can wait in line. you can play