Every Monday at 9 PM, hundreds of thousands of spectators wait for the RTS1 (the first program of the national TV station), Jovan Memedovic, to present the competing team, to play against the chasers, and announce that the most-watched weekly quiz in Serbia, Potera, can begin.
What is the secret of the longest-running weekly quiz, which enters its ninth season in the fall of 2021? Everything and everyone a little. But first things first.
When British ITV premiered its new quiz in 2009, originally titled “The Chase”, it was clear that a new TV hit was in front of the audience. As many as six authors participated in the creation of the concept of the quiz, so each of its elements was well thought out and before it was adopted, the whole group was brainstorming. We will never know what they started from and what they rejected along the way, but the result they put in front of all of us is brilliant and that is why it spread like wildfire to all continents.
For the first time, the competitors are competing together, as a team, not against each other. In every other quiz show, you will come across a situation where only one of the group of competitors is the winner or at least one of the two teams. That is not the case here. The winner is either the team or no one. True, sometimes a team falls to just one competitor, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they all fought for one and, finally, one for all. The money that the competitors earn in the joint cash register is therefore divided into equal parts between them. Viewers often comment that it is not fair because someone brings far more into the shared register. They give an example of a record-breaking episode in which a history student Sinisa Vulic defended 700,000 dinars, while electrical engineering professor Darko Vucicevic dropped to only 20,000 dinars to advance to the final round. The team divided the prize of 1,080,000 dinars into equal parts, which many assessed as unfair. However, there were no competitors among them, because they stimulated the professor to accept a lower amount in order to ensure the maximum number of steps of advantage from the chaser and Darko’s unquestionable knowledge in the finals. Namely, in the first game, he answered exactly eight questions in just one minute.
We also try to organize regular special humanitarian episodes in which celebrities compete, so recently, while the application for the next season was going on, one of the former contestants, a famous actor
Milos Timotijevic challenged spectators to be bold and stand on the line of the Chasers.
The chaser has the status of a semi-deity, because of his knowledge, speed, reasoning… He sits completely alone in his position, which consciously resembles a throne, and welcomes one contestant at a time. He relentlessly tries to break up the team and knock out anyone who doesn’t deserve to parry him in the final game. He gives the impression that he knows the answers even when he doesn’t know, but keep in mind that there are miles of exercises and preparations behind him that help him logically eliminate incorrectly and mark correct answers. He never gets the questions in advance, that would be beneath his honor. He became a Chaser because he has a vast amount of education and knowledge, agility, speed, and desire to win. When applying for participation in Potera, candidates fill in a questionnaire in which one of the questions reads “which competitor would you not like to compete against and why?”. Some of the interesting answers we got are:
“I would not like to compete against Milica Jokanovic because it seems to me that she really likes to win.”
„Not Milinkovic, I can’t even guess, what he knows.”
“Don’t put me against Zarko, he’s very fast.”
“Alas, how did they come up with this” and “it’s at the tip of my tongue” questions make up the largest part of the knowledge that is required of the contestants in Potera. Viewers from their armchairs often know the same or more from competitors on the screen. But try to turn on a stronger lamp instead of a spotlight while one of the housemates quickly, in just a minute, reads your questions by jumping from area to area. You will still know, but will you remember?
When it comes to the second game, the offered answers can often make the competitors laugh under stage fright, but sometimes they can also confuse them. It is said that the contestant Djordje Janjic, as a correct answer to the question “Which Bulgarian won the Golden Ball in 1994, a prestigious award given by France Football magazine”, put Zoran Vanev, a Macedonian singer, as the correct answer instead of Hristo Stoichkov.
All the money that the competitors earn is poured into a shared cash register and forms a prize fund that the competitors if they win, share. This musketeer principle makes the competitors consult and encourage each other in order to increase their chances of winning. In the bid before the fight with the Chaser, you should be wise: take a larger sum and make the prize fund happy, or, at the cost of putting your hand in your pocket, save a teammate who did not shine, but at a crucial moment can mean a lot. Spectators love brave competitors who accept a higher amount than the Chaser, who literally breathes down their necks, which makes the game incredibly interesting. The victory is not guaranteed in Potera, because there can be only one winner, and it does not necessarily have to be a competitive team.
In the eighth season of The Chase, the previous record in the amount of the cash prize was broken twice. First, the amount climbed to 900,000 dinars and then increased to a fantastic 1,080,000.
The reward is probably the sweetest when you earn it on your own. Doctor Predrag Zivotic took half a million dinars from Zarko Stevanovic alone, while the first woman to win on her own, and beat Milorad Milinkovic, was technical education teacher Ema Zoronjic.
Who called the British TV composer Paul Ferrer to write music for “The Chase” did not mess around! Of the formats known to us, this gentleman previously composed themes for “The Weakest Link” and “Dancing with the Stars”. Ferrer simply knows how to “sting” the atmosphere of tension and uncertainty and bring the spectators to the edge of the seat before each game.
On the recordings, the Chasers do not hear the music with which they dramatically appear in front of the competitor, but everyone imagines it so that their walk would be decisive and self-confident enough.
The host of Potera is a witty, positive, and well-meaning type. He is on the side of the competitor and does not miss the opportunity to slightly undermine the Chasers. He wants the team to win, but above all, he respects fair play and values knowledge. Contestants who suffering from stage fright and are shrunken like pretzels, with our host until the end of the performance, at least they turn into a roll. He Encourages and motivates them. In Britain, Bradley Walsh is the host, in Serbia, Jovan Memedovic, the host is almost the fifth member of the team, certainly the cherry on top in the show.
Before filming each episode, Joca’s loves to meet the contestants and talks to them in order to help them relax and focus better during the games. He often gives them well-intentioned advice, and he was probably lenient the most towards the charming Ruzica Beric, a 76-year-old woman from Sabac, the oldest participant in the Potera. Although grandmother Ruzica was left alone and lost in the final chase, Memedovic’s effort to help her remember the correct answer in all possible ways will be remembered. She thanked him when she answered the question – Who is the author of the domestic documentaries “The Last Oasis” and “The World That Disappears” (instead of Petar Lalovic) – Jovan Memedovic!
Marinela Kvapil, show producer
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