In 2008, the U.S. version changed its format so that contestants were required to answer questions within a time limit each of 15 seconds for questions 1–5, 30 seconds for questions 6-10, and 45 seconds for questions 11-14. After each of the 14 questions have been answered correctly, the remaining time after giving an answer was banked for the million-dollar question. The clock for each question began counting down immediately after all of the question was revealed, and was temporarily paused when a lifeline was used. Contestants who exceeded the time limit were forced to walk away with any prize money they had won up to that point. The only exception to this rule is if the Double Dip lifeline was used; if the clock expired before a second final answer was given, the contestant's winnings were reduced to the previous safe haven level.
When the clock format was implemented, the questions were assigned to categories, and the 50/50 and Switch the Question lifelines were replaced with Double Dip and Ask the Expert, Ask The Expert being available after the contestant reached $1000. Later changes included an adjustment to the money tree, the removal of Phone-a-Friend, and allowing the contestant to use Ask the Expert from the start.
For a period in November 2009, the U.S. show also had a one-off event called the Million Dollar Tournament of 10 in response to the show's lack of a top-prize winner since Nancy Christy in 2003. The winner of the tournament was Sam Murray, who became the first person to win the top prize of US$1 Million with the clock format. The U.S. version ended usage of this format in 2010, switching to the shuffle format.
The Japanese version adopted this format beginning on September 15, 2009. However, that version uses the original three lifelines; the time limits are 30 seconds for questions 1–9, 1 minute for questions 10–12, and 3 minutes for questions 13–15; and unused time is not banked.
The UK version also adopted this format on August 3, 2010; however, it uses the 12-question money tree and the original lifelines, and the final 5 questions do not have a time limit. Contestants also receive a fourth lifeline, "Switch the Question" or "Switch," upon completing question 7 in addition to the clock being turned off. However, during the first 7 questions, if the contestant runs out of time on a question, their winnings will drop back down to the last safe haven they passed as if the question had been answered incorrectly, instead of being forced to walk away.
The Indian version also adopted this format upon its return on October 11, 2010. India's new format was similar to the UK version, except that it had a 13-question money tree, the same lifelines originally used in the U.S. clock format version, and a 30 second time limit for questions 1-2, and 45 seconds for questions 3-7.
Similar clock rules and time limits also exist in the Taiwanese version, the former theme park attraction Play It!, computer and video game adaptations of the show, and the "Hot Seat" format (see below). The former Australian version had no true time limit; however, in 2007, a 60-second shot clock went into effect if the player took too long to answer a question (to prevent the possibility of cheating on a question). If time expired, the contestant was forced to walk away with any money won to that point.
Other articles related to "clock format, format, clock":
... version changed its format so that contestants were required to answer questions within a time limit each of 15 seconds for questions 1–5, 30 seconds for questions 6-10 ... The clock for each question began counting down immediately after all of the question was revealed, and was temporarily paused when a lifeline was used ... if the Double Dip lifeline was used if the clock expired before a second final answer was given, the contestant's winnings were reduced to the previous safe haven level ...