Contestants have a minute to complete a quirky task and if they succeed, they move up the money ladder, a la, Millionaire. There are about forty random games that range from the pretty easy, stacking four apples, to the really tough, keeping two feathers aloft for 60 seconds by blowing them up into the air.
Some of the games are really fun and inventive and instead of me listing them all here, go check out http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/how-to/ for a list of them all.
Here's what the show has going for it that makes it work for me. First of all, Guy Fieri is a great host. He seems genuinely excited for the contestants and he's believable.
Secondly, this is the first show I've seen where they get to the point quickly. For example, after a contestant wins $1,000 dollars, they don't make him or her pretend to be terribly distraught about going to the next level. The contestant usually says, let's go, and believe or not, they go straight to the next game. There's no over-producing or fake drama like you get in shows like Deal or No Deal.
The contestants all have outgoing personalities but they don't seem like amateur drama students picked from the local community college which is refreshing and much easier to watch.
The games are the star of the show and the producers realize this and they strip everything back so the games can win the audience over.
There seems to be a ton of commercials run during the show which may or may not be my imagination. I might be making it up because I'm so engrossed in the games that when a commercial break happens, it seems like I've only been watching for a few minutes. If my major complaint is that the commercials are plentiful and I wish the show was longer, that's probably the biggest endorsement for the show that I can give and you should go check it out.