HQ Trivia made a surprise return on Sunday evening after an anonymous investor brought the company back from the dead.
The New York company that hosts live trivia contests went out of business after its founding CEO Colin Kroll died and it encountered other financial problems. Rus Yusupov, cofounder, tried to keep the company alive but shuttered it when it ran out of money in mid-February.
The hosts of the show hilariously drank on the final show and toasted its goodbye. But now it’s back.
Matt Richards, the host of the show, announced that HQ Trivia was back on Sunday with a tweet.
Richards said he was overjoyed to come back after a seven-week hiatus, and he announced that HQ Trivia will make a $100,000 donation to World Central Kitchen, a charity that makes food for people in emergency zones, such as those affected by wildfires or the coronavirus. José Andrés, founder of the charity, came on the show live to thank the company for the donation.
Richards was sentimental about the comeback, and he cracked a lot of jokes about how everyone needs to shelter at home and wash their hands because of the coronavirus.
I played the 6 p.m. Pacific show with my kid. The theme for the trivia contest was appropriately about comebacks, revivals, and rebirths. I got nine of the questions right, and my kid got 11. We were thrown by the final question, about a King George III song in Hamilton (the answer was Hugh Laurie). But we stayed in longer because Richards gave out free extra lives to everyone, as well as 500 coins, which meant you could use 400 coins to buy a second extra life.
Thanks to that generosity, more than 10,000 people wound up as winners for the show. And so each winner shared the $1,000 prize, winning 9 cents or 10 cents a piece.
The show debuted in 2017 and it became a big hit, as it aggregated millions of fans to its interactive quiz show, which requires you to answer a dozen questions correctly in order to win cash prizes.
A spokesperson for the company said that Yusupov remains the CEO. In a statement, he said, “HQ has always been a community-driven experience and we’re proud to come back at a time when we can be a resource for our players, especially as we navigate these uncertain times together and raise awareness for the causes we’re supporting. The loyalty and outpouring of support from our fans these past couple of weeks has been a driving factor in our return and it further energizes us to make a positive difference.”
[Updated: 12:55 p.m. on 3/30/20 with Yusupov statement].
GamesBeat Gift Guides: Everything we recommend this holiday season