TV Revival List: Jackpot! | Bonehead Picks

TV Revival List: Jackpot!

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A recent browse through YouTube brought up another classic game show produced by Bob Stewart. Around the same time Stewart was producing incarnations of Pyramid, he created a game show which asked riddles and added cash to a pot in order to build it and took turns crossing the border to help produce it. When given the opportunity, if they answered a riddle correctly they would split the money. This simple game of riddles full of cash and prizes is called Jackpot.

The original version was broadcast by NBC and hosted by Geoff Edwards debuting on January 7, 1974 and lasting until September 26, 1975. Later on Stewart struck a deal with USA Network and Global Televsion Network to revive the program from September 30, 1985 until December 30, 1988 which aired in the United States and Canada, produced in Toronto and hosted by Mike Darrow. One last revival occurred in syndication from September 18, 1989 until March 16, 1990 again hosted by Edwards.

The game begins with 16 players who play throughout the week Monday through Friday and compete for cash and prizes. One player would stand at a podium beside the host and would be considered the king or queen of the hill. Depending on which version you would watch, the Canadian version started with $100 and the king/queen would pick a player where they were numbered 1-15. Most held cash while one held a bonus prize and the other the Jackpot card. Dollar amount were in $5 increments along with their riddle on all versions.

A target would be set for the Super Jackpot along with a random amount. If the target was $480 and they reached that number, they would go for the Super Jackpot which the riddle would be asked by the host. Depending on the version, once the amount was announced they would go ahead and add the cash regardless of whether they got the riddle right. If they found the Jackpot card, the king/queen could go for it or try to build it. If he/she got the riddle right, they split the Jackpot with the other player. If they missed a riddle, both players switched places.

During the NBC version, they used a multiplier where if the target was $720 x 25, the Super Jackpot would be worth $18,000. The highest the target could go was $995, in which to round it off would be maxed out to $50,000. Though the show was popular in Canada, it was much more low budget so to speak as the Super Jackpot would never go over $10,000. The last syndicated version maxed out at $25,000 and never used a multiplier. Just like the Jackpot, the host would ask the riddle, but either player could answer.

As far as episode status, according to Edwards, all but two NBC episodes were said to be destroyed while the USA and syndicated version have been reaired on Game Show Network. Stewart’s son Sande produced a show called Hollywood Showdown which used similar elements to Jackpot and aired for two seasons and hosted by Todd Newton on PAX and GSN (2000-2002). Instead of riddles, Newton asked multiple choice questions based on pop culture.

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