TAPE DATE

1985

NETWORK

ABC

ANNOUNCER(S)

JACK CLARK

PRODUCED BY

BOB STEWART

 

"Ten...Twenty...Thirty...Forty...$50,000 a Minute!"

 

Geoff and Meredith McRae, now old pros at hosting "Mid-Morning LA," took their turn at co-hosting a game show with this ABC Network pilot from Bob Stewart.

 

Two celebrity-contestant teams competed, and in a neat gimmick, Geoff only hosted while one team played, and Meredith only hosted while the other team played. To begin, one team plays a word communication game with no time limit. The celebrity sees an answer (for example, let's say the answer they're seeing is "IT TURNS SOUR"). The host, whoever that might be, reads the first words of a question (for example, "What happens to...") and the celebrity improvises the rest of the question ("...milk when it gets old?") attempting to make the contestant say the correct answer.

 

This keeps going until seven answers are given, and the time the team takes to do this becomes the time limit for the opposing team. If the team beats the time limit, they receive a star. If they don't the opposing team gets the star. The celebrity & contestant alternate asking/guessing duties for each round.

 

The first team to win two consecutive stars wins the game and plays the bonus round.

 

In the bonus round, the contestant faces a board with nine sets of initials, each one representing a brief phrase. The celebrity has one minute to convey clues (such as "You should do this before crossing the street" for the initials L.B.W.) and get the contestant to say the correct answer ("LOOK BOTH WAYS").

For each correct answer the contestant wins $200, answering all nine won $10,000 (if it's your first go at the end game), $20,000 (for your 2nd attempt), $30,000 (for the 3rd), $40,000 (for the fourth), or $50,000 (every attempt thereafter, and if you won it, you retired undefeated).

 

THE BAD: The "wins have to be consecutive" rule probably existed just to be different, but in the long run it would have been a terrible idea. With two very good contestants, it could have made for an exciting series of games, but with two truly terrible game-players (which any game show will inevitably get) it could make for an excruciating couple of days.

 

THE GOOD: Change the format to, say, 2 out of 3, and you actually have a rather engaging game. The different hosts-for-different players idea wasn't itself new ("The Better Sex" tried this idea seven years earlier) but this show had a good pair. Meredith McRae came across as a little nervous in this outing, but this was, after all, her first try; given that she had a good "coach" co-hosting the show with her, and she already had worked with the co-host for some time, I think she would have grown into the role rather nicely. This one's worth a look if you ever find it.

GEOFF REMEMBERS: WHY DIDN'T THIS AIR? It was a good pilot, and Merideth was great, you know? I don't know why that didn't go on. It should have, although I think the thought of $50,000 a minute gave Bob Stewart stomach pains.


 

Up one level to THE GAME SHOWS OF GEOFF EDWARDS

Up two levels to GEOFF EDWARDS' WORLD

Up three levels to GAME SHOW UTOPIA