A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my personal Facebook page my excitement that the Game Show Network added Press Your Luck and Sale of the Century to its line-up.  The ensuing discussion in the comments to that post got me thinking about some of the game shows of yesteryear that deserve a second (or, in some cases, third) chance on the air.


This game show, which is to date Wink Martindale's last game show, took the grand prize concept to unchartered territory.  Instead of playing for a cash prize or a car, the contestants (or, as Martindale called them in faux Latin, contesti,) played for a chance for the show "to pay off their bills and go home with nothing."

Debt incorporated elements from two other game shows into its format--Jeopardy! (a categorized game board) and Name That Tune (Bid-a-Note, which was called "Gambling Debt" on this show).  The game was heavy on pop culture trivia, but there was enough academic material to keep the most diehard trivia nerds happy.

The game was a moderate ratings success for the Lifetime network during its run between 1996 and 1998, but it still was axed.  Why?  Because the show was drawing more male viewers to the female-oriented network.

(Video courtesy: YouTube)


This was a near-unanimous pick in the aforementioned Facebook thread.  The show, which also ran on Lifetime, was the first game since The Price Is Right to challenge the smarts of American shoppers.  The show also inspired a generation of children (this author included) to take shopping carts and run wild through the aisle of their local grocery stores.

Even though the show has been off the air for nearly 10 years, it still lives on in the hearts of its fans and on the internet.

(Video Courtesy: YouTube)


This game show's history dates back to the quiz show scandals of the 1950s.  In fact, the original version of the show was one of the ones investigated by the federal government for being rigged.  It resurfaced in 1978--19 years after the original show's cancellation--and enjoyed an eight-year run in syndication.

Gameplay is simple.  Categories appear on a tic-tac-toe board.  A correct answer to a question in the corresponding category puts an "X" or "O" on the board and puts money a pot.  Whoever makes tic-tac-toe first wins the dough.  The bonus game (commonly referred to as "The Dragon") allowed contestants to add to their winnings.  The questions weren't too hard, either, which allowed almost anyone to play along at home.

A revival was attempted in 1990 with Patrick Wayne (the son of John Wayne) as the host.  It was canceled before completing a full season.

(Video Courtesy: YouTube)


This PBS game show was based on the 1985 computer game of the same name.  The program was created after a National Geographic survey that showed less than a quarter of Americans could identify the former Soviet Union and the Pacific Ocean on a map.  During it's five-year run (1991-1996), it won a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.  It would later be named by TV Guide as one of the 50 greatest game shows of all time.  Even though it's been off the air for 17 years, the show remains part of pop culture due to its overly catchy theme song performed by Rockapella.

(Video Courtesy: YouTube)


Between the lavish prices and the quick gameplay, this game show's format has everything to succeed on television.  The most famous American version of the show ran on NBC from 1983 until 1989 and was hosted by Jim Perry.  At the time, it was one of the few game shows on television that offered contestants an opportunity to win more than $100,000.  But there was a catch.  A returning champion had to risk everything he/she had won on previous shows to cash in on the jackpot (as seen in the clip below).

A revival was attempted in 2007 under the name Temptation, but that version wasn't faithful to the original Reg Grundy production.


(Video Courtesy: YouTube)


(Image Courtesy: YouTube)
(Image Courtesy: YouTube)

Big bucks, big bucks!!!  No whammy, no whammy!!! STOP!!!  Need I say more?

(Videos Courtesy:  YouTube)

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