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Cop Out

Producer: Chuck Barris
Host: Geoff Edwards
Announcer: Johnny Jacobs
Celebrities: Lois Nettleton, James Farentino, Michelle Lee, Bill Bixby, Ann Elder, Larry Hovis, Della Reese, Richard Dawson
Taping Info: 1972, Stduio 33, CBS Television City, Hollywood, CA
Made it to Air: No
Other Pilots: Maybe. The version described in Chuck Barris' The Game Show King mentions 10 celebrities with two of them being Burt Reynolds and Theresa Graves. Normally, I would consider the producer an unimpeachable source, but when that source is Chuck Barris, you never know. Also, the picture of Chuck Barris Presents Themes from TV Game Shows indicates a set with only four celebrities.
Availability: GSN aired it once and it has since made the trading circuit.

When people think of Chuck Barris, they think of his three main hits The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show. What people tend to forget is that he had a tremendous string of failures The Family Game, The Parent Game, The Game Game, How's Your Mother in Law, Three's a Crowd. And if those shows actually sold, the unsold ones must have been much, much worse.

And one of these really terrible shows is Cop Out, hosted by a then relatively-unknown Geoff Edwards. Eight celebrities get together for an informal game of whether they're telling the truth or they're "copping out". Each celebrity was asked one question such as "what is your favorite substitute for romance?" A celebrity would give an answer, such as "being with kids." The other celebrities would then comment whether they felt answer was truthful or not. One of the two contestants would then decide whether the designated celebrity was telling the truth. If the contestant and the celebrity agreed, the contestant won some money. If they disagreed, the money ($100 per question) was placed into the value of the next question.

At least the pilot wasn't rigged. How do we know? Only the eighth question was guessed correctly, meaning the first seven were missed. If I was Chuck Barris (and thank God I'm not), I would have rigged the pilot a little. After the fourth consecutive miss, he should have stopped tape and arranged some correctness. I realize the game here was not the big thing, the celebrity byplay was supposed to be, but I hardly think there was much of a demand to find out how Lois Nettleton first experienced love.

This pilot did actually sell, in a way. The theme song ("Little Russian Song") was included on the 1973 release Chuck Barris Presents Themes from TV Game Shows, a compendium of his themes at the time. However, the pilot with the eight celebrities proved to be too unwieldy. If I had to revive this (and I wouldn't, but you never know), I would probably cut this down to four celebrities giving two questions each, so you wouldn't have each celebrity fighting for air time.

Here's the set. If the letter O falls out of OUT, its going to take out at least two celebrities.

Host Geoff Edwards flanks the two contestants.

Celebrities Ann Elder, James Farentino and Michelle Lee. Apparently there are no restraining orders here.

Celebrities Bill Bixby, Lois Nettleton and Larry Hovis.

Celebrities Larry Hovis, Della Reese and Richard Dawson.

In case you missed it, the celebrity was being honest.

This pilot has been viewed 5186 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
Feedback? Contact me at usgs-pilot at the usgameshows dot net domain