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Decisions, Decisions


Producer: Barry-Enright
Host: Bill Cullen
Announcer: Johnny Jacobs
Celebrities: David Letterman, Joyce Bulifant
Taping Info: probably 1979 and probably for NBC
Other Pilots: Another one was shot with Arte Johnson and Liz Torres
Made it to Air: No, although the bonus game of this pilot was later used in 1984's Hot Potato
Availability: It's on the trading circuit.

By the late 1970's, Family Feud was the show to rip-off. Bob Stewart tried and had a 13-week effort with Pass the Buck, so it was now time for Barry-Enright to give it a shot with Decisions, Decisions. The twist on this version is that the answers are already given, you're trying to figure out the correct order. "Up and coming TV star" David Letterman joins Joyce Bulifant and host Bill Cullen in this tribute to the bubble sort.

In each of the two rounds, one celebrity and one contestant try to order a list of six items two items at a time. The team is given a subject (such as trust in professions among bankers, politicians, etc.) relating to the items, and the "chooser" chooses two items off the board. The teammate then chooses which item is higher in the category, and the team scores one point if they are correct. They continue until they have tried all possible five pairs. The other team is given their list and subject, and they try the same thing. In the second round, the roles reverse and the points double.

While the main game was entertaining, the bonus game had its flaws. The concept was the winning team would try to avoid finding the top answer from a list of six items. The civilian and celebrity alternate guesses until they find the top answer. Once that is found, the remaining player continues solo until they find the second top answer, since the first one has been identified. If the top answer is found last, the player wins $2,500 and a prize, in this pilot a trip to Sydney, Australia. If they both get knocked out, the player wins $500 per correct answer. The contestant on this pilot knocked himself out on the first answer, forcing the Joyce Bulifant to go solo and win the game for the contestant. Hardly fair and hardly exciting.

Although I am a huge David Letterman fan, the true delight of this pilot was his partner, Madeline Hayes. Dave was full of zingers, and Madeline had no problem answering back. The two major flaws were the bonus game (too long and too unfair) and the theme. The theme borrowed the Play the Percentage disco singers to warble the phrase "Decisions, Decisions" over again. This probably killed the show more than anything.


The Barry/Enright hunting lodge, or the set to Decisions, Decisions.

Dave and Madeline try to sort the sexual activity of animals...

...while Mike and Joyce try to figure out trustworthy jobs.

Bill would like the Ham and Cheese combo with a pickle and chips.

A look at the board


This pilot has been viewed 973 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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