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High Rollers


Producer: Heatter-Quigley
Host: Alex Trebek
Announcer: Kenny Williams
Taping Info: February 14, 1978
Made it to Air: This pilot spawned The New High Rollers, which aired from April 24, 1978 (replacing Knockout) until June 20, 1980, where it was replaced by The David Letterman Show. Other versions aired from 1974-1976 and 1987-88.
Availability: UCLA Archive

Because of the time difference between the date of the pilot taping and the airing of the series, I'm not sure if this was a true pilot or more of a test program. The afroed Alex Trebek is back, but Ruta Lee is gone, replaced by two models who solely do prizes, since contestants are allowed to do the dice rolling this time out.

The major difference between this version and the original is the column format. The old version worked like Concentration, where each number had a prize associated with it. This version only had prizes if a column of numbers (three of them) are removed and are only kept if you win the game. If the column is not cleared, the prizes carry over to the next game, but not the next match. Two of three game victories constituted a match win and a trip to the bonus game.

The bonus game was the same, where you tried to remove the nine numbers before getting a roll that doesn't work. Insurance markers were given for a roll of doubles, and $10,000 was awarded for clearing all nine. On this pilot, all nine were cleared.

Nothing wrong with this one, other than Alex didn't quite know yet how to refer to the columns, he called both by numbers ("Column 2") and letters ("Column B") interchangeably. If the minor changes like the chaser lights for the buzz-in and the font changes for the numbers were already in place. Why isn't this airing today?

This pilot has been viewed 9290 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