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Keynotes (1986)

Producer: Reg Grundy
Host: Kevin O'Connell
Taping Info: August 5, 1986 at CBS Studio 33, Los Angeles
Made it to Air: No, although it did have a good run in the U.K. and a small run in Australia
Other Pilots: A pilot was also tried in 1989 with Clint Holmes (of "My Name is Michael, I Have a Nickel" fame) with the addition of celebrities.
Availability: UCLA Archive

From the endless font of formats of Reg Grundy in the 1980s comes Keynotes, a musical identification game. Hosted by recently-unemployed-Go-host Kevin O'Connell, the game is a cross between Name That Tune and Password Plus. In this version produced for CBS, two teams of three civilians do battle, of which on this pilot included Rochelle, the contestant who mauled Robert Donner on Match Game and Ben Wong, who was a bat boy for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the main game, one player from each team would come to the center podium for a face-off song. Three words were displayed that on screen were also denoted by a color (red, blue or yellow). A tune would then play, and the contestants tried to buzz in with the word that would finish the verse played in the song. This was accomplished by pressing the buzzer that matched the color of the word they wanted. A twist to the buzz-in portion was that the song would continue even after somebody would buzz in. If the first player to buzz in was wrong, the other player would then win control if he or she was right.

Winning a tune allowed you to reveal one random note in the main song. The first and last notes were already given, so this was an opportunity to get one of the ones in between. The team then tried to guess the tune from some third-rate Casio knockoff and follow the bouncing ball, which was giving the rhythm of the missing notes. If the team was unable to guess the tune, a different player went to the front and a new face-off question was read until a team got the nine-note tune. $500 went to the team that got the nine-note tune, and $1,000 won the game.

The bonus game, known as the "Jackpot Round", was similar to the end game of Name That Tune with the additional twist of the nine-note tune. Players alternated turns to try to guess the ultimate words of verses of songs just like the main game. If they guessed correctly, the clock stopped and one of the numbers representing the notes would be lit. An incorrect guess meant that at least one note would be out of play at the end. Despite Kevin O'Connell's exhortations that "that's a good strategy" and "I like your strategy", the notes the team received were random. At the end of the 25 seconds, the notes were played. If the team was able to guess the song, they won $9,000.

Although this show did not sell in the U.S. in either 1986 or 1989, it eventually had a three year run as a morning show in England from 1989-1992 and as a summer replacement for Sale of the Century in Australia in 1992. I think what doomed this pilot was the use of over-caffeinated contestants such as Rochelle who took away from what should be a rather cerebral game. Additionally, with the balkanization of what people listen to in music these days, the chances of this game starting now in any form are pretty remote.

A ticket to the pilot.

This pilot has been viewed 5208 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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