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Money in the Blank


Producer: Bob Stewart
Host: Kevin O'Connell
Announcer: Johnny Gilbert
Celebrities: Theresa Ganzel, Nathan Cook
Taping Info: 1987 at CBS Studio #33 for CBS
Made it to Air: No

Bogey and Bacall. Abbott and Costello. Bob Stewart and word games. Classic duos that are fondly remembered now but definitely limped to the finish line. Bob tried every variation he could, and by 1987 his font was starting to run dry stateside he had a sagging Pyramid and was letting his son helm two low-budget retreads in Canada (Chain Reaction and Jackpot). Also, he had finally exhausted the A-B finish phrase main-game and give. a. word. one. at. a. time. before. viewers. go. insane. bonus. format. on Double Talk, he needed something fresh. He got it on one of the two counts.

In a set inspired by an abandoned Baskin-Robbins, there are, wait for it, two teams consisting of one celebrity and one civilian. They are seated at podiums Pyramid style, and one member of each team is shown a phrase with some of the words blanked out plus a "subject" word. For example, the phrase "At the beginning of every _______ , the ______ ______" would be paired with the subject "MGM". One of the two teams would decide to buzz-in, and they have a total of eight seconds to give the phrase to their partner with the blanks completed "At the beginning of every movie, the lion roars" and receive the answer back. If the team was able to complete this, they received 20 points. If they were unable to complete, the other team could get it for 30 (doesn't seem fair, does it?).

Once one of the teams crossed the 80 point plateau, the civilians switched celebrity partners. Once one of teams reached 150 points, they won the game and went on to play the bonus game. Sounds original so far, but...

Apparently, Bob Stewart was cleaning out his garage one day and stumbled upon the Three on a Match board. Always one to recycle, and to have a bonus game that had nothing to do with the main game, players would then use their main game points to try to find a three word phrase on the famous board. There were three columns, numbered 10, 20 and 40 while there were four rows, one each of red, blue, yellow and green boxes. The object was to try to find a three word phrase in those boxes by buying them with main game points. If the player was able to find the phrase in his or her first three guesses, they won $15,000. If they still got the phrase but it took more than three boxes, the player could then pick a dollar amount behind one of the boxes that varied between $1,000 and $10,000. However, all money was "at risk", you only got the money of the last box you chose. You could choose to stop if you had a dollar amount satisfactory to your bonus needs. I can't remember what you won if you did not find the phrase, but I believe it was $500.

It was going so well, a main game that was only vaguely reminiscent of old formats (The $10,000 Sweep comes to mind), but the bonus game killed the pace and would leave viewers confused. Although, to be fair to Mr. Stewart, I don't really have a winning idea how you can turn the main game around to make a bonus game, other than to do x phrases (such as 6) in sixty seconds. Maybe arrange them in a stacked order where there's just one at the top. Sounds original to me.

This pilot has been viewed 7925 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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