Bullseye (U.S. game show)

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(Celebrity) Bullseye
Created by Jack Barry & Dan Enright
Presented by Jim Lange
Narrated by Jay Stewart
Charlie O'Donnell
Theme music composer Hal Hidey
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes ~390[citation needed]
Location(s) NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1980–1981)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1981–1982)
Running time 30 Minutes
Original channel Syndicated (daily)
Original run September 29, 1980 – September 24, 1982

Bullseye is an American game show that aired in syndication from September 29, 1980 to September 24, 1982. Jim Lange was the host, and the program was produced by Jack Barry and Dan Enright. Jay Stewart was the announcer for the first season, and Charlie O'Donnell announced for the second season. The series' executive producer was Ron Greenberg.


Main game[edit]

Two contestants, one a returning champion, competed. The game began with the champion stopping three spinning windows, set up in a triangular fashion, by hitting a plunger in front of him/her. The top two windows contained eight different categories—four in each window—with dollar amounts ranging from $50 to $200, representing the value of each question in the category. The bottom window was the contract window, and displayed numbers from one to five as well as a bullseye.

When the windows stopped spinning, the contestant chose either of the displayed categories, and had to fulfill the contract by correctly answering the number of questions indicated in the contract window. For each correct answer the dollar value of the category was added to a pot. The bullseye represented an unlimited contract and the players could continue answering as long as they desired. If a contestant answered incorrectly at any point, the opponent was given a chance to take control of the contract with a right answer. Play continued until the contract was fulfilled or (in the case of a bullseye) a player decided to stop.

The player who completed the contract was presented with a choice. He/she could either bank the money in the pot, relinquishing control of the spinning to the opposing player, or could leave the money in the pot and retain control, thus risking that the opponent could claim the pot by stealing control of and completing a contract.

The first contestant to bank $1,000 or more won the game. Beginning with a November 1980 children's charity week,[citation needed] this was increased to $2,000, and the question values doubled to $100–$400. Contestants kept any money banked during a game, regardless of the outcome, making Bullseye one of the few Barry & Enright shows to allow losing contestants to keep winnings from the game.

In the event the champion won the game without the challenger having an opportunity to play (for example, if the champion spun a bullseye in the contract window and answered several consecutive questions to win the game), the challenger returned in the next game to play again.

As was the case with most Barry & Enright game shows, a new car was awarded to any contestant who won five consecutive games.

Bonus Island[edit]

Bonus Island game.

The champion advanced to play the bonus round, referred to as "Bonus Island". Once again, the object for the contestant was to use his/her plunger to stop the spinning windows. However, this time the windows contained various dollar amounts ($100–$150–$200 originally, later increased to $100–$200–$300 during the fifth week). All three windows also contained bullseyes, and one contained a lightning bolt.

The contestant's task was to spin three bullseyes, which resulted in an automatic win, or survive a particular number of spins (originally ten, later seven) without being "struck by lightning". With each spin, whatever money the contestant accumulated was added to his/her bank for the round. Originally, if a bullseye appeared, the contestant had the option to freeze that window and put it out of play; this option was later removed, so that bullseyes would automatically be frozen. A contestant could choose to stop at any time and keep the accumulated money, but if the lightning appeared, he/she lost the round and the money. The location of the lightning was not revealed until after the round was over, so the contestant had no way of knowing whether it had been put out of play behind a bullseye.

For winning the bonus round by spinning three bullseyes, the contestant's money bank was doubled and the contestant also received a prize package (usually worth $2,000–$4,000). If a contestant achieved three bullseyes in one spin, this was originally worth $5,000, but the payoff was later doubled to $10,000. Beginning with the third week, a contestant who survived the required number of spins (originally ten, later reduced to seven when the rules changed so that bullseyes were automatically frozen) won either $5,000 or the total amount in the bank, whichever was greater. Except for the Celebrity Bullseye episodes, the same prize package was at stake throughout a particular episode until won.

Production information[edit]

The show featured a bombastic music package, including a main theme strongly reminiscent of the Santa Esmeralda disco hit "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which had been used itself on the pilot. An eerie sound effect was used while the swirls were in motion, as well as during the window reveals following a bonus round win.

Bullseye first originated from stage 4 at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, where Wheel of Fortune was taped at the time. In 1981, production of Bullseye moved to Studio 31 of CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. Later that same year, production of Bullseye was moved to Television City's Studio 33; the show briefly returned to Studio 31 in early 1982, but returned to Studio 33 for the remainder of its run.[1]

Celebrity Bullseye[edit]

On December 7, 1981, the show changed its name to Celebrity Bullseye and featured celebrity contestants playing for their favorite charities. The celebrities played a best two-out-of-three game. A $500 value was added to the main game, the categories were no longer announced by Lange before the game began and most questions were multiple-choice, containing three possible answers.

Celebrities who played included Max Gail, Harvey Korman, Tina Louise, Greg Morris, Doug Davidson, Roxie Roker, Rue McClanahan, Diane Ladd, Richard Kline, Gloria Loring, Patrick Wayne, Lynn Redgrave, Jerry Mathers, Meredith Baxter-Birney, Ernest Borgnine, and F. Lee Bailey.

Episode status[edit]

All episodes exist, with reruns airing on CBN Cable (1982–1984) and USA Network (April 1, 1985–June 26, 1987) with GSN doing so in more recent years (as recent as November 2007 for a "Viewers' Choice" marathon).


  1. ^ "Shows–CBS Television City". Retrieved 25 July 2011.