Monopoly (game show)

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Created by Merv Griffin
Directed by Kevin McCarthy
Presented by Mike Reilly
Kathy Davis
Kathy Karges
Michelle Nicholas
Narrated by Charlie O'Donnell
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 12 (+1 pilot)
Producer(s) Burt Wheeler
Location(s) Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Merv Griffin Enterprises
King World Productions
Original channel ABC
Original run June 16, 1990 (1990-06-16) – September 1, 1990 (1990-09-01)

Monopoly is an American television game show based on the board game of the same name. It aired on ABC from June 16 to September 1, 1990. Mike Reilly hosted program and Charlie O'Donnell was the announcer.


First round[edit]

Three contestants played, each represented by a color (red, gold, and green). Starting on Mediterranean Avenue, and continuing clockwise through each property color-group on a standard Monopoly game board, a crossword puzzle-style clue was read. The first player to buzz-in with the correct answer won the value of the property in cash and gained control of it. Each incorrect answer deducted the value from the player's score. Each entirely missed question halved the property value until someone gave a correct answer.

The first letter of each answer was given to the players. All questions asked along one "street," or side of the game board, started with the same letter.

If more than one contestant controlled properties in the same color group, a series of play-off questions determined which player gained control of the monopoly in that group. Split-ownership of color groups was not allowed. In the event that each of the three players owned one property in a color group, a toss-up was asked of all three players. The player giving the correct answer immediately took control of one of his opponent's properties in that group. The third opponent had to answer two questions to gain the monopoly, while the player who answered correctly has to answer only one additional question to win the monopoly.

The player who won control of the monopoly also earned the value of all the properties in the group, from an additional $120 for the purple group of Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues to $750 for the dark blue pair of Park Place and Boardwalk.

Big Money round[edit]

During a commercial break, the players used the money accumulated during the first round to purchase houses ($50 each) and hotels ($250 each) to place on their properties (which must be built evenly on each property in a single Monopoly). This determined the rent value of each question asked while on that property.

A pair of dice was rolled, and an indicator light (starting on GO) traveled that many spaces clockwise on the board. If it landed on a color group property, whoever controlled the property was given the question first; if that player missed, no penalization was assessed for that player but the clue was given to his/her opponents, who lost the amount if incorrect. A correct answer won the rent value (full hotel rent from the regular game, 1/5 of the hotel rent per house, or the mortgage value if there are no buildings) of that property.

Play continued in this fashion until time ran out. The first bell signals the final minute of play while the second one signals the end of the round. At that point, the houses and hotels were sold back to the bank at their original value, which is then added to the player's current score. The player in the lead at that point won the game and kept the money, while the other players left with parting gifts.

Other spaces[edit]

  • Utilities (Electric Company and Water Works)—The question value was $100 multiplied by the number rolled to land on it (i.e. a roll of 12 meant the question would be worth $1,200).
  • Railroads—The Railroad spaces allowed for "hostile takeovers". A toss-up was asked of all three players. Whoever answered correctly chose a monopoly controlled by an opponent, moved to the first property in that group and attempted to answer as many questions as there were properties in the group in order to takeover control.[1] If the player succeeded, control of the monopoly was theirs, the new owner collected the combined value of all the properties in that color group. Movement then continued from the last property in the group. If the player missed a question, the takeover failed, the original owner collected rent from the first player based on the rent of the property for which the question was missed, and movement continued from the last property the player tried to takeover.
  • Chance and Community Chest—Cards contained bonuses, penalties, or movement instructions.
  • GO—When the indicator light passed GO, all players received a $200 bonus.
  • Tax Spaces—Income Tax & Luxury Tax acted as their counterparts in the board game, costing each player 10% of their cash total (for Income Tax) or $75 (for Luxury Tax).
  • Free Parking—A toss-up question was asked worth a jackpot starting at $500 and added to by any fines, taxes or Chance and Community Chest cards.
  • Go To Jail—Sent the indicator to the In Jail space and cost the players a fine of $250 each to continue.

Bonus Round ("Once Around the Board")[edit]

The top winner attempted to complete one circuit of the game board (starting from GO) in five rolls of the dice, while avoiding landing on one of the Go To Jail spaces on the board.

Before the bonus round, the player selected four spaces to be transformed into Go To Jail spaces: one on Second Street (the board side with the maroon and orange properties), one on Third Street (red and yellow side) and two spaces on Fourth Street (green and dark-blue side). In addition, the standard Go To Jail corner space already on the board was still in play, for a total of five Go To Jail spaces on the board. The other spaces on the board had no bonus or penalty attached to them.

The player could stop after every "safe" roll (a roll not hitting a Go To Jail) and take $100 for every space passed. A roll of doubles added an extra roll to the total rolls that could be taken. If the player landed on a Go To Jail space, the round ended and any bonus winnings were lost. Making the complete circuit of the board by passing GO was worth $25,000. If the player landed exactly on GO, the payout was $50,000.

Production information[edit]

Merv Griffin created the series and served as executive producer. Monopoly was paired with Super Jeopardy! for its 12-week run on ABC.

Coincidentally, host Mike Reilly competed on the television game show Jeopardy! in 1989.[2] Reilly later worked as a waiter before being selected a year later by producer Merv Griffin to perform as a contestant on the pilot for Monopoly.[3] After the pilot with Peter Tomarken as host was taped, Reilly was selected as host.[4]

International Version[edit]

A Welsh version of the show, hosted by Derec Brown aired on S4C for a brief period in 1992.


  1. ^ "Monopoly". Monopoly. 11 August 1990. American Broadcasting Company.
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television. Penguin Books. p. 565. ISBN 9780140249163. 
  3. ^ Lipton, Lauren (1990-06-16). "Reilly's Monopoly on Cockiness". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  4. ^ "He's passed go and collected much more than $200". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1990-07-08. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 

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