Now You See It (U.S. game show)

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For the 2005 Disney Channel film, see Now You See It....
Now You See It
NYSI 89 opening title.PNG
Created by Frank Wayne
Directed by Paul Alter
Andrew Felsher
Presented by Jack Narz (1974–75)
Chuck Henry (1989)
Narrated by Johnny Olson (1974–75)
Mark Driscoll (April 1989)
Don Morrow (May–July 1989)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1 (1974–75 version)
1 (1989 version)
No. of episodes 308 (1974–75 version)
75 (1989 version)
Production
Location(s) CBS Television City
Hollywood, California
Running time 22–26 minutes
Production company(s) Goodson-Todman Productions
Distributor FremantleMedia
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format NTSC
Original run April 1, 1974 (1974-04-01) – June 13, 1975 (1975-06-13)
April 3, 1989 (1989-04-03) – July 14, 1989 (1989-07-14)

Now You See It is an American television game show created by Frank Wayne for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions. Two seasons were produced, and both aired on CBS. The first series ran from April 1, 1974 until June 13, 1975, and was hosted by Jack Narz. The second series ran from April 3 until July 14, 1989 and was emceed by veteran Los Angeles news anchor Chuck Henry. Johnny Olson was the original announcer, with Gene Wood substituting on occasion. Los Angeles disc jockey Mark Driscoll announced for the first month of the 1989 season, with Don Morrow replacing him for the remainder of the run.

Although several tweaks to the game were made over the time Now You See It was on the air, the core format remained the same. Contestants competed to find words on a grid that was similar to a word search puzzle that served as answers to questions asked by the host.

Gameplay[edit]

The object of Now You See It was to find answers to general knowledge trivia questions. Jack Narz, the original host, described the premise on each episode as such: "we give you the answers, all you have to do is find them."[1]

Although the premise of the show remained the same, the main game was played differently on each version.

1970s version[edit]

Format #1[edit]

An elimination round in progress.

The first round of Now You See It under its original format began with four new contestants randomly split into two teams with one "outside" and one "inside" contestant each. This round, called the Elimination Round, was played on an electronic game board on the opposite side of the stage from the contestant desks. The board consisted or four numbered lines, with fourteen letters in each line. The letters were referred to as "positions" for scoring purposes. The board was shown to the contestants momentarily, then quickly turned off before any of them could fully memorize it.

To start the round, the "outside" contestants turned their backs to the board as Narz read a question. The first "inside" contestant to buzz-in would say which line the correct answer appeared on. If the correct line was given, it remained lit and the "outside" contestant for that team turned around to give the position of the first letter of the word, then give the answer that Narz was looking for; the entire response would therefore be in the form of "line x, position x, word". If the wrong line was guessed, the other team got a free guess.

Words were not scored by length. Instead, the position of the word's first letter was added to the number of the line it was on to determine a team's score. For instance, a word that started in the first position of the first line (line one, position one) would be worth two points, whereas a word on the same line but with the first letter in the eighth position (line one, position eight) would be worth nine points. Halfway through the round, a bell would ring and the teammates would switch seats. This occurred after six questions had been asked; after another six were asked, the bell rang again and the team that was in the lead when it rang the second time won the Elimination Round.

The winning team advanced to the Semi Finals, where they competed against each other for the right to play in the Finals. In this portion of the game, a second board with sixteen positions was used.[2] A crossword puzzle-style clue would be given to the players by host Narz, and once he was done reading the clue letters were put into the row one at a time as he said "letter". The contestants could buzz in at any time if they felt they knew the answer. If a contestant buzzed in and gave an incorrect answer, the opponent was given a free guess. If they too came up with a wrong answer, play continued until either one of the contestants guessed the word, at which point all of its remaining letters were revealed, or only one letter was left in the word, at which point it would be revealed if neither of the contestants got it. The next word's clue was then given, and more letters were added with it being possible for the word to have letters that were contained in the previous word.

The first contestant to guess four words correctly won the round and a prize package, in addition to moving on to face the champion. During the first two weeks, no prize package was given to the winner. Also, during the third week, it took five points to win the round; this would become permanent when the second format was introduced.

The Finals was played the same way as the Elimination Round, except with single players. The contestant who had more points when time ran out won the game and played the Solo Game for a chance at a cash jackpot. In the first show of the series, in the finals, the contestant who scored blocked the other contestant and would be allowed to keep answering questions until they missed one. If the other contestant, then guessed right, they took control. If both contestants missed the answer, the next question was a toss up to determine control. This was eliminated after the first episode, and all questions like in the elimination game were toss ups.

Beginning with the 101st episode and continuing until the adoption of the second main game format, contestants were asked to scan the board and write down one word from the board each on an index card at the beginning of each half of the Elimination Round, and the Finals. A contestant or team would earn 10 bonus points if they correctly answered a question with one of their "bonus words". The contestant must reveal his/her bonus word when it is found, and cannot come back to it afterwards.

Format #2[edit]

Beginning with the 186th episode and for the rest of the show's run, the format of the main game was changed. The Elimination Round was dropped altogether, and the team format went with it. Now, two new contestants began each game playing the Qualifying Round, which was similar to the previous format's semifinals with the exception that five points were required to win the round instead of four.

The winner of the Qualifying Round played the day's returning champion in the renamed Championship Round, which kept the same line/position form of scoring. However, instead of being a race against time, the Championship Round was a race to achieve a score of one hundred points. The normal scoring format was used until someone reached fifty points. Once that happened, the bell rang to indicate it and each word played after that was worth double the points. The first player to reach the 100 point total won the game and the championship and got to play the Solo Game for the jackpot.

The change in format meant that episodes of Now You See It were no longer self-contained and could straddle between episodes, and an episode could end with a game in progress that would have to be continued on the next program. Also, if a champion won the jackpot in the Solo Game and retired, the opponent he/she had defeated in the Championship Round came back to play again in the Championship Round of the following game.

1989 version[edit]

Like the second portion of the original run, the 1989 edition of Now You See It pitted two competitors in a qualifying round to determine who would advance to the championship round to face the returning champion or a champion-designate if there was no returning champion. The game, however, was conducted in a different manner. The most notable change was that made to the scoring system, as the contestants no longer had to name the correct line and position to score. Instead, the contestants only had to name the line and then the word. There was also no physical game board as there had been on the previous series, with the producers opting instead for a computer generated game board.

The qualifying round was played in two parts. In the first part, a clue to the word was given. The point value for the word decreased by five points from a starting value of 100 for every third of a second no one rang in. If the value reached 25 points, host Chuck Henry would tell the contestants what line the word was on. In the second part of the round, a new board was played and the point values doubled. The first contestant to reach 1,000 points advanced to the championship round while the losing contestant went home with parting gifts.

In the championship round each board was worth money, beginning at $200 and increasing by $100 for each additional board until someone won the game. Each board had a specific category for it and six words fitting that category on it. Henry read a clue for one of the words, and the first contestant to buzz in and correctly locate it was given twenty seconds to find the other five words. Doing so won the value of the board, but if the contestant could not do this the opposing player got a chance to steal by finding just one of the remaining words within five seconds. Doing so won the opponent the money attached to the board, otherwise the money stayed with the first player.

The round continued until one of the contestants reached $1,000. The first player to get there became champion, kept the money, and advanced to the Solo Game.

Solo Game (both versions)[edit]

In the Solo Game, the champion was given sixty seconds to find ten words on a brand new board. The champion viewed the board on a telestrator screen. On the original Now You See It, the Solo Game board was the same one used in the Semifinal/Qualifying Round and the screen was embedded in Jack Narz's podium. On the revival series, a separate podium was used and, as in the rest of the show, the board was computer generated.

After each clue was given, the contestant sought out the word and circled it with an electronic pencil on the screen once he/she found it. Passing was allowed if a player got stuck on a word, and if time permitted the champion could play those words again once all ten clues were given. Finding all ten words before time ran out won the contestant the jackpot. If not, $100 was given for each word that had been found before time expired.

On both series, the Solo Game's jackpot started at $5,000. For each unsuccessful playing on the original Now You See It, the jackpot increased by $1,000 and if the pot reached $25,000, it froze there until it was won. Any contestant that won the Solo Game retired immediately as champion and the loser of the final round became the champion-designate for the next show/match (depending on the format; as noted above the change resulted in games that straddled episodes). A player was not limited as champion otherwise; champions played until they were defeated or won the Solo Game.

On the 1989 revival, each unsuccessful Solo Game added $5,000 to the jackpot. Winning the jackpot did not automatically retire a champion on this series, but a player was limited to five consecutive match wins before retiring.

Production information[edit]

Theme[edit]

Both versions used the instrumental theme "Chump Change," composed by Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby. For a brief period, the 1970s version used an alternate theme written by Edd Kalehoff.

Broadcast history[edit]

1974–1975[edit]

The first version ran from April 1, 1974[3] to June 13, 1975 at 11:00 AM (10:00 Central) with Jack Narz hosting, replacing The $10,000 Pyramid, which moved to ABC one month after its CBS cancellation. Initially, it did well against Alex Trebek's American debut on NBC (The Wizard of Odds) but, three months later, NBC gave Trebek a new show called High Rollers at that slot and NYSI began to struggle while the producers altered the format several times. The show was taped at CBS Television City in Studio 33 (also known as the Bob Barker Studio), currently home to The Price Is Right. Some episodes used Studio 41, which at the time was the stage of CBS's Tattletales.[4]

NBC's resurgence in its morning lineup in early 1975 with the likes of Wheel of Fortune prompted CBS to clean house, canceling The Joker's Wild along with NYSI. Gambit (the show actually facing Wheel), which had begun in 1972 at 11/10, returned to that slot after NYSI's departure from the lineup.

This version aired occasionally on Game Show Network during the 1990s and 2000s until the network chose not to renew its contract with FremantleMedia (which now owns the Goodson-Todman library).

1985[edit]

A decade after its cancellation, a pilot was taped for a possible syndicated revival of NYSI, with Jack Clark as host and Gene Wood as announcer, but it was not picked up as a series.

1989[edit]

Four years later, CBS decided to try the show again from April 3 to July 14, 1989 at 10:30 AM (9:30 Central), replacing Card Sharks, with Los Angeles news anchor Chuck Henry hosting. This version was again taped at Studio 33 at Television City in Hollywood for its entire run.

Not only did it face its sister Mark Goodson-packaged game Classic Concentration on NBC, (hosted by Trebek), but the new NYSI faced a vastly changed television market from the days of the original. Syndicated talk shows such as Donahue and Sally Jessy Raphael had become popular and made games like NYSI seem tame and quaint by comparison. Further, daytime viewership had declined greatly overall since 1975, thanks to a surge in cable and pay channels giving the viewer more choices than just the three major networks. With a greater possibility for local advertising revenue from the talk shows, numerous stations passed on the game despite the solid performance of its lead-in, Family Feud.

In order to counteract affiliate preemption, CBS scuttled NYSI and brought in the daytime Wheel of Fortune following NBC's cancellation of it on June 30.

To date, this version has not aired on GSN, at the request of Chuck Henry.

Merchandise[edit]

Home Game[edit]

A board Game based on the 1974-1975 version was made by Milton Bradley in 1974.

Computer Game[edit]

A computer game based on the 1989 version was made by Gametek in 1990.

Foreign versions[edit]

Country Local Name Host Network Year Aired
 Australia Now You See It Mike Meade & Melvin the Robot
Sofie Formica
Seven Network 1985-1990
1991-1993
Scott McRae Nine Network 1998-2000
 Indonesia Temukan Kata Nico Siahaan
Irgi Ahmad Fahrezi
Kompas TV 2012-2013
 United Kingdom Now You See It
Celebrity NYSI
Children's NYSI
Johnny Beattie
Jack McLaughlin
Grant Stott
Fred MacAulay
Scottish Television 1981-1984
1985-1986
1993
1994-1995

References[edit]

  1. ^ Now You See It premiere episode, 1974
  2. ^ Now You See It premiere, 1974.
  3. ^ "TV TIMES". Los Angeles Times. 1974-03-31. p. 5. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  4. ^ "Shows–CBS Television City". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gambit
11:00 AM EST, CBS
4/1/74 – 6/13/75
Succeeded by
Tattletales
Preceded by
Card Sharks
10:30 AM EST, CBS
4/3/89 – 7/14/89
Succeeded by
Wheel of Fortune