Now You See It (U.S. game show)
|Now You See It|
|Created by||Frank Wayne|
|Directed by||Paul Alter
|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|
|No. of seasons||1 (1974–75 version)
1 (1989 version)
|No. of episodes||308 (1974–75 version)
75 (1989 version)
|Location(s)||CBS Television City
|Running time||22–26 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Goodson-Todman Productions|
|Original run||April 1, 1974
- June 13, 1975|
April 3, 1989 – July 14, 1989
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 season ran from April 1, 1974 until June 13, 1975, and was hosted by Jack Narz. The second season 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.
The game board in all versions of Now You See It had four rows ("lines") with 14 letters ("positions") in each row. The host read general knowledge trivia questions with single-word answers that were concealed within the jumble of letters on the board for that round. The answers on the board were always written horizontally from left to right.
Although the premise of the show remained the same, the main game was played differently on each version.
The first round of Now You See It under its original format began with four new players randomly split into two teams with one "outside" and one "inside" player each. The "outside" players turned their backs to the board as Narz read a question. The first "inside" player to buzz-in would say which line the correct answer appeared on. If the correct line was given, the "outside" player for that team turned around to give the position number and the word. If the wrong line was guessed, the other team got a free guess. If the correct position and answer was given, the team earned points equal to the sum of the line and position numbers (example: if a word was on Line 4, Position 1, the team scored five points). Otherwise, nobody scored for that word. Halfway through the round a bell rang, and the inside and outside players switched roles. The team that was in the lead when a second bell rang won the Elimination Round. Although the host would say that time had run out, the game was never played to time. Twelve questions were played, six in each configuration, with a thirteenth if needed to break a tie.
In the semifinals, the two contestants on the winning team competed against each other. A string of 16 concealed letters was shown to the contestants, and the host read a crossword-style clue. The 16-letter string began to reveal one letter at a time until a player buzzed in and answered correctly, or only one letter was left in the word. If a contestant buzzed in and gave an incorrect answer, the opponent was given a free guess before any more letters were revealed. If they too came up with a wrong answer, the word would continue to be revealed. If nobody guessed the word with one letter left, it was revealed. The host then read another clue, and began revealing letters; the next answer could use letters from the end of the previous answer in the string. The first player to guess four words correctly won the round and a prize package. 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 winner of the semifinals round competed against the show's returning champion in the Finals. This round was played like the elimination round, except that there were no partners. Contestants gave both the line and position numbers of correct answers in order to score. 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 player who scored blocked the other player and would be allowed to keep answering questions until they missed one. If the other player, then guessed right, they took control. If both players 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 player must reveal his/her bonus word when it is found, and cannot come back to it afterwards.
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. Instead, two new players 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. Game play was similar, except instead of playing until time ran out the champion and challenger tried to score 100 points first. The scoring rules were the same as the Elimination Round and Finals in the first format. However, once one player reached 50 points, a bell rang to signify all subsequent words would be played for double points. The first player to score 100 or more points advanced to the Solo Game.
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.
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 players no longer had to name the correct line and position to score. Instead, the players only had to name the line and then the word.
The qualifying round was played in two parts. In the first part, once 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, the host would tell the players 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 player to reach 1,000 points advanced to the championship round while the losing player went home with parting gifts.
Each board in the championship round was played for money and with a category attached. As before, the host would give a clue for a word on the board. The contestant that correctly buzzed in and located it was then given twenty more seconds to find the remaining five words that fit the category. If he/she failed to do so the other player could steal the money by finding one of the remaining words. The first board was worth $200 and each subsequent board was played for $100 more than the board before it. The first player to $1,000 became champion and kept whatever he/she had won, and moved on to play the Solo Game.
Solo Game (both versions)
The winner of the main game was shown a new board and 60 seconds to find ten words on that board. Once the host read a clue to one of those words, the contestant used an electronic pencil to circle the word (on a telestrator) that was being guessed and call it out. The contestant had the option to pass at any time and return to that question later.
Each correct answer was worth $100, and if all ten words were found before time expired the contestant won a cash jackpot which began at $5,000. From 1974–1975, the jackpot increased $1,000 for each unsuccessful attempt, to a maximum of $25,000. On the 1989 version, the jackpot increased by $5,000 for each unsuccessful attempt.
On the 1970s version, a returning champion would immediately retire after winning the jackpot, making the player they beat in the Championship Round the designated champion for the next game. On the 1989 version, a returning champion could stay for a maximum of five days regardless of how many jackpots they won.
The first version ran from April 1, 1974 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.
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.
Fourteen years later, CBS decided to try the show again from April 3 to July 14, 1989 at 10:30 AM (9:30 Central) 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 (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.
A board Game based on the 1974-1975 version was made by Milton Bradley in 1974.
A computer game based on the 1989 version was made by Gametek in 1990.
|Country||Local Name||Host||Network||Year Aired|
|Australia||Now You See It||Mike Meade & Melvin the Robot
|Scott McRae||Nine Network||1998-2000|
|Indonesia||Temukan Kata||Nico Siahaan
Irgi Ahmad Fahrezi
|United Kingdom||Now You See It
- Now You See It at the Internet Movie Database (1974 version)
- Now You See It at the Internet Movie Database (1989 version)
|11:00 AM EST, CBS
4/1/74 – 6/13/75
|10:30 AM EST, CBS
4/3/89 – 7/14/89
Wheel of Fortune