Pass the Buck (U.S. game show)

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Pass the Buck
Genre Game show
Created by Bob Stewart
Directed by Mike Gargiulo
Presented by Bill Cullen
Narrated by Bob Clayton
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 65
Executive producer(s) Bob Stewart
Producer(s) Sande Stewart
Location(s) Ed Sullivan Theater, New York City
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel CBS
Original run April 3, 1978 – June 30, 1978

Pass the Buck is a game show that aired on CBS television's daytime lineup from April 3 to June 30, 1978. The series was hosted by Bill Cullen and was created by Bob Stewart. Bob Clayton was the announcer.


Four contestants compete to give a list of items that fit into a specific category announced at the beginning of each round. The bank for each game starts at $100. The order of contestants giving answers progresses from left to right and $25 is added to the bank for each correct item.

If at any point an item is repeated or the judges deem a response incorrect, the next contestant in line can eliminate the contestant before him/her by giving an acceptable response. If that contestant also fails to give an acceptable response, the third contestant can eliminate the previous two in the same manner. The fourth contestant can eliminate all three of his/her opponents if they each successively give incorrect responses. However, if all the contestants give incorrect responses, that question is thrown out and play resumes with a new question. A new round begins with a new category after one or more contestants are eliminated from the game.

Play continues until one player is left, with that last player winning the bank and going onto the Fast Bucks bonus round.

Fast Bucks[edit]

The Fast Bucks round is played on a triangular board with four rows: one box on the top row, two on the second, three on the third, and four on the bottom. The winning player begins on the bottom row and is given a category with more defined answers (e.g., people from Happy Days, U.S. States). The player has 15 seconds to give as many answers as possible that fit the category, trying to match any of the ones on the current row.

Revealing at least one answer on a row allows the player to move up to the next one. The process is the same for the other rows. If at any time the player fails to reveal any answers on a row, the bonus round ends and the player receives $100 for each revealed answer on the board. However, if the player reveals either all of the answers on one row, or at least one answer on every row, he/she wins $5,000.

The same four players stay on the show until one of them wins the $5,000, at which point the other three players leave the show (but keep any money won up to that point). The $5,000 winner faces three new challengers.

Broadcast history[edit]

CBS tried to make amends with packager Stewart for prematurely canceling his The $10,000 Pyramid four years earlier (with the top prize having increased to $20,000 on the ABC version since then) by taking Pass the Buck to replace Goodson-Todman's Tattletales.[citation needed]

The original (unaired) pilots of Pass The Buck were videotaped at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street in Manhattan during the weekend of May 7–8, 1977; its tapes were then placed on the network's shelves for almost a year until it finally decided to put the show on the daytime schedule.[citation needed]

At the start of its run, Pass The Buck looked to easily dominate Sanford and Son reruns on NBC (the program had already ended in primetime) at 10:00 AM (9:00 Central) and become a stable companion to The Price Is Right, the original version of which Cullen had finished hosting almost 13 years earlier.

However, NBC sprang a surprise three weeks later in the form of its first Goodson-Todman game since 1969, Card Sharks, whose winsome host Jim Perry and thrilling gameplay rendered Pass The Buck tame to many viewers by comparison. Card Sharks doomed Stewart's high hopes when Pass The Buck was canceled and simply ended after 13 weeks on June 30.

In what transpired as a trial run for its eventual syndicated success, Tic-Tac-Dough replaced it the next Monday, but ran only two months; the syndicated version continued until 1986.

Taping location[edit]

The show videotaped during its brief run at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, now the home of the Late Show with David Letterman.

Episode status[edit]

The series is believed to be intact.[citation needed] Game Show Network aired episodes of the series between October 11, 1997 and April 18, 1998.

External links[edit]