Pyramid (game show)

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The Pyramid
The Pyramid logo.jpg
Genre Game show
Created by Bob Stewart
Presented by Dick Clark (1973–88)
Bill Cullen (1974–79, syndicated)
John Davidson (1991)
Donny Osmond (2002–2004)
Mike Richards (2012)
Narrated by Bob Clayton (1973–79)
Steve O'Brien (1979–82)
Alan Kalter (1979-81)
Jack Clark (1982–85)
Johnny Gilbert (1982–88, 1991)
John Cramer (2002–2004)
JD Roberto (2012)[1]
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Executive producer(s) Bob Stewart
Location(s) CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1973, 1982–88, 1991)
Ed Sullivan Theater
New York, New York (1973–74)
ABC Studio TV-15
New York, New York (1974–81)
Sony Pictures Studios
Culver City, California (2002–2004)
CBS Studio Center
Studio City, California (2012)
Running time 22:30 (1973–81)
21:50 (1982–91)
20:30 (2002–04)
Production company(s) Bob Stewart Productions (1973–88)
Basada, Inc. (1973–74, 1978–81, 1986–88)
Stewart Tele Enterprises (1991)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–04, 2012)
Embassy Row (2012)
GSN Originals (2012)
Distributor Viacom Enterprises (1974–79)
CPM, Inc., Chicago (1981)
20th Century Fox Television (1985–88)
Orbis Communications (1991)
Multimedia Entertainment (1991)
Columbia TriStar Television (2002)
Sony Pictures Television (2002–2004, 2012)
Broadcast
Original channel The $10,000 Pyramid
CBS 1973–74
ABC 1974–76
The $20,000 Pyramid
ABC 1976–80
The $25,000 Pyramid
Weekly syndication
1974–79
The $50,000 Pyramid
Daily syndication 1981
The (New) $25,000 Pyramid
CBS 1982–87, 1988
The $100,000 Pyramid
Daily syndication
1985–88, 1991
Pyramid
Daily syndication 2002–2004
The Pyramid
GSN 2012
Original run March 26, 1973 (1973-03-26) – October 26, 2012 (2012-10-26)

Pyramid is an American television game show that has aired several versions. The original series, The $10,000 Pyramid, debuted March 26, 1973, and spawned seven subsequent Pyramid series (most with a full title format matching the original series, with the title reflecting the top prize increase from $10,000, $20,000, $25,000, $50,000 to $100,000 over the years). The game featured two contestants, each paired with a celebrity. Players attempt to guess a series of words or phrases based on descriptions given to them by their teammates. The title refers to the show's pyramid-shaped gameboard, featuring six categories arranged in a triangular fashion. The various Pyramid series won a total of nine Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Show, second only to Jeopardy!, which has won thirteen.

Dick Clark is the host most commonly associated with the show, having hosted every incarnation from 1973–88, save for a 1974–79 syndicated version, The $25,000 Pyramid, hosted by Bill Cullen. John Davidson hosted a 1991 version of The $100,000 Pyramid, and another version, simply titled Pyramid, ran from 2002–04 with Donny Osmond as host.

A new version titled The Pyramid premiered September 3, 2012 on GSN. This version was hosted by Mike Richards. The show only lasted one season before being canceled.

Reruns of The $25,000 Pyramid, The $100,000 Pyramid, and The Pyramid air weekdays on GSN.

History[edit]

Broadcast history[edit]

Dick Clark as host of the first version of the show.

The $10,000 Pyramid, with host Dick Clark, made its network debut on March 26, 1973 and was a ratings hit, sustaining its ratings even when episodes were delayed or preempted by the Watergate hearings. A year later, the ratings temporarily declined (against the original version of Jeopardy! on NBC) and CBS canceled it. The show was quickly picked up by ABC, and began airing on that network on May 6, 1974. As per CBS custom at the time with celebrity game shows, three weeks of episodes for CBS were taped in Hollywood, at CBS Television City, Studio 31.[2]

Title card of the 1980s (New) $25,000 Pyramid.

On September 20, 1982, the series returned to the CBS daytime lineup as The $25,000 Pyramid, again with Clark as host, but now taped in Los Angeles at CBS Television City's Studio 33 (currently known as the Bob Barker Studio) and remained there for the entire run and the brief 1988 return.[3]

Another series titled The $100,000 Pyramid, hosted by John Davidson, appeared in 1991. This version taped in Studio 31. Production began in December 1990 and ended in November 1991.[4] Pyramid, hosted by Donny Osmond, ran from September 16, 2002 to September 10, 2004.

Later developments[edit]

Following CBS's cancellation of Guiding Light in April 2009, Pyramid was one of three potential series considered as a replacement for the veteran soap opera. (Let's Make a Deal and The Dating Game were the other two, with a pilot shot for the former series.) During the tapings that took place in June of that year, the top prize was raised to a potential $1,000,000.[5]

CBS passed on Pyramid and opted to pick up Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady, as Guiding Light's replacement. Several months later, in December 2009, CBS announced the cancellation of another long-running soap opera, As the World Turns. Pyramid was among the series being considered as a potential replacement.[6] CBS ordered a third pilot on April 9, 2010.[7] Andy Richter was identified as a potential host.[8][9]

On May 18, 2011, TBS announced development of a possible new version of Pyramid, again to be hosted by Andy Richter.[10] It was later announced[citation needed] that the show was not picked up. Another pilot, titled The Pyramid, was taped on June 16, 2012.[11]

On July 12, 2012, GSN announced The Pyramid had been picked up and would premiere on the network on September 3, with Mike Richards hosting the show.[12]

40 episodes were produced and aired for the show's initial cycle. The show only lasted one season before being canceled due to low ratings. Reruns currently air Monday thru Friday at 2:30pm ET and Sunday at 11:00am, 11:30am, 2:00am and 2:30am ET on GSN.

Announcers[edit]

Bob Clayton was the announcer of Pyramid from its premiere as The $10,000 Pyramid until his 1979 death from cardiac arrest, with Alan Kalter (who would later become an announcer at USA Network and is now the announcer of The Late Show with David Letterman), Fred Foy, and ABC New York staff announcers John Causier, Dick Heatherton, Ed Jordan, and Scott Vincent substituting for Clayton whenever he was unable to attend a broadcast. Jack Clark announced the special episodes taped at CBS Television City in 1973. After Clayton's death, Steve O'Brien became the show's announcer in 1980. O'Brien and Kalter would later rotate announcing duties on The $50,000 Pyramid in 1981.

In 1982, when Pyramid moved back to CBS, and its new regular home, CBS Television City, Jack Clark returned as announcer, with Johnny Gilbert, Charlie Tuna, Rod Roddy, and Jerry Bishop (now the announcer of Judge Judy) substituting on different occasions, and Gilbert announcing the series premiere of The $100,000 Pyramid. Jack Clark also announced a few weeks of The $100,000 Pyramid in 1985. After he left Pyramid, Gilbert, Tuna, Charlie O'Donnell, and Bob Hilton rotated announcing duties on both the CBS daytime and nighttime syndicated versions, although Dean Goss was added to the rotation in 1988 on the nighttime syndicated series.

When The $100,000 Pyramid returned in 1991, Gilbert returned as a primary announcer, although Dean Goss and frequent panelist and actor Henry Polic II substituted on occasion. John Cramer was the announcer for the entire run of Osmond's version, and TV host JD Roberto was the announcer of GSN's version of Pyramid.

Gameplay[edit]

Front game[edit]

The Pyramid's gameboards, both in the main game and in the Winner's Circle bonus round, featured six categories arranged in a pyramid, with three categories on the bottom row, two on the middle row, and one on the top. In the main game, a category's position on the board was not an indicator of its difficulty. In the Winner's Circle, categories became progressively more difficult the higher they were on the board.

The game featured two teams, each composed of a celebrity and a civilian contestant. At the beginning of the game, the teams were shown six categories, whose titles gave vague clues to their possible meaning (for instance, "I'm All Wet" might pertain to things found in the water). Once the category was chosen, its exact meaning was given (except in certain bonus situations where the meaning was not given and a cash/prize bonus won for completing all the clues). For up to 30 seconds, one player conveyed to the other clues to a series of items belonging to a category. One point was scored for each item correctly guessed. If a word was passed, the giver could not go back to that word, but if the receiver knew the word later on and guessed it, the team still earned a point (no sound effect was played, in order to avoid a distraction). On the Osmond version, a team that passed on any words could return to them if time permitted, but if a word was guessed correctly after it had been passed, it would not count until the word was returned to and correctly guessed then.

Originally, on the CBS version, there were eight possible items in a category. This was reduced to seven when the show moved to ABC, and reduced again to six (in 20 seconds) for the Osmond-hosted version. Subsequent pilots returned to the seven in 30 seconds format, which became the standard for the 2012 version. The short-lived Junior Partner Pyramid format kept the seven words, but increased the time limit to 35 seconds. Using any part of the answer in giving a clue resulting in the item being disqualified (best known for the cuckoo sound in all except the Osmond version, which used a burble sound). Originally, the celebrity gave the clues in both the first and third rounds, and the contestant in the second round. Eventually, the rules were changed so that teams were given the opportunity to choose which player would give the clues in the third round; this was reverted for the Osmond version. The teams alternated in the first two rounds, and the team with the lower score played first in the third round. Whoever had the higher score after three rounds advanced to the Winner's Circle. In the 1970s and 1980s versions, in the rare event that players were mathematically unable to at least tie their opponent before the opponent has had his or her last turn (or even rarer, before that point), the game ended and the remaining categories were left unplayed. However, the eliminated player returned on the next game.[13][14]

Winner's Circle[edit]

The winner of the front game played "The Winner's Circle," whereby the goal was for the team to communicate six categories within 60 seconds, using only a list of words or phrases that fit the given category, to win the top announced prize.[15]

Returning champions and winnings limits[edit]

On the 1970s daytime version, contestants were allowed to remain on the show until they were defeated or won the Winner's Circle. Under the $10,000 format, a player who won the Winner's Circle was allowed to keep all earlier winnings. Under the $20,000 format, the player's total was merely augmented to the amount won in the Winner's Circle. The syndicated versions featured no returning champions prior to 1985.

During the 1970s syndicated version, if a player won a bonus prize, then went on to win the $25,000 top prize, the value of the bonus (either the additional bonus cash, or the value of the car offered during the final season) was deducted from the champion's total, leaving them with exactly $25,000. This version did not feature returning champions. On all versions from 1982 onward, all front-game bonus winnings remained intact in the event of a $25,000 win.

On the $25,000 and $100,000 versions of the show, the same two contestants competed for both halves of the episode. A player who won one of the two games on the episode played the Winner's Circle for $10,000. A player who won both games played the second Winner's Circle for a total of $25,000 (thus earning for example, $750 in the first Winner's Circle means the second was worth an additional $24,250 to the player). On all versions from 1982–91, a player who won both games of an episode became the champion and returned on the next show. If each player won one game, the player with the higher total in the Winner's Circle became champion (winnings from the various front-game bonuses did not count). If the two players won equal amounts of money in the Winner's Circle (including $10,000 wins), both returned on the next show.

Contestants from 1982–91 were allowed to remain on the show until defeated, up to a maximum of five shows. Champions on the CBS version also retired after exceeding the network's winnings limit. This was originally $25,000, but was increased to $50,000 on October 22, 1984 (episode #0542) and to $75,000 on September 29, 1986 (episode #1041). Players were allowed to keep a maximum of $25,000 in excess of the limit. The Osmond version featured no returning champions.

In the Osmond version, contestants played the Winner's Circle for $10,000, with a second trip in the same show worth a total of $25,000 plus a berth in the $100,000 tournament provided that the contestant had won the first Winner's Circle. Otherwise, the second Winner's Circle would be for a second chance at $10,000.

In the 2012 version, the main game determined the Winner's Circle value. Contestants started with a base of $10,000, with each successful 7-for-7 attempt meant that contestant's Winner's Circle jackpot was augmented by $5,000, in addition to the $500 cash bonus. A perfect 21 points in the three rounds results in the Winner's Circle being valued at $25,000. Contestants who score all 42 points in the main game and win both Winner's Circle attempts will win a total of $53,000, which includes the $500 bonus won for each perfect round. As with the Osmond version, there are no returning champions.[16]

International versions[edit]

Versions of Pyramid have been also produced for other countries outside the United States:

Country Name Host Channel Air dates
 Australia Pyramid Shura Taft (2009-2012)
Beau Walker (2013)
Nine Network (2009–12)
GO! (2013-present)
September 1, 2009 – present
 Canada French Pyramide Sébastien Benoit Radio-Canada April 28, 2008 – April 22, 2011
 Chile Contrarreloj Esperanza Silva
Coco Legrand
Canal 13 2002
 Denmark Pyramide Not aired yet
 Egypt الهرم
El Haram
Moufida Sheeha ERT 2 May 16, 2009
 Estonia Püramiid Teet Margna TV3 March 4, 2006
 Finland Pyramidi MTV3 Not aired yet
 France Pyramide Patrice Laffont France 2 1991–2003
 Germany Die Pyramide Dieter Thomas Heck
Micky Beisenherz and Joachim Llambi
ZDF
ZDFneo
1978–94
August 6, 2012–present
Hast Du Worte? Jörg Pilawa (1996–97)
Thomas Koschwitz (1997–99)
Sat.1 1996–99
 Indonesia Piramida Ronnie Sianturi
Ricky Johannes
RCTI 1995–99
2000
Piramida Baru Ricky Johannes 2001–03
 Iran Pyramid Sina Valiollah PMC 2009
 Israel שחק אותה
Play It
Yigal Shilon
Dudu Topaz
Channel 1 1983–84
הפירמידה
Ha-Pyramide
Oded Menashe Channel 2 2002
 Italy Pyramid Enrico Brignano & Debora Salvalaggio Rai Due December 3, 2007
 Japan ピラミッド Fuji TV Not aired yet
 Poland Piramida Hubert Urbański
Andrzej Strzelecki
Polsat 1997–99
 Russia Пирамида
Piramida
Ivan Urgant Russia 1 May 16, 2004 – March 20, 2005
 Singapore The Pyramid Game Samuel Chong
Benedict Goh
Darryl David
Channel 5 late 1990s
 Spain Pirámide Not aired yet
 Thailand มาตามนัด Sestha Sirachaya & Yanee Jongwisut Modernine TV August 6, 2012
 Turkey Piramit Mim Kemal Öke aTV 1994–95
 United Kingdom The ₤1,000 Pyramid Game Steve Jones ITV 1981–84
The Pyramid Game 1989-90
Donny's Pyramid Game Donny Osmond Challenge 2007
 Venezuela Match 4 Juan Manuel Montesinos Venevisiόn 1984–89
Contra reloj Daniela Kosán Televen 2001–02
 Vietnam Kim tự tháp Chi Bảo HTV7 April 30, 2005 – 2008

References[edit]

  1. ^ "News". JD Roberto. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  2. ^ "Shows". CBS Television City. 1954-09-07. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  3. ^ "Shows–CBS Television City". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Shows". CBS Television City. 1954-09-07. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Set Report from "The $1,000,000 Pyramid"". Buzzerblog. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "About.com—New York Times—Will We Get Pyramid Back After All?". Gameshows.about.com. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  7. ^ "CBS orders 'Pyramid' pilot". Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Andy Richter wrapping deal to host new version of 'Pyramid' for CBS". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "TNT and TBS Announce Extensive Slate of New Projects from Top Talents". The Futon Critic. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "buzzerblog (buzzerblog) on Twitter". 12 May 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "GSN ANNOUNCES PREMIERE OF THE PYRAMID ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3". 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "The $10,000 Pyramid, pt. a1". YouTube. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  14. ^ "The $10,000 Pyramid, pt. a2". YouTube. 2009-08-06. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  15. ^ Graham, Jefferson, "The Game Show Book", Abbeville Press, 1988, pg. 181-182. ISBN 0-89659-794-6
  16. ^ "BUZZERBLOG Exclusive Info on 2012 GSN Revival". Buzzerblog.com. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 

External links[edit]

Daytime Emmy Award history[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Hollywood Squares
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
1976
as The $20,000 Pyramid
Succeeded by
Family Feud
Preceded by
Hollywood Squares
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
1980–81
as The $20,000 Pyramid
tie with Hollywood Squares in 1980
Succeeded by
Password Plus
Preceded by
Password Plus
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
1983–87
as The $25,000 Pyramid
Succeeded by
The Price Is Right
Preceded by
The Price Is Right
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show
1989
as The $25,000 Pyramid
Succeeded by
Jeopardy!