CBS Television Quiz

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CBS Television Quiz
Genre Game show
Created by Gil Fates
Developed by Gil Fates
Presented by Gil Fates
with Frances Buss
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 47[1]
Executive producer(s) Gil Fates
Producer(s) Gil Fates
Worthington Miner
Location(s) New York City, New York
Running time 60 minutes (1941)
55 minutes (January/April–May 1942)
50 minutes (February–March 1942)
Original network WCBW (CBS)
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original release July 2, 1941 – May 25, 1942

CBS Television Quiz was the first live television game show ever to be broadcast regularly, running from July 2, 1941, to May 25, 1942, on the CBS television station in New York, WCBW Channel 2 (the forerunner of WCBS-TV).[2] It was an in-house production and broadcast in black and white. The host was Gil Fates, with Frances Buss as scorekeeper.

Game play[edit]

Not much is known about the format of CBS Television Quiz, however it has been noted for giving contestants the answers and requiring the questions, predating Jeopardy![3] As Merv Griffin was a teenager in San Francisco at the time, it is unlikely he was aware of it, although his future wife Julann may have seen it. According to Griffin, she had originally suggested the "answer-and-question" idea to him.

Broadcast history[edit]

Televised game shows prior to the debut of CBS Television Quiz were "test episodes" for experimental purposes; one of these was Truth or Consequences (NBC Radio, July 1, 1941), while a show called Spelling Bee was broadcast (BBC, 1938). Quiz was the first regularly scheduled quiz program, but not the first to be sponsored, and aired on Wednesdays at 8:30 PM EST.

On October 2 the series moved to Thursdays, and on January 8 the show was reduced to 55 minutes for the network to present a five-minute news summary at 9:25 PM. Quiz moved to Mondays on February 2 and was now preceded by a civilian-defense program (later an American Red Cross program), which along with the news summary required the show itself to decrease to 50 minutes. The Red Cross program ended on March 30, allowing Quiz to re-expand to 55 minutes.

The series ended after 47 episodes on May 25, 1942, following a mandate two weeks earlier by the War Production Board to cease building television stations. Most of the shows then airing on both WCBW and WNBT, including Quiz, were removed in favor of war-related programming.

Fates would later produce and/or direct many Goodson-Todman game shows on the network (most notably What's My Line?), while Buss (later Frances Buss Buch) became CBS' first female director.

Episode status[edit]

CBS Television Quiz was aired live, prior to the adoption of kinescopes for recording programs and long before videotape. The show does not have any extant audio recordings or photographs, making it one of the few game shows to be completely lost.


  1. ^ "Status Guide – "CBS Television Quiz"". Television Obscurities. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Television Obscurities - Television Programs in 1941". Television Obscurities. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Abelman, Robert (1998). Reaching a Critical Mass: A Critical Analysis of Television Entertainment. L. Erlbaum Associates. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-8058-2199-4. 


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