Every Second Counts (U.S. game show)

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Every Second Counts
Directed by Barry Glazer
Presented by Bill Rafferty (host)
Debbie Bartlett (original hostess)
Susie Carr (replacement)
Narrated by Johnny Gilbert
Country of origin  United States
Executive producer(s) Charles Colarusso
Producer(s) Peter Noah
Running time approx. 26 minutes
Production company(s) Charles Colarusso Productions
Group W Productions
Distributor CBS Television Distribution (current)
Original network Syndicated
Original release September 17, 1984 – September 1985

Every Second Counts is an American television game show that premiered in syndication on September 17, 1984. The series lasted one season and aired in reruns until September 1985. Every Second Counts was a production of Group W Productions and Charles Colarusso Productions.

Bill Rafferty hosted Every Second Counts with Johnny Gilbert announcing. Actress Debbie Bartlett served as the show's hostess for the first half of the season, then left the series in early 1985 to join the cast of The Love Boat and was replaced by Susie Carr.[1]

Although Every Second Counts lasted only one season in America (according to host Bill Rafferty in an interview, it was because certain Westinghouse/Group W executives apparently did not like the show; it also suffered from clearance issues as some cities, including the country's top-rated TV market of New York City, did not air the show at all),[2] it was far more successful in the United Kingdom, where it ran from 1986 to 1993.


Three married couples competed in a game of answering questions, with the object of the game being to earn seconds that would later be used in the bonus round at the end of the show.

Main game[edit]

The game was played in two rounds, with the wives playing the first round and the husbands the second.

In each round, three sets of questions were played. Each of these questions were either true/false or this-or-that, and in the latter case the players were presented with two humorous answer choices before the first question was asked. (E.g., "chew it" if an item was a brand of chewing tobacco, or "screw it" if it was a type of screwdriver.) Each set consisted of nine questions, asked in order from left to right. Answering correctly added seconds to the couple's total, with incorrect answers locking them out for the remainder of the set. Each set ended after once either all nine questions were asked or all three couples had locked themselves out, whichever came first. Questions were worth two seconds each in the first round, and four in the second. The couple with the most seconds at the end of two rounds won the game and advanced to the bonus round.

During the last question set in the second round, a couple could automatically win the game by being in the lead with both opposing couples locked out. The set was played either to completion or to an incorrect answer, allowing the couple a chance to accumulate more seconds.

If the game ended in a tie, one final question set was played between the tied couples; as soon as one couple missed a question, their opponents won the game.

Bonus round[edit]

Using their accumulated time, the winning couple played the bonus round for a series of prizes of increasing value. Four levels of prizes were available, each requiring a different number of correct answers. The prize on the fourth level was always a car. All questions in this round had three answer choices.

At the beginning of each level, the couple chose one of two categories and the husband and wife alternated answering the questions. If they gave the required number of correct answers before time ran out, the clock was stopped and they advanced to the next level. Four answers were needed to clear the first level, five for the second, six for the third, and seven for the fourth.

If the couple cleared the fourth level before time ran out, they won the car and all the prizes at the lower three levels. Otherwise, they won the prizes for the levels they had cleared, plus $100 for each correct answer given on the current level when time ran out.

Every Second Counts did not feature returning champions.

International versions[edit]

Country local Name Host Network Year Aired
 Bahrain إحسبها صح
Ehsebha sah
Salah Jinahi Bahrain TV 2010
 Indonesia Detak-Detik Muhammad Farhan SCTV 1997–1999
 New Zealand Every Second Counts Paul Henry TVNZ 1987–1989
 Spain Los Segundos Cuetan Elisenda Roca
Lydia Bosch
Antena 3 1990–1991
 United Kingdom Every Second Counts Paul Daniels BBC 1 1986–1993


  1. ^ Every Second Counts episode #1133, VTR March 11, 1985
  2. ^ Interview with Bill Rafferty, Slow Boat to the Land of Parting Gifts, November 21, 2010

External links[edit]