Monopoly (game show)

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Created byMerv Griffin
Written bySharon Safianoff-Jones
Directed byKevin McCarthy
Presented byMike Reilly
Kathy Davis
Kathy Karges
Michelle Nicholas
Narrated byCharlie O'Donnell
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes12 (+1 pilot)
Producer(s)Burt Wheeler
Production location(s)Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood, California
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Merv Griffin Enterprises
King World Productions
Original networkABC
Original releaseJune 16 (1990-06-16) –
September 1, 1990 (1990-09-01)

Monopoly is an American television game show based on the board game of the same name. The format was created by Merv Griffin and produced by his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises.

Monopoly aired as a summer replacement series on ABC along with Super Jeopardy!, a special tournament edition of Griffin's quiz show. Monopoly premiered on June 16, 1990, and aired following Super Jeopardy! for twelve consecutive Saturday nights until September 1, 1990.

Former Jeopardy! contestant Mike Reilly was chosen to host the series, with Charlie O'Donnell as announcer. Three separate women, Kathy Davis, Kathy Karges, and Michelle Nicholas, served as the co-host/dice roller.


First round[edit]

Three contestants played, each represented by a color (red, gold, and green).

In the first round, the players attempted to take control of the eight groups of colored properties on a giant Monopoly board. To do so, they had to solve crossword-style clues. The first letter of each answer was given to the players, and each side of the four-sided board, referred to as "blocks" (with the block containing the five properties between the Go to Jail corner and "GO" referred to as the "high rent district"), had a different starting letter for clues. Each clue was a toss-up, and answering correctly won money equal to the value of the property, from $60 for Mediterranean Avenue to $400 for Boardwalk. Answering incorrectly deducted that value from a player's score. In the event that all three players failed to answer a clue, the property value was cut in half and another clue was read.

Each color group, referred to as a monopoly, had to be controlled by one of the players before play moved on to another. Once a player controlled a monopoly, the total monetary value of its properties was added to his/her score. The lowest monopoly value was $120, which was for Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues. The highest was $920, for the three-property monopoly consisting of Pacific, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania Avenues.

If the properties in a monopoly ended up under the control of multiple players, a series of toss-up clues were played between them to determine ownership. A player who owned two properties in a group of three had to give one correct answer in order to take full control, while the player who owned the third had to give two. If all three players each owned one property, the first to give a correct answer challenged one opponent and took over the property of the other, and the remainder of the showdown followed the two-player format. An incorrect answer on the initial toss-up forfeited that player's property, which was then awarded to one of the others through a second toss-up. In the case of the Mediterranean/Baltic and Park Place/Boardwalk monopolies being split between two players, the first to answer a clue correctly took control.

Big Money Round[edit]

During the commercial break following the completion of the first round, the players used the money they had earned to build houses and hotels on their properties. These cost $50 and $250 respectively, regardless of the properties' position on the board, and players had to build evenly within a color group. The number of houses/hotels on a property determined the amount of its rent, which was used as the value of its clues.

Once the players' construction purchases had been revealed and the corresponding cost deducted from their scores, the Big Money Round began. An indicator light started at "GO" and moved clockwise around the board, according to the total of two oversized dice rolled by the show's hostess. Every player received a $200 bonus whenever the indicator light passed or landed on "GO."

If a property was landed on, O'Donnell called out its rent value and Reilly read a question to the player who owned it. A correct response added the rent value to his/her score. A miss incurred no penalty but allowed either of the opponents to buzz in under the same rules as the first round, with an incorrect answer deducting from that player's score.

Squares other than properties affected the gameplay as follows:

  • Utilities (Electric Company and Water Works): a tossup clue was asked, worth $100 times the total on the dice.
  • Railroads: if the indicator light landed on one of the four railroads, players got the chance to "ride" the particular railroad to a monopoly and initiate a "hostile takeover". A tossup was asked, and the first player to answer the clue correctly chose one of his/her opponents' monopolies to take over.[1] The indicator light then moved to the first property in the chosen monopoly, and the player trying to take it over had to answer a series of clues unopposed, one for each property. Every correct answer advanced the indicator light to the next property in line. If the player answered all the clues correctly, he/she won control of the monopoly; its combined value was added to his/her score, and any houses or hotels built on it became his/her property. A wrong answer ended the takeover attempt and the player had to pay the corresponding rent to the owner of the monopoly, based on where the indicator was when the wrong answer was given.
  • Chance and Community Chest: a card was drawn from the appropriate deck and its instructions (bonuses, fines, movement) were followed.
  • Tax Spaces: landing on Income Tax deducted 10% from every player's score, while Luxury Tax deducted $75.
  • Free Parking: a tossup was asked and the first player to answer correctly won $500, plus all money collected in taxes/fines since the last correct Free Parking response.
  • Go To Jail: if the indicator landed on this space, it moved to the "In Jail" space and each player lost $250.

The second round was played until time was called. At this point, all houses and hotels were sold back to the bank at their original purchase price and the money was credited to the players who owned the properties, regardless of who had originally built them. The player with the highest total won the game, kept his/her money, and advanced to the bonus round.

Bonus Round ("Once Around the Board")[edit]

The champion tried to complete one full clockwise circuit of the board within five turns while staying out of Jail. He/she first had to choose four spaces – one each on the maroon/orange and red/yellow sides, and two on the green/blue side – to become Go to Jail spaces. The original Go to Jail space remained on the board, for a total of five.

The champion started at "GO" and rolled the dice to move around the board. As long as he/she did not land on a Go to Jail space and had turns remaining, he/she could quit the round and take $100 per space passed. Rolling doubles awarded an extra turn. If the champion landed on a Go to Jail space at any time or ran out of turns before landing on or pass "GO", he/she forfeited the money.

The champion won $25,000 for passing "GO" without running out of turns, or $50,000 for landing on "GO" exactly.

Production information[edit]

Merv Griffin created the series and served as executive producer. Monopoly was paired with Super Jeopardy! for its 12-week run on ABC.

Coincidentally, host Mike Reilly competed on the television game show Jeopardy! in 1989.[2] Reilly later worked as a waiter before being selected a year later by producer Merv Griffin to perform as a contestant on the pilot for Monopoly.[3] After the pilot with Peter Tomarken as host was taped, Reilly was selected as host.[4]

International version[edit]

A Welsh version of the show, hosted by Derec Brown aired on S4C for a brief period in 1992.


  1. ^ "Monopoly". Monopoly. 11 August 1990. American Broadcasting Company.
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television. Penguin Books. p. 565. ISBN 9780140249163.
  3. ^ Lipton, Lauren (1990-06-16). "Reilly's Monopoly on Cockiness". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  4. ^ "He's passed go and collected much more than $200". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1990-07-08. Retrieved 2008-10-10.

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