On the Cover (game show)

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On the Cover is a game show that premiered on PAX TV (now called ION) on May 17, 2004. It was hosted by Mark L. Walberg[1] and the announcer was Mitch Lewis.

Three contestants competed in a game of identifying people, places and things on covers of magazines, CDs, DVDs and other items, and answering pop culture questions.

Round One: Lightning Round[edit]

In round one, each contestant received 15 seconds to identify celebrities on a series of covers. Each correct answer was worth 100 points.

Round Two: On the Cover[edit]

This round was where the show got its name. In this round three covers were displayed on the board. Each one was assigned a point value that began at 250 points. The contestant with the highest score (or in a first place tie, the contestant who played round one first) chose a cover, and a question was asked concerning some aspect of what was on the cover. The first contestant to buzz-in attempted to answer the question, and a correct answer awarded the points and control of the board. An incorrect answer gave the other contestants a chance to answer. After each question, a new cover replaced an old cover and was assigned the 250 points, while the value of the unchosen covers increased by that amount until they were chosen.

Round Three: Parody Covers[edit]

In round three, three parody covers were displayed on a "rack" on the board (more often than not forming a common bond). The answers to questions were the celebrities on those covers. Each correct answer on the first rack was worth 500 points. After five questions, a new rack of parody covers was introduced, with the value of the each of the five questions increased to 750 points. The five questions on the final rack of covers were worth 1,000 points. When the round was over, the contestant with the most points won the game. If the game ended in a tie for first, a sixth question using the third rack was asked. The first contestant to ring in would get to answer the question. A correct answer would move the contestant on to the bonus round. However, an incorrect answer would move the other tied contestant to the bonus round by default.

Bonus Round: Mystery Cover[edit]

In the bonus round, the winning contestant was shown a grid of nine squares with numbers arranged in random order. Behind those squares was a mystery cover that the contestant had to identify. To remove those squares, the winning contestant had to identify what was on nine covers in 20 seconds (30 on earlier-taped episodes). Each correct identification revealed a square that corresponded to the identified cover. When time ended, or if all nine covers were played, a category to the mystery cover was revealed, and the numbered squares were revealed. If the winning contestant was able to identify what was on the mystery cover, he/she won the grand prize (a trip); failing to do so earned a consolation prize.

Pilot format[edit]

In the two pilots broadcast over two days in May 2004, the point values were lower for each question as follows:

  • Round 1: 25 points per cover
  • Round 2: 50 points [plus 50 for each time the cover was unchosen]
  • Round 3: 100 points for the first rack, 200 points for the second rack, and 300 points for the third rack).

In addition, the first round was played center stage instead of at the podium, and in the third round the contestants had to answer the questions in a specific way (which could involve puns).

Finally, the champion received a prize for winning the main game.

For the bonus round, the contestant had to answer four questions to solve the mystery cover, with each answer containing a clue to a puzzle. For winning the bonus round, contestants received a prize package that included a trip to the Newport Beach Film Festival.


Official Website (via Internet Archive)


  1. ^ "TV Guide". TV Guide. 52 (20). 2004.