Winning Streak (U.S. game show)
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|Created by||Bob Stewart|
|Directed by||Mike Gargiulo|
|Presented by||Bill Cullen|
|Narrated by||Don Pardo|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Location(s)||NBC Studios, Rockefeller Center|
|Running time||30 Minutes|
|Original release||July 1, 1974– January 3, 1975|
Winning Streak is an American television game show hosted by Bill Cullen and announced by Don Pardo. It aired daily on NBC from July 1, 1974 to January 3, 1975 and was produced at the NBC Studios in New York's Rockefeller Plaza.
Two contestants, one a returning champion, raced to spell a word that fit into a given category. The contestants faced a game board of 16 letters with the category into which the word must fit displayed above.
The first contestant chose a letter and a question in which the answer began with that letter was posed to both contestants. The first contestant to buzz in got a chance to answer. A correct answer won the contestant that letter, but an incorrect answer automatically gave the opposing contestant the letter. The contestant who won the chosen letter could either place the letter in any one of the seven positions on a display in front of them or discard it. After making their decision, the contestant in control chose another letter. Play continued in this fashion until a contestant spelled a word that fit into the given category. That contestant won the round and moved on to the bonus board.
The winning contestant faced a board of 18 squares, numbered 1–18 around the edges of the board. The first six squares on the top row hid money amounts from $100–$200 while the rest, down both sides and on the bottom, hid letters.
The winning contestant selected one of the six money squares which became the starting dollar amount. The player then selected one of the twelve remaining letter squares and had five seconds to give a word that contained that chosen letter. If the given word was acceptable, the contestant won the starting amount and had a chance to either double it by selecting another hidden letter and giving another acceptable word with all uncovered letters, or stop and take his/her earnings to that point. This continued until the contestant elected to quit with his or her winnings, gave an unacceptable word, or failed to come up with a word within the five-second time limit.
When the Money Board round ended, another match was played with two new contestants in the manner described above, while the winner of the first game watched the action from a podium on the side of the stage. The gameplay was identical to the first round, as was the bonus game. If either of the winners of either match lost his/her money on the bonus board, the other contestant became the champion. If both winners stopped with money, they faced off against each other in a Final Showdown round.
The top winner had the option of playing first or deferring to his/her opponent. Both contestants took alternating turns playing the Money Board round described above. They kept playing until one contestant failed, at which point the other contestant became the day's champion and won the combined total of the money won by both contestants from their bonus board rounds.
Near the end of the run, this round was retitled the "Sudden-Death Showdown" and was played similarly to the original Money Board round. The contestant in control chose a value at random, as in the Money Board round, but the money was added to the pot for each word given instead of the pot doubling as it had before. Play continued until a contestant failed to give a word that contained all the letters on the board, which awarded the game and pot to the opponent.
Winning Streak replaced Stewart and Cullen's Three on a Match, swapping time slots with Jeopardy!. NBC placed Winning Streak at 10:30 AM (9:30 Central) against CBS' strong Gambit. However, Winning Streak made no impact against its competition and ended after six months along with Jeopardy!. Wheel of Fortune replaced Winning Streak on NBC's schedule on January 6, 1975, which would become one of the longest running game shows on television.
The entire series is believed to have been wiped, as per network practices of that era.
In the 1990s, Game Show Network aired a single episode of Winning Streak on two different occasions: as a standalone broadcast, and in mid-1998 as a subject of original series Faux Pause. The latter appearance notably included a freeze-frame shot of the production slate, which lists the air date of August 9, 1974 – a day where Streak was preempted due to NBC's coverage of the departure from office of President Richard Nixon and the inauguration of Gerald Ford as his successor.
The first three and a half minutes of the December 26, 1974 episode also exist. The video used to be available on YouTube, but is currently blocked for copyright reasons.
The show's theme song was "Saturday About Town" by Barry Stoller, from the 1971 De Wolfe music library album Atomic Butterfly by Meatball (De Wolfe).