Series / CBS Television Quiz
Even when television was in its infancy, it was apparent that Game Shows
were a good idea. Test airings of radio hits Truth or Consequences
and Uncle Jim's Question Bee
had been done on July 1, 1941, while The BBC
did Spelling Bee
back in 1938
On July 2, 1941 a young man named Gil Fates debuted his creation, the CBS Television Quiz
, on the network's then-only station WCBW (now WCBS). While Quiz
was the first regularly scheduled quiz series, it wasn't the first to be sponsored. Fates himself hosted and co-produced the show (the other producer was Worthington Miner), with Frances Buss as scorekeeper.Quiz
began on Wednesdays at 8:30 PM, then moved to Thursdays on October 2; on January 8, 1942, it was reduced from 60 to 55 minutes to allow for a five-minute news report at 9:25. The show moved to Mondays on February 2 at 8:35, now running for 50 minutes (a five-minute civilian-defense program aired at 8:30, later replaced by a Red Cross
program). On March 30, the Red Cross program ended and Quiz
went back to 55 minutes.
While the show's future seemed endless in an era when throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks was rather new, it was canned on May 25, 1942 not due to executives but World War II
— two weeks earlier, the War Production Board issued a mandate to stop building TV stations and Quiz
, along with most of the lineup on WCBW and WNBT
, was removed in favor of war-related programming. Fates later worked for Mark Goodson
-Bill Todman games, most famously Whats My Line
, while Buss (later Buss-Buch) became the network's first female director.
Now, you may have noticed that we haven't mentioned the format yet. This is mostly because nobody seems to know any details of it, but there is one thing we do
know — the contestants were told the answers, but had to give the questions. This wouldn't be the last time a game show used this format.
This show provides examples of: