Series / Hot Streak

Reg Grundy tries to introduce America to the famous charm of British television personality Bruce Forsyth (who, up until now, had earned his fame in the British game show business by hosting The Generation Game, along with British versions of Beat the Clock and Card Sharks) with this short-lived ABC Game Show.

It's basically Pyramid... WITH TEAMS! Two teams of five (one all men, the other all women) competed in a word association game; the team captain chose one of two subjects, then had to communicate it to another contestant in 40 seconds or less (with the traditional rules of not saying the word or its forms, nor pantomiming it). But then, the contestant who received the clues from the first player now had to communicate the same word to the next player in line (the rest of the team's contestants wore headphones) without duplicating any of the previous clues. Each successful pass down the line was worth $100 in the first two rounds, and $200 in the final round. The winning team advanced to the bonus round, where the captain guessed clue words that their teammates would give for a subject.

Hot Streak premiered on January 6, 1986, and was immediately doused in its time slot by both The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune, leading to its cancellation on April 4. However, like several other major U.S. game show flops of the era, it found new life abroad, especially in Germany (where its version Ruck Zuck ran from 1988 to 2000, with a short revival in 2004). It remains a cult classic, primarily because it was one of Forsyth's few U.S. television appearances. Meanwhile, Brucie just kept to doing what he does best, which later involved The Price is Right and Strictly Come Dancing.

Game Show Tropes:

  • Bonus Round: It's like Talk About in reverse - the winning team captain gets a subject while the rest of the team is in isolation, and must predict 4 clue words the contestants might say to describe it. This process is repeated three times: the first is worth $200 per match, the second is worth $300. On the third, getting all four words multiplied the winnings from the first two by 5 (for a maximum of $10,000), but failing to do so just awarded the money as is.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: Five days.
  • Personnel:
  • Soundproof Booth: Used in traditional proper form during the bonus round. Headphones are used in the main game.

This series provides examples of

  • Catch-Phrase: "Nice to see you, to see you ..." "NICE!" (this was a general Bruce Forsyth catchphrase which is used on his other shows too).
  • Luck-Based Mission: The mechanic of not duplicating clues.
  • Pilot: Gene Rayburn hosted a pilot in 1983 called Party Line; the game was relatively similar, except the bonus round was different (the team took turns trying to communicate a word to 9 new players without duplicating clues) and the scoring used points instead of dollars.
    • Three pilots were taped in 1984, now with Bruce on board as host; these pilots had a radically different set, the bonus round had more cash to offer, and Rod Roddy was announcer (he also announced another Grundy pilot, Scrabble, the same year).
  • Short Runner: ABC slotted Hot Streak against two long-running games at the peak of their popularity, and the show was out the door after the standard 13 weeks. It's almost like the network was trying to kill it off quickly...