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. Blimey, how's that for a twist? Each successful pass down the line was worth $100 in the first two rounds, then $200 in the final round. Then the bonus round involved the captain trying to guess clue words that their teammates would give for a subject.Bruce Forsyth's 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
- 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 matches
- 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!" (well, this was ol' Brucie's personal catchphrase on any show, for that matter)
- Luck-Based Mission: The mechanic of not duplicating clues.
- Pilot: Gene Rayburn of Match Game fame 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 made the crucial mistake of slotting Hot Streak against two long-running games at the peak of their popularity, and it cost them dearly. It's as though, despite all the development time Grundy had given the project, they were trying to kill it off quickly...