Series / The Challengers
Revival of the 1969-74 NBC
classic The Who, What, or Where Game
hosted by Art James, now a syndicated
current-events quiz with three players (one a returning champion) and Dick Clark
at the helm. While the basics of the game remained the same through the run, certain aspects of the game were tweaked along the way.
Each show was introduced by announcer Don Morrow giving the date (e.g., "Today is Monday, September 3, 1990") and began with a 60-second rapid-fire current events question round called the "Challengers Sprint", with $100 per correct guess and $100 deducted for an incorrect guess. (This was later changed to just one toss-up question to decide who started, but the Sprint eventually returned.) The contestant with the most money after the Sprint got to select from a board of questions. Each round had six categories of three questions about current events and popular culture; each question was worth $150, $200, and $250 (later $100/$150/$200).
The contestants secretly chose which question they wanted to answer. If a question was chosen by one player, s/he was read the question with cash added or subtracted depending on if a right answer was given. If two players selected the same question, Clark read it toss-up style, with the first to buzz-in getting to answer. (For some episodes, if the buzzing contestant failed to answer correctly, Clark gave the other contestant a chance to answer if s/he wanted to. For other episodes, he just gave the answer and moved on.).If all three contestants chose the same question the values doubled, with the player answering correctly first getting to answer one or both of the remaining questions for extra cash. Two rounds of six categories were played, with second round values doubled.
All players with positive scores after two rounds played the "Final Challenge", based on one category and three as-of-yet unannounced questions, each rated by difficulty (the easy question paid at even odds, the medium-difficulty question paid at 2:1 odds, and the most difficult paid at 3:1 odds). The contestants secretly chose which question they chose to answer and how much of their current winnings (up to all they had) to bet. If two or all three contestants chose the same question, the player with the highest wager got to answer. If two players wagered the same amount on the same question (as happened at least twice, on January 14 and August 1), those contestants would be asked to re-wager on that same question and re-declare. All three contestants kept their winnings, either on a Citibank Visa card or in cash, with the high scorer returning the next day.
Champions who won three games got to play the Ultimate Challenge for $50,000 plus $5,000 per failed attempt (later $25,000 plus $1,000 per show unclaimed). Clark announced one of two categories from which all questions were taken; if the contestant answered all three questions correctly in the chosen category, s/he won the cash jackpot; there was no Game Show Winnings Cap
. (Starting on November 21, the Ultimate Challenge was played on every show and worth $10,000; later on, it was dropped altogether.)The Challengers
is notable for being one of the very few TV shows to prominently display each episode's airdate during the open and on a screen behind Clark, primarily because episodes were taped close to their airdate to keep with current events. However, this feature was dropped during their sweeps-period tournaments, so that they could be rerun during the summer hiatus without being literally
- Bonus Round: The Ultimate Challenge, as described above.
- Double The Dollars: The second round. Plus dollar values were doubled when all three contestants picked the same question to answer in a category (with the player who gets that question correctly earning the right to answer the other two questions).
- Home Participation Sweepstakes: At least two, which ended up hurting them because A) they took up at least two questions worth of playing time, leaving some categories untouched at the end of the round, B) opening questions such as "What is the color of a cue ball?" made the show look even more dumbed-down in the eyes of Jeopardy! fans and C) they made reruns very difficult without heavy editing.
- Speed Round: The Challengers Sprint.
- Think Music: While the contestants make their "Final Challenge" wagers.
This show provides examples of: