Trivia / Pyramid


  • Channel Hop: Started on CBS in 1973, moved to ABC a year later (six weeks after CBS canceled it), returned to CBS in 1982 for a six-year run. Also had syndicated nighttime editions, as well as the daily 1991 and 2002-04 versions. Finally, there's the 2012 GSN version and the 2016 ABC summer run.
  • Development Hell: No fewer than ten pilots were made from 1996-2012; of those, only two went to series (The Pyramid not even lasting a full season).
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Davidson version was packaged as "The New $100,000 Pyramid", and is still referred to as such to distinguish it from the 1980s run. The Strahan version is also being referred to as that name in certain ABC promos.
    • In a Portmanteau, Osmond's version is nicknamed "Donnymid".
    • This Very Wiki refers to each version by its dollar figure.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!: The "cuckoo" sound for an illegal clue later appeared as an "illegal clue" sound on two other Stewart games Chain Reaction and Go, the both of which also borrowed the "plonk" timer.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Almost all CBS/ABC episodes from 1973 to about March 1978 are thought to be Lost Forever, minus:
      • $10,000 (CBS): Episode #3 is held by UCLA (first segment here), #5 was uploaded by a contestant's relative in January 2011, June 13 (with Kaye Ballard and Richard Deacon) circulated for years before getting on YouTube, and the three weeks recorded at Television City (aired November 1973) all exist, with GSN showing 14 of the TVC shows. Given that CBS ceased wiping in September 1972, the status is uncertain.
      • $10,000 (ABC): Almost completely gone. A 1974 promo exists, along with William Shatner's solo Winner's Circle outing (June 27, 1975). An uncensored clip from the week of December 30, 1974 surfaced in April 2012.
      • $20,000: Several 1976 shows, the week of September 12, 1977 ("Kirk vs. Spock", with Shatner's chair throw), and a few episodes from 1978 prior to the earliest one GSN aired; the last 19 minutes from February 9, 1977 surfaced in December 2011, followed by November 2 and 3, 1976 in October 2013. GSN aired about five straight months from 1978 and some scattered episodes from 1979 (including the Junior Pyramid week on July 9); about 15 episodes from 1979-80 (after the latest one GSN aired) also circulate, including the All-Star Junior Pyramid special, an episode of Junior Partner Pyramid, and the finale week.
    • The Cullen $25,000, the 1981 $50,000, and the 1991 $100,000 (plus certain episodes of $20,000 from 1978-80) have never been rerun although they exist; this is due to rights issues (the first was distributed by Viacom, so CBS technically owns the rights to that version; meanwhile, CPM Inc, the firm that distributed $50,000, seems to have fallen off the radar); Davidson's run was distributed by Orbis Communications, which was sold by then-owner Carolco Pictures to Multimedia Entertainment (the people who made Donahue and Jerry Springer in 1992; Universal then bought out Multimedia in 1996, which means that NBCUniversal owns both Davidson's Pyramid and Pat Finn's version of The Joker's Wild). GSN has aired three or four brief clips of the second Cullen episode with Shatner and Anne Meara.
    • Some of the New $25,000 episodes haven't aired since their original CBS airings, or even since the days of USA Network (mainly shows from Spring-Fall 1987 and Fall 1983-Summer 1985).
    • All fifteen shows of $10,000 taped at Television City feature a big-winner clip montage from episodes believed to be gone. Same goes for Cullen's $25,000 pitchfilm, which showed ten wins (some from the aforementioned montages, others from subsequent tapings), all believed to be the only surviving footage from their respective episodes.
  • Missing Episode: Regarding GSN's 2012 version, five episodes were filmed with Aida and Nick Turturro. However, they played so abysmally badly that GSN only saw fit to air three of them! (In one unaired Winner's Circle, Nick Turturro was buzzed for illegal clues five times. Keep in mind that there are six subjects in the Winner's Circle.) To fill the gaps and have an even 40 aired episodes, GSN filmed one extra episode with two different celebrities, then aired the pilot (with a slightly different set, theme song, & graphics) as the finale.
  • No Budget: The Osmond version and it shows.
    • You had to beat the Winner's Circle twice to win $25,000. Previously, if you made it to the Winner's Circle both times, you played for $25,000 regardless of whether or not you won the first time.
    • Winner's Circle categories often consisted of Moon Logic Puzzles and impossibly strict judging. The boxes had to be guessed verbatim instead of just "the essence" being said.
    • Hiring celebrities who clearly had no idea how to play the game, just to assure that no one that played for a particular session had no chance in making it to the tournament.
    • Speaking of the tournament, you also had to beat the Winner's Circle twice in one show to win. If no one succeeded, the contestant whose score was the highest merely had their score augumented to $100,000.
  • Technology Marches On: You can chart the evolution of monitors just by looking at the show over the years. The 70s version had bulky beasts of monitors. The 80s-90s runs had far smaller, more discreet monitors. Donnymid had laptop-esque monitors built into the desks partners would flip open and shut as needed. The 2012 version had flat-screens with CRT-like bases, to fit with the retro feel. The 2016 version has flatscreens on sticks. Concerning everything else, they went from pull cards and trilons in the 70s, to monitors and trilons in the early 90s, to all-monitors for Donnymid, back to monitors and trilons for the 2009 pilots, flatscreens with trilon graphics in 2012, and 2016 not only saw monitor/trilon hybrids, but also monitors built into the desks, for the words and score counter.
  • Uncanceled: The 1980s $25,000 was canned at the end of 1987 and replaced by Blackout, a word-description game from Jay Wolpert. After thirteen weeks, Blackout tanked in the resulting outcry, and Pyramid returned only to be replaced 13 weeks later by Ray Combs' Family Feud.
  • Schedule Slip:
    • Many weeks of CBS $10,000 didn't air as originally scheduled, and would often overlap due to the Watergate hearings.
    • Four weeks of New $25,000 shows that were supposed to air in July 1987 got pushed ahead to August, due to the Iran-Contra hearings. Reruns of weeks #227, #229, #230, and #231 aired throughout July.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Bob Stewart developed the show under the working title Cash on the Line and taped a pilot on February 2, 1973; CBS hated everything about it except for the end game, which became Pyramid's main game. Here's a photo.
    • Originally, the Winner's Circle had 10 subjects (which is what TV Guide showed in its synopsis of the debut in the March 24-30, 1973 issue, the bottom four boxes awarding $25 each) but, two nights before taping the premiere, Stewart called CBS and said there was no way anyone could get 10 subjects in a minute. He had a two-by-four plank nailed over the bottom four boxes, which remained during the initial CBS run (taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York) and shortly into the ABC run.
    • New $25,000 almost didn't happen. Dick Clark was hosting a pilot for a CBS game show produced by Bob Stewart called Second Guess, but the pilot didn't go as well as they hoped it would. After countless attempts to get it up and running, Dick said to Bob "Why don't you just revive Pyramid instead?"...and so, without the need for a pilot, the Television City era of Pyramid began production as soon as possible.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/Pyramid