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Bonus Round

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The bonus round is that part of a Game Show which follows the main game, typically played by the player or team who won the main game. Usually, this is where the real money/prizes are handed out, with only a token amount of cash given to the winner of the main game. Quite often, a Progressive Jackpot will be involved.

Examples from real game shows:

  • "Fast Money" on Family Feud, played by two members of the winning family.
  • The "Lightning Round" on Password, the Trope Maker.
    • "Alphabetics" on Password Plus. Super Password and Million Dollar Password's bonus rounds had the same name as the series, though "Super Password" became referred to as "the endgame" later in the series' run. The 2022 NBC version somehow just used the term "Bonus Round".
  • The "(Super) Gold Rush" on Blockbusters. The name was changed to "Gold Run" halfway through the original series' run, for unknown reasons.
  • The "Golden Medley" on Name That Tune
  • "Face the Devil" on The Joker's Wild
  • "Double Play" on the Jack Narz version of Concentration, and the Car Game on the Trebek version.
  • The "(Big Money) Bonus Round" on Wheel of Fortune.
    • The German version, Glücksrad, had an interesting pre-bonus round. The Super-spiel was a 4-5 word crossword puzzle using the board that all three players played as a team. Each player picks two letters, and then they have 90 seconds (each player as captain for 30) to solve the puzzle. If they cleared the wall in time, they all got a share of a rolling jackpot (which in some cases was worth more than the actual Bonus Round win). Then the normal Bonus Round's played like usual.
  • The "Best of Ten Test of Knowledge" on Win Ben Stein's Money, where the winning contestant from the previous two rounds goes up against Ben himself for the show's full prize of $5,000.
  • "Money Cards" on Card Sharks
  • The Sprint round on Scrabble (and later, the "Bonus Sprint")
  • The "Big Numbers" on High Rollers
  • The Price Is Right not only has a standard Bonus Round with the Showcase, but also has a "pre-Bonus Round" Bonus Round in the Showcase Showdown (that big wheel).
    • The Showcase was played more true to "bonus round" form on the 1994 Davidson incarnation, with one player playing an adaptation of the Range Game for a single (usually massive) Showcase. This style of Showcase was adopted by many of the European versions that sprang up after The New Price is Right got canned.
    • The nighttime version of the original Price had contestants who won certain items up for bids either winning a bonus prize or competing in separate contests to win bonus cash or prizes.
    • It could be convincingly argued that the Showcase is actually a competitive apex that the first 40 minutes of show has been building toward, like a price-guessing Super Bowl, but it does fit on this list by virtue of being a chance for people who've already won to win even more.
  • The Audience Match on the original Match Game and the Super Match on versions up to the 2016 revival.
  • The "Winners' Circle" on The $10,000 Pyramid (and its subsequent versions)
  • The Obstacle Course on Double Dare
  • The "Room-to-Room Romp" on Finders Keepers
  • The "Bonus Sweep" on Supermarket Sweep
  • The Temple Run on Legends of the Hidden Temple
  • The Map on Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, later replaced by The Gates of History on Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?.
  • The "Video Zone" on Nick Arcade
  • "Mega Memory" on Get The Picture
  • The Locker Room on Think Fast
  • "Shop 'Til They Drop" on Shop 'Til You Drop
  • The "most exciting fun-filled bonus game" in the "Prize Vault"... and then the less exciting "Master Puzzle" on Break the Bank (1985).
  • The Big Wheel on The Big Spin
  • The Dutch lottery game show Miljoenenjacht had a curious one; the winning contestant (after several rounds of quizzes in various formats) chose one of 26 briefcases containing ascending dollar amounts (hoping it contained the top prize). Then, they opened other briefcases to narrow down what could be inside their own, and were given offers from an omnipresent character as a buyout for their case. Sounds familiar? Well, that's Deal or No Deal.
  • The "Gauntlet of Villains" on Whew!!
  • "Strolling down Rodeo Drive"
  • The "Honors Round" on Make the Grade; on a few episodes, a player who won the game early played a second bonus round, entitled the University Round.
  • The "Million Dollar Round" on The $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime; you had to win the game AND the bonus round three times, without failing at any point, to win the million dollars.
  • Remote Control had two: an identify-the-music-video round on the MTV version, and the "Wheel of Jeopardy" in the syndicated run.
  • Inverted on Distraction. The player is awarded either a car or several bonus prizes at the outset, but must answer a series of questions in order to prevent them from being damaged or destroyed. Once the round is over, the player takes home the prizes in whatever condition they are in at the end of the game (smashed, blown up, vandalized, etc.).
  • "The Big Deal (of The Day)" on Let's Make A Deal. This is a slight inversion, as the big winner (or, if the big winner passes, one of the next in line) has to surrender their original winnings to play the Big Deal. All they have to do is choose one of the three doors, and they win what's behind it. The doors contain three prizes of increasing value (one of which being the Big Deal itself), but never Zonks.
    • Originally two winners were allowed to play, that is until the current run, where only one person okays, making it an even stricter endgame than before.
    • The "Super Deal" on the same functions as a Bonus Bonus Round (The catch? the Big Deal must be won, because if it's not then it's skipped entirely, without a reveal of where it would have been).
  • The UK version of Duel gave contestants who won 2 consecutive Duels a bonus question for £10,000, and another for £20,000 if they won a third Duel. Also a rare example of a Bonus Round which did not offer the big money; the jackpot was won by winning four Duels in a row.
  • Double-or-Nothing Video Bonus on Cash Cab
  • "Jack Attack" in You Don't Know Jack
  • On Jeopardy!, if only one player finishes Double Jeopardy! with a positive score, Final Jeopardy! effectively becomes this. The player simply wagers any amount of their score on a clue that they answer alone. Regardless of whether or not the response is correct, the player is guaranteed the win- unless they wager everything and get it wrong. ($0 is never a winning score.)
    • A brief Art Fleming revival in 1978 did have an actual bonus round known as "Super Jeopardy!" (unrelated to ABC's primetime Tournament of Champions of the same name), where the day's winner tried to get 5 in a row by getting correct responses from clues on a 5 by 5 board (essentially a predecessor or sorts to the Gold Run of Blockbusters and the bonus rounds of Catchphrase (which used a similar setup) and Trump Card (which was pretty much the same thing)). Three wrong responses ended the round.
  • The "Wonderwall" on Winning Lines
  • Tokyo Friend Park 2 had a variant: If a team successfully wins a game early, they're often allowed to use their remaining tries or time to try and reach an even harder goal (usually double the original goal, or a Flawless Victory if the goal was more than half the maximum possible). A success doubles their winnings from the game, with no penalty for failure. In some games, it's even possible to win that early, and earn a chance to go for triple and up (and a triple win has been pulled off at least once).
  • The bonus board on the original You Don't Say! had three clues to a name for a cash prize. If a contestant won a game by a 3-0 score, the prize for getting the name on the first clue was a new car. On the 1975 revival, there was no board; the contestant gave clues to the celebrities. If a contestant could get the celebrity chosen to get four names in five clues, it was worth $5,000. Getting five names in five clues doubled it.
  • "The Spoilers" on the Alex Trebek version of Double Dare
  • Child's Play had two: "Triple Play" featured the contestant guessing a word based on three different definitions from children. Later on, it was replaced by "Turnabout", which was simply Pyramid WITH KIDS! (i.e. having to explain words to children to get them to guess it)
  • Showoffs and its reboot Body Language had contestants trying to guess up to ten words being mimed to them in sixty seconds. Whatever was correctly guessed was worth up to 10 times the amount by getting three additional words in 15 seconds (20 in Body Language).
  • "Double Definition" on Wordplay
  • "Channel Roulette" on Couch Potatoes
  • The Italian game Avanti Un Altro has a bonus round which is just plain diabolical: you have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to answer 21 questions wrong. They have two options each, but if you get one right or take too long to answer you have to go right back to the beginning! You do get additional time to play for a smaller prize if you run out of time, but still.
  • The Chase has the All or Nothing "Final Chase".
  • "El minuto de oro" ("The Golden Minute") in the weekend edition of Saber y Ganar.
  • Many Japanese variety shows have an inversion of this trope called the "Batsu game" (罰ゲーム, penalty game), where the loser has to play a game that involves doing or experiencing something unpleasant as "punishment" for losing.
    • Then there's Panel Quiz Attack 25, which plays it straight: however many panels the winner captured during the main game were removed from the board, revealing a series of pictures underneath. These are visual clues that led to the name of a person, place, or even a year (where the clues would be events that happened during that year). Identifying the subject of the clues won a trip (these days, it's a Mediterranean cruise).
  • BOOM! features an optional one in the Mega Money Bomb, which can quadruple a team's winnings; it is optional due to the fact that if a team goes for it and loses, their winnings are cut in half.
  • Press Your Luck and its beta version Second Chance (as well as the revival Whammy) had no bonus round. The 2019 revival of PYL, however, did implement one where the main game's winner had a shot to win $1 million through taking spins on the Big Board and avoiding the Whammy.

Examples from fictional game shows:

  • The kids-versus-adults game "What Do Kids Know?" in Magnolia had a bonus round. Everyone expects Child Prodigy Stanley to represent the kids in the bonus round but he doesn't want to go because he has to go to the bathroom.
  • In Garfield and Friends, the Dream Sequence game show "Name that Fish" had a bonus round in which Garfield (or presumably, any contestant) gets into a booth that starts filling with water, and is challenged to name the fish that come in with it (Never seen played because Garfield realized it was All Just a Dream).
  • In Dave Barry Slept Here, Abraham Lincoln became a contestant in The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, where he won the bonus round by answering the question "How much is four score plus seven?" This awarded him the Samsonite luggage and the presidency. John F. Kennedy wins the same prize in his televised debates with Nixon; the category chosen by Kennedy in the bonus round was "Graceful Handsome Boyish Wittiness."
  • In Once Upon a Mattress, the Wizard tells Princess #12 that she's now at "the seventh plateau," and gives her a final question to answer in the Engagement Challenge. Predictably, the princess fails to answer the absurdly convoluted fourth part of the question before the time runs out, and she receives a large dead bird as a Consolation Prize.