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Series / Bargain Hunters

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Short-lived 1987 ABC Game Show created by Merrill Heatter and hosted by Peter Tomarken which tried to combine the essence of the increasingly-popular home shopping craze with that of a certain other game show.

Three pairs of contestants competed in three separate minigames, always in this order:

  • Bargain Quiz - the players had to guess whether an item at a certain price was a bargain; first to three won the game and a bonus prize.
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  • Bargain Trap - the players alternated picking from five prizes, avoiding the one marked up from its actual price; the winner kept the prizes they chose.
  • Bargain Busters - the players tried to correctly guess the closeout price a certain store gave a stated item; best-of-three won the game and the prizes.

The three winners then played Super Savers, where each player chose three bargain-priced prizes from a group of seven. The player who saved the most won the three prizes they chose, plus a grand prize.

In case you haven't noticed yet, that "certain other game show" was most likely The Price Is Right, but that's just the tip of the iceberg — every round was followed by a "Bargain Shopper" segment, where the show magically turned into the Home Shopping Network and offered viewers a chance to buy an item from the preceding round at a discount by calling the onscreen phone number.


Aside from the fact that it was three parts game show and two parts infomercial, Bargain Hunters wasn't really that good, with Tomarken apparently going so far as to call it a "piece of shit". While the series debuted on July 6, it was preempted frequently during its first few weeks by special coverage on the Iran-Contra affairs, which meant it never really gained a foothold with viewers. The show ended on September 4, and was replaced by reruns of Mr. Belvedere.

Peter Tomarken was the host, and Dean Goss was the announcer.

Not to be confused with Bargain Hunt.


This series provides examples of:

  • Bonus Round: The Super Savers round, in a way.
  • Expy:
    • Price has done two games prominently involving bargains: Barker's Bargain Bar (now simply called Bargain Game) and the now-retired $uper $aver. The bonus round of Hunters is very close to the latter, which involved picking four grocery items marked down to various degrees and trying to save a certain amount, except Hunters was competitive and didn't have a target amount.
  • Home Participation Sweepstakes: Actually closer to a Home Participation Offer.
  • Pilot: Taped May 28, 1987, with some different graphics and a slightly different format for Bargain Quiz.
  • Product Placement: Price has Promotional Consideration in its prize descriptions pretty much by design, but they don't turn into QVC and give you a phone number to buy the items featured on the show. They've done Home Participation Sweepstakes on their website with a similar concept, but its still nothing like this.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The music cue for the home shopping segments turned up again on The Last Word, a short-lived Heatter word game from 1989.