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Series / Bullseye (U.S.)

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"This is the television game in which daring determines the fate of the player! This is the game of strategy, luck and knowledge! This is Bullseye!"

Game Show created by Jack Barry and Dan Enright, starring Jim Lange, which ran in daily syndication from 1980 to 1982. Contestants set a "contract" by stopping a trio of windows; the first two were categories and dollar amounts, while the third determined the number of questions that had to be answered. Each right answer added money to the pot, and the contestant who finished the contract could either bank all the money and end their turn, or leave it in the pot and play again. Contracts ranged from one to five questions, but a bullseye allowed the contestant to take as many as desired and stop after any right answer.

The first contestant to bank $1,000 (increased to $2,000 in November 1980) became champion and went to Bonus Island.

The show plowed along for its first year-plus at a respectable pace, but on December 7, 1981, the contestants were ditched in favor of celebrities playing for charity. The show ended just under seven months later.

Not to be confused with either the 2015 Fox game show involving stunts, or the British series involving darts.

This show provides examples of:

  • All or Nothing: Contestants didn't win anything accumulated in the Pot unless they decided to move it to their Banks upon the successful completion of a Contract, which made the money theirs to keep, but also forfeited their turn.
  • The Announcer: Jay Stewart for the pilot and Season 1, Charlie O'Donnell for Season 2.
  • Bonus Round: Bonus Island, where a contestant could win more cash and the standard B&E prize package. The windows flashed cash from $100-$300, Bullseyes, and (in only one window) a bolt of Lightning. If the contestant got three Bullseyes before the Lightning came up, they won the prizes plus double the money in the pot. Surviving 10 (later seven) spins without seeing the Lightning awarded the prizes plus either $5,000 or all the money in the pot, whichever was more. Three Bullseyes on a single spin awarded the prizes plus $5,000 (later $10,000).
  • Bonus Space / Comeback Mechanic: If a Bullseye appeared instead of a number in the Contract Window during the main game, the contract kept going until the contestant in control chose to stop after a right answer. If they missed a question, the opponent could steal control. No matter how the scores stood, a Bullseye meant that either contestant had the potential to win the game on that turn.
  • Game Show Host: Jim Lange, best known for The Dating Game.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Completing a contract with a pot over $1,000/$2,000 automatically won the game. Ditto completing a contract with a pot that would put a contestant's total bank amount above the target amount.
  • Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: Usually done if a contestant stopped during Bonus Island.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Somewhat seen in the main game, depending on your expertise and that of your opponent. As for Bonus Island, luck is the whole point.
  • Pilot: Taped in November 1979. The only major difference was Bonus Island, which had the number of spins determined by a small display (2-5, plus a Bullseye, hitting it allowed for unlimited spins) and the Pot started at the amount the contestant won in the main game — instead, getting three Bullseyes doubled the Pot, which could climb to over $1,000,000.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Originally in Bonus Island, the player had the option to freeze windows containing Bullseyes. Since this usually led to Lightning on the next spin, the rules were changed to freeze Bullseyes automatically.
  • Score Multiplier: The lower contract window, which determines the total value of a contract (questions times category value).
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • A particularly infamous example that frequently is seen on blooper specials, where host Jim Lange and the contestant are talking about golf. The contestant comments that the secret to his game is kissing his golf clubs beforehand; Lange ... well, he kisses his balls for good luck, something the audience found quite humorous while Lange looks dumbfounded as to why.
    • In another discussion of golf, Lange tells a female contestant that he's "long but not very straight".
  • Whammy: Lightning, used only at Bonus Island. Could be averted if the window containing the Lightning was frozen as a Bullseye, although the contestant didn't know whether this had happened until after the game ended. If the contestant won or stopped the Bonus Round, the windows were spun without the covering spirals to show which one had the Lightning.