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Series / Couch Potatoes

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The "Couch Potato" Spud

While heavily involved with Nickelodeon's Double Dare, Marc Summers found time to host this 1989 syndicated Game Show from Saban Entertainment celebrating all things television.

Two teams of three people played, each named after an actual show ("Get Smart", "The A-Team") or a variation of one ("Bosom Buds", "The M*A*S*Hed 'Taters"). Marc asked a toss-up question worth 25 "Ratings Points" (50 in the second round), the team whose member correctly answered it then getting a chance to answer a series of three questions ether based on a specific series or on a genre of TV show. Each contestant on the team could only answer one of the three questions, if one incorrectly guessed or nobody buzzed-in, the other team got a chance to steal that question and any others left in the group. Once an Episode, a television celeb rang the doorbell (the set was designed as an abstract living room) and enter to personally ask questions based on his/her show. Sometimes they walked right in, but other times they would enter in character (such as when Isabel Sanford came in delivering some dry cleaning or Norman Fell came in to complain about all the noise).

After four rounds of three questions apiece, the teams played the Couch-Up Round: two opponents had a face-to-face question as a graphic flashed 50, 100, 150, 200, and Couch Up. The team correctly answering the question would win the amount showing...but if the team behind got Couch Up and answered correctly, their score was immediately brought up to the level of their opponents. After six questions ("Twice down the couch" as Marc would say) the team in the lead won $1,000. The losing team got a "Canceled" graphic superimposed on them.

Acting as a Greek Chorus to all this was show announcer Joe Alaskeynote , who played the "Wacky Neighbor" in his own little abstract living room set. Some promotional material actually identified him as if his character was actually named Wacky Neighbor, although in-show his on-screen credit was just "Joe Alaskey as the Neighbor".

This show provides examples of:

  • The Announcer: Joe Alaskey, later Jim McKrell (a genre veteran, having hosted Celebrity Sweepstakes in the 70s as well as a bevy of unsold pilots).
  • Bonus Round: "Channel Roulette". A graphic with 12 spaces numbered 2–13 was shown. The team picked a "channel" and tried to identify a cast picture worth anywhere from $100 (easy pictures like The Beverly Hillbillies) to $1,000 (more obscure shows like Chopper One and Turn On). The team had 30 seconds to get $1,000 total in order to win $5,000... however, one channel was "Pay TV", which, if selected, took away all of the team's money up to that point, forcing them to begin rebuilding toward the $1,000 goal.
  • Cap: The scoring system on this show present a theoretical perfect score of 1,800. However, with the final question of the Couch Up round relying on a Random Number Generator, the highest possible Flawless Victory for a team in the front game is 1,600-0.
  • Celebrity Edition: Among others, Game Show Hosts Week and Famous Moms Week. The former is notable for Peter Marshall appearing to plug 3rd Degree!, a series which was coming that Fall...except he was abruptly dismissed before it began taping and was replaced by producer Bert Convy (Marshall sued Convy until Convy fell ill).
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The teams use blue and pink couches.
  • Consolation Prize: Called the "Cancellation Prize".
  • Flawless Victory: Done once in the Channel Roulette. Axel from The Brady Bunch team selects a $1,000 photo first, then correctly identifies the photo—a still from the relatively obscure Apple's Waynote —within the first second of the round! See it here.
  • Game Show Host: Marc Summers.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: Champions could stay on for five days or until defeated, resulting in a maximum of $30,000.
  • Golden Snitch: The "Couch-Up" round, which made all of your progress in the first part of the show moot if your opponent picked it and got the question right.
  • Losing Horns: At some point after Jim McKrell took over as announcer, the time buzzer in the Channel Roulette round was a two-note horn similar to if you hit a Whammy on Press Your Luck.
    • Throughout the series, a menacing electronic version of the Dragnet "dun-da-dun-dun" theme was heard if you hit Pay TV in Channel Roulette.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The Couch Up round—especially for the trailing team on the last question. Hit a 200 when you're down by 225? It's game over, man.
  • Once an Episode: A former (or then-current) TV celebrity shows up to ask questions, then shares what they're currently doing.
  • Random Number Generator: Determines the question values in the Couch Up round.
  • Studio Audience: Marc would often have the audience try to answer a question both teams missed.
  • Whammy: "Pay TV". Fortunately, it only appears once.