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Series / Greed

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"Welcome to the richest, most dangerous game in America."
Chuck Woolery at the start of each show.

FOX's first answer to ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?note  Created and produced by Dick Clark, and hosted by Chuck Woolery, it was known for being very confusing.

Okay, more details — the prize is two million dollars. A team of five is to compete for it. There is a ladder of dollar values, just like in Millionaire (eight questions, worth $25K, $50K, $75K, $100K, $200K, $500K, $1 million and the top prize of $2 million), and there is an option to stop before you get the question for a level, but it's All or Nothing all the way up.

There are also opportunities to get rid of teammates in the form of Quick Draw questions, which can be a good idea if you're successful as you get the other player's would-be share of the money, if your team ends up with any money, that is. Also, to sweeten the pot, the randomly chosen challenger, if they choose to duel with someone else, gets a good deal of free money that they leave with no matter what happens, so almost everyone did so.

People rarely voluntarily pulled out early in this game, but they frequently wiped out. Although lasting just one season in primetime, the show can be found in reruns on GSN.

This show provides examples of:

  • Advertising Campaigns: When GSN bought the rights to rerun the show, they promoted it with a fun series of commercials between Chuck and a frazzled accountant counting out the $2,000,000 dollar by dollar.
  • The Announcer: Burton Richardson for the first episode, then Mark Thompson.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Ladies and gentlemen... this is your (next) team for Greed!"
    • "Do you feel the need for greed?"
    • "The Terminator's on the prowl." / "The Terminator has chosen you."
    • "Sweeten the pot" in reference to the incentive that comes with being chosen by the Terminator.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: In regular episodes, there were no checkpoints at all to fall back on; a wrong answer meant going home with nothing, except for the small amount of money anyone might have made through Terminator challenges. The only option to bail out in the middle of a question was with the Comically Small Bribe below.
  • Comically Small Bribe:
    • They don't look the part, but upon getting 3 out of 4 answers right in the later questions, captains are offered a tenth of the prize money if they quit at that moment. Given that they usually could have had a half of the current prize money (five times as much as the bribe) if they had opted out of the question entirely, it's not an offer most captains like to take.
    • Averted for the seventh question (worth $1 million), where the decision to take the bribe was made by each individual member of the team. Anyone who opted out would win a 2000 Jaguar XK8 convertible estimated as being worth $75K, with another $25K in the trunk. That's about the same as a single share of the $500K prize.
    • And again for the Super Greed shows. Each player was offered a car plus $75K cash as a buyout on that question (which they took and was added to their share of the $200K safety net, and as it turned out, they would have been wrong due to the captain giving an incorrect answer and changing from correct answer to correct answer). After it was taken, the offer changed to a flat $150K for all players.
  • Confetti Drop: Green confetti was released when a special "Million-Dollar Moment" happened.
  • Consolation Prize: If the player the Terminator chooses decides to challenge another teammate; they are given $10,000 right away and keep the money, even if they lose to the other player or the team as a whole loses later on. The only other exception was just for the Super Greed episodes, and only applied to teams that had won $1 million (the last three questions' values were doubled in this version). If the team chose to go on and to play for $2 million or $4 million, they were then guaranteed $200,000 if they missed either question.
  • Double the Dollars: Super Greed episodes doubled the values of the last three questions to $1 million, $2 million, and $4 million. The buyout on the sixth question was also doubled to $100,000.
  • Filler: Flagrantly abused to draw out suspense whenever a team was up to the big money questions. The episode leading up to Daniel Avila's $2,200,000 attempt took this up to eleven, using most of the hour to repeatedly review and replay the game up to that point before even prompting the players whether they wanted to play on or take their share of $1,000,000 and leave. The show went multiple commercial breaks without advancing the gameplay one inch. As a matter of fact, after all that filler, the episode ended and the game didn't even advance until the next episode.
  • Four Is Death: There are four questions in each stage of gameplay. The first four questions are simple, but the second stage forces teams to find four correct answers total in each of the other four questions (it starts with four answers out of six and adds an additional incorrect answer for each subsequent question). One single wrong answer in any question, and the game is over and they lose everything except for Terminator money (the exception is with the last two questions in Super Greed, where they will walk out with a share of $200K no matter what at that point).
  • Game Show Host: Chuck Woolery.
  • Greed: The Title Drop, natch. It wasn't uncommon for contestants to be asked if they were greedy enough.
  • Lifelines: The "Freebie", which could be used to eliminate a wrong answer from one of the last four questions, i.e., it was unlocked at the beginning of the $200,000 question and could only be used once.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The lifeline, the Fr££bi£, in the UK's version called Gr££d.
    • The Finnish and Italian versions were both called Gr€€d, but neither changed the lifeline.note 
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Daniel Avila, the only contestant in the show's history to go for the $2 million question outside of Super Greed (actually $2.2 million since the original episodes used a Progressive Jackpot format). Being required to choose the top four most recognizable of nine smells, he hits three of them but his first guess was wrong, resulting in his walking away with nothing instead of a prize that would likely still be a winnings record on any game show to this day. Fortunately, things have gotten better for him, as a few years later he won $100,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
  • Nerf / Progressive Jackpot: During the first set of episodes, the top prize was $2,000,000 with $50,000 added every game it wasn't won; when the show became a regular series, the top prize was a flat $2,000,000.
  • Nintendo Hard: Due to both the teamwork nature of the show and how difficult the questions were ("choose multiple answers" is mathematically more difficult than "only one of these is correct"), very few teams made it to the final prize, and most walked away with nothing because they gambled and lost instead of walking away with the prize money they'd collected so far.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Originally, buzzing-in early during a Terminator meant instant elimination; this was soon fixed so that a contestant could buzz-in early, but Chuck would stop reading the question immediately.
  • Ratings Stunt: The Million Dollar Moments in February 2000 and Super Greed in May 2000. Incidentally February and May are both Sweeps months.
  • Shout-Out: The ''Singled Out'' incident, and another question also involving Wheel of Fortune where a contestant vetoing an incorrect answer addressed Chuck as "Pat" instead.
  • Spanner in the Works: The captain always had the potential to act as this if they changed a teammate's correct answer to a wrong one.
  • Stage Money: On the $200,000 and $500,000 questions (the latter being worth $1 million on Super Greed episodes), the captain is offered one-tenth the value of the question physically, which they can take and split evenly among their team if they are unsure of the fourth answer given (this was rarely taken, but each time it was, it was on a wrong answer that would have ended the run anyway). The $10,000 offered for challenging someone with the "Terminator" is also physically shown.
  • Sting: The music when the Terminator chose its target. A different sting variant played when the teams got an answer wrong.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: In upper-tier questions, the music would fade out for a few seconds just before the reveal of the fourth answer.
  • Timed Mission: The final question and the Million Dollar Moments only allow the contestants 30 seconds to discuss the question, followed by 10 seconds to give their answers.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: There was a UK version that aired in 2001 called Gr££d hosted by Jerry Springer with a top prize of £1,000,000. It plays almost identically to the American version.
    • An adaptation was produced in Russia, arguably with the same intents as the American version (the Russian version of Millionaire did a Channel Hop from NTV to Channel One in early 2001; the Russian Greed premiered on NTV in September 2001). The top prize was 2,000,000 Russian roubles. The premiere was hosted by Alfred Koch, then Igor Yankovsky became the host, who was eventually replaced by Aleksandr Tsekalo.
  • Voted Off the Island: The "Terminator", played once before each question in the second stage. A person is randomly selected. They choose who to battle. There's one question and whoever buzzes in first with the right answer (or doesn't buzz in but the opponent gets it wrong) wins, and takes the loser's share of the pot. Technically the randomly-selected person can choose not to battle, but they get guaranteed money if they do, and since so many people leave with nothing, most people will battle whomever they feel is worst at the game (or the winner of the previous battle, as they will have a larger share).
  • Who Wants to Be "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?": One of the first (and most blatant) Millionaire imitations, FOX ads gleefully bragged that you could win two million on their show. Emphasis on could, as the questions became so obscure and the penalty for losing so merciless that attempting the two million dollar question was essentially the same as putting your current winnings in a big pile, soaking them in gasoline, and striking a match.note