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Series / Pressure 1

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The pressure's on!

"You know why we call it Pressure 1? Because we start with 4 players, and then we apply the pressure until we get down to 1!"
—The host's explanation of the title, which he gave every episode.

A strangely-titled syndicated Game Show played on a set with a steamy factory motif, where four teenagers answered trivia questions in the hopes to win a grand prize.

Round 1 was titled "Four's a Crowd"; the contestant in control would pick from two categories, and host Mark Long would ask a question. Getting it right won a point, a new category would replace the used one, and the process would be repeated. The first three players to win two points advanced to Round 2; the lowest scorer was eliminated, and Mark would escort them out the double doors.

Round 2 was titled "Take That!"; the scores were reset to 0, and two new categories were shown. The contestant in control would pick a category for themselves, while the remaining category would be a buzz-in question for the other two. Right answers were worth 10 points. This process was repeated until time ran out; the two contestants in the lead would move on.

The third and final round was titled "Pressure Point". One contestant would be in isolation, while the other would have 60 seconds to answer 5 questions. Once they were finished, the isolated contestant came out to try their luck with the same questions. The one who answered 5 questions in the fastest time...or the one who answered the most questions right...would be declared the day's winner and take home a prize package.

Made by Wheeler-Sussman Productions, Pressure 1 was a show was borne from necessity. From 1997-1999, Hearst-Argyle distributed two syndicated kids game shows that were often paired up with each other; another Wheeler-Sussman production called Peer Pressure, and a Merv Griffin production called Click. When Click was cancelled at the end of its second season, something was needed to fill the gap. That something was Pressure 1, which debuted on September 4, 1999, while Peer Pressure was renamed Pressure 2 to justify the title. Both shows were cancelled at the end of the season, leaving syndication in September 2000.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: The Pressure Point round.
  • Game Show Host: Season 1 Road Rules contestant Mark Long, who also doubled as The Announcer. Oddly, he neglected to introduce himself in some episodes, meaning you wouldn't know his name unless you checked the credits.
  • Lovely Assistant: A rare male example in Costas, a no-nonsense man in a suit and sunglasses, whom Mark claimed was his personal security guard flown in from Miami. His sole job was to lead the first contestant in and out of the isolation booth.

This series provides examples of:

  • Confession Cam: The Wall of Shame, in which the first eliminated contestant would discuss their most humiliating moment in front of a brick wall.
    • At least one episode had a clip from the losing contestant's audition tape instead, where they demonstrated an odd talent they had.
  • Dance Party Ending: Each episode ended with all four contestants dancing to the theme music. Mark often joined them as well.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: There were plenty of pipes that spewed out steam on the set; you could clearly see some of it wafting in from offscreen during the opening minutes.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The theme song originated on Peer Pressure (later renamed Pressure 2 to go along with this show), which had debuted two years earlier. Especially noticeable since Pressures 1 & 2 were frequently paired with each other in syndication.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The bonus round clock was called the "Pressure Gage". At no point did anyone notice there was supposed to be a U in there.
  • Sound Proof Booth: One called the "Pressure Chamber" was brought onstage for in the final round, since both contestants played with the same stack of questions.
  • Spin-Off: From Peer Pressure/Pressure 2. The two really don't have anything in common beyond their theme song and a similar title; the other show has a board game-style format, an emphasis on moral dilemmas, and a completely different cast & presentation.
  • The Voiceless: Costas, who simply gives a thumbs up when the contestant is set up in the isolation booth. He did avert this in at least one episode, when one commercial bumper consisted of him discussing HIS most embarrassing moment.
  • Word Salad Title: In addition to being a nonsensical phrase, it was odd to call the show Pressure "1" when it was the second show of the pair to be made & released. To be fair, Mark did at least try to justify the title at the start of each show.