In the first half of each round, Peck read three general-knowledge questions to three contestants. The contestants had five seconds note to write their answers on cards, which they placed in front of them; following this, Peck gave a hint as to how many were right/wrong (e.g., "At least two of you are right.") and read off three possible answers, one of which was correct. Players got three spins if they stuck with their original answer and was correct, one spin for choosing the correct answer on the "second chance".
The second half of each round had the players using their spins on the Bonus Board, which had 18 squares containing either cash, a prize (hidden under wrapped-but-generic gift boxes), or a Devil. Stopping the light on a Devil took away all of that player's accumulated money and prizes, with four Devils eliminating that player from the game. The contestant with the highest score after Round 2 won the game.
Chance ran from March 7-July 15, 1977 for about 95 episodes, being replaced by Goodson-Todman's The Better Sex (which itself ended six months later) and ended up a victim of the era's wiping practices. Six years later, Carruthers reworked the format and CBS bought the result: Press Your Luck.
Today, with just three episodes known to exist (plus a fourth, and the opening of a fifth, on audiotape), Chance is an obscurity to most, including some fans of both revivals. It's not without its fans, however, and if nothing else it shows how a classic format was originally rough around the edges.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Space / Extra Turn: Square #4 in Round 2 (originally worth $5,000) had a "Free Spin" attached to it throughout the run.
- The square originally awarded $5,000, but by May 31 was changed to a changing eggcrate display ($1,000-$5,000 in $1,000 increments).
- Game Show Winnings Cap: At least the pilots allowed for returning champions. From at least May 31 through the end, the series was one-and-done (barring three-way $0 ties).
- The show likely also adhered to ABC's then-winnings limit of $20,000.
- Promotional Consideration
- Rules Spiel
- Whammy: The Devils. Interestingly, the Whammy was called "that little devil" on Press by Peter Tomarken on the pilot and at least one contestant during the series.
This show provides examples of:
- Catchphrase: "Stop!"
- Department of Redundancy Department: The logo on both the inside and outside of the Bonus Board read "SECOND CHANCE SECOND CHANCE".
- Foreshadowing: The show's biggest winner caused the network to add more patterns so nobody else could take them to the cleaners in a similar single-appearance feat. Seven years later...
- Four Is Death: Getting four Devils knocked you out of the game. Unlike its successors, there was no opportunity to lose a Devil.
- Luck-Based Mission: The pilots used a single 64-square pattern that went very fast. The series apparently began with nine patterns (with more added following the aforementioned huge winner), but by May 31 it went to a single 128-square pattern. The light moved faster than Press, making it even less likely to be memorized.
- Obvious Beta: In hindsight. Some of Chance's elements were retained for its revivals.
- Opening Narration:
- Pilot #3: "Today Maggie Brown, Jack Campion, and Lynn Kline will be risking everything they've won every time they play Second Chance! And now here's the man who gives everyone a second chance: Jim Peck!"
- Series: "It's Second Chance, Hollywood's most exciting new game! And here are today's players: [Players' names, occupations, and hometowns]. And each of them will be risking everything every time they play...Second Chance! And now, here's the man who gives everyone a second chance: Jim Peck!" note
- Pilot: Three were done in November 1976.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The Theme Tune was recycled from the 1976 I've Got a Secret, and later remixed for the Australian Family Feud.
- Scenery Porn: Though not quite up to the standards of its first revival, the Chance Bonus Board was capable of folding in half.
- Split Screen: When it was down to the final spin of the final player with spins still remaining, or any spin of said player if s/he had three Devils showing, a split-screen on the Bonus Board would show both that player and the player who would either be the winner if they hit a Devil, or who was in the lead if the player taking the spin wasn't in the lead. The effect would continue until a winner was declared, at which point the divider would slide away to show only the contestant who had won.
- Transatlantic Equivalent: An Australian version by Reg Grundy aired for a time in 1977, hosted by Earle Bailey and Christine Broadway. While almost nothing is known about it and nothing is known to exist, Grundy's track record suggests it held very close to the American series.