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Series / Wipeout (1988)

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From Paramount Studios in Hollywood, it's television's most exciting new game, WIPEOUT!

Peter Tomarken's only syndicated Game Show, lasting only one season (1988-89). It was distributed by Paramount Television, and one of their few entries into the game show world (among others such as the final two years of the NBC run of You Don't Say! (inherited from Desilu) and The New Price is Right).

In the first round of gameplay, there were three contestants in play. A board with 16 possible answers was given to them. Peter Tomarken would then state the question in hand, which always had more than one possible answer. For example, "Which of these television sitcoms featured lyrics in their main theme songs?" On the board, there were 11 correct answers to the question, as well as five incorrect answers. Incorrect answers were known as "Wipeouts" on the show.

Starting with the contestant at the leftmost position, each player would choose an answer off the board. The first correct answer was valued at $25. Each additional correct answer was worth $25 more than the last. Once the player in control had given at least one correct answer, he could pass to the next player. If a player picked a "Wipeout", he lost all his accumulated money, and control passed to the next contestant. Also, one of the correct answers held the "Hot Spot", which awarded a bonus prize if the player holding it advanced to Round 2. Wiping out took away the "Hot Spot," which would then be hidden under one of the remaining correct answers. When either all the correct answers or all the Wipeouts had been found, the player in last place was eliminated from the game, while the other two kept their money and advanced.


In Round 2, or the "Challenge Round", the remaining two players would pick answers from the board, this time with eight correct and four incorrect. The winner of the first round started by stating how many correct answers he could give without hitting a Wipeout. The players would bid against each other until one of them either reached the maximum of eight or challenged the opponent to fulfill the bid. If the winning bidder did so without answering incorrectly, he won the round. An incorrect answer meant the opponent would have to choose one correct answer to win the round. If he failed to do this, the original player resumed trying to complete his bid. The first player to win two rounds won the game, a prize, and the right to play the Bonus Round.

A UK version lasted much longer, and was hosted by Paul Daniels (1994-97) and Bob Monkhouse (1998-2002) on BBC One (serving as both hosts' final game shows).


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: The bonus round was played on a board that contained 12 possible answers, six right and six wrong. Peter would give a topic that pertained to the right answers. The object was to find all six correct answers within a 60-second time limit. The board had touch screens around the frame of the monitor, and the player would run to the board, touch six answers, run back and hit a plunger. When the player hit it, the total number of correct answers selected was given to the player, who would then change some answers by deselecting wrong ones first. The contestant won a car (or, in the UK version, a vacation) for getting all six correct answers within the time limit.
  • Bonus Space: The "Hot Spot". This was somewhat generically renamed as the "Mystery Prize" in the UK version (possibly because both Blockbusters and Strike It Lucky had already used the term for different purposes).
  • Extra Turn: In Round 1, your turn ended only when you either hit a Wipeout or chose to pass.
  • Home Game: A video game was made for MS-DOS and the Commodore 64.
  • Personnel:
  • Whammy: The "Wipeout".

This show provides examples of:

  • Auction: The second round had the contestants bid against each other to see how many correct answers out of eight they could give without hitting a "Wipeout."
  • Freudian Slip: Peter accidentally referred to the Wipeout as a Whammy in one episode.
  • Nixon Mask: Peter wore one when walking out in the Halloween episode.
  • 1-Up: In the Spanish versions, instead of a prize for picking the "Hot Spot", the Bonus Space gave a "wild card" which averted losing the money the next time that player picked a wrong answer.
  • Pilot: Taped in September 1987, with a drastically different set (trilons?!) and even a hostess. It also had a "returning champion" with "previous winnings" that were actually impossible in the pilot's (slightly different) format.
  • Promotional Consideration: All contestants in the bonus round were provided with running shoes by the Kaepa shoe company.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent:
    • As stated, the British version.
      • Also to note, the British version of the 2008 Wipeout had to have its name changed to Total Wipeout, presumably not to conflict because it's also a BBC show.
    • An Australian version aired on the Seven Network from 1999-2000, which was helmed by Tony Johnston and had children as contestants (and due to Australian laws, was played with points instead of cash).
    • Spain has had three different versions: the first two were called Alta Tensión ("High Voltage" or "High Stress"), hosted by Constantino Romero (1998-99) and Luis Larrodera (2006-08). The third and most recent (2011) was Tensión Sin Límite ("Unlimited Voltage" or "Unlimited Stress"), hosted by Ivonne Reyes.
    • Germany had its own version called Riskier Was, which ran from 1993 to 1995. One notable quirk was that the third contestant was picked from the audience, and staffers would be seen on-camera giving the person his/her mic and adding their name to their podium.


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