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Trivia / Debt

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  • Follow the Leader: General Debt in the first season was a clear Expy of Jeopardy!, down to Wink reminding how much time was left in the round (though Alex would routinely say "less than a minute" while Wink says "less than two minutes"); Columbia TriStar Television, which succeeded Merv Griffin Enterprises as production company in 1994, sued Disney over it, forcing the change in format for season 2.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: It hasn't been rerun since it ended in 1998.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: The reason for the format change in Season 2, detailed in Follow the Leader above. Fans preferred the second format to the first.
  • Screwed by the Network: Despite pulling in respectable numbers, Debt was cancelled after two seasons. The reason? The show was skewing too heavily toward the male demographic for a network with the tagline "Television for Women".
  • What Could Have Been: Rumors floated around during the run about possibly moving it into syndication or even the broadcast network schedules (as it was produced by Disney/ABC's syndication division, then known as Buena Vista TV; they also held half a stake in Lifetime, and still do, albeit now under A&E's auspices), with an increased prize budget (up to and including a grand prize of a contestant's entire mortgage being paid off). Outside of a few test reruns on local stations, nothing ever materialized. (Consider that one year after Debt got canned, ABC premiered the total opposite of this show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?; if Debt had gone on ABC, it would've been an interesting matchup.)