Many of us as game show fans have ideas of how to bring back our favorite shows back to their former glory. Here are some of the shows that I wouldn't mind seeing back on the air, and what I would do to improve them.
The Big Showdown
The Skinny: Three players answered general knowledge points to accumulate points. The first to reach a predetermined "Payoff Point" won money, but were blocked from any question that put them over that payoff. The top two scorers at the end of the first round advanced in a "Final Showdown" to 7 points; the winner there played a dice game for a chance at $10,000.
The Changes: Most of my changes are in regards to the payouts. The payoff point needs to be worth $100-$1000, and possibly a bonus for a player that hits three payoffs in a row. Rolling "Showdown" on your first try in the bonus game needs to be worth more than $10,000: I'm thinking a jackpot that starts at $25,000 and grows by $1000 until it's won. Rolling Showdown in the later part of the endgame wins $10,000, with $500 for every time you roll the payoff.
The Skinny: Two or three players (a solo player vs. a team) tried to connect two opposite sides of a playing field together, with one side having a shorter route. Best two out of three won; the winner played for $5000 in the bonus round.
The Changes: Although the 2-against-1 format was intriguing to watch, the champ-challenger format was more fair. Also, shorten the time limit of the bonus round to make it a little tougher.
The Skinny: Two players answered human nature survey questions to earn control of their cards, which they called higher or lower to win a round. Best two out of three won; the winner played for more money and in later runs for a new car.
The Changes: If you're going to have the car game, it needs to A) be more germane to the original premise, and B) involve some sort of risk. I'm thinking that the player should decide whether or not to risk half his/her Money Card winnings to play one more line of five cards to win the car.
The Skinny: Players tried guessing words that assembled a chain, with each word relating to the words before and after it. The bonus round involved forming questions one word at a time in the original version, and filling in another chain with a limited supply of letters in later runs.
The Changes: Pair one celeb with one civvie. Rules similar to the ones used before the $40,000 tournament. Winners go on to the bonus round to attempt to solve a series of "Missing Links" (three-word chains with the middle word missing, as they used for home viewer games) against the clock for $10,000.
The Skinny: Two contestants try to match prizes on a 25-square board, hiding a rebus puzzle behind it. The winner keeps all the prizes matched and tries to match a series of cars in the bonus round.
The Changes: Hold firm with this format: three Wild cards, two spaces removed at the start, one Take!, one win goes to the bonus round, two losses eliminates you.
The Skinny: Two players memorized a board with eight answers for eight seconds, then had to answer a series of questions by recalling where the correct response was on the board. Winners then picked prizes off a board, trying to avoid the "Stop!" sign that ended the endgame.
The Changes: Incorporate a buzz-in element to the game instead of a player keeping control until a miss is made. Use the same memorization gimmick for the bonus round, requiring the player to find the prizes on the board to win them.
The Skinny: Families of five predict the most popular answer to survey questions asked of 100 people. The fourth question is for triple value. Most points after four questions plays the bonus round for $10,000.
The Changes: Set a goal of 300 points instead of crowning the winner as the one in the lead. Otherwise, either the first three or the last board makes no difference. And of course, bring back returning champions.
Figure it Out
The Skinny: Four panelists try to figure out a secret held by the contestant, as hidden on an answer board. Each minute of questioning that the player stumps the panel, he/she wins a prize.
The Changes: Make a rule stating that any panelist who asks a question that has nothing to do with the game (i.e. "Do you like bacon?") gets slimed and is disqualified for the rest of the round.
The Skinny: Two teams of two kids try to find hidden pictures in a drawing. Each picture found earns the team money and the right to search a room in a make-shift house for a hidden object for more money.
The Changes: Bring back the light pen, and make it so that the Instant Prize room isn't as valuable as winning the bonus round.
The Skinny: Two teams of two competed in a series of messy stunts for points. The winners get to run through the Fun House, retrieving tags that earn the team cash and prizes.
The Changes: Dump the 3-tags-per-trip rule. Each team member gets 60 seconds to grab as many tags as they can. Grab them all and they win a bonus trip.
The Skinny: Two players answered questions, then rolled a pair of dice to remove numbers from a board. Clearing one column of numbers earned a prize package which would be won if he/she won the game. If a number was rolled that could not be made on the board, the player lost. Best two out of three games won, the winner played for $10,000.
The Changes: No mini-games, as there were in the 80's. Make the grand prize a jackpot that started at $10,000 and increased by $1000 each time it wasn't won. And keep the host away from the lounge.
The Skinny: A total of 4 players are shown two mini-documentaries on two different subjects, and then were asked questions about the pieces they had seen.
The Changes: Give the videos some movement instead of having them consist of still pictures. Perhaps change the gimmick from Hit Men (which are commonly criticized for being too "cute") into something else.
The Skinny: Two teams of three name items from a list of 10, trying to either come up with the seventh answer or eliminating all of their opponents.
The Changes: There's gotta be some way to have a cohesive bonus round that doesn't involve the B&E mainstay of avoiding the bad guy. Also, keep celebrities away from the game as much as possible.
The Skinny: Four players answered pop-culture and academic questions, the winner answering questions in his/her specialty category in the bonus round. The players stayed for the whole week, whoever had the highest score at the end of the week won the grand prize.
The Changes: Bring it back to the original version: Control questions, 60-second Brainstorms, 45-second Savant Rounds.
The Skinny: One player stood on a podium answered riddles from a gallery of 15 other contestants, each riddle adding money to a Jackpot that was won if the Jackpot riddle was found and answered correctly. Getting the Jackpot to match a "Target" number earned the opportunity to win even more money.
The Changes: The riddler can only take the Expert's place is he/she can answer the riddle in his/her wallet. Riddles are worth multiples of $25, with a 4-digit Target number for a 5-digit Super Jackpot.
The Joker's Wild
The Skinny: Two players use a slot machine to determine the value of their questions. A single was worth $50 for that question, a pair was $100, and a triple was $200. Jokers were wild and could be made as any category. Spinning three Jokers allowed the player to win the game on one question. The winner of the game faced the devil in the bonus round.
The Changes: Make the endgame more like the 1990 version (no, that's not a misprint). On the wheels are prizes and a devil. After each spin, the player can freeze any window he/she wants. Match 3 like prizes and you win that prize; hit a devil and the round ends.
The Skinny: A group of four kids maneuver their way through a computer-generated dungeon. Three members of the team guide the fourth (who is placed in a blue-screen room and blindfolded) through the rooms.
The Changes: Include a numerical energy counter with the life force animation, to make that element more accurate. More emphasis on puzzles and less on the interactions with other characters.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
The Skinny: A total of six teams take part in a series of physical and mental tests for the opportunity to search a makeshift Mayan temple for a legendary artifact.
The Changes: Rotate the temple rooms more often. Include a small cash prize for each room the team opens in the temple.
The Skinny: Three players answer crossword-like clues to accumulate properties, then collect rent on those properties in the second round. The winner tries to make one full circuit around the board without landing on a Go to Jail space.
The Changes: Speed up the first round so that less time is spent picking up properties and more time is spent going around the board in the second round.
The Skinny: Two teams of two try to communicate the Password to each other using one-word clues. Later runs included a puzzle to which the Passwords were clues.
The Changes: Make the rules similar to the Password Plus/Super Password runs. $25 for each word guessed, $100 for each puzzle solved. First to $500 wins and goes on to Alphabetics.
The Skinny: Two players try to guess how the studio audience answered a series of questions. The winner plays the bonus round on an 8-section bridge, 3 sections carrying Pitfalls.
The Changes: Change the front game to a three-round format, with the winner of each round receiving 1/2 a Pit Pass, 1 full Pit Pass, and 1 1/2 Pit Passes, respectively. The person with the most Pit Passes goes to the end game, a 2-minute round with 10 sections (with 3 Pitfalls).
Press Your Luck
The Skinny: Three players answer questions to earn spins, which are then used to try and accumulate money on a board, using their buzzers to stop a light around the board and winning the contents of that space. Hitting a "Whammy" resets the player's winnings to 0.
The Changes: Include a few special spaces, such as "Insurance", where the contestant is protected from one Whammy, or "Final Spin", where the player gets one more spin after everyone has spent their regular spins.
Sale of the Century
The Skinny: Three players take part in a rapid-fire quiz. Every so often, the leader is given the opportunity to buy a prize for a portion of their score. The winner uses his/her cumulative total from previous games to buy a larger prize, or bank the money to save up for even larger prizes.
The Changes: Use the syndicated format: Fame Games worth $10, $15, and $25; no Instant Cash bargain, Speed Round at the end, Shopping end game.
The Skinny: Three players are given three-part questions, with the order of chiming in determining who gets to answer which part of the question. Winners in the early version tried to match a key to one of the five cars onstage, later run winners picked screens to find the word "CAR" on every screen.
The Changes: Format the bonus round to be similar to the front game. The contestant gets 5 three-part questions; Get 12 out of 15 parts right and win the car.
Tic Tac Dough
The Skinny: Two players play a Q&A version of Tic Tac Toe.
The Changes: Outer boxes worth $1000 in the pot; middle box worth $2000. The pot carries over after each tie. The bonus round would be a hybrid of the '80s and '90s versions: 9 spaces, 7 with money, one with a dragon, one with a dragonslayer. Accumulate $5000 before hitting the dragon and you win the money and a prize package, picking the dragonslayer wins the prizes and the money won up to that point, picking the dragon loses everything.
The Skinny: Two players, isolated so that neither knows of the other's progress, answer a series of questions in an attempt to score 21 points.
The Changes: No "Second Chances", no strikes, no voting on who gets to be the next contestant. Winners get $2500 for each point in the margin of victory; this pay scale increases by $2500 with each tie.
The Skinny: Eight players answer questions to add to the eventual prize for the winner. After each round, the players vote on which player they want to eliminate.
The Changes: The strongest player from the last round is protected from being voted off. Make the chain links worth $2K-$5K-$10K-$25K-$50K-$75K-$100K-$125K to make the money ladder less steep.
The following shows are essentially in their prime form already, and need no tinkering.
Double Dare (Nick)
Now You See It (Henry version)
Scrabble ('80s version)
Ultimate Fan League