Headline Chasers

(ended 1986)


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Headline Chasers

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Sometimes, even game show hosts get into the act of creating game shows. Wink Martindale came up with one such idea: cover up some of the letters in a newspaper headline and have someone guess what it is. The story goes that Martindale did just that one morning, while eating breakfast. The result? Headline Chasers, an interesting but short-lived game show that quizzed contestants on news events that took place (usually) within the last 100 years. Two couples competed in Headline Chasers, whose set resembled a big-city newsroom. A newspaper headline (from a daily newspaper) was shown; each headline's had most of its letters missing (e.g., S---- --R--- ----H-S; ----S P---C); the city's newspaper and date were often clues. The value of the headline decreased as more letters were revealed. The first couple to correctly identify the headline (STOCK MARKET CRASHES; BUYERS IN PANIC) won cash ($100 to $500, depending on how much of the headline had been revealed). The couple could win more cash by answering up to two more questions related to the headline ($100 per question). The game was not restricted to newspaper headlines. Some of the news events highlighted came from headlines from magazine articles. Others used film and video clips of historic news events; the video began very distorted but became unpixelated as the seconds passed, and the idea there was to identify the event (or personality) from the audio. Also used: a magazine cover with a famous person on the front, with his face and other key identifying features blacked out; up to five clues were shown to help the contestants. Two rounds were played, with the second round headlines worth $200 to $1,000, and all questions worth $200. When time ran short, one final headline and related question was played. On the question, the teams wagered up to everything they had on their ability to answer (much like Final Jeopardy!). The team that wagered the most answered. The team with the most cash after the two rounds and final headline question advanced to the bonus round; the runner-up couple kept what they won. In the bonus round, the couple was shown one more headline. If they could identify the headline without any additional help, they won a $5,000 bonus; otherwise, up to four additional clues could be purchased at $1,000. Only one guess was allowed, and right or wrong, the game ended therafter. All front game winnings were safe. While Headline Chasers had a lot of educational value, many people didn't see the point. Plus, the game focused exclusively on past events, with few (if any) questions dealing with current events. In the spring of 1986, after just one season, the ratings-anemic Headline Chasers presented its final headline: "Headline Chasers cancelled."moreless