Hot Potato

NBC (ended 1984)


No Editor

User Score: 0

User Rating
9 votes

By Users

Write A Review
Hot Potato

Show Summary

Meet these men; they're three of a kind. BARRY: "Hi, I'm Jack Barry." ENRIGHT: "I'm Dan Enright." CULLEN: "I'm Bill Cullen, and we're…" ALL: "Dead game show kingpins!" And they were the energies behind Hot Potato, the last-ever game show co-produced by Jack Barry. Quite often, Hot Potato is compared to Family Feud. While the two games have some similarities, Hot Potato had distinct differences that made this NBC program one of the more unique game shows of the early 1980s. Two teams of three members each competed. Early in the run, the civilian-only teams had something in common (e.g., beauty operators, police officers) hence, they were billed as "three of a kind." Host Bill Cullen announced a question, which could be based on general knowledge (e.g., Name the states that start with the letter "M"; list the presidents who were born in Ohio) or on polls ("We asked men if they were stranded on a desert island, which female celebrity would they most want with them?"; "What are the most popular hamburger toppings?"). Each question had no less than seven possible answers that the contestants had to guess. (One question had thirteen responses, but only seven were required to win a round.) A member of the champion team went first, electing to either give an answer or force a specific member of the opposing team to answer (see below) thus, passing the "Hot Potato." A correct answer by the team in control allowed the team to retain control and one of his/her team members took a turn. Players were eliminated in the following ways: * By giving an incorrect answer or one not on the survey (a light on Cullen's podium signified simply if that player was right or wrong). * Taking too much time. * Repeating an answer (or more often than not, two answers since Cullen usually gave players a second chance). That eliminated player was disqualified from the remainder of the round and retired to a bench behind the podium. The opposing team then took control. If a member of the team wished to challenge, he/she chose a specific member of the opposing team, who then had to give an answer. If a correct answer was given, the person making the challenge was benched and the other team took control; if a wrong answer was given, the challenged player was knocked out and the original team kept control. Also, after five correct responses were given, Cullen would review the answers to aid the contestants. A team won a round in one of two ways: * By giving the seventh correct answer. * After an opposing team had all three of its members eliminated through challenges or incorrect answers. Cullen then revealed any answers that were not yet given. At the beginning of Hot Potato's short run, a "Seven Straight Jackpot" was instituted, wherein a team that gave seven correct answers without a miss or challenge won a jackpot (which started at $500 and grew by $500 until claimed). The team that won the best-of-three front game was the champion, earned $1,000, and advanced to the end game. There, Cullen announced a category (e.g., length) and read a question that had two possible answers ("Which is longer, the longest earthworm or the longest Cadillac?"). Each correct answer added $500 to the pot, and a team could stop at any time and collect the money, or go on. An incorrect answer at any time stopped the end game and lost any accumulated winnings. Teams were allowed to pass on one question if they were stuck. Five correct answers won the end game's cash jackpot, which increased by $5,000 until claimed (though each new champion started with $5,000). About halfway through the run, the series was reformatted and given the title Celebrity Hot Potato. Teams were changed to having one contestant (one of them a returning champion) paired with two celebrities each. Also, the "Seven Straight Jackpot" - which, BTW, was won on the final civilian show - was scrapped. While Hot Potato was fun, a poor time slot and inevitable comparisons to Family Feud (both aired at 12:00 P.M. ET) led to poor ratings. Several NBC affiliates opted to air their local news at that time. Add to that the death of executive producer Jack Barry in May of 1984 and, well, the show was more doomed than the proverbial hot potato in a microwave oven. After broadcasting 115 shows, NBC canceled Hot Potato June 29, 1984, in the middle of a game that ended in a 1-1 tie (both contestants were awarded $500). Bill Cullen immediately became the new host of The Joker's Wild in the fall of 1984, supplanting Jack Barry. Not long after it was canceled by NBC, Hot Potato saw its first reruns in the fall of 1984, courtesy of CBN (later ABC Family). Only then did audiences get to see Celebrity Hot Potato in the correct order. The show subsequently reran on USA and on Game Show Network (now GSN), though it hasn't been aired in some time. wishes to extend a big thank-you to David Schwartz at GSN for providing much-needed broadcast information on the Celebrity Hot Potato episodes. The Hot Potato Episode List is correct and complete. Now it's up to you, the contributors, to confirm the questions that were asked in each show and contribute them.


More Info About This Show


Game Show