The $25,000 Pyramid

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CBS (ended 1988)

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The $25,000 Pyramid

Show Summary

From Television City in Hollywood, this is The $25,000 Pyramid, one of the shows that helped alleviate the Great Game Show Crisis of 1982. For a few months' time, each network had exactly one game show to run in daytime hours (except for CBS which had The Price Is Right and Tattletales). CBS began alleviating the crisis trend when they approved Child's Play and revived Pyramid, which had fallen from a syndicated perch the year before. If Dick Clark wasn't busy hosting American Bandstand, you could find him hosting The $25,000 Pyramid on CBS weekdays at 10:00 A.M. ET. This game show was a new format of the shows that preceded it (The $10,000 Pyramid on CBS, The $20,000 Pyramid on ABC, and The $50,000 Pyramid in syndication). You still had the six cryptic categories from which to choose and 30 seconds to correctly guess the seven things your teammate was describing. The team with the most points after three rounds still got to go to the Winners' Circle. If you won the first round, you played for $10,000. If you won the second round as well, you went back to increase your winnings to $25,000. Two distinctions made The $25,000 Pyramid a ratings-grabber and Emmy winner in the 1980s. When it began, this show adopted a "Mystery 7" category for its second round. Rather than dictate the category for which all seven clues were related, Dick Clark kept the category a secret. The contestant-celebrity team played the round through the normal 30 seconds, and if all seven clues were guessed correctly, the contestant won a prize (usually worth somewhere around $3,000). "Mystery 7" was originally the last category on the board of six, but in later years its identity was kept hidden behind the cryptic category names. Then there was the "7-11," whose identity was always unknown. During the first round, whoever revealed the category with the 7-11 was playing for $1,100. Get it? Seven correct answers won eleven hundred dollars. These and other aspects of The $25,000 Pyramid were popular enough that, in September 1986, Bob Stewart recreated the syndicated show under the title The $100,000 Pyramid, which had two runs (Sept. 1986-Sept. 1988 and Jan. 1991-Feb. 1992). It was in the run of The $25,000 Pyramid that Billy Crystal helped set the all-time Winners' Circle record for reaching the top of the Pyramid in the shortest amount of time: 26 seconds. That broke the mark set by Bill Cullen. The $25,000 Pyramid of June 5, 1987 marked Bill Cullen's last appearance on any game show, and whether CBS successfully televised this program in the heat of the Iran-Contra hearings is anybody's guess. CBS regretfully stopped The $25,000 Pyramid on Thursday, December 31, 1987. What terrible irony in that, when the live Dick Clark was in Times Square that night, rockin' down the seconds to the New Year, he was also counting down to the time when there would be no Pyramid, or so we all thought. Taking over the 10:00 A.M. time period on CBS Monday, January 4, 1988 was Blackout, whose ratings were so depressing that its plug was pulled after three months. Replacing it? None other than The $25,000 Pyramid. (How about that for history?) Sadly, the revived show could not win back enough fans, and its CBS days were done for good on July 1, 1988. A new version of The $25,000 Pyramid premiered September 16th, 2002 at 1:00 P.M. on WPXI 11 in Pittsburgh. The $25,000 Pyramid and many other Pyramid shows have popped up on GSN at various hours.moreless
Dick Clark

Dick Clark

Host (1982-88)

Bill Cullen

Bill Cullen

Host (1974-79)

Charlie O'Donnell

Charlie O'Donnell

Announcer (1985-1987)

Johnny Gilbert

Johnny Gilbert

Announcer (1982-1988)

Bob Hilton

Bob Hilton

Announcer (1985-1986)