The Hollywood Squares

(ended 2004)




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The Hollywood Squares

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Though the game was modified during the run, the rules were largely identical to the classic versions – "get three in a row, either up and down, across or diagonally before your opponent did. It is up to you to determine whether the answers the celebrities are giving are correct or they're just making them up." Two contestants competed each day (during the 1st season, 2 new ones each day; from the 2nd season on, there was a returning champion). In turn, each contestant chooses a celebrity to which Bergeron read a question. Many of the celebrities gave zany bluffs (joke answers) aka Zingers before coming up with their own answer; sometimes, they also gave a funny explanation. A contestant who was correct in his/her judgment (ergo: "Agree" or "Disagree") earned the player their mark in the box (ergo: "X" or "O"), But an incorrect reply meant their opponent got the box. That's unless it led to tic-tac-toe, for which the contestant had to earn himself. The 1st player to complete a tic-tac-toe – up-and-down, across or diagonally – won cash, depending on the round. From 1998-2003, the structure was as thus: $1000 for the 1st 2 rounds, $2000 for the 3rd round and $4000 for the 4th and subsequent rounds. (Early in the run There's $500 Rounds 1 & 2, $1000 for Round 3 and $2000 Round 4 and afterwards.) The 2nd game of each show was the Secret Square game, which awarded a prize (usually a trip, but it could also be electronics or online gift certificates). To win the Secret Square, the contestant had to choose that celebrity (up to that point, known only to the home audience) for which Bergeron read a special multiple choice question. If the contestant was correct in agreeing or disagreeing, he/she won the Secret Square. During the 1st season, a new prize was offered each day; from 1999-2003, the Secret Square jackpot had new prizes added every day until claimed (one jackpot was worth more than $50,000!). If the "time's up" horn sounded in the middle of a game, each contestant won $500 for every mark on the board. The contestant in the lead was declared champion and got advanced to the bonus round. When the returning champions format was instituted in 1999, a champion could return up to 5 times when they retired undefeated. All undefeated champions and other top winners were invited to an annual Tournament of Champions for $100,000. Special theme weeks (such as the traditional College tournament, as well as weeks where specific contestants (e.g., Chippendale's or police officers)) were also played. For the 1st 4 seasons, the bonus round rules varied, as thus: September-October 1998: For the first few weeks, the bonus game was simply the Bonus Game Squares from the NBC daytime show – y'know, simply choosing a celebrity and winning whatever was inside the envelope. October 1998-October 2001: About a month into the run, the contestant still chose a celebrity, but had to be successful with a Secret Square-type question to win the prize. October 2001-September 2002: The day's champion chose a celebrity partner, who concealed an envelope containing a cash amount ($1000-$5000). Within a 60-second time limit, Bergeron asked a series of questions; the contestants could confer with their celebrity partner, but only the contestant's answer was accepted (a question could be passed at any time). Correct answers were worth that cash amount each, with up to 10 right responses allowed. Then, the real fun started. The contestant could keep whatever he/she had won, or risk it on one final difficult question for double the stakes. Up to $100,000 was possible. This new bonus game – which came on at the same time Wheel of Fortune began its new $100,000 bonus game – was universally panned by critics for its conceptually bad format. It had zero to do with the main tic-tac-toe game and few contestants were willing to risk tens of thousands of dollars on a difficult question and lose it all on a wrong answer. By the 4th season (2001-2002), Hollywood Squares' ratings began to erode. Critics alleged this was due to there being too much Whoopi, either cracking jokes or reacting to every other celebrity's quip; and bluffs that were not-so-family friendly. The end game also turned off many fans and all the TV Station Markets are declined the show and off the air immediately. The show underwent an overhaul for 2002-2003. Moffitt-Lee Productions and One Ho Productions (which had produced the show since 1998) were no longer the producers, and Whoopi was also history, along with other regulars Caroline Rhea and Bruce Vilanch (though Bruce was a guest a couple of times after 2002). That 5th season (2002-2003) was essentially a new start for Hollywood Squares, with a new production team (Henry Winkler/Michael Levitt Productions) and a revamped look. The center square seat was most often occupied by comedian Martin Mull (previously a regular on the Bergeron Squares and frequent guest on the Peter Marshall and John Davidson versions) though other guests sat in the center too {The Main Associate Production Company is Columbia Tri-Star (and now SONY PICTURES) Television and CBS-King World. The biggest change in the 5th season was in the bonus game, which at last had everything to do with the celebs. This was a 30-second rapid-fire quiz round for a grand prize, where the contestant must agree or disagree with statements read about the celebrity guests. Each correct response eliminated a "bad key"; once the round ended, the contestant chose from the remaining keys the one they thought would either start a new car, unlock a safe full of cash, or open a "steamer trunk" for a trip; if the contestant didn't win the prize, he or she won $1000 for each correct answer. The bonus game prize structure from games 1 to 5 were as follows: September 2002-September 2003: A new car; $25,000; an around-the-world trip; $50,000 and $100,000. September 2003-September 2004: An exotic trip; $10,000; a new car; $25,000 and an around-the-world-trip. The player had to win the first named prize to be eligible for the next one. Also during the 2002-2003 season, 1 key was eliminated for each return trip though the game was reset for each new prize; all eliminated keys had to be earned each time during the 2003-2004 season. The other major change late into the series came during the 6th season (2003-2004) when the front game was changed to a best-of-three format. The 2nd game of each match was the Secret Square and each game was worth $1000 ($2000 for the completed match). On September 6-10, 2004 HOLLYWOOD SQUARES aka H2 is permanently terminated from Syndicated in favor of The Insider.moreless
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