Trivial Pursuit (American Game Show)
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Trivial Pursuit American Game Show
Trivial Pursuit
GenreGame Show
Developed byBill Hillier
Wink Martindale
Peter R. Berlin
Rob Fiedler
Directed byRob Fiedler
Presented byWink Martindale
Narrated byRandy West
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes130[1]
Executive producersBill Hillier
Wink Martindale
ProducersPeter R. Berlin
Rob Fiedler
Original networkThe Family Channel
Original releaseJune 7, 1993 (1993-06-07) -
December 30, 1994 (1994-12-30)
Related showsTrivial Pursuit

Trivial Pursuit is an American game show that ran on The Family Channel from June 7, 1993 to December 30, 1994. Loosely based on the board game of the same name, it was hosted by Wink Martindale with Randy West announcing.


The show was played in two halves. The first half was an interactive game show, while the other half was a traditional game show.

Interactive Game

Nine players (originally twelve) competed for three spots in the second half of the show.

Round One

Five questions with four multiple-choice answers were asked by the host. The players had 10 seconds to answer by pressing a number from 1-4 on a keypad in front of them. They scored points based on how fast they answered the question correctly, with a maximum of 1,000 points available. After five questions, the six players with the highest scores played round two and the other players were eliminated.

Round Two

This round was played in the same way as Round 1, except the three highest-scoring players won a prize and a chance to play Trivial Pursuit in the next half-hour show.

Classic Game

Main Game

As in the board game, three contestants raced to complete their game pie first by answering questions from categories that match the colored wedge. Unlike the board game, however, it took two questions to complete a wedge and no board or die was used. Red replaced the brown-colored wedge.

In the first three rounds, each player received two turns consisting of a category choice followed by a question posed by host Martindale. A correct answer lit up a wedge but an incorrect answer gave the two opponents a chance to ring-in and steal the wedge with a correct answer.

Round One

In the first round, the six traditional Trivial Pursuit categories were used.

Art & Literature
Science & Nature
Sports & Leisure
Rounds Two & Three

The second round used either the categories from the Movie Edition or Television Edition.

Movies Television
Settings Classics
Titles Sitcoms
Off Screen Drama
On Screen Kids & Games
Production Stars
Portrayals Wild Card

In the second half of Round 2 (later known as Round 3), a new set of categories were played. (In early episodes, the questions related to a certain year in history.) The category sets used were different each show and were borrowed from multiple versions of the board game.

Personalities People & Places Personalities People & Places World of Places Products & Progress
Entertainment Entertainment Entertainment Good Times World of Music Sports & Leisure
In the News History Headlines Science & Technology World of People History
Around the World Science & Nature Music Art & Culture World of Fantasy Personalities
Sports & Leisure Sports & Leisure Sports & Leisure Natural World World of Science Entertainment
Wild Card Wild Card Wild Card Games & Hobbies World of Leisure Wild Card

Rounds 2 and 3 included three special questions known as "Bonus Questions" hidden behind three of the categories--one in one half of the round and two in the other. When chosen, the player who answered an audio or video question correctly had an opportunity to answer a follow-up question which awarded the player $100 and another half-wedge in the color of their choice with a correct answer.

Final Round

The final round again used the traditional basic categories as in Round 1, but the round was played in a different manner. The round started with a toss-up question and the first player to ring-in and answer correctly controlled the round. The player in control kept choosing categories and answering questions until he/she either filled his or her pie (thereby winning the game), or missed a question, at which point the other two players could ring-in and steal control and the wedge. If nobody answered the question another toss-up was played. The first player to completely light up the entire pie won the game, $500, an additional prize and played the bonus round. But if sometime later during the final round, a warning sound would signal that there was one minute left to play in the round and if neither player had completed their pie when the one minute expired (signified by a buzzer), then the player with the most lit wedges won the game.

Bonus Round: The Trivial Pursuit Challenge Round

The winning player had 45 seconds to answer six questions (again from the six basic categories) in order to fill up a pie shown on a monitor. Each correct answer lit a color in the pie. A wrong answer or a pass automatically moved to the next category. After the first six questions the player went back to questions from the categories missed as time permitted (later episodes observed that the categories continued in sequence even if a question was already answered in that category). The winning player received $100 for each wedge lit and if they lit up all six wedges before the 45 seconds expired, he/she won $1,000 and a trip.

Audience game

If there was extra time at the end of the show, an audience member was called on stage and given the opportunity to answer five multiple-choice questions (much like the "Interactive" portion of the show) worth $20 apiece, for a maximum payoff of $100.

Interactive Components

The show launched a series of "interactive" games called playbreaks, all produced by Martindale and his associates. Originally, ten "Trivial Pursuit" playbreaks were interspersed throughout FAM's game show block. Three of them were during Trivial Pursuit: The Interactive Game and one was during Trivial Pursuit: The Classic Game.

A question would be shown on the screen, along with four choices, and the answer would be revealed 10 seconds later. Home viewers were given an opportunity to call a special 1-900 number ($4.98 per call) and play a "TP: Interactive Game" typed, using a slightly modified scoring system, and players answered by using their touch-tone telephone. The winner of each "playbreak" won a prize and competed on Friday in a playoff game against the other winners for a vacation. The ad would last about 100 seconds, as seen by an on-screen clock (even though the clock read ":99" as it faded in).

On New Year's Day 1994, all of the weekly playoff winners up to that point were given the opportunity to compete in a "Tournament of Champions"-style grand playoff for a 1994 Ford Explorer, which aired in between a Trivial Pursuit marathon FAM was running that day. The winner of the Ford Explorer was Alisa Standow.

Trivial Pursuit proved popular in its initial airing during the summer of 1993, as The Family Channel's ratings vastly increased during the 12:30-1:00 pm time slot. MTM Entertainment, an independent distribution company owned by the network's parent organization, International Family Entertainment, planned to syndicate a new version of the show to local stations for the 1994-1995 season. The plan was to produce 130 new episodes and air them along with the 130 episodes already taped for The Family Channel.[2] However, efforts to interest local stations were largely unsuccessful, and the syndicated version never materialized.

Other interactive games aired on the network - a board-game adaptation of Boggle, the list-oriented Shuffle, and an adaptation of the newspaper game Jumble. Trivial Pursuit: The Interactive Game was cancelled on March 4, 1994[3] to make way for Boggle and Shuffle, only to return on September 7[4] and be cancelled again on December 30,[5] along with the entire interactive game block. However, reruns of Trivial Pursuit: The Classic Game continued with no interactive playbreaks until July 21, 1995.

Home game

A home version of the game was released by Parker Brothers in 1993 as Trivial Pursuit Game Show. Some question material was taken directly from the show, and the box cover featured Martindale on the slightly different set of the show's 1993 pilot (which was intended for syndication; producer Jay Wolpert also produced at least one pilot in 1987 with Worldvision Enterprises that was not picked up; Martindale posted both pilots to his YouTube channel in 2014). This was the second home version that was based on a board game itself, the first was TV Scrabble by Selchow & Righter in 1987 and then Celebrity Name Game (based on the board game Identity Crisis) by PlayMonster (formerly Patch) in 2016.

See also


  1. ^ Freeman, Mike (October 11, 1993). "Tackling Talk With Trivia" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable: 34. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ Freeman, Mike (October 11, 1993). "Tackling Talk With Trivia" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable: 34. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ The Intelligencer - March 4, 1994
  4. ^ The Intelligencer - September 7, 1994
  5. ^ The Intelligencer - December 30, 1994

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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