They Finally Brought Back The Pyramid [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Sep21

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They Finally Brought Back The Pyramid [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

It’s a classic American TV game show that we all love to play and now it’s back! This new version has been in development for years and sadly legendary host, Dick Clark passed away recently before he had to see the reboot. Here’s a look at how many times this show’s come back has failed and a preview so you know if the new version is worth your time.

Here is your first subject… GO!

People who are in show business… CELEBRITIES!

You open up a magazine and the hot model in the middle… CENTERFOLD!

Big Bird lives here… SESAME STREET!

These are on the sidewalk in Hollywood… Um, uh, uh… Also in the sky…  um, uh… Dallas Cowboys logo… STARS!

Dick Clark as the host of the original $10,000 Pyramid.

Score the most points in the opening round and you’re off to conquer the big pyramid for a chance at the big money. Of course, you’re constantly up against the clock. Just one wrong word or phrase in 60 seconds could cost you $100,000.

When the Pyramid debuted in 1973, the board only featured a $10,000 jackpot. The show was first performed as a rough pilot presentation called Cash on the Line. It was presented to CBS executives in the Ed Sullivan Theater, New York. (Now home to the Late Show with David Letterman.) The execs liked the second part of the game and had creator Bob Stewart rework his pitch. Bob came back with the $10,000 Pyramid we all came to know, except with one change. The original bonus game consisted of 10 subjects in 60 seconds. This was dropped to the 6 subject bonus round still in use today. The bottom row of 4 subjects was simply nailed over with boards and painted silver that could be seen in early episodes of the show. (Look very closely at the publicity photo here.)

Clark would host various versions of the Pyramid for 15 years as the jackpot increased. After bouncing between CBS, ABC, and local stations, Clark would step down in June 1988. John Davidson was the host of the 1990-91 revival.

Donnie Osmond hosted a flashy version for syndication from 2002-2004. It would take many years and multiple pilots to bring the Osmond version to air. Pilots were shot with a variety of hosts, including a Chuck Woolery version that used cartoon animations, known as Pyramid players, instead of celebrities. None of these versions ever got off the ground.

After Osmond’s Pyramid left the air, (he would host another season in the UK), the format sat in moth balls until 2009. CBS took a hard look at bringing the series back to daytime TV to fill a programming hole with the cancellation of The Guiding Light. Actors Tim Vincent and Dean Cain hosted multiple pilots for a new version of The $1,000,000 Pyramid. While official clips from these pilots have never been seen, several shots recorded during the tapings have just been leaked.

CBS passed on those in favor of the current version of Let’s Make a Deal starring Wayne Brady. (Which does well in the daytime ratings.) A year later when CBS cancelled another soap, As the World Turns, they ordered another series of three pilots with host Andy Richter. The top jackpot lowered to $500,000. CBS would again pass in favor of The Talk.

But a format this good, couldn’t stay away forever. In 2011, another revival was announced, again with Andy Richter as host, for cable channel TBS. The network was looking to expand their original programming. However, this version with the jackpot lowered to $10,000 never left the development stage.

Mike Richards is the new host of The Pyramid.

With a set and several elements left over from the CBS pilots, Game Show Network announced last summer that they too, would give it a try. (Internet rumors say they had also passed on the previous revials and were airing reruns of the Clark and Osmond versions.) On June 16, 2012 a pilot was taped with Mike Richards as host.

The series was picked up with an initial order for 39 episodes.

Most fans were glad to see the show back, but many online had the same question – who the heck is Mike Richards?  Turns out, he is a veteran game show producer. He has been the executive producer for The Price is Right since 2008 and for the revival of Let’s Make a Deal. Previously, he hosted Beauty and the Geek reality show for The CW.

The episodes were quickly taped and premiered on Monday, September 3, 2012 on GSN.

This new version is a perfect nod to the original. The music is an updated keyboard mix of the classic 70’s theme and Richards has a very similar hosting style to Dick Clark.

A new set uses elements designed for the aborted CBS pilots, but with more yellow and red colors. Even the contestant podiums light up in various colors during game play. The category board, and famous pyramid itself, are now large flat screen monitors and use computer generated titles and icons.

The new revival is referred to as The Pyramid, due to different jackpots used to pay out if the contestant conquers the final board. The pot starts at $10,000, but for every round in the main game where the contestant gets all seven clues correct, the pot is raised by $5,000. This gives the player a chance to win $50,000 when playing the winner circle twice.

They even brought back the old “blunk… blunk… blunk…” countdown clock sound effect from the 70’s Clark series!

The premiere episode performed well for GSN, with 646,000 viewers. Not bad for a Labor Day holiday audience. Only a small percentage of viewers have tuned out since the premiere. It is currently the second highest rated show on the network behind The American Bible Challenge, another new game show that recently launched.

The new version on GSN is produced by Embassy Row in association with Sony Pictures Television.

THE 411

Title: The Pyramid
What: television game show revival
Airing: GSN, the Game Show Network cable channel
Number of Episodes: 39 ordered


The show airs at 6pm on the East Coast, giving it stiff competition from the local news. GSN did air a small marathon on a recent Friday night that gave the show more exposure.

It’s really a great remake, in a time where Hollywood remakes have mostly been duds.

Not only did they bring back a classic format, they did it with care not to cheapen the game and still maintain all the fun that they Pyramid has been known for. This show actually requires some thought to play and is much more than a stupid stunt or reality show like Minute to Win It or Wipeout that are cheap to make and all over the airwaves.

Make a point to watch this or DVR it. The game is truly a lot of fun that should get renewed for a second season. I would love to be a contestant!

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