USA, September 29, 1986 - Decemberr 27, 1991
Run time
30 Minutes
Blake Emmons (1986), Geoff Edwards (1986-1991)
Rod Charlebois
CFCF-TV, Montreal, Canada

This is chronicling the 1986 version of Chain Reaction (mostly known as The New Chain Reaction and later as The $40,000 Chain Reaction). This version was co-produced with Champlain Productions/USA Network.

Game FormatEdit

Main GameEdit

Two teams of two competed in each game. The teams were shown the beginning and ending words of an seven word chain. Each word related to the word above it and below it. A sample chain could be:








The challenging team began the game. In the event two new teams were competing, a coin toss determined which team went first.

One teammate was the letter giver and decided whether to give a letter to his or her partner or to the other team's word guesser. As the game continued, the words would be revealed one letter at a time. As before, a correct response was worth points and control of the board.

Here's how the scoring goes:

Rounds First Four Words Last Word
Round 1 10 20*
Round 2 20 40
Round 3 30 60
Round 4 40 80

*That's only for the first season. The rest of the series reduced the value to 15 points.

The first team to score 200 points won the game.

Money RoundEdit

During the run, two methods of earning bonus money were used. In the first season, the middle word of the second chain was also a bonus word (designated by two stars on either side and later a dollar sign on the left) worth $250 for the team that guessed it. For the rest of the series, the players played a Missing Link Chain. The team in the lead would be shown the first and last words of a three-word chain. If they could guess the word in between with no letters revealed, the team received $500. Every wrong guess added a letter while taking away $100 from the potential payoff.


In the first season, the challenging team was orange and the championship team was gold and in the second season because of the set change, the challenging team was red and the championship team was light blue.

For seasons 3 and 4, only solo players participated and a score of 300 won the game. the challenger was purple and the champion was aqua. The players now had to decide whether to take a letter for themselves or give one to their opponent.

The winning team/player played the bonus game and returned on the next show. Champions remain on the show until they were defeated or held their title for five consecutive days. During the first season, any team that retired undefeated received a $5,000 bonus.

Bonus ChainEdit

The winning team/player could collect a cash jackpot by completing one last word chain. The team/player was shown the first word in a chain and the initial letter of the other six words. One at a time, the player(s) would guess at the next word in the chain. For each wrong guess, the next letter would be filled in and a letter deducted from their account. If the team could finish the chain before running out of letters the team won the cash jackpot. If not, they(he/she) won $100 per word, including the one at the top. The jackpot began at $3,000 ($2,000 with the solo player) and $1,000 was added each day it was not claimed. The highest pot was $16,000. While Emmons was host, the account was nine letters. When Geoff Edwards took over it was lowered to seven. During season one if their was time left another bonus round was played and this time it was played for $1,000 for the team's favorite charity.

The bonus chain was removed in season 5, because the end of the season 4 had an elimination tournament of champions, where the sixteen top winners of seasons three and four returned in a tournament format (sixteen players reduced to eight, then down to four and then down to two). The final winner of the game won $20,000. Games were all played to 500 points.

The $40,000 Chain ReactionEdit

On New Years Eve 1990, the show was revamped with a tournament format featuring 128 players competing for $40,000. The game was played as before, but there was no bonus chain and two new players competed each show. The values for each chain remained the same and it was played to a fifth chain where the point values were 50 points per word and 100 for the final word. In the event of a game ending with only four chains played, co-host Charlebois would play the fifth chain against the day's winner.

Eight players competed on the first four shows. After four days, those four winners played two each for the next two days. those two winners played on the seventh day and the winner of the game won $7,500.

The player who led after the the second chain got to play a Missing Link for $300. The Missing Link changed its format as well. After the change, the first letter of the middle word was given, the first letter was worth $300 and subsequent letters reduced the value by $100.

After sixteen $7,500 tournaments were played, those 16 players played in a single elimination tournament. The semi-finals was double elimination and the two players remaining played one game for $40,000.

Home GameEdit

Each day, before the closing show, Charlebois would present the answer to yesterday's home game and current home game. The home game consisted of a Missing Link (see above) and was actually referred to as such during the first seasons, but later renamed simply "The Home Game" when this format was adapted as the new round 2 mini-bonus in the second season.

This all came about because Geoff was not Canadian. Canadian television rules clearly state that all Canadian TV shows airing in the USA must have at least one Canadian TV star in it. Hence Rod's on-camera appearances and home games.


The show also ran on the Canadian television Network Global around the same time.




Episode StatusEdit


The New Chain Reaction close 2, 1986

The New Chain Reaction close 2, 1986

The New Chain Reaction close, 1987

The New Chain Reaction close, 1987

See AlsoEdit

Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction (2006)
Chain Reaction (2015)


The (New) ($40,000) Chain Reaction @ Game Show Utopia