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June 8, 1984 (for CBS)
Run time
30 Minutes
Nipsey Russell
CBS Television City, Hollywood, California

Jackpot! (1984) was an unsold pilot.

Game FormatEdit

Sixteen contestants competed for an entire week, with one designated as the "King of the Hill", who stood at a circular podium at stage-left. The other fifteen contestants, numbered 1 through 15, were seated in three-tiered bleachers. Each had a special wallet containing a riddle or the Jackpot Riddle. The King of the Hill selected a number and the contestant with that number asked a riddle to the "King". If answered correctly, the King of the Hill continued picking numbers; if answered incorrectly, the two contestants switched places, with the contestant who stumped him/her becoming the new King Of The Hill.

The jackpot started at $150 with the value going up by that amount for every correct answer. If the Jackpot Riddle was found and the King decided to continue, the value of the riddles doubled to $300, but if the Jackpot Riddle was not found until the last player, an extra $1,000 was added to the Jackpot. A possible maximum per game is $3,250 if the latter occurred, while the earlier rule made the possible maximum $4,350. Each time the jackpot riddle was solved, not only did the two players share the jackpot, but they won the right to play a bonus round for another $5,000.

Bonus RoundEdit

The winning players (the King of the Hill and the player who posed the Jackpot riddle) played a bonus round called "Riddle-Grams", which was played like Bob Stewart's 1977 game show Shoot for the Stars (both the show and pilot bonus would later become the 1986 short-lived Bob Stewart-produced ABC game Double Talk). The winning players had 60 seconds to solve seven word puzzles known as "riddle-grams" (ex.: "Freezing Dollars", which would be a "riddle-gram" for "Cold Cash"). Each correct answer was worth $100 and revealed a letter in the show's title, and spelling out "JACKPOT" by successfully solving all seven split $5,000 between the two winners ($2,500 per player). This pilot was the only attempt to add a bonus round to the show's format.

Home Player GameEdit

A home player element was to be used, featuring viewers sending in postcards with what number they thought the Jackpot riddle was attached to. Sent postcards were put in drums numbered 1-15. At the end of the show, Nipsey drew a card from the drum of the winning Jackpot numbers, and each viewer selected ostensibly won $500.


See AlsoEdit

Jackpot! (1985)
Jackpot! (1989)


"Spring Rain" by Silvetti which was also used for the 1978 pilot Mind Readers (not to be confused with the equally short-lived 1979 NBC daytime game show hosted by Dick Martin of the same name) hosted by Geoff Edwards and the short-lived 1978-79 syndicated Game/Talk hybrid show The Love Experts hosted by Bill Cullen.