|USA/Global, September 30, 1985 - December 30, 1988|
|Ken Ryan, John Harris|
This is chronicling the 1985 version of Jackpot!. This version was co-produced with Global Television Network and USA Network.
Sixteen contestants competed for an entire week, with one designated King of the Hill (Queen of the Hill for female contestants), 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 and a varying cash amount or the Jackpot Riddle. The King of the Hill selected a number and the contestant with that number asked a riddle to this player. 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.
For each game, the Jackpot started at $100, and riddles were valued anywhere from $50 to $300. The value of the riddle increased the value of the Jackpot. If the King selected the contestant holding the Jackpot Riddle (one per game) and answered it correctly, those two contestants split the Jackpot. Depending on the rules or the situation, the King could ask the Jackpot Riddle-holder to be seated and continue the game, perhaps with other bonuses or the Super Jackpot in mind. Also, if the Jackpot Riddle was not found until the last player, an extra $1,000 was added to the Jackpot.
If the last three digits of the Jackpot amount matched a preselected target number, the King got a chance to win a "Super Jackpot" by correctly solving the riddle that caused the Jackpot number to match the target number; if answered correctly, they both split the Super Jackpot. The Super Jackpot was set at random, ranging from $4,000 to $9,950.
Once the Jackpot Riddle was found and attempted, the King of the Hill and the person with the Jackpot Riddle traded places regardless if the riddle was answered correctly or incorrectly.
- Bonus Prize - A correct answer won the King or Queen of the Hill a prize.
- Return Trip - Correctly answering this riddle resulted in both players (riddler and King) being allowed to compete in an extra week of shows.
- Starting in season two, any player who answered all fifteen riddles without a miss won a new car.
- Also added was a "$10,000 Riddler Contest" in which the player who answered the most riddles correctly over a period of ten weeks won a bonus of $10,000, with tied players splitting the money. For the final six weeks of the second season, the player answering the most riddles in a single week won a vacation package and $1,000 in cash.
- The final season featured "The $50,000 Riddle". These riddles were considerably harder than the ones usually asked, and all players who correctly answered them split $50,000.
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