The Million Dollar Pyramid 2009
Pyramid 2009 Title
June 2009 (for CBS)
Run time
30 Minutes
Tim Vincent (one pilot)
Dean Cain (one pilot)
Celebrity guests
Kathy Najimy & Mo Rocca (pilot 1)
Caroline Rhea & Norm MacDonald (pilot 2)
Jesse Metcalfe & Ken Jennings (pilot 3)

This is chronicling the unsold 2009 pilot of The $1,000,000 Pyramid, produced by Embassy Row.

Game FormatEdit

Main GameEdit

The game is played with two teams of two players (consisting of one celebrity & one contestant) in a game of word communication. Each game starts with the introduction of six categories arranged in a pyramid. In the main game, a category's position on the pyramid was not an indicator of its difficulty. The categories were usually puns hinting to the content within that subject

Each team in turn chose a category, and then a subject under that category was given. Each subject has seven words/phrases/names. The team had 30 seconds to guess the seven answers that fit into the category. One player described each item while the other player tried to guess what the words are. Each correct word was worth one point. When a word was passed, it cannot be returned to, but if the guesser can guess the word already passed, the team still scored. If at any time the clue giver gave away any part of the answer or conveyed the essence of the answer, a cuckoo sounded and the word was thrown out.

Each team had three turns with the celebrities giving first in round one, the contestants giving in round two, and in round three they decided amongst themselves on who's giving and who's receiving.

The team with the most points won the game.


If the game ended in a tie, the game shifted into a tie-breaker situation. The team that caused the tie had a choice between two letters leaving the other for the other team.

The teams' scores were erased and each team played their 30 second round of seven answers each. The team that got the most out of seven won the game. If both teams got seven, the team with the fastest time was declared the winner. If the first team got seven, the time remaining on the clock was subtracted from 30 to give the time that the other team needed to get seven.

Winner's CircleEdit

The giver of the winning team faced a larger pyramid board of six subjects with the guesser having his/her back to the board. The winning team had 60 seconds to climb up to the top of the pyramid by getting all six. On each subject, the giver gave a list of items that fit the subject while the guesser tried to guess what they all have in common. As soon as the guesser gets the right subject or passed, they moved on to the next subject to the right. Upon a pass, the team can come back to it if there's time leftover though the guesser can still get the subject without going back to it. If at any time the giver gave an illegal clue (giving away part of the answer, conveying the essence of the answer, descriptions of the category or a synonym) a buzzer would sound, the subject was re-concealed and the team forfeited the chance at the big money. The giver was discouraged from using his/her hands which is why they were strapped into the chair, and  prepositional phrases were outlawed. Even though the big money was forfeited, the team can still go for the other subjects, because when time ran out, the contestant still won money attached to the subjects guessed; of course, getting all six in 60 seconds without illegal clues won the grand cash prize.

Here are the amounts for each subject:

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
$100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $750

The first trip was worth $25,000, and the second trip was worth a total of $75,000 ($25,000 win in the first WC means the second is worth $50,000).

Ostensibly, champions were to remain for five shows.

League of ChampionsEdit

The main feature of this pilot, the top four high scoring players and the four with the fastest Winner's Circle times were to compete in a tournament for the $1,000,000.


This was an attempt to replace the long-running soap opera Guiding Light.

For the Tim Vincent pilot, the 1982-1991 version of "Tuning Up" was used. For the Dean Cain pilot, the original "Tuning Up" was used.

In 2009, the version was later passed on in favor of a revival of Let's Make a Deal hosted by Wayne Brady and The Talk.

Set PicsEdit


Card GameEdit

Endless Games (2008)Edit

Despite not making it on the air, a card game was released (as part of their "Quick Picks" line) at the time.

Video GamesEdit

Ludia (2011)Edit

Video Games for the Nintendo Wii, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad were released at the time. Interestingly, while it's logo was based on the 80s Clark era, it's set, theme music and cues were based on the 2002-04 Osmond era.


Pyramid Attempts

Pyramid Attempts

(starts at 03:06)