Planet Hollywood Squares (cancelled spin-off of American game show; 1996)

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Planet Hollywood Squares.jpg

A newspaper article by Steve McClellan about the show's development.

Status: Lost

At the height of their popularity, theme restaurant chain Planet Hollywood wanted to expand their enterprise even further by producing their own take on Hollywood Squares, though their plans would end up falling on thin ice.

History[edit | edit source]

Planet Hollywood is a theme restaurant chain founded in 1991 by British businessman Robert Earl, who had thought up of the idea with movie producer Keith Barish during a charity event while the former was still the head of Hard Rock Cafe. Though another person who also played a hand in its development was C-list actor Bryan Kestner, who first envisioned it as "Cafe Hollyrock." The first location opened on New York City's West 57th Street on October 22, 1991. Its opening was a great success with many notable features being a chicken recipe that used cereal flakes, movie props displayed all around the premises, and especially noteworthy was its backing from celebrity investors including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. [1]

This prompted other celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Roseanne Barr to hop on the bandwagon for stocks and soon enough, Planet Hollywood would expand location after location with their second one overall being in Santa Ana, California-1992 and their first overseas one being in London, United Kingdom-1993. [2] [3] At their peak, Planet Hollywood operated more than 60 restaurants around the world and every opening was treated like a grand ceremony with thousands of fans in attendance watching celebrities walk down the red carpet and whenever the food wasn't making any money, it was the merchandise that brought home the dough; earning them $15 million during their first year. In April 1996, PH became a public IP and both founders were hellbent on broadening their restaurant horizons with new concepts such as Official All-Stars Cafe, a sports restaurant with heavy backing by athletes; and Marvel Mania, a superhero themed restaurant that opened in Universal Studios Hollywood. [4]

Game Show[edit | edit source]

Prior to the end of the 1990's, Planet Hollywood had even more ambitious plans for their corporate agenda including PH casinos, a "Chefs of the World" restaurant with a "star-studded" culinary, and for this topic - a spin-off of the classic American game show Hollywood Squares known as Planet Hollywood Squares. [5]

Plans were first announced on September 20, 1995 by the show's production company, King World, at the Planet Hollywood restaurant that opened in Beverly Hills just three days earlier with Roseanne Barr at the red carpet among countless other celebrities. [6] It's never been specified if she was going to be the host or not, though Ms. Barr stated that the show would've been given a contemporary edge. [7]

Syndication sources stated that King World was planning for broadcasting to begin in fall 1996, though the project had yet to receive the "OK" by Sony Pictures Entertainment, who at the time, had been syndicating Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! after they bought Merv Griffin Productions. It was supposed to air with a revival of The Gong Show as hosted by Chuck Booms, though Sony decided to put both shows on hold to see how well The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game did that year. [8] There was also the possibility that King World Productions could've sold Planet Hollywood Squares to another cable or broadcast network without Sony's approval.

One news article about the show's production stated that with its connection to the restaurant, Planet Hollywood Squares may have potentially featured cameos by some of its share-holders (Stallone, Schwarzenegger) and that under consideration, both half-hour and hour-long versions of the show would be produced.

The Downfall[edit | edit source]

By the mid 1990’s, the general populace began to break away from Planet Hollywood's gimmick and saw it as nothing more than a glorified museum with overpriced food that overplayed its hand. Its prior success was also a double-edged sword as it inspired competitive theme restaurants with their own celebrity investors (ie. Robert DeNiro's Tribeca, a Easy Rider cafe sponsored by Dennis Hopper). After years of declining stocks, plus a 1998 terrorist incident that completely decimated their South African location in Cape Town, [9] Planet Hollywood declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy over a $20 million dollar loss in 1999 and year after year, many of the underperforming Planet Hollywood restaurants began to close permanently. [10]

This also put an end to several of the company's other brands and ideas earlier mentioned including Planet Hollywood Squares, though the project may have been cancelled long before the company declared Chapter 11. As of writing, there are only a few Planet Hollywood restaurants, plus a few casino resorts, while the company has been desperately trying to renew their image to stay afloat.

Availability[edit | edit source]

Given the very limited information about its development and it circumstances at the time, its unlikely there were ever any episodes, let alone a pilot, filmed for Planet Hollywood Squares as Roseanne presumably pulled out while the chain was in trouble and so would King Features. [11] However, Whoopi Goldberg, another former investor of Planet Hollywood, would host the original version of Hollywood Squares from 1998 to 2002. [12]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Planet Hollywood International, Inc. on FundingUniverse. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  2. Planet Hollywood (Santa Ana) on Seeing Stars. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  3. planet hollywood opening may 17th 1993 london. comedowniscalling@YouTube. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  4. Planet Hollywood Restaurant 1996 Annual Report on Live Auctioneers. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  5. Planet Hollywood International, Inc. on Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  6. Planet Hollywood (Beverly Hills) on Seeing Stars. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  7. Roseanne, Planet Hollywood Reviving Game Show. Wire Services. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  8. Topic: Too Late Ebay: Entire set of actual Card Sharks cards! on The Game Show Forum. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  9. 1 Dead, 24 Hurt in Bombing at S. Africa Planet Hollywood. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  10. Planet Hollywood in Ch. 11. CNN. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  11. Planet Hollywood Squares on Heatter Quigley Wiki. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'
  12. Whoopi is leaving 'Hollywood Squares'. UPI. Retrieved 25 Jul 22'