The $64,000 Question (lost unaired pilot for CBS revival of Steve Carlin game show; 2000)
The $64,000 Question was an American game show that aired on CBS from June 7, 1955 to November 2, 1958 where contestants answered a series of questions with increasing difficulty from $64 to the show's namesake, $64,000. The show was the highest rated television program of the 1955-1956 season and it's success would usher in several other game shows that would dominate primetime including Tic Tac Dough, The Big Surprise and most notably Twenty-One. The show is now infamous with it's association with the quiz show scandals of the 1950s, where it was revealed that many of the quiz shows that were airing at the time were rigged by the producers and The $64,000 Question was among the shows cancelled before the decade's end as a result. Outside of a spin-off entitled The $128,000 Question, no new version of the show has materialized, however in 2000, there was an attempt to resurrect the show for CBS.
A pilot for the show was taped in April 2000 and was filmed in Los Angeles. The pilot was hosted by CBS sportscaster Greg Gumbel and the format was slightly different than it's 1950s counterpart. Two players are selected and they are asked a series of general knowledge toss-up questions where $1,000 is awarded for a correct answer and a wrong answer deducts $1,000. The first player to get to $8,000 moves onto the solo round. The current contestant goes into an isolation booth (just like in the original) and they must answer a series of multiple-choice questions off of one of tow sub-categories that were chosen by the player before going into the booth. The player may not bail and must try to answer the question within 30 seconds. This happens with the $16,000, $32,000 and $64,000 questions with increasing number of multiple choices. If the $64,000 question is answered correctly, the contestant is guaranteed that money no matter what. After the $128,000 question, the questions are no longer multiple choice and contestants can win more than the show's namesake.
The only information on the pilot is on The Game Show Pilot Light website were the site pointed out that the pilot was making the same mistakes as it's 1950s counterpart did. The website also called Gumbel a promising host and noted that the set of the pilot looked ugly. The exact reason why the pilot was reject is conflicted, the show's Wikipedia page says it was because of format issues, while the Game Shows Wiki says the pilot was passed in favor of Survivor. Whatever the reason, the pilot has never been seen since it was made and the only visual from the pilot is the title card from the pilot.
- Wikipedia page on The $64,000 Question that mentions the unaired pilot.
- Game Show Wiki page on the unaired pilot for The $64,000 Question.
- Archived webpage information on The $64,000 Question. Retrieved 09 Jul '22
- Top 30 TV ratings chart for the 1955-1956 season. Retrieved 09 Jul '22
- The Game Show Pilot Light webpage on the unaired 2000 pilot. Retrieved 09 Jul '22