The Joker's Wild (partially lost unaired pilots of revival of Jack Barry game show; 2006)

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The logo from the first pilot.

Status: Partially Lost

The Joker's Wild was an American game show that was created by Jack Barry and Dan Enright. The show was the duo's first production since the quiz scandals of the 1950's that all of their shows airing at the time was under investigation for rigging their shows for high ratings. The show became a success when it premiered on CBS on September 4, 1972 alongside other game shows premiering that day on the network like Gambit and The New Price Is Right (later renamed simply "The Price Is Right"). It ran for three years ending in 1975 and was brought back several times throughout the years, most recently in 2017 on TBS. However, there was an attempt to bring back the show in 2007 after a couple pilots were taped a year earlier[1].


The format of the pilot was said to be the same as what aired in the 1970s. Two contestants spin a giant slot machine and it lands on different categories or jokers and the value of a correct answer is determinate on how many times the chosen category shows up on the board. The jokers on the slot machine are wild and can be used to double the value of the chosen category. If the slot machine lands on three jokers and the contestant gives a correct answer, it's an automatic win. The three player take turns in answer questions from the category of their choosing, correct answers earns the player the value of the question and wrong answers skips the player's turn. The first player to earn $2,500 will go on to the bonus game. The bonus game remains the same as the winning player has to spin the slot machine and get to $10,000 without hitting the devil. If they hit the devil, the game ends. However, if the hit the $10,000, they have a choice of continuing to spin the slot machine (now with another devil added and a new car added to the slots) or stop what they have and walk away.


The pilots were taped in 2006 along with another game show, Combination Lock for a possible debut for the 2007 syndication season[2]. The slot machine used for the pilots was previously used for Wheel Of Fortune's Vegas Week the year earlier. Mark Maxwell Smith (from Masters Of The Maze) was the host of the first pilot and Alex Cambert[3] (who would later become a host for Game Show Network's three hour block "GSN Live") hosted the second pilot[4] and Charlie O'Donnell (who voiced the series from 1981 to 1986) would be the pilot's announcer. According to John Ricci Jr. (the creator of the Combination Lock pilots), the shows were pitched to NBC-owned affiliates and were on track to being greenlit but King World (the pilot's distributor) didn't like the station's offer, red tape got involved and as a result, the pilots did not get picked up[5]. The show as a whole would not return until 2017 on TBS were it lasted two seasons until its end in 2019.


The pilots have since fell into obscurity and only a software demo[6] for the pilots and several photos from the Mark Maxwell Smith pilot can be found today. On April 1st, 2023, BuzzerBlog tweeted a link to a sizzle reel uploaded in 2015, featuring footage from the Alex Cambert pilot.[7] On December 4, 2023, YouTube user Wink Martindale uploaded the Mark Maxwell Smith pilot in full to his YouTube channel, the Alec Cambert pilot has yet to surface in full.




Sizzle reel featuring clips from the Cambert pilot.

The Mark Maxwell Smith pilot.

See Also