The $10,000 Pyramid

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The $10,000 Pyramid
Premiere March 26, 1973
Finale January 16, 1976
Creator Bob Stewart
Host Dick Clark
Network CBS (1973-1974)
ABC (1974-1976)
Style 30-minute game show
Company Bob Stewart Productions (Basada Productions)
Episodes 5 per week
Origin USA

The $10,000 Pyramid was a game show that aired on CBS for one season and then moved to ABC. It started a renaissance of big-money shows. It was the first in a series of nine Pyramid shows.

Two teams, each comprised of a celebrity and a contestant compete in word association. Six categories are shown on a board, each category containing eight subjects. The contestants select categories and in turn gives his/her partner descriptions of each subject (without divulging any part of or essence of the subject). The answerer tries to get as many as possible in 30 seconds.

The top scoring team after all categories are played goes to the Winner's Circle, an encircled platform facing a large lighted pyramid with six windows. The celebrity faces the pyramid, the contestant has his/her back to it. As each subject is shown ("States that start with 's'," "Things on a restaurant menu," etc.) the celebrity gives a list of things that fit the subject. Each subject correctly guessed on the first line (of 3 windows) is worth $50, the two middle windows are worth $100 a piece, and the top window is worth $200. All six windows in 60 seconds pays $10,000. A player is retired after winning the $10,000 or stays on for five shows.

CBS canceled The $10,000 Pyramid on March 29, 1974 to make room for a new game show, Now You See It. But ABC brought it back on May 6, 1974 for an even longer run. It changed names to The $20,000 Pyramid on January 19, 1976. It spawned a nighttime edition, The $25,000 Pyramid in the fall of 1974.

In development, the show was called Cash On The Line, and CBS hated everything about it except for the end game, which became Pyramid's main game. The Pyramid board originally contained ten windows (which is what TV Guide's synopsis ended up printing). Two nights before taping the pilot, Bob Stewart realized that there was no way a contestant could get ten subjects in sixty seconds. After calling CBS with this epiphany, Stewart had a 2x4 plank cover the lower four windows. It remained there during its run on CBS and taping tenure at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.

Since its initial CBS run, the show has returned and been renamed as such: