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The New Hollywood Squares

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The New Hollywood Squares

This article is about the TV game show. For the band, see The Hollywood Squares (band).
Hollywood Squares
Genre Panel, game show, comedy
Created by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley
Presented by Peter Marshall
Jon Bauman
John Davidson
Tom Bergeron
Narrated by Kenny Williams
Gene Wood
Shadoe Stevens
(1986–89, 1998–2002)
Jeffrey Tambor
John Moschitta, Jr.
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 26
No. of episodes 3,536 (NBC daytime)
46 (Saturday morning)
192 (Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour)
585 (Davidson)
1,050 (Bergeron)
Location(s) NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1966–80, 1983–84, 1986)
Riviera Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada (1980–81)
The Prospect Studios
Hollywood, California (1987)
Fox Television Center
Hollywood, California (1987–88)
Universal Studios
Universal City, California (1988–89)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1998–2004)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time approx. 22–24 minutes (all versions except Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour)
approx. 44–48 minutes (Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour)
Production companies Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley Productions (1966–81)
Filmways Television (1966–81)
Century Towers Productions (1986–89)
Moffitt/Lee Productions (1998–2002)
One-Ho Productions (1998–2002)
Henry Winkler-Michael Levitt Productions (2002–04)
Columbia TriStar Television (1998–2003)
Sony Pictures Television (2003–04)
Distributor Rhodes Productions (1971–81)
Orion Television Syndication (1986–89)
King World (1998–2004)
Original channel NBC (1966–80, 1983–84)
Syndicated (1971–81, 1986–89, 1998–2004)
MTV2 (2012-)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run First Run
October 17, 1966 (1966-10-17)–June 20, 1980 (1980-06-20)
(NBC Daytime)
January 12, 1968 (1968-01-12)–September 13, 1968 (1968-09-13)
(NBC Primetime)
January 4, 1969 (1969-01-04)–August 30, 1969 (1969-08-30)
(NBC Saturday morning)
November 1, 1971 (1971-11-01)–September 11, 1981 (1981-09-11)
Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour
October 31, 1983–July 27, 1984
(NBC Daytime)
Third Run
September 15, 1986 (1986-09-15)–September 8, 1989 (1989-09-08)
(Daily Syndication)
Fourth Run
September 14, 1998 (1998-09-14) – June 4, 2004 (2004-06-04)
(Daily Syndication)
Related shows Storybook Squares
Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour
Hip Hop Squares

Hollywood Squares is an American panel game show,[1][2][3][4][5] in which two contestants play tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes. The "board" for the game is a 3 × 3 vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by a celebrity (or "star") seated at a desk and facing the contestants. The stars are asked questions by the host, or "Square-Master", and the contestants judge the veracity of their answers in order to win the game.

Although Hollywood Squares was a legitimate game show, the game largely acted as the background for the show's comedy in the form of joke answers, often given by the stars prior to their "real" answer. The show's writers usually supplied the jokes. In addition, the stars were given question subjects and plausible incorrect ("bluff") answers prior to the show. The show was scripted in this sense, but the gameplay was not. In any case, as host Peter Marshall, the best-known "Square-Master" and the man in whose honor the show's first announcer, Kenny Williams, actually "coined" the term (though it was never actually used officially; the hosts were otherwise called simply "hosts"), would explain at the beginning of the Secret Square game, the celebrities were briefed prior to show to help them with bluff answers, but they otherwise heard the actual questions for the first time as they were asked on air.

In 2013, TV Guide ranked it number 7 in its list of the 60 greatest game shows ever.[6]

Basic rules

Although there have been variations over the years in the rules of and the prizes in the game, certain aspects of the game have remained fairly consistent.

Two contestants, almost always a woman playing Os/naughts (called circles in the show) and a man playing Xs/crosses, took turns picking a star and following the traditional tic-tac-toe/naughts-and-crosses strategies, for which square to select. The star was asked a question and gave an answer. The contestants had the choice of agreeing with the star or disagreeing if they thought the star was bluffing. If the contestant was right, he or she got the square; if the contestant was wrong, the other contestant got the square, unless that caused the opponent to get three in a row. In that case, the opponent had to win the square on his or her own. A contestant could also win by getting five "squares" on the game board, thus preventing draws.

On rare occasions, a star would not know the correct answer to a question or be unable to come up with a decent bluff. In such instances, the contestant would be offered the chance to answer the question to win or lose the square as above. Usually the contestants declined, in which case they incurred no penalty and the same star was asked another question.

1965 Pilot and 1966–1981

Bert Parks hosted the 1965 pilot of Hollywood Squares.[7][8] A year later on October 17–21, 1966, NBC acquired the rights to the show and chose Peter Marshall as host, a job he held for 15 years until 1981. Hollywood Squares was the final touch to a short-lived game show powerhouse on NBC, which also included Concentration, Jeopardy!, You Don't Say!, Let's Make a Deal, The Match Game, and others. During most of its daytime run, NBC broadcast Hollywood Squares at 11:30 a.m. Eastern/10:30 a.m. Central time; it dominated the ratings until 1976, when it moved to the first of a succession of different time slots. The original title of the show was The Hollywood Squares. Over time, the title became simply Hollywood Squares. The show also ran at night, first on NBC from January 12 to September 13, 1968 as a mid-season replacement for the short-lived sitcom Accidental Family.

A nighttime syndicated program ran weekly from November 1, 1971 until 1976, twice a week until 1980 and five days per week in its final season. It ended on September 11, 1981. Paul Lynde, in addition to his recurring role as "Uncle Arthur" on Bewitched, had his greatest fame as the featured (and, in tic-tac-toe, tactically important) "center square" throughout most of the original show's run. On October 14, 1968, after two years on the show, Lynde became the regular center square. Lynde's outrageous jokes helped him win two daytime Emmy Awards, in 1974 and 1978.

Some regulars were frequently asked questions pertaining to a certain topic or category. For instance, Cliff Arquette ("Charley Weaver"), a history buff, excelled at American history questions. Rich Little almost always received questions about other celebrities, which gave him an opportunity to do an impression of that individual. Roddy McDowall usually gave correct answers about the plays of Shakespeare. Rose Marie often received questions on dating and relationships, playing off her lovelorn comic persona. Demond Wilson often responded with mock anger to questions that were carefully worded to play upon African American stereotypes.

Other regulars and semi-regulars over the years included Nanette Fabray, Kaye Ballard, Wally Cox, Morey Amsterdam, Florence Henderson, Buddy Hackett, Marty Allen, Wayland Flowers and Madame, Barbara Eden, George Gobel, Vincent Price, Charo, Sandy Duncan, Carol Wayne, Jonathan Winters, Karen Valentine, and Joan Rivers. Lynde left the series after taping the August 20–24, 1979, week of shows, but returned when the series relocated to Las Vegas in the 1980–81 season.

The daytime series was played as a best two-out-of-three match between a returning champion and an opponent, with each individual game worth $200 and a match worth $400 (originally $100 for each game and $300 for the match). A five-match champion retired with $2,000, any Secret Square prizes won up to that point, and a new car. Beginning in 1976 on this version, this was increased to include additional cash ($5,000 or $10,000) and a luxury vacation. Early in September 1976, an endgame was added after each match, with the champion simply selecting a star, each of whom held an envelope with a prize; the top prize was $5,000.

Both the syndicated and NBC prime time versions featured the same two contestants playing for the entire half-hour with each completed game worth $300 (NBC prime time) or $250 (syndicated). On the syndicated version, if time ran out with a game still in progress (interrupted by what the host called the "tacky buzzer", a loud horn), each X or O on the board at that point was worth an additional $50 to the contestants, with each contestant guaranteed at least $100 in total winnings. The contestant with the most money at the end of the show won a bonus prize, which for the first seven years of the syndicated series was a car. From 1978–80, the "endgame" described above was utilized, with the car and $5,000 (later $10,000) as the two top prizes. On the daily syndicated series, each game awarded its victor a prize, and contestants who won the most games competed in a $100,000 tournament. In its final season of syndication (filmed in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel) the 1980 $100,000 Grand Championship Tournament was won by Eric Lloyd Scott of Denver, CO.

If the match ended in a tie, one final question was played with the star of one contestant's choosing; if the contestant agreed or disagreed correctly, he/she won the match, otherwise the match went to the opponent.

Secret Square

The Secret Square round was played as the first game on a given broadcast (or the first complete game, if a show began with one already in progress) during the daytime series. In this game, a randomly selected Secret Square panelist was revealed only to the home audience. A contestant who picked that panelist during the game won a bonus prize package if they correctly agreed or disagreed with the star. Secret Square prize packages on the daytime edition started at around $1,000 (for 1966 episodes; the base amount increased in the later years) and grew daily until won. The question for the star was sealed in a special envelope and was almost always multiple choice.

For shows airing during the NBC prime time version (in 1968), the first two games were Secret Square rounds. One Secret Square offered a trip and the other Secret Square offered offered a Pontiac Firebird (or a speedboat on one episode). If not won, the prize offered in the first round carried over to the second round, with a second prize added. If not won in the second round, the Secret Square prize package went unclaimed.

During the first two seasons of the syndicated version, the first two games were Secret Square games, with the prize packages generally worth about $2,500; if no one claimed the prizes offered in the first round, they would be carried over to the second round, and if still not won went unclaimed. Beginning in 1973, the first three games had a Secret Square, with each game offering different prize packages, usually worth between $2,000 and $7,000. From 1978 to 1980, the second and third games (first and second games early on in the 1978–79 season) each featured a Secret Square with the addition of the endgame. The syndicated show abolished the Secret Square upon expansion to five days a week in 1980.

The daytime show aired its 3,536th and last episode on June 20, 1980. Hollywood Squares ran for one more year in syndication; this last year of shows was taped at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

1969/1976–77 ("Storybook Squares")

Main article: Storybook Squares

Storybook Squares, a children's version of Hollywood Squares, aired briefly on Saturday mornings on NBC from January 4 to August 30, 1969 and featured stars dressed as various fictional characters from television and fairy tales as well as historical figures from the past. NBC would later bring the concept back to the daytime series in the 1976-77 season with a slight retooling, where instead of children playing entire families played.

In an interview with E!'s True Hollywood Story on March 30, 2003 (Season 7, Episode 294), Marshall lauded the concept, but lamented that by the time each of the characters was introduced, very little of the show's half-hour format was left for actual gameplay [9]

1983–84 ("The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour")

In 1983, several years after Orion Pictures acquired Hollywood Squares rights owner Filmways, NBC decided to attempt a revival of the series. What resulted was a joint produced effort with Orion's television unit and Mark Goodson Productions that combined the Hollywood Squares program with a revival of the Goodson-produced Match Game. The sixty-minute program was dubbed The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour and debuted on October 31, 1983 at 3 PM Eastern replacing the Peter Marshall-hosted game show Fantasy.

Hollywood Squares was always played as the second segment of the show, was hosted by Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na Na fame, and featured the winner of the Match Game match played in the first half of the program facing off with the show's returning champion. This version of Hollywood Squares saw several different variations on the gameplay. First, the panelists were not given bluff answers or briefed. Second, the questions followed either a multiple-choice or true/false format. Third, for each square a contestant claimed $25 was added to his/her score with each game win starting at $100 for the first and increasing by that amount for subsequent games until time ran out and a winner was declared.

There was also never a Secret Square, no regular panelists save for Bauman's co-host Gene Rayburn (whose seat in the lower left of the panel was occupied by Bauman for Match Game and the Super Match bonus round), and players could win games by default if the opposing player incorrectly agreed/disagreed with a celebrity whose square would give the other player a completed row. On all other version of Squares, the player would have to earn the winning celebrity on their own.

The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour was not a success and NBC canceled it on July 27, 1984. It was replaced the following Monday with the soap opera Santa Barbara, which would run for nine years.


Two years after the cancellation of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, a new Hollywood Squares series was put into production. Referred to throughout its run as The New Hollywood Squares, the program debuted on September 15, 1986 and was produced by Century Towers Television with Rick Rosner serving as executive producer and Orion Television as distributor.[10]

John Davidson, who was a semi-regular panelist on the original Hollywood Squares, was chosen to host the new series. Shadoe Stevens was the announcer for the series and, beginning late in the first season, he also became a regular panelist occupying the bottom center square. After a season of rotating center squares, former Hollywood Squares panelist Joan Rivers joined the series as the permanent center square. Jim J. Bullock was the series' third regular panelist, usually in the upper-left square. The three regulars also served as guest hosts for when Davidson was unavailable; in one of those instances, for one week at the beginning of the show's final season, Stevens hosted while Bullock was the center square and Howard Stern announced. On most other occasions that Stevens was not available to announce, his brother Richard would take his place.

The game used the original version's rule that games could not be won due to an opponent's error. For the first season, each game was worth $500 with a bonus of $100 per square if time ran out in the middle of a game. Beginning in season two, the third and subsequent games were worth $1,000 with $200 given for each square claimed when time ran out. If time had run out with the contestants tied, one more question was asked to one celebrity. If the contestant agreed or disagreed correctly, they won the money for one square and the match. If not, their opponent automatically won. This was also done on occasions where there was no tie, but there was only enough time for one question in a game. The contestant who finished with the most money won the match and went on to the bonus round.

Secret Square

The second game of each show was a Secret Square game. As with the original version, the Secret Square was revealed to the home audience. The prize was almost always a trip, although other bonus prizes were offered. The prize was non-accumulating, as if a contestant was incorrect on his/her question, the prize went unclaimed.

Bonus round

The first two seasons of this version of the series employed a bonus round that was similar to the one used on the 1970s game show Split Second. Five cars, each of the same brand/make, were displayed on the stage for the entire week. The champion chose one of five keys and then chose the car they thought the key would start. The contestant also chose a good luck celebrity to sit in or stand beside the car (sometimes more, usually all nine celebrities on Friday episodes or episodes with an automatic car win for a five-time champion).

If the chosen key started the car, the contestant won it and retired; otherwise, the contestant returned the next day with that car eliminated should he or she return to the bonus game. The contestant automatically won whatever car was left on the fifth day should they have gone that far without starting the car. Since the cars were replaced every week, if a champion's reign managed to straddle weeks without having won a car, the lowest valued cars for the new week were eliminated from consideration for the champion depending on how many prior attempts were made and they were then given a choice of keys from the remaining cars.

For the final season, the car round was changed. The champion first chose a car, then one of the nine celebrities. Each held a key, with five of the celebrities holding keys that would start any one of the five available cars and four holding dud keys that did not start anything. If the champion failed to start the car, it was not eliminated from the round, but was available again if the champion returned the next day. However, the five-day limit was removed and a champion was able to stay until either winning a car or being defeated.


The show went "on the road" several times, taping episodes from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, as well as at an outdoor set in Hollywood, Florida (using signs with water skis for marking Xs and oranges for Os) and the Bahamas (using signs this time with palm trees for marking Xs and life preservers for Os). Otherwise, the Davidson series was produced at Metromedia Square, except for a short time the program was taped at the NBC Burbank Studios (the show's original home base for all but the final syndicated year of the 1980–81 season) and The Prospect Studios in the last few weeks of the first season. The show moved to Universal Studios Hollywood for its final season.

This version of the series included musical questions (wherein Davidson, a former recording artist, sang songs for the celebrity to finish), questions involving props in a panelist's square or presented as skits involving outside actors, "surprise" special guests, and even an episode done while the set was being struck down in preparation for the show going on the road. One week, the entire group of Solid Gold Dancers managed to squeeze into a single square; at other times, the lower left square was modified into a rectangle to accommodate extra stars or props, such as kitchens for Wolfgang Puck, Joe Carcione or Justin Wilson. Richard Simmons once led the audience in exercise routines. Ray Combs (who hosted a revival of Family Feud for CBS in 1988) once led the audience in singing a rendition of the theme to The Brady Bunch. TV alien puppet ALF, supposedly on a dare from host Davidson, actually guest hosted half an episode, and on a 1987 April Fools' Day prank on Davidson, the two contestants were actually actors whose argument led to the female "contestant" shoving the male off the set's raised contestant stage.

During the week of Christmas for the show's second and third seasons, children from 11 to 14 competed. For these weeks, $100 was awarded for winning either the first or second game while $200 was awarded for winning subsequent games, with $50 a square awarded when time ran out. For the second season, the cars were replaced with prizes, each one attached to a door the winner tried to open. For the third season, the winning contestant's parent got to play the regular endgame and if unsuccessful in either case, the champion was awarded a consolation prize, since (in either case) contestants appeared only once.

Although initially popular, this Hollywood Squares series' ratings began to slide, and the final first-run episode aired on June 16, 1989 with reruns continuing until September 8. The series finale closed with the cast and various crew members singing "Happy Trails" to say goodbye to the audience, after which the shot dissolved into a darkened, blank set while soundbites from the series played until the episode finally faded out.


In 1997, work began on a revival and Whoopi Goldberg was signed on to be a producer. Goldberg, John Moffitt, and Pat Tourk Lee served as the co-executive producers for the series. King World tapped Columbia TriStar Television (now Sony Pictures Television), who also produced the King World-distributed Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, to be its co-producer for Hollywood Squares while serving as distributor. The show was taped at Studio 33, the Bob Barker Studio, at CBS Television City. King World Productions (now part of CBS Television Distribution) acquired the worldwide format rights to Hollywood Squares from defunct Orion Television, successor-in-interest to the series' previous production company Filmways on November 25, 1991.[11]

On September 14, 1998, the revival debuted with Tom Bergeron as its host. In addition to her production duties, Whoopi Goldberg served as the permanent center square, with Bruce Vilanch, Gilbert Gottfried, Martin Mull, and Caroline Rhea as regular panelists and Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wallace, Louise DuArt and various others as semi-regular panelists. Shadoe Stevens returned to announce, although he was not given a square on the panel as he had been when John Davidson was host. Changes were made following the 2001–02 season; Goldberg, along with Moffitt and Lee, left the series. In addition to those departures, regular panelist Caroline Rhea also left the program in order to host her short-lived successor program to The Rosie O'Donnell Show and Bruce Vilanch, who was also one of the show's writers, left with Goldberg (who had hired him) and made several infrequent appearances throughout the rest of the series.

With Goldberg, Moffitt, and Lee gone, Henry Winkler and Michael Levitt became the show's executive producers and remained in those positions until the end of the series, with Winkler occasionally serving as a panelist. Frequent panelist Jeffrey Tambor took over for Stevens as announcer for the 2002–03 season, with John Moschitta, Jr. replacing him for the final season. For the 2002–03 season a rotating guest center square arrangement was employed, with Ellen DeGeneres, Alec Baldwin, and various others serving in that capacity. The show returned to a permanent center square arrangement for the 2003–04 season with regular panelist Martin Mull taking the square.

For most of the first five seasons of this Hollywood Squares series, as well as for theme weeks in the sixth season, the first and second games were worth $1,000 to the winner. The third game was worth $2,000, and every subsequent game until time ran out was worth $4,000. If a contestant did not win anything in the main game, $500 was given to them as a consolation prize. In the early episodes of the first season, if a contestant could not win with five squares on the board, their opponent automatically got the remaining square and the five-square win. In addition, contestants only played for half the money; $500 was won for each of the first two games, with $1,000 for the third and $2,000 for all subsequent games and $250 was given as a consolation prize for failing to win a game. In addition, the consolation prize amount also was used for each contestant's square in the event that time ran out during a game, and was counted towards their cash total to determine the day's champion.

The tiebreaker was the same as the previous versions except that the contestant who has won the most games, most squares overall or won the last game played (whichever came first) had the option to play the question or pass it to his/her opponent, with a miss by either contestant giving their opponent the win by default.

For the first season of this Hollywood Squares series, two new contestants competed on each episode. Beginning in the second season, the returning champion rule was reinstated; a contestant could stay on for a maximum of five days (or, in the final season, matches). The final season saw Hollywood Squares return to the best two-of-three format that had last been seen on the NBC network daytime series; each game was worth $1,000, the first to win two advanced to the bonus round, and contestants were no longer given cash as a consolation prize for failing to win a game. The format changed resulted in episodes no longer being self-contained as they had been and instead having games that straddled episodes.

Secret Square

The first season also saw up to two Secret Square games. In the earliest episodes of the series, two Secret Square games were played on each show with a different prize offered for each game. The Secret Square was played in both the second and third games of the day, but after two weeks the Secret Square prize would only carry over to the third game if neither contestant had claimed in it the second game. From the second season forward, the Secret Square would only be played for in the second game.

Beginning in the second season and continuing until the end of the fifth season, the Secret Square game was played for an accumulating jackpot of prizes that Tom Bergeron referred to as "The Secret Square Stash". A new prize would be added to the jackpot each day until someone claimed it, with the highest ever Secret Square totaling $50,731 in prizes. For the last season, the Secret Square game returned to offering a different prize in each game, regardless of whether or not the previous prize had been won.


The Bergeron Hollywood Squares employed three different bonus games during its six seasons on air.

"Pick a Star and Win a Prize"

Originally, the show used the same "pick a star, win a prize" format the Marshall version had used during its last few years on the air. Each of the nine squares hid a different prize, with $10,000 cash ($15,000 in Season 3) and a car being the two most expensive. The day's winner simply picked the celebrity they wanted, and won whatever prize was in an envelope that star was holding.

Beginning partway through the first season and continuing until partway through season four, the round was modified to where in order to claim the prize, the champion had to correctly agree or disagree with a Secret Square-style question posed by Bergeron to the chosen celebrity. For the first season, if a contestant did not do so he/she was awarded $2,500 cash as a consolation prize. Once returning champions were reinstated beginning in the second season, no consolation prize was given to a champion for missing the question. However, for the show's recurring theme weeks where contestants only played for one day, the $2,500 cash was given for a miss.

Big Money Round

Beginning approximately two months into season four and continuing until the end of that season in June 2002, Hollywood Squares instituted a new high-stakes round in response to the recent trend of quiz shows offering big cash prizes.[12]

The champion faced a general knowledge trivia round with their choice of any of the nine celebrities. Again, each of the celebrities held envelopes with varying dollar amounts hidden inside, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 (increments of $500). If the champion picks a square that contains more than one person in it, they'll have to pick out only one person from that square. The champion was given sixty seconds to answer questions as possible, and was allowed to consult their celebrity partner for help; however, only the champion's answers counted. Each correct answer was worth the amount in the envelope, which was revealed at the start of the round.

At the end of the sixty seconds, the champion was given a choice to either quit with the money earned in the round or attempt to go double-or-nothing on an open-ended final question, with the category given to the contestant before he/she made the decision to play on. The top prize in the Big Money Round was said to be $100,000, with the most won by a contestant in the round being $60,000.

Key Bonus Round

A variation on the 1980s syndicated series' endgame was added to Hollywood Squares in September 2002 and remained until the series ended in June 2004. Nine keys were used, only one of which would win the day's prize. To eliminate the bad keys, contestants had 30 seconds to select celebrities and correctly agree or disagree with statements about the celebrities read by Bergeron. The clock started after the contestant selected the first star.

For each correct response, one of the bad keys was eliminated from the pool of nine. If the champion had made multiple unsuccessful attempts to win the prize, one additional key was removed for each attempt. During themed weeks in which two new contestants played each day, one extra key was removed since the champion had only one chance to win the prize. After the bad keys were removed, the champion chose the one key they thought would win the prize. If unsuccessful, the champion received $1,000 (originally $500) for each correct answer they had given in the first half of the round.

The prize structure was as follows:

  • 1st win: Car
  • 2nd: $25,000
  • 3rd: Trip around the world or "trip of a lifetime" (worth between $20,000–$30,000)
  • 4th: $50,000
  • 5th: $100,000

To win the car, the chosen key had to start its engine. The cash prizes required the contestant to unlock a safe with the correct key, while a steamer trunk had to be unlocked in order to win the trip.

On occasion, the second prize was substituted for a gift certificate in that amount to an upscale store; these were often used as bonus prizes during special weeks or tournaments.

For the final season the prize structure was changed again:

  • 1st win: Trip
  • 2nd: $10,000
  • 3rd: Luxury car
  • 4th: $25,000
  • 5th: Trip around the world

In addition, champions started with nine keys for each attempt at winning a bonus prize regardless of how many times the prize had not been won, and the consolation prize reverted to $500 for correct answers in the true-false round. For themed weeks, the rules in the previous season were used, with winners playing for $10,000.


Tournament of Champions

Starting in Season Two, the show began having an annual Tournament of Champions each May, with the season's biggest winners returning to compete for additional cash and prizes. The format changed each season:

Season 2: Six five-game winners came back to play again. Play was as normal, except the Secret Square was worth $2,500, which was added to the score. The bonus game was also played for cash, from $5,000 to $15,000. The two contestants who earned the most money came back for a two-game final, playing by the same rules as the semi-finals. In addition to the other cash won, the champion won an extra $50,000. The final bonus round was worth up to $15,000.

Seasons 3 & 4: Eight four-game winners compete in a semi-final game. The two top winners return on Friday. The Secret Square prize was an actual prize, again added to the final score, but was the same each day so no one has an advantage. The champion won $25,000 and the trophy, and a Jaguar was among the prizes in the bonus game. Season 4's tournament was similar to that of the previous year, except that the bonus game winnings were taken into account. The final grand champion won a Mercedes-Benz in addition to the money.

Season 5: Season 5 had a "Close but No Cigar" week to decide who would join the seven undefeated winners in the normal tournament. The bonus round was played for a $25,000 Bloomingdale's shopping spree until Friday, when it was replaced by a cruise on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. The winner of the tournament chose one of the celebrities who then revealed a cash amount of up to $50,000 inside a sealed envelope.

Season 6: The winner of the tournament played the standard bonus round and chose one of the captured celebrities, one of whom was holding an envelope with up to $100,000 in it.

College Championship

Each year from season two to five had 14 college students competing. Seven quarter-final games were played. The four contestants with the highest overall totals move on to the semi-finals. The two winners played in the final game, where the winner won a $25,000 savings bond (later a car), as well as a trophy for their university. Secret Square and bonus round prizes were added to the totals to determine who moved on.

In 2001, Goldberg was not present during some tournament shows, having Caroline Rhea & other celebrity guests taking over center square. In the Finals, comedian Jiminy Glick took over center square.

In season 5, the bonus round was played for $25,000 (savings bonds in the quarter-finals, cash in the semi-finals), and the grand champion automatically won a new Jeep Wrangler.

Theme weeks

Three weeks of shows were recorded in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York during Season 3 (November 6–24, 2000), but was more notable for its reliance on "theme weeks". One was a December 9–13, 2002 "Game Show Week" where several game show hosts and other personalities appeared. Original Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall was the center square for the week, marking the first time he had appeared on the program since 1981. Game show hosts Bob Eubanks, Jim Lange, Wink Martindale, and Chuck Woolery served on the panel, as did frequent 1970s game show panelist Jimmie Walker, and Match Game regulars Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly shared a square for the week. Then Price Is Right announcer Rod Roddy served as the announcer for the week and former Let's Make a Deal model Carol Merrill presented the Secret Square and bonus round prizes.

There were two Halloween-themed weeks: one from season four was titled Hollywood Scares and aired during the week of October 29-November 2, 2001, and another from season five titled Halloween Squares which aired during the week of October 28-November 1, 2002. In both of these weeks, the stars were dressed in costume.

On the December 12, 2002 episode of Game Show Week, Marshall and Bergeron traded places. This was the first time Marshall had hosted an episode of Hollywood Squares since the first nightly syndicated series went off the air in 1981. Marshall hosted the first portion of the show, with Bergeron taking over for the bonus round. Bergeron also swapped roles with Rosie O'Donnell during a separate episode. O'Donnell hosted the show during the Secret Square round while Bergeron sat in her square.

A second "Game Show Week" aired during the final season. Bob Eubanks returned as a panelist and was joined by hosts Monty Hall and Tom Kennedy, frequent Gong Show contributors Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr (who shared a square), original Hollywood Squares regular Rose Marie, and frequent game show panel members Betty White, Jo Anne Worley, and Nipsey Russell, who performed a poem in his guise of "The Poet Laureate of Television". Martin Mull remained as center square for the week. Shadoe Stevens returned to announce for the week, making his first appearance since the end of season four. High Rollers assistant Ruta Lee presented the Secret Square and bonus round prizes.

Two Bergeron-hosted episodes version have been noted in blooper specials. On October 1, 1999, the first game of the show took the entire episode to complete, because the contestants failed to correctly agree or disagree with panelist Gilbert Gottfried's answers six times in a row (although including the incorrect answers given to panelists Penn & Teller and Judy Gold nine consecutive incorrect agreements or disagreements). Gottfried was the only remaining panelist, and winning his square would have resulted in a five-square win for either contestant. After several mistakes committed by the contestants, Gottfried yelled at them, "YOU FOOL!" (This had first been done by fellow panelist Penn Jillette earlier in the episode.) Eventually, Bergeron and Jillette joined in, and the game was eventually won by the returning champion. Another episode included an April Fools' prank played on Tom Bergeron in the show's fifth season, featuring E. E. Bell as an obnoxious contestant who kept pushing his overly emotional opponent until she broke down in tears, in addition to testing Bergeron's patience. When producer Henry Winkler gave Bergeron the notice that the episode was to air on April Fools' Day (April 1), the "game" ended, and the two "contestants" got to keep the money they earned, and the normal game straddled into the next day's episode (with that day's bonus round played as usual).

Theme songs

The first theme song used from 1966 to 1969 was an orchestration of "The Silly Song" by Jimmie Haskell; however, the version used on the show is not the same one released on the LP (Jimmie Haskell's French Horns, Vol. 2). The track found on the LP is a version with vocals and has a different instrumentation than the version used on the program.

The second and most famous theme was composed by William Loose. Called "Bob & Merrill's Theme", it was named for Bob Quigley and Merrill Heatter, the show's creators and original co-executive producers. This version of the theme song, in an edited format, is available on The Best of TV Quiz and Game Show Themes.

A third theme song was used from 1979 to 1981. Stan Worth re-recorded a new version of "Bob & Merrill's Theme" with quasi-disco styling and renamed it as "The Hollywood Bowl". Three versions of "The Hollywood Bowl" were created for the show: one for the opening music, one for the secret square prize descriptions and one for the main theme.

The theme to The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour was "Lottery", composed by Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions. Even as the show ended its run in 1984, the theme is still heard as a car prize cue on The Price Is Right and was used for similar purposes on the late-1980s revival of Card Sharks.

The theme to the 1986–89 edition and its cues were composed by Stormy Sacks (who also performed live music during the show itself, as required for certain questions or celebrity intros). This music package was re-arranged/recorded for the show's final season.

The 1998–2004 edition had two themes. The first theme, "I Love Hollywood", and its accompanying music cues were composed by Jennifer May Mauldaur & Paul David Weinberg, with the main theme vocals by series regular/co-producer Whoopi Goldberg and was used from 1998 to 2002, with a remixed version used for the 2001–02 season. The second theme, "Hollywood Square Biz", was a re-recording of the Teena Marie song "Square Biz", originally written, composed, and released in 1981, and it was used from 2002 to 2004.

International versions

Country Name Host Channel Year aired
Arab League Arab World سين جيم
Sin Jim
Shareef El Alami Dubai TV 1990s
معجب عجيب
Mojab Ajeeb
Michel Kazi Future TV 2009
 Argentina Ta Te Show Leonardo Simons
Silvio Soldán
Fernando Bravo
Telefé 1992–97
 Australia Celebrity Squares John Bailey Network Ten 1967
Jimmy Hannan Nine Network 1975–76
Personality Squares John Bailey
Joe Martin
Bob Moore
Network Ten 1967–69
Jimmy Hannan 1981
All-Star Squares Ian 'Danno' Rogerson Seven Network 1999
 Brazil Jogo da Velha Fausto Silvia Rede Globo 1989–93
Tic Tac Show Jean-François Mercier V 2013-Present
 China Tic Tac Toe Dennis Chew MediaCorp 8 2003
 Czech Republic Čtveráci Martin Severa
Barbora Štěpánová
Nova 1999–2000
 Denmark Stjerner på stribe Jarl Friis-Mikkelsen TV2 2013–present
 France L'Academie des 9 Jean-Pierre Foucault
Yves Lecoq
Antenne 2 1982–87
Le Kadox Alexandre Debanne France 3 1998–2000
La Porte ouverte a toutes les fenetres Cyril Hanouna France 4 2009–10
 Germany XXO - Fritz & Co Fritz Egner Sat.1 1995–97
Star Weekend Marco Strohlein RTL 2000
 Greece Τα Τετράγωνα Των Αστέρων
Ta Tetragona ton asteron
Maria Aliferi EPT 1980–81
Giorgos Marinos Mega Channel 2003
 Hungary Esti Broadway István Vágó TV2 1999–2000
 Indonesia Kuis Tebak Menebak Denny Chandra Shine TV - 2
 Israel he:תשע בריבוע
Tesha BaRibu'a
Uri Zohar
Tuvia Tzafir
Eyal Geffen
Channel 1 1977–82
he:כוכבים בריבוע
Kochavim BaRibu'a
Shai Avivi Channel 2 (Keshet) 1999
he:חכמים בריבוע
Hakhamin BaRibu'a
Avri Gilad 2010
 Italy Il gioco dei 9 Raimondo Vianello
and Sandra Mondaini
Gerry Scotti
Canale 5 1988–90
Enrico Papi Italia 1 2004
 Japan 3.3 Is 9 Wakayama chord built TBS 1970-1971
Liar Quiz Jun Nagasawa Nippon TV 1979-1980
Quiz Square Haro Mizuno 1980
 Malaysia Celebrity Squares Sharifah Shahirah ntv7 July 2002 – 2003
 Peru Michi Show Luis Angel Pinasco América Televisión 1993–94
 Poland 9 Wspaniałych Wojciech Malajkat
Robet Rozmus
Polsat 1997–98
 Russia Πpощe πростого Igor Wernick
Nikolay Fomenko
MTK (1994–96)
PTP (1996–97)
HTB (1997)
 Singapore Celebrity Squares Lawrence Chau MediaCorp 5 2001
 Spain VIP Emiilio Aragon
Belen Rueda
Jose Luis Moreno
Mar Flores
Juan Carlos Martin
Raquel Carrillo
Ana Charri
Tito Agusto
Miguel Lara
Pepe Viyuela
Arancha Del Sol
Juan Luis Cano
Jaime Barrella
Guillermo Fesser
Heather Parisi
Telecinco 1990–92
Tres en Raya Carolina Ferre LaSexta 2007
 Sweden Prat I Kvadrat Fredrik Belfrage
Harald Treutiger
Martin Örnorth
Sveriges Television March 2, 1983
OAS Lenhart Swahn TV1 1972
 Turkey XOX: Kare Akademisi Yalçın Menteş Show TV
September 1993–May 1996
Kandıramazsın Beni Vatan Şaşmaz Fox Türkiye 2009
 United Kingdom Celebrity Squares Bob Monkhouse ITV July 20, 1975–July 7, 1979
January 8, 1993–August 26, 1996
 United States (The) (New) Hollywood Squares Peter Marshall
John Davidson
Tom Bergeron
Storybook Squares Peter Marshall NBC 1969
The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour Gene Rayburn (MG) and John Bauman (HS) 1983–84
Hip Hop Squares Peter Rosenberg MTV2 2012–present

Home versions

Watkins-Strathmore produced the first two home versions of the show in 1967. Ideal issued a version of the game in 1974 with a picture of Peter Marshall on the box; this was the first of the adaptations to featured humorous names for the celebrities. A similar board game based on the UK version under the title Celebrity Squares was released by Buckingham Toys five years later in 1979 with a picture of host Bob Monkhouse on the cover.

Milton Bradley produced two versions, first in 1980 based on the Marshall version, then in 1986 for the Davidson version, with a 3-D board and twelve "celebrities" to insert into the board. Parker Brothers released a similar game in 1999 based on the Bergeron version.

GameTek released a version of Hollywood Squares in 1988 for DOS, Commodore 64 and Apple II computers and later for the NES based on the Davidson version. In 1999, Tiger Electronics released an electronic LCD handheld game based on the Bergeron version. In 2002, the official Hollywood Squares website had an online version of the show using the celebrities that were on that week. In 2010, Ludia released their version of Hollywood Squares for the PC, Wii, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and on Playstation 3's PSN downloadable service from November 15, 2011; all of the games were based upon the 2002–04 format and featured the voice of host Tom Bergeron and video clips of celebrities Brad Garrett, Kathy Griffin, Jeffrey Tambor, and Martin Mull as the center square.[13]

Broadcast history

NBC Daytime (Monday–Friday)

Broadcast times for this version are for the Eastern Time Zone. The show aired one hour earlier in the Central, Mountain and Pacific Time Zones.

  • October 17, 1966–October 1, 1976, 11:30 a.m.
  • October 4, 1976–September 29, 1978, 10:30 a.m.
  • October 2, 1978–March 2, 1979, 1:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m.; affiliates had choice of one of two feeds
  • March 5–August 10, 1979, 12:30 p.m.
  • August 13, 1979–June 20, 1980, 10:30 a.m.
NBC Nighttime
  • January 12–September 13, 1968 (Friday evenings), 9:30 p.m. Pacific/Eastern, 8:30 p.m. Mountain/Central. The prime-time version was a mid-season replacement for the cancelled situation comedy Accidental Family.


  • Most of the Peter Marshall hosted run was believed to have been destroyed by wiping, a common practice in the 1960s and 1970s by networks to save money and space for the large videotapes of the era. During a search for original master tapes of the soap opera Dark Shadows, master copies of at least 100 episodes from the Marshall-hosted prime time and syndicated runs were discovered. Many of these episodes aired on GSN from 2002–03.
  • The Davidson version was rebroadcast on the USA Network from September 11, 1989 to June 25, 1993. MGM Television became the most recent owners of both this version and the Marshall version, and they remained its current owners as of early April 2013.
  • The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour has never been rerun, primarily because of cross-ownership issues between current rights holders MGM and FremantleMedia.
  • The Bergeron version is co-owned by Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Distribution. GSN has aired this version in the past.
  • In the early 1970s, a "Zingers From The Hollywood Squares" vinyl record was released (along with two companion books), containing the audio of what were considered to be some of the show's funniest moments. A CD of the album was included in Peter Marshall's book Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square.


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Movie Database
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