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Hot Potato

From Academic Kids

Hot Potato is an expression that denotes something unwanted, of which nobody wishes to claim the responsibility of, and passes it on to others as quickly as possible (as if to avoid getting burned).


Hot Potato was a television game show broadcast on NBC in the United States from January 23, 1984, through June 29, 1984.

Bill Cullen was the show's main host and Charlie O'Donnell was its announcer. The series was produced by Barry & Enright Productions, its last network game show.

During the first phase of the game, two teams of three players, each with something in common (occupation, mothers-to-be, etc.) compete. The host gives a subject, with up to seven possible answers. One member of the champion team starts by either giving an answer or forcing an opponent to answer. If a correct answer is given, control passes to the next member of that team. Otherwise, that player is eliminated from the round (and sent to the bench behind them), and the other team takes control.

Upon a challenge, if a wrong answer is given, that player is benched and the challenging team retains control. Otherwise, the player that made the challenge is knocked out, and the other team takes control. Teams can win one of two ways: either by giving the seventh correct answer in the subject, or by knocking out all three of their opponents. Each round was worth $500, two rounds won the game and advanced to the bonus round. Partway through the run, a "Seven Straight" jackpot was offered to any team that could get seven correct answers in a row.

During the end game, the winning team was now given a subject of comparison (which weighs more, which group has more members), and shown two possible choices. The team debated for a while and then made their choice. If correct, they won $500 and continued. The team could stop at any time and take the money, and they could pass on one question if they wished. Missing one choice ended the round and lost all accumulated money therein; getting 5 correct answers won a jackpot that started at $5000 and went up $5000 each game until won (although new champions always started at $5K).

On April 23, 1984, the show became Celebrity Hot Potato. From that point until the show's cancellation, teams consisted of one contestant and two celebrity players. A few weeks were played where all three players on a team were celebrities, with their winnings going to various charities.

The show suffered from being in the noon eastern time slot, as many stations decided to broadcast local newscasts and preempted Hot Potato.

As far as we know, this series is completely intact, and it has been broadcasted on GSN.

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