Card Sharks: Wikis

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Card Sharks
Card Sharks.jpg
Logo for the 1986–1989 versions of Card Sharks.
Format Game show
Created by Chester Feldman for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions
Presented by Jim Perry (1978-1981)
Bob Eubanks (1986-1989)
Bill Rafferty (1986-1987 Syn.)
Pat Bullard (2001)
Narrated by Gene Wood (1978-1981, 1986-1989)
Gary Kroeger (2001)
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 864 (NBC)
845 (CBS)
195 (1986-1987 Syn.)
65 (2001 Syn.)
Production
Location(s) NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1978-1981)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1986-1989)
Tribune Studios
Hollywood, California (2001)
Running time approx. 22-26 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC (1978-1981)
CBS (1986-1989)
Syndicated (1986-1987, 2001-2002)
Audio format Mono (NBC)
Stereo (CBS/Syn.)
Original run April 24, 1978 – January 11, 2002
Status Ended

Card Sharks is an American television game show created by Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (later Mark Goodson Productions, now part of FremantleMedia). Although various changes were made to the game's format throughout its run, the core format remained the same. Two contestants competed against each other, guessing the answers to various questions (generally survey questions) to gain control of a row of oversized playing cards and then guessing whether the next card in the line was higher or lower in value.

Canadian-American emcee Jim Perry hosted the show's first incarnation, which aired on NBC from 1978-1981. The show was revived in 1986 on both CBS daytime and syndicated television; the daytime show was hosted by Bob Eubanks and lasted until 1989 and the syndicated show was hosted by Bill Rafferty and lasted for one season. Over a decade later, in 2001, a second syndicated version was produced and was hosted by Pat Bullard; this version ran for 16 weeks and ended in 2002, mostly due to its startling changes in gameplay (see below). In the summer of 2006, the original show was featured as part of the season-long Gameshow Marathon on CBS, hosted by Ricki Lake.

Gene Wood was the regular announcer of all versions from 1978 to 1989. Bob Hilton subbed for him on all three versions, Charlie O'Donnell subbed on the Perry and Eubanks versions, Jack Narz and Jay Stewart subbed on the Perry version only, and Johnny Gilbert and Rod Roddy subbed on the Eubanks version. Gary Kroeger announced the 2001 version and Rich Fields announced the Gameshow Marathon edition.

Contents

Main game

Two contestants competed against each other on all versions of Card Sharks. Each contestant was assigned a row of five oversized playing cards. Each contestant had a standard 52-card deck; the ace ranked highest and the deuce (two) ranked lowest. The champion played the red cards on top, while the challenger played the blue cards on the bottom.

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Toss-up questions

Control of the board was determined by asking a survey question similar to the surveys done on Family Feud. Questions were posed to 100 people of the same occupation, marital status, or demographic ("We asked 100 teachers, "Has a student ever given you an apple?" How many said yes?"). The contestant who received the question (with the red-card player, usually the champion, going first) then gave a guess as to how many people gave the answer that the host gave (and usually their reasoning, although this is not required). After hearing the guess, the opponent had to choose whether the correct number was higher or lower than that guess. Choosing correctly gave control of the board to the opponent, otherwise, the initial contestant gained control. The initial contestant also gained control of the board if he/she correctly guessed the survey answer.

Starting in Fall 1980 and continuing through the end of the Eubanks version in 1989, an exact guess won a $500 bonus for the contestant, theirs to keep regardless of the game's outcome. Up to four (three in the early part of the Rafferty version) toss-up questions were played per game.

In addition to the regular 100-person survey questions, some questions on the Eubanks/Rafferty versions used one of the following formats as opposed to the straight 100-person survey.

  • 10 Studio Audience Members: Beginning on July 7, 1986 questions were asked about a panel of 10 audience members sharing a common profession or characteristic (mothers-to-be, nurses, students) who taped an entire week of shows (originally, five different poll groups were used per week). An exact guess by the contestant won $100 and the panel members each received $10.
  • Educated Guess: Introduced on October 6, 1986 and the only time non-survey questions were ever used on the program. Each question was general knowledge with a numerical answer ("In miles per hour, how fast is the fastest snake?", "How old is Bill Rafferty?"). Originally answers only ranged from 0-99 (the range of the readouts on the contestant podium). This changed in 1987 to questions with various ranges. To accommodate the change, values were superimposed with on-screen graphics or written on cards by the contestants.

Playing the cards

Beneath each contestant's row of cards was a moving bracket bearing the contestant's name which marked one of the cards as the "base card". Each contestant's base card was the first card in their row of five. The winner of the question could choose to either play on keeping their base card, or have it replaced with another card from the top of the deck. The contestant then guessed whether the next (face-down) card in the row was "higher" or "lower"; if correct, he or she could continue to guess the next card after that and so on (if both cards were the same, the guess counted as incorrect).

On an incorrect guess, the contestant's progress was lost and they returned to their base card with the other revealed cards being discarded and replaced by new face-down cards before the next question in the round. In this event, the opponent received a free chance to play their own row of cards but could not change their base card. Contestants could also choose to "freeze", thus making the last revealed card the new base card and preventing the opponent from receiving a free chance.

If neither contestant guessed all the cards on his or her row correctly or if a contestant chose to "freeze", another toss-up question was asked and the same procedures were followed until someone revealed all the cards in the row or the fourth question in the round was asked. In the final months of the NBC run, a $500 bonus was awarded for guessing correctly on the entire row in a single turn without freezing.

$100 was awarded for each game won, with two games winning the match and the right to play the Money Cards bonus game.

During most of the Rafferty version no money was awarded for winning a game or the match. Instead, several "prize cards" were shuffled into the deck consisting of trips (up to $6,000), furniture, appliances and cash ($250, $500, $1,000 and $5,000; every amount except $500 was later removed). If one of those turned up during a player's turn, the name of the prize placed on their side of the board adjacent to their row of cards and another card was dealt which they had to call. Only the contestant who won the match claimed the prizes they had found.

Sudden death

The fourth question (third in the tiebreaker round) in each round was a "sudden death" question in which someone won the game on the next turn of the cards. Whoever won control of the board had the opportunity to play the cards (and could change the base card if desired) or pass them to the opponent (who could not change the base card and had to successfully clear the remainder of their row). An incorrect guess at any point caused their opponent to win by default.

Tiebreakers

If the match was tied after two games, a tiebreaker game was played to determine the winner. Contestants played rows of three cards instead of five and three questions were asked instead of four (two during one point in the '80s syndicated version), with the third being sudden death.

Beginning on January 4, 1988 the tiebreaker was changed to one sudden-death question; this also determined the winner of the match on the finale of the Rafferty version, as well as the final match of that version's Young People's Week. In the one-question tiebreaker game, both base cards were turned over so the player had an idea of what they were up against when they decided to play their cards and change their base card or pass to their opponent, who was not able to change their base card.

Money Cards

The winner of the main game played the Money Cards bonus game for a chance to win additional money. The Money Cards board consisted of seven cards on three rows; three cards were dealt on the bottom two rows and one card was dealt on the top row. On the NBC version, the winner's first base card to begin the bonus game was dealt from the deck after the seven cards were placed. On the CBS version, however, the first four cards were dealt on the bottom row, with the first card as the base card, followed by three on the middle row and one on the top row (so in reality, this version dealt 8 cards out at the start instead of 7—11 if the three reserve change cards are included).

In addition to guessing whether a card was higher or lower, the contestant had to wager money on that prediction. The contestant was given $200 to bet with and had to wager at least $50 (and in multiples of $50) on each card on the first two rows. The contestant won money for each correct guess and lost money on each incorrect guess.

After completing the first row, or if the contestant "busted" (lost everything on that wager), the last card was moved onto the second row and the contestant was given an additional $200 (raised to $400 in 1986). The contestant had to play three more cards before reaching the last card on the top row, known as the "Big Bet". If a contestant busted prior to reaching the Big Bet, the game ended. Upon reaching the Big Bet, the contestant was required to wager at least half of their earnings.

The most a contestant could win on the NBC version was $28,800, which was accomplished only once by contestant Norma Brown. Contestants could win up to $32,000 on the Eubanks/Rafferty versions and the highest amount won on either version was $29,000.

Rule changes

Originally, only the first card on the bottom row could be changed. In mid-1978 the rule was changed so that the first card on every row could be changed. In the Eubanks/Rafferty versions, the contestant was given three opportunities to change a card by choosing one of three pre-dealt cards (a player could change more than one card on a row, but could only change once on each card). This was later modified to allow the contestant to change only one card on each row. The second syndicated run used the NBC change rules.

Duplicate cards (for example, two 8s in a row) originally counted as an incorrect wager. About two months after an incident in which all four 3s in the deck came up in a row,[1] this was changed on October 20, 1980 so that the contestant neither won nor lost money if a duplicate was revealed (referred to as a "push" by Eubanks and Rafferty and a "double" by Perry).[2] From then on, hosts encouraged the contestant to wager everything on an Ace or deuce since there was no way the contestant could lose with either card.

Gameshow Marathon

On Gameshow Marathon, a player started with $1,000 in betting money for the first two rows and had to wager at least half the money on the Big Bet. Minimum bets were still $50 and players could change one card per line by using one of the three pre-dealt cards in the numbered slots. The "push" rule was also brought back but was not needed. The maximum payoff was $144,000.

Car games

Starting on the episode aired September 29, 1986 on the Rafferty version and eventually becoming part of the Eubanks run, which began on October 27 of the same year, a second bonus round following the Money Cards was added to give players a chance to win a new car. Originally, the round was played using Jokers; the contestant earned one for winning the main game and could win more if any of three additional Jokers that were in the deck for the Money Cards came up. The contestant then placed the Joker(s) in a rack of seven numbered cards; if any of the chosen cards revealed "CAR" after it was turned over (the other cards read "NO" in much smaller lettering), the contestant won the car.

During the special weeks when children played, the top prize was usually a trip to Hawaii (with either "WIN" or "HAWAII" displayed on one of the cards). The children received two Jokers to start.

On the last episode of the Rafferty version, all four Jokers were given to the final champion at the outset.

Beginning on July 4, 1988, the car game was changed to use the audience-poll group. The question was played the same way it normally was during regular gameplay, with the contestant predicting how many of the poll group gave a certain answer. For the bonus round a prop with a dial was used and the contestant moved the dial to lock in their guess. A correct guess won the car, while missing by one either way won $500 (except on the final episode when being one away also won the car). All other incorrect guesses won nothing more.

Returning champions

On the original series, contestants could return until they either lost a game or won seven consecutive matches. There was no winnings limit since NBC games, with few exceptions, did not have cash limits like CBS or ABC.

On the Eubanks version, the maximum was either five matches or passing the CBS winnings limit (originally $50,000, increased to $75,000 in Fall 1986). The same rules applied for the Rafferty version, including an unspecified winnings limit; Brian Hunt was the only contestant to exceed this limit, winning $63,105 in cash and prizes (including two cars) in 1986, making him the biggest winner in the show's overall history.

In addition to the above, a rule concerning car wins was in place on the Rafferty version and adjusted twice during its run.

  • For the first few weeks after the car game was introduced, a player retired immediately after winning a car. During this period General Motors supplied high-end luxury and sports car models.
  • When GM started supplying mid-range priced sports cars the limit was adjusted again, with a contestant being allowed to win three cars before retiring.
  • Halfway through the run (and staying through the remainder of it) the show began offering base models from American Motors through its Jeep and Renault brands and adjusted the limit again to two cars.

2001 version

Main game

The gameplay was drastically different from the successful incarnations of the 1970s and 1980s. Four players competed, two at a time, in a best-of-three match. Each round used a single row of seven high-low cards.

Perhaps the most jarring difference was the lack of survey, educated guess and "10 audience members" questions used on the previous versions; instead, one player started the game in control of the cards and kept control as long as they kept guessing correctly. An incorrect guess passed control over to the other player unless it was on the last card of the row, when it meant an automatic loss for the player who guessed it wrong.

All four players were given two "Clip Chip" tokens to start the game and if one of them wanted to change the card in play they placed the token in a slot on their podium. A video clip played, with one of three possible options:

  • A situation (similar to Candid Camera or Street Smarts) which was stopped before its resolution.
  • Someone introduces himself/herself and then asks which of two others he/she is associated with.
  • Someone trying to list answers related to a topic within 10 seconds, or sing the correct lyrics to an obscure song.

Correctly predicting the outcome of the clip allowed the contestant to change the card, while an incorrect answer did not.

Each game was worth $500. Two games were needed to win the match and a total of $1,000. Both players kept their money. The loser also received an Argus digital camera as a consolation prize.

The third game, if necessary, was played similar to the tiebreaker on the original Card Sharks with three cards. The difference, other than the fact that there was only one row of cards used, was that no Clip Chips could be used.

The two match winners then squared off in the Big Deal, one final row of seven cards. Clip Chips, if the players had any left, were still in play. Whoever won this final showdown received an additional $1,100 and advanced to the Money Cards. The loser of the Big Deal won a consolation trip to Las Vegas in addition to their prior winnings.

Money Cards

The day's champion advanced to the Money Cards, which differed from the original three versions in that the champion's winnings were divided equally among each of the three rows. Three rows of cards (three cards on the bottom row, two cards in the middle and one card on the top) were dealt, with the last card on the top row called the "Major Wager" (an updated version of the "Big Bet" seen in earlier versions).

The contestant began with $700 on the bottom row. The top card from the deck was placed at the start of the row and shown to the contestant, who then made a wager based on whether they thought the next card was higher or lower, with a minimum wager of $100. Wagering continued until the contestant played the three cards on the bottom row or busted.

The last card on the bottom row was moved to the left of the middle row and the contestant received an additional $700. The contestant then played the next two cards as they did on the first row, wagering as they went along.

The last card in the middle row was placed next to the card on the top row for the final bet, the "Major Wager", and the contestant received an additional $700. The minimum bet on this card was at least half of the contestant's current total. The maximum total possible was $51,800.

Contestants could only change the base card on each row. A tie (push) originally returned the amount wagered to the contestant (as had been the case since late 1980), but later was changed to a loss of bet if the cards were the same value. If a contestant busted on the final card, they received $700 as a consolation prize. The most money ever won on this version was $27,450.

Unlike the earlier versions, the games were self-contained, starting with the semi-finals and ending with the Money Cards. In addition, there were no returning champions and no car games.

Special shows

During the show's brief run, a special week of shows taped after the September 11, 2001 attacks included Los Angeles-area firefighters and police officers playing for charities.

Tournaments

Card Sharks held many special tournament weeks over the years, including a three-week tournament which pitted eight game show hosts against each other. The participants of this tournament were Allen Ludden, Gene Rayburn, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, Tom Kennedy, Alex Trebek, Jack Clark and Jim Lange. In the final week, the top four winners (Rayburn, Cullen, Trebek and Clark) faced each other with a $25,000 bonus (won by Trebek) going to the winner's chosen charity.

Other tournaments held included "Kids Week", "Teen Week", "College Week" and "Celebrity Card Sharks" (in which celebrities played against each other for their favorite charities). During "Kids' Week", parents played the Money Cards with their children. Future actresses Kelly Packard and Kellie Martin were contestants during one such week. Competitors on Kids' Week during the Eubanks/Rafferty versions were only given up to $2,500 of their winnings in cash, with the rest of their monetary winnings put into savings bonds. All competitors kept their prizes.

Pilots

1978

Card Sharks recorded two pilots on March 17, 1978; the only difference in gameplay was that the tiebreaker rounds used four cards instead of three. Other than this rule change, several noticeable set changes, Johnny Olson announcing and host Jim Perry not using a microphone, the show was exactly the same. Lawyer (and frequent game show pilot contestant) Jack Campion played on pilot #1, while a contestant named Johnny "broke the bank" and won $28,800 in pilot #2.[3]

Notably, the series used the same opening as the pilots did; this is most evident by the horizontal Money Cards sign visible on the right-hand side prior to the camera zooming in onto the logo.

1996

An unsold pilot was produced in 1996 with sportscaster Tom Green (not to be confused with the late-1990s MTV comedy show host of the same name) hosting and Deedee Weathers assisting.[4]

This incarnation, produced by All-American Television, completely scrapped both the traditional main game and Money Cards formats; instead, the maingame had both players answer a 10-person poll question for the right to try and make it to the end of a single 10-card pyramid (similar to the 2001 version). Doing so won $250 (doubled to $500 for guessing all ten cards in a single turn) and a chance for $5,000 in a bonus round similar to Shell Game from The Price is Right.

The player was shown four cards (three numbered cards and an ace). A video was run, featuring one of three celebrities (David Hasselhoff, Cindy Garrett and Doug Davidson) answering a question (similar to the "dilemmas" used in the 2001 version). A correct prediction as to whether the celebrity correctly answered the question earned the right to pick one card out of the four.

After three questions were asked, the player won $100 times the value of each number card, but if they kept the Ace they won $5,000.

2000

Another pilot was shot on November 17, 2000, which was later retooled and became the format for the 2001 version. The pilot was hosted by Pat Bullard and the dealer was Daphnee Lynn Duplaix. While many elements of the eventual aired series came from this pilot, this pilot also contained elements that were not used in the subsequent series.

All rounds used the "Hidden Camera" question format, where contestants predicted the outcome of a situation to win control.

Round one was played like Blackjack. Each time a player earned control they gained a card and like Blackjack could stand if their hand totaled 12 or more. Once a player stood, the opponent continued to draw cards until they beat their opponent's hand or busted. The player who won this round received $200.

In round two, three cards were dealt and a question was played. The winner of the question was shown the first card and either chose to play the cards or pass the option to their opponent. Whoever played the cards had to correctly predict whether the following cards were higher or lower than the previous card. If the player was successful they won $300, otherwise their opponent won the money. After the first set of three cards were played, another question and four cards were dealt, played in the same fashion for $400. Following this, a final question and five cards were dealt, with the winner receiving $500.

In round three, each player was dealt five cards from the same deck. Questions were played as before and whoever earned control played their cards with the options and rules from the 1978-1989 main game. The player who won the round received $1,000, with the first to reach $1,500 winning the game. Both players kept any money earned.

The Money Cards were played similarly to the 2001-2002 version, however instead of $700 on each line, the money won in the main game was divided evenly among the three tiers and added to the contestant's total as they progressed through the round.

Broadcast history

Card Sharks ran on NBC from April 24, 1978 to October 23, 1981 at 10:00 AM Eastern and later 12:00 Noon Eastern. Jim Perry hosted this version, the best-known of the three incarnations.

CBS and Goodson revived the show from January 6, 1986 to March 31, 1989 at 10:30 AM with Bob Eubanks as host. A daily syndicated version ran from September 8, 1986 to May 8, 1987 with Bill Rafferty hosting.

A second syndicated version aired starting September 17, 2001 but was canceled by year's end, with reruns airing from December 17, 2001 until January 11, 2002. Pat Bullard was the host of this version, considered a "companion piece" to other Pearson Television-produced shows such as To Tell the Truth and Family Feud.

On June 15, 2006 the series was the fifth of seven game shows used in the CBS series Gameshow Marathon. The set was modeled after the Perry version and also used its theme, opening sequence and logo; the use of "audience poll" questions and the car game were taken from the Eubanks/Rafferty versions.

Dealers

The dealers in the NBC run were Janice Baker, Lois Areno, Ann Pennington and Markie Post. Lacey Pemberton and Suzanna Williams were the dealers on the Eubanks/Rafferty versions. Suzanna was a contestant on Super Password in October 1984, fifteen months before the CBS version of Card Sharks debuted. Williams also was a model on the short lived NBC game show Time Machine in 1985, which debuted just 14 weeks after her Super Password appearances. The dealer on the 2001 version was Tami Anderson (credited on the show as "Tami Roman"), who had previously appeared on The Real World: Los Angeles in 1993.

The dealers on the 2006 Gameshow Marathon episode were Phire Dawson and Rebecca Pribonic, both models on The Price is Right at the time.

Music

The theme for the NBC version was composed by Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions and previously used on Double Dare (an earlier Goodson-Todman game that aired on CBS). Kalehoff wrote a new theme for the 1986-1989 versions, and Alan Ett composed the theme for the 2001 version.

Poems

For the NBC version, announcer Gene Wood read a poem during the opening sequence:

Ace is high, deuce is low
Call it right and win the dough
On Card Sharks!

This was soon changed to Wood reading a different poem for each episode; initially these were written by the show's staff, but eventually began to be viewer-submitted poems. At the beginning of each show, Perry acknowledged the viewer whose poem was read, along with their hometown and the call letters of its NBC affiliate.

Recording locations

The NBC version was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California in the same studio which housed Perry's next game, Sale of the Century.

The Eubanks/Rafferty versions were taped at Studio 33 (now the Bob Barker Studio) of CBS Television City in Hollywood, California.

The 2001 version was taped at Tribune Studios.

The Gameshow Marathon episode was taped at Studio 46, CBS Television City.

Home games

A video game version was released in 1987 for the Apple II series, Commodore 64 and IBM-compatible computers; although based on the Eubanks/Rafferty versions, the host resembled Perry. A further version for the NES was planned but not released.

Endless Games released a board game adaptation in 2002; although it used the logo of the 2001 version, the rules were those of the 1980s versions.

A version for mobile phones was released on June 1, 2005 by Telescope Inc.[5] Although the logo was again that of the Bullard version, the gameplay was that of the 1980s versions (although a review shows two rows of seven cards, implying a combination of formats) while the theme music was that of the NBC era. The Money Cards was also slightly different, with the NBC-era "one base-card change per row" rule and $100 as the minimum bet. More survey questions were also available for download.

Foreign versions

Most versions outside the United States used couples instead of solo players; the German and British versions used two pairs of players (usually married couples), although this was not the case when the British version began.

These versions, like many international versions of American-based games, were produced by Reg Grundy.

United Kingdom

The British version was known as Play Your Cards Right for ITV and hosted by Bruce Forsyth. This version first aired from 1980–1987 with later versions from 1994–1999 and 2002-2003.

The CBS version was aired on UK satellite station Sky One in the 1990s.

Germany

Hosted by Elmar Hörig, Bube Dame Hörig ("Jack, Queen, King") aired on Sat.1 from 1996-1999.

Sweden

The Swedish version was known as Lagt kort ligger for SVT.

Belgium

A Dutch-language version called Hoger, Lager ("Higher, Lower") aired on the national television BRT (now called VRT) with Walter Capiau (of the Belgian Wheel of Fortune) as host.

Australia

A version in Australia, which used the same title as the British version, briefly aired on the Seven Network in 1984 with "Ugly" Dave Gray as host. Like other Reg Grundy productions, this version used a set similar to the one used in the NBC era.

Turkey

The show was known as Aşağı Yukarı for aTV and hosted by Meltem Cumbul.

References

External links

Preceded by
Sanford and Son
10:00 a.m. EST, NBC
4/24/78 – 6/20/80
Succeeded by
The David Letterman Show
Preceded by
Chain Reaction
12:00 p.m. EST, NBC
6/23/80 – 10/23/81
Succeeded by
Password Plus
Preceded by
Press Your Luck
10:30 a.m. EST, CBS
1/6/86 – 3/31/89
Succeeded by
Now You See It

Card Sharks
File:Card Sharks '
Logo for the 1986–1989 versions of Card Sharks.
Format Game show
Created by Chester Feldman for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions
Presented by Jim Perry (1978-1981)
Bob Eubanks (1986-1989)
Bill Rafferty (1986-1987 Syn.)
Pat Bullard (2001)
Narrated by Gene Wood (1978-1981, 1986-1989)
Gary Kroeger (2001)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 864 (NBC)
826 (CBS) [1]
195 (1986-1987 Syn.)
65 (2001 Syn.)
Production
Location(s) NBC Studios
Burbank, California (1978-1981)
CBS Television City
Hollywood, California (1986-1989)
Tribune Studios
Hollywood, California (2001)
Running time 22-26 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NBC (1978-1981)
CBS (1986-1989)
Syndicated (1986-1987, 2001-2002)
Audio format Mono (NBC)
Stereo (CBS/Syn.)
Original run First Run
April 24, 1978 (1978-04-24) - October 23, 1981 (1981-10-23) (NBC Daytime)
Second Run
January 6, 1986 (1986-01-06) - March 31, 1989 (1989-03-31) (CBS Daytime)
Third Run
September 8, 1986 (1986-09-08) - June 7, 1987 (1987-06-07) (Daily Syndication)
Fourth Run
September 17, 2001 (2001-09-17) – December 14, 2001 (2001-12-14) (Daily Syndication)
Status Ended

Card Sharks is an American television game show created by Chester Feldman for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions. With some variations, the core format of the program had two contestants compete for control of a row of oversized playing cards by answering questions posed by the host; this allowed that contestant the opportunity to guess if the next card in the line was higher or lower in value than the previous one. The concept has been made into a series four separate times since its debut in 1978, and also appeared as part of CBS's Gameshow Marathon. The primary announcer for the first three series was Gene Wood.

Contents

Gameplay

The game was designed for two contestants, one of which was typically the returning champion. Each player was assigned a row of five oversized playing cards, the backs of which were colored to indicate the contestant. The champion (or champion-designate if there were two new players) played the red cards while the challenger played the blue. Each player's row of cards had a bracket atop it, which was used to mark their "base cards."

Questions

Beginning with the champion, contestants alternated in responding to questions. The primary form of question was the survey question, similar to that used in another Goodson-Todman game, Family Feud: the contestants were asked to guess the results of survey questions posed to 100 people. The question typically included the demographic data of the survey group (e.g., teachers) and contestants were asked the number who gave a specific response. The non-answering contestant would predict whether the actual number was higher or lower than the number guessed. The answering contestant would gain or retain control of the cards if he or she made a correct guess, or if the non-answering contestant's prediction was incorrect. From 1980 to 1989 a correct answer also earned the player $500.

The audience poll was a question asked of a group of studio audience members selected for a shared characteristic such as gender. If a player exact guessed the number of audience members who made a certain response to one of these questions, he or she won a $100 bonus and the poll group was given $100 to share. The same poll group was used for a week's worth of episodes.

The educated guess questions were general knowledge trivia questions which had numerical answers. Exact guesses won $500 for the contestant.

The 2001 version eliminated questions entirely. Players advanced solely by making guesses, but were also given "Clip Chips," which allowed them to replace a card if they correctly guessed the outcome of a video which they viewed when playing the chip.

Use of cards

The player in control was shown the first card in the row of five, the so-called "base card," and could either keep it or replace it with the next card off the top of the deck. The player then guessed whether the next card in the row was higher or lower, and continued to do so as long as he or she guessed correctly. An incorrect guess resulted in a loss of control, and whatever cards they had played were discarded and replaced. The opposing player then had a chance to play from his or her base card, but without the opportunity to exchange first. Either player could also elect to "freeze" their position if they were unsure of the next card; this would both prevent the opponent from playing and reset the player's base card to the frozen card and whatever cards that were turned in that instance weren't discarded. In the final few months of the NBC Card Sharks, if a player was able to complete their row without freezing, he or she won a $500 bonus.

If neither player had guessed all the cards in his or her row correctly, or if one had frozen his or her position, play continued with another toss-up question. If the contestants still had not cleared their row of cards by the last question of the round, that question was played as "sudden death." The winner of the sudden death question could either play their cards and change their base if they desired or pass to their opponent, who had to play without changing. If either player guessed incorrectly, their opponent won by default.

The 1970s and 1980s Card Sharks matches were best two-out-of-three, with the third match being played with three cards until 1988, when it was replaced with a tiebreaker round which consisted of a single sudden death question. The controlling player was shown both base cards before being given the option to play the question or pass it to the opponent. Initially $100 was awarded for each game won, with the winner advancing to play the Money Cards bonus game. Beginning on September 29, 1986, several cards with tangible prizes such as cash amounts, trips, and electronics were introduced. Each one which was revealed during the course of play were placed in a holding area, and the match's winner also received those prize which he or she revealed during the course of play. The 2001 version returned to a three-card final round.

Bonus rounds

Two types of bonus rounds were used during the evolution of the program - the Money Cards and a round with a car as the prize.

Money Cards

The winner of the main game played the Money Cards bonus game for a chance to win additional money. The Money Cards board consisted of a series of eight cards on three levels. On the 1970s Card Sharks, a player was able to change the base card on each of the three levels (originally only the base card at the beginning of the game). The 1980s series gave the player a choice of three pre-dealt cards to use for changes. Contestants were originally allowed to change cards at will, but the rules were later changed to one per line.

$200 was given to the contestant at the beginning of the first level, and they would use that money to wager on whether or not the next card was higher or lower. Making a correct guess added the value of the wager to the player's bank, while an incorrect guess cost the player the wager.

When the contestant cleared the first level or ran out of money ("busted") the last played card was moved up to the second level and the contestant received additional money ($200 on the NBC series, $400 on the CBS and syndicated series) to bet with. Minimum bets on the first two levels were $50 and had to be made in increments of $50. If a player still had money left after clearing the second level, the last card was moved to the top line for the "Big Bet". There, the player had to wager at least half of their remaining bank on one last call. However, if a player busted on the second or third row, the game ended. The most a contestant could win on the NBC version was $28,800, which was accomplished only once by contestant Norma Brown. Contestants could win up to $32,000 on the 1980s series, but no one did; the highest amount won was $29,000.

Originally, if a player turned over a duplicate card (i.e., two consecutive Aces), it was counted as an incorrect wager. Beginning on October 20, 1980 and continuing through the subsequent Card Sharks series, a player was no longer penalized in the Money Cards for duplicate cards (referred to as a "push" by Eubanks and Rafferty, and a "double" by Perry). After that, the hosts encouraged players to bet all their money on Aces and twos as they were guaranteed not to lose any money.

Car games

A secondary bonus game was introduced on both 1980s Card Sharks series which gave a winning player a chance to win a new car During these series' runs there were two different car games, one involving Jokers and the other the audience poll group.

Beginning on September 29, 1986 in syndication and October 27, 1986 on CBS, a winning player received one Joker for winning the match. Three more were added to the Money Cards deck, and if a player uncovered them they received an additional chance to win the car. After the Money Cards round was over, a row of seven numbered cards was wheeled out and the contestant placed whatever Jokers they'd earned over the cards in the hopes that behind one of them was the word "CAR" (the other six had the word "NO" written in smaller lettering). During the special weeks when children played, the top prize was usually a trip to Hawaii (with either "WIN" or "HAWAII" displayed on one of the cards) and the children were given two Jokers to start. On the last episode of the 1986 syndicated version, all four Jokers were given to the final champion at the outset. This bonus round was played until July 1, 1988.

Beginning on July 4, 1988, the winning contestant had to correctly predict one final audience poll question. To record their guess, the contestant used a special prop with a dial and the numbers 0 through 10 on it. The contestant moved the dial to the number they thought was correct, and if it was they won the car. Missing by one in either direction won the contestant $500 as a consolation prize, while any other incorrect guess won nothing.

Gameshow Marathon version

On Gameshow Marathon, a player started with $1,000 in betting money for the first two rows and had to wager at least half the money on the Big Bet. Minimum bets were still $50 and players could change one card per line by using one of the three pre-dealt cards in the numbered slots. The "push" rule was also brought back but was not needed. The maximum payoff was $144,000.

Returning champions

On the original series, contestants could return until they either lost a game or won seven consecutive matches. On the CBS version, players played until they either won five consecutive matches or reached the network's winnings limit, which was originally $50,000 when the series debuted and extended to $75,000 in the Fall of 1986. An unspecified winnings limit existed on the 1986 syndicated series, as well as a rule that limited the amount of cars a champion could win. A contestant was originally retired after winning a car, but this was later changed to three cars and later two. These changes corresponded with changes in the types of cars given away- the first several weeks of the car game saw luxury cars given away, but was changed to mid-price sports cars and later to base model cars.

The 2001 version was self-contained, with no returning champions.

Tournaments

Card Sharks held many themed tournament weeks, including competitions for children, celebrities, and game show hosts. The hosts who participanted in that event were Allen Ludden, Gene Rayburn, Bill Cullen, Wink Martindale, Tom Kennedy, Alex Trebek, Jack Clark and Jim Lange.

Pilots

1978

Card Sharks recorded two pilots on March 17, 1978; the only difference in gameplay was that the tiebreaker rounds used four cards instead of three. Other than this rule change, several noticeable set changes, Johnny Olson announcing and host Jim Perry not using a microphone, the series was exactly the same even down to the opening sequence used (shown by the "Money Cards" logo being laid vertically instead of horizontally as it was on the series).

1996

In 1996, All-American Television, who had just purchased the Mark Goodson Productions library, shot a pilot for an attempted revival that did not sell. Denver-area sportscaster Tom Green, who previously hosted Sports on Tap for ESPN in 1994 and 1995 and is currently a news anchor for KWGN, hosted and actress Dee Dee Weathers was the dealer.[1] Two players competed in a version of Card Sharks that was unlike any of the other series.

In order to gain control of the cards, the players had to guess survey questions that were asked to a group of ten Playboy Playmates. They then faced ten cards dealt into a pyramid shape and had to correctly call higher or lower. The player who turned over the final card in the pyramid won $250 and the game, and an extra $250 if they correctly called every card.

The Money Cards round was not used on this pilot- instead, four cards were dealt which included an Ace and the winning player was then shown three video clips where celebrities were asked questions. The winning player had to correctly predict the outcome of the clip, and if successful was given one of the cards. After all three video clips were played the player's cards were turned over. If they kept the Ace, they won $5,000. Otherwise, the value of the cards was added up and the player won the sum multiplied by $100.

2000

Another pilot was shot on November 17, 2000. Pat Bullard was the host and the dealer was Daphnee Lynn Duplaix. While many elements of the eventual aired series came from this pilot, this pilot also contained elements that were not used in the subsequent series. All rounds used the "Hidden Camera" question format, where contestants predicted the outcome of a situation to win control.

Round one was played similar to blackjack. Each time a player took control they earned a card and could stand upon reaching 12 or above. The opponent then kept receiving cards until they either beat the standing player or busted. $200 was given to the winner of the round

Round two saw players play a game similar to the original series' sudden death rounds. Upon obtaining control of the cards a player was shown the first card in the row and could either elect to play or pass. If either player failed to complete the row, money was awarded to their opponent. Three sets of cards were played, with three, four, and five in each row. The first row was worth $300, the second $400, and the third $500.

Other than a lack of surveys, the third round was played the same as the front game on the original Card Sharks series, with each player playing a row of five cards. Completing the row won a player $1,000, and the first player to reach $1,500 won the game and advanced to the Money Cards.

The Money Cards game from the pilot was eventually carried over to the 2001 syndicated series, with the player's main game winnings divided evenly among three tiers.

Broadcast history

The original Card Sharks aired on NBC from April 24, 1978 to October 23, 1981. From its debut until June 20, 1980, Card Sharks aired at 10:00 AM Eastern. The series was one of the few respectable daytime performers on NBC, which at the time was struggling to gain ratings in both daytime and primetime. After a scheduling shuffle necessitated by the debut of The David Letterman Show on June 23, 1980, Card Sharks moved to Noon eastern, a timeslot where it faced the #1 game show in daytime, Family Feud, on ABC, the first half of The Young and the Restless in certain markets on CBS, and preemptions on local affiliates due to many stations electing to air local newscasts, talk shows, or other syndicated programming in the noon hour. Card Sharks remained in the noon slot until its cancellation.

The CBS revival of Card Sharks debuted at 10:30 AM Eastern on January 6, 1986, in place of Press Your Luck. Until January 1987 Card Sharks faced off against its original host Jim Perry's game show Sale of the Century on NBC in the time slot. Blockbusters and then Classic Concentration followed as competition for Card Sharks. The revival ended its run on March 31, 1989, and was replaced by a short-lived revival of Now You See It.

The 1986 Bill Rafferty-hosted syndicated series debuted on September 8, 1986, and continued airing new episodes until June 7, 1987. Due to struggling ratings and a failure to find a foothold in an already crowded syndicated game show market, many of the markets that aired this Card Sharks series either dropped it at midseason or moved it to an undesirable timeslot. Reruns continued to air until September 4, 1987 in the markets that continued to carry the series.

The most recent regular Card Sharks series, the Pat Bullard-hosted 2001 series, debuted on September 17, 2001 and aired new episodes until December 14, 2001. Four weeks of reruns aired following that, and the series was cancelled altogther on January 11, 2002. In most of its markets the 2001 Card Sharks was either paired with or aired on the same station as one or both of the Pearson Television-produced shows that were airing at the time, To Tell the Truth or Family Feud.

On June 15, 2006 the series was the fifth of seven game shows used in the CBS series Gameshow Marathon hosted by Ricki Lake. The set was modeled after the Perry version and also used its theme, opening sequence and logo; the use of "audience poll" questions and the car game were taken from the Eubanks/Rafferty versions.

Gene Wood was the primary announcer on both the original and 1980s Card Sharks versions. Gary Kroeger was the announcer for the 2001 version, and the Gameshow Marathon episode was announced by Rich Fields.

Music

The theme for the NBC version was previously used on the Goodson-Todman series Double Dare that aired in 1976 on CBS. Edd Kalehoff wrote that theme and the theme for the 1980s version of Card Sharks, both through Score Productions. Composer Alan Ett was responsible for the 2001 series theme.

Recording locations

The NBC version was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California in the same studio which housed Perry's next game, Sale of the Century. Both 1980s versions were taped at Studio 33 at CBS Television City in Hollywood, California. Tribune Studios housed the 2001 series. The Gameshow Marathon version of Card Sharks was also taped at Television City, in Studio 46.

Home game versions

  • The first Card Sharks home game was a computer-based video game released by Softie, Inc. in 1988 for the Apple II and Commodore 64 units and all IBM compatible computers.[2] Although the host was based on Jim Perry, the game's logo and gameplay were based on the 1980s Card Sharks series.
  • Endless Games released a board game adaptation in 2002. Again, a mixing of elements from different versions occurred, as the game logo/fonts from the 2001 version was used on the majority of the game elements but employed the Perry-era front-end gameplay and the Eubanks/Rafferty-era "Money Cards" format.

A version for mobile phones was released on June 1, 2005 by Telescope Inc.,[3] which also used the logo, music, and rules from a variety of television variants. More survey questions were also available for download.

Foreign versions

The most significant difference to foreign versions of the television game was the use of contestant couples instead of individuals. They were produced by Reg Grundy.

  • United Kingdom: The British version was known as Play Your Cards Right and was hosted by Bruce Forsyth. The series ran from 1980–1987, 1994–1999, and 2002-2003 on ITV. Reruns of Bob Eubanks' Card Sharks series aired on satellite channel Sky One in the 1990s.
  • Germany: Hosted by Elmar Hörig, Bube Dame Hörig ("Jack, Queen, King") aired on Sat.1 from 1996-1999.
  • Sweden: Lagt kort ligger aired on SVT.
  • Belgium: A Dutch-language version called Hoger, Lager ("Higher, Lower") aired on the national television BRT (now called VRT) with Walter Capiau (of the Belgian Wheel of Fortune) as host.
  • Australia: Play Your Cards Right was hosted by comedian Ugly Dave Gray for Seven Network for a brief time in 1984.
  • Turkey: Aşağı Yukarı aired aTV with Meltem Cumbul as host.
  • Indonesia: Super Rejeki 1 Milyar aired antv with Dave Hendrik in 2007.

References

External links

Preceded by
Sanford and Son
10:00 a.m. EST, NBC
4/24/78 – 6/20/80
Succeeded by
The David Letterman Show
Preceded by
Chain Reaction
12:00 p.m. EST, NBC
6/23/80 – 10/23/81
Succeeded by
Password Plus
Preceded by
Press Your Luck
10:30 a.m. EST, CBS
1/6/86 – 3/31/89
Succeeded by
Now You See It


Simple English

Card Sharks was a game show airing from 1978 to 2001.

The main game

Two contestants fought against each other in the main game--the returning champion and a challenging contestant. The returning champion was represented by the color red. The challenger was represented by the color blue. The host, Jim Perry, then asked a toss-up question, which was asked to 100 people before the show (example: "We surveyed 100 lawyers: Have you ever defended a person who you believed was guilty? How many lawyers said they have?"). The contestant he asked it to would provide what they thought the number of people who gave the answer the host gave. The other contestant would then say whether they thought the actual number was higher or lower than the first contestant's guess. Whoever is closer to the number got a chance at the cards.

There were two rows of five cards: the top red row (for the champion) and the bottom blue row (for the challenger). The contestant in control had to predict whether each card was higher or lower than the card before it.

There were two games. Whoever won both games would go on to play the Money Cards.

The Money Cards

The winning contestant would then play the Money Cards to win more money. He/she was given $200 to start out with. They then had to predict whether each card was higher or lower than the one before it, just like before. This time, they had to bet money on each guess (example: $200 higher than a 2). The contestant worked their way across the bottom row, in which there were four cards, and then made it to the second row and were given $200 more. The least a person could bet on each card for the first two rows was $50. They then worked their way across that row, until they reached the top row, where there was only one card. That row was called the "Big Bet" row. There, the contestant had to bet at least half of what they won before.

Other versions

Card Sharks aired on NBC from 1978 to 1981 and was hosted by Jim Perry. It returned on CBS and in syndication in 1986. The CBS version was hosted by Bob Eubanks and ran until 1989. The syndicated version was hosted by comedian Bill Rafferty, but ran until 1987.

In 2001, Card Sharks came back, hosted by Pat Bullard. However, this version had different rules than the other ones. In this one, two teams of two contestants (two at a time) had to guess higher or lower (or predict if the next card had the exact same number as the previous one) on one row of seven cards. This version was not very popular and was cancelled after 13 weeks. Many Card Sharks fans say this version is the worst game show revival of all time.


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