Greed (game show): Wikis


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Greed logo.
Format Game show
Directed by Bob Levy
Presented by Chuck Woolery
Narrated by Mark Thompson
Composer(s) Edgar Struble
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 44
Executive producer(s) Dick Clark
Bob Boden
Editor(s) Floyd Ingram
Location(s) CBS Television City
Hollywood, California
Running time approx. 44 minutes
Production company(s) Dick Clark Productions
Distributor 20th Century Fox Television
Original channel FOX
Original run November 4, 1999 – July 14, 2000

Greed is a television game show where a team of contestants answered a series of multiple-choice trivia questions for a potential prize of up to $2 Million ($4 Million during the five Super Greed episodes). On the US version, the largest prizes were annuities, rather than cash. The show's catchline is "The Richest Most Dangerous Game In America."


Broadcast history

Greed, produced by Dick Clark Productions and hosted by Chuck Woolery, debuted on November 4, 1999. It was widely considered as Fox's answer to ABC's prime-time hit Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. After renewing the show for the summer of 2000 with a possible return the following season, Fox abruptly canceled it on July 14, 2000. Repeats of Greed have aired on GSN since January 2002 and in Australia on Fox8 since May 2006.

Rules of the game


Qualifying round

Six contestants are asked a question with a numerical answer between 10 and 999 who then lock in their answers using a keypad in front of them. Once all players are locked in, the answer is revealed, and the player whose guess is closest becomes the team captain. The second closest player sits in position #1, the third closest in position #2, the fourth closest in position #3, and the fifth closest in position #4. If two or more players are tied or of equal distance from the right answer, those players are ranked based on who locked in first. The player whose guess is furthest away returns to the contestant pool with the possibility of being back for another qualifying round.

The team then attempts to answer multiple choice questions of increasing value while climbing the "Tower of Greed." The first question was played for $25,000 and question values increased by that amount up to $100,000 for the fourth question. The fifth question was worth $200,000, the sixth worth $500,000, the seventh worth $1,000,000 and the eighth worth $2,000,000.

Toward the end of Greed's run, the qualifying round was eliminated and the five contestants for the team were given their positions randomly in a backstage draw.

First four questions

Starting with the team member who was furthest away from the correct answer to the qualifying question, multiple choice questions are asked and the team member locks in their answer. The team captain can accept their answer or reject it and select a different answer. The first two questions contain four possible choices and the third and fourth questions contain five possible choices.

Contestants compete for an equal share of the question value. If the team captain accepts a wrong answer for any of the first four questions the team leaves with nothing. The team captain can decide to quit with the money won thus far or risk their collective winnings to continue playing the game.


After the fourth question the host provides the team with the category for the next question and the opportunity to leave the game with $100,000.

If the captain decides to continue playing, the "Terminator" is activated and selects one team member at random. The player selected can accept $10,000 in cash (that was not at risk should the contestant lose the Terminator or the team misses a future question) in order to challenge another team member to a one-question showdown for their share of the collective winnings.

If the player who buzzes in correctly answers the question they claim their opponent's share of the collective team winnings and their teammate is eliminated. If the player provides an incorrect answer or doesn't answer within 5 seconds, they are eliminated and their teammate gains control of their share. However, if the player eliminated is the same player who originally accepted the Terminator challenge, they keep their $10,000.

If the team captain was eliminated, the contestant who won the challenge became the new captain. Otherwise, the showdown winner kept his/her original seat.

Originally contestants were required to wait for the question to be completely read before buzzing in; buzzing in too early immediately eliminated the contestant, just as if a wrong answer had been given. For the remainder of the show's run, contestants were allowed to buzz in at any time if they knew the answer, though Woolery would immediately stop reading the question at that point.

The Terminator was played prior to the $200,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000 questions.

Higher-level questions

Beginning with the $200,000 question, each question contained four correct answers. The number of possible answers varied depending on the value of the question: the $200,000 question had six possible answers (four correct answers and two bluff answers), the $500,000 question had seven (four correct and three bluffs), and the $1 million question had eight (four correct and four bluffs).

Before the $200,000 question, the captain of the team was given a "Freebie" that he or she could use on any one question from that point onward. The Freebie eliminated one of the predetermined incorrect answers from the question for which it was used.

Each of the four team members other than the captain were required to give one answer. If there were fewer than four additional team members the captain could elect to give a response or require a teammate to give an additional response. After all answers had been selected the captain could change any one answer if he or she desired.

The answers were revealed one at a time. After revealing the third correct answer the host offered the captain a cash incentive (one-tenth the value of that question) to end the game and split equally between the team. If the captain refused the money, the fourth answer was revealed. If it was correct, the team won the money for that round and was allowed to continue.

For the seventh question the buyout changed to an individual decision rather than a decision by the captain on the team's behalf. Each player secretly selected to continue playing or take a 2000 Jaguar XK-8 convertible with every available factory option plus $25,000 in cash in the trunk and leave the game.

As with the fourth question, the category of the next question was revealed prior to the decision to quit or continue playing.

The $2 million question

Prior to the question each team member again individually decided to quit with their share of the team's collective winnings or continue playing.

The $2 million question had nine possible answers, four of which were correct and five of which were incorrect. Only one contestant ever made it to this level, playing by himself (two other contestants had made it past the million dollar question with him but opted to leave with the money they'd already won). Since he was alone, he was given 30 seconds to think about his choices, and then 10 seconds to read them off. If four answers were not given within the time limit, the player would lose everything. No buyout was offered after revealing the third correct answer, and none of the answers could be changed.

Daniel Avila was the only contestant to reach this level, risking $200,000 to go on and play for $2.2 million, but missed the question based on a Yale University study about the four smells most recognizable to the human nose (Peanut butter, coffee, Vicks Vaporub, and chocolate; Avila incorrectly guessed tuna as one of his choices).

Rule changes

In the first month of Greed's run, the top prize was worth $2 million plus an additional $50,000 for each game where the top prize was not won. The jackpot reached $2,550,000 in the first month. When the program became a permanent series, the top prize was a flat $2,000,000.

Special episodes

Million Dollar Moment

In February 2000, eight previous Greed contestants were brought back for a "Million-Dollar Moment," different "Moments" taking place at the end of different shows. The players were all players who got very close to the big $2 million question, but never made it. Two players faced off with a Terminator-style sudden-death question, and the winner was given a $1 million question. The contestant had 30 seconds to study the question, then 10 seconds to lock in the four right answers to win the money. As usual, missing any part of the question meant that the money was not won; like the $2 million question, there was no buyout after the third correct answer and no answers could be changed. Curtis Warren became Greed's only Million Dollar Moment winner when he successfully answered a question about movies based on TV shows and became the biggest U.S. game show winner of all time - along with the biggest Greed contestant winner - with $1,410,000. His U.S. game show record was beaten within a week as David Legler won $1,765,000 on NBC's Twenty One. Curtis has since been surpassed by others as well (Kevin Olmstead, Ed Toutant, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter, and Ken Jennings again, in that order).

Super Greed

Greed became Super Greed for a month in May 2000. The qualifying question was eliminated, and the values for the top three questions were doubled, making the eighth question worth a potential $4 million. In addition, any team that went for the seventh or eighth question was guaranteed $200,000 regardless of the outcome of the game. Two teams reached the $2 million question, and one team was able to answer all four parts correctly. If a team reached that question the Jaguar convertible bribe was again offered if three of the four answers were correct, with the car now having $75,000 cash in the trunk. The first team to reach the $2 million question on Super Greed elected to take the bribe for themselves, so the producers instead substituted a $150,000 cash prize for each member of the team that elected to take the bribe (which none did).

Correct questions Prize
1 $25,000
2 $50,000
3 $75,000
4 $100,000
5 $200,000
6 $1,000,000
7 $2,000,000
8 $4,000,000

Highest winners of the U.S. version

Original airing dates (as listed at [1]) are included. Note: Teams that earned $500,000 or more were paid through an annuity.

  • Curtis Warren; $1,410,000; November 18, 1999 and February 11, 2000 (combined winnings from both shows) Before his stint on Greed, Curtis was a Champion on Sale of the Century in 1986 and also appeared on Win Ben Stein's Money.
  • Lauren Griswold; $810,000; May 12, 2000 (Super Greed)
  • David Juliano; $800,000; May 12, 2000 (Super Greed)
  • Monique Jones; $610,000; May 19, 2000 (Super Greed)
  • George Elias; $600,000; May 2, 2000 (Super Greed) - George also won $100,000 in the Donny Osmond version of Pyramid.
  • Melissa Skirboll; $410,000; November 18, 1999
  • Phyllis Harris; $400,000; May 12, 2000 (Super Greed)
  • Madeleine Ali; $320,000; December 10, 1999
  • Robert Abramoff; $310,000; November 4, 1999
  • Annemarie Buchta; $310,000; February 18, 2000
  • Jeff Ester; $310,000; February 18, 2000
  • Evan Benner; $310,000; June 23, 2000
  • Jill Schilstra; $310,000; June 30, 2000
  • Bob Harris; $200,000; May 2, 2000 (Super Greed) - Bob was on George Elias's team and previously appeared on Jeopardy!.
  • John Epperson; $155,000 and a Jaguar XK8 convertible valued at $75,000 for a total of $230,000 (Super Greed); April 28, 2000
  • Jeff Gouda; $100,000 (Super Greed); April 28, 2000

International versions of the show

Many international versions of the show were made: in Finland (called Greed) on MTV3 and in Sweden (called Vinna eller försvinna) on SVT. Jerry Springer hosted a British version of the show in 2001 on Five. Kerri-Anne Kennerley hosted a version in Australia on Channel Ten in 2001; despite the fact that the show was not successful, the US version ended up airing in Australia a few years later on Fox8. The show also aired on SABC3 in South Africa with Revin John as host. The show also aired on ZDF in Germany from 2000–2001 under the title "Ca$h" with Ulla Kock am Brink as host. In 2000, a version of the show aired in Turkey on aTV. Starting in April 2002, Greed had a run in Lebanon on LBC. A Russian version of the show aired on NTV. In Spain, "Audacia" was a hit for TVE, and in Portugal, "A Febre do Dinheiro" was a hit from 2000–2001 on RTP. In Italy, Rai due broadcasted the show in 2000-2001.

On the equally failed Australian and British versions, the money tree went as such:

The South African version had the same values as the American version, but in rand.

External links


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