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Second Chance (game show): Wikis


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Second Chance
Format Game show
Created by Bill Carruthers
Jan McCormack
Presented by Jim Peck
Narrated by Jay Stewart
Jack Clark
Joe Seiter (pilot/substitute)
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 95
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) The Carruthers Company
Original channel ABC
Picture format NTSC
Audio format Mono
Original run March 7 – July 15, 1977
Followed by Press Your Luck (1983-1986)
Whammy! (2002-2003)

Second Chance was an ABC game show that aired from March 7 to July 15, 1977 and is the predecessor to the more successful CBS game show Press Your Luck. Jim Peck hosted while Jay Stewart and Jack Clark each served as announcers.

The show was produced by The Carruthers Company, which also produced Press Your Luck.



Three contestants competed on each program consisting of two question rounds and two board rounds.


Question round

In the question round, Peck read a question to the three contestants. The players each wrote their answers on a board and placed it on a shelf at the front of their podium (where the other contestants could not see it). Peck then provided information as to how well the contestants answered (e.g., "At least one of you is right"; "At least two of you are wrong"). After supplying three possible answers, the contestants were offered a "second chance" to change their answer.

A correct answer with an original guess earned three spins to use in the second half of the round. A correct "second chance" answer earned one spin.

Three questions were played per round, for a possible total of nine spins per contestant.

Board round

Each contestant used their spins to accumulate money and prizes on an 18-space game board. During each spin a lighted cursor rapidly moved about the board, but unlike Press Your Luck the squares themselves did not change in value. The contestant would stop the light on a square by hitting the plunger in front of them.

One of three outcomes were possible after stopping the board:

  • Cash: The value was added to the player's bank.
  • Gift Box: A photograph of a prize was displayed in the square and its value added to the player's bank.
  • Devil: The contestant lost all of his or her winnings to that point.

Cash values

Each round contained a big-money space located at the top of the board. During Round 1, landing on the big-money space earned $2,500. Round 2 contained higher cash values, with the big-money space worth $5,000 and an additional spin.

Later in the series, the big-money space in Round 2 rotated values of $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 and $5,000 in addition to awarding an additional spin.


Prizes in Round 1 were generally valued up to $1,000. Prizes in Round 2 included more luxurious items such as rooms of furniture, trips, furs and automobiles (generally valued up to $3,000).


Any player who landed on a Devil four times over the course of the game forfeited any remaining spins and was eliminated from further play. If a player landed on a Devil, the light would automatically turn red.

Artist and animator "Savage" Steve Holland, later a film director, used Second Chance's Devils as his model for the Whammy in Press Your Luck.


If a contestant feared the next spin would result in landing on a Devil, he could pass any of his remaining spins to one of his opponents (usually the contestant in the lead). A contestant who had spins passed to him was required to use them at the beginning of his next turn. However, landing on a Devil changed any passed spins remaining into earned spins, which gave the player the option to continue or pass their spins to another player.

Round 2

After each player had taken all spins earned or passed to them at the end of Round 1, the game moved to the second question round followed by the final board round. The player with the highest score at the end of Round 2 won the game and kept their winnings.


The show's set was very similar to that of Press Your Luck, including a rotating contestant platform and the presence of the show's logo in the center of the board, replaced by a chroma-key shot of the contestant for their spins. Unlike Press Your Luck, the contestant platform would not rotate to be in front of the board during the question rounds, instead stopping just to the left of the board.

The contestants' area had a shelf to place their answers on, the back of which was used to display their score, and four cards that would flip up whenever a Devil was hit. The area below the score had 18 "dots" on it, one for each spin the contestant had earned or was passed to them.

The gameboard had cash squares in orange and yellow. Three Devils were also on the board, as well as gift boxes. When a player landed on a gift box the camera would zoom to the slide which would then reveal the prize. Round 2's big-money space was originally styled like the others, but also had "FREE" at the top and "SPIN" at the bottom. Later in the run, the $5,000 space became an eggcrate display with a constantly-shuffling thousands digit between 1 and 5.


The speed at which the indicator moved around the board was much faster than on Press Your Luck. Originally, only nine patterns were paid for by ABC when the show began, however after an episode in which a contestant went on a lengthy run at the board (becoming the show's biggest winner in the process), the network ordered more patterns to be added so the incident wouldn't happen again.[1] In 1984, Michael Larson went on a more elaborate run of the board on Press Your Luck, winning $110,237, after which CBS paid for more patterns to be added to the board.


Three pilots were filmed for ABC in November 1976. Joe Seiter, who would fill in as announcer on the series, was the announcer for the pilots.

In at least the third pilot (taped November 9, 1976), Devils accumulated by the players appeared on four screens behind each of them; when the series went to air, the Devils were shown on small cards which flipped up on the contestants' podiums.

The board only used one string of 64 flashes per spin and did not offer an additional spin when landing on the $5,000 space in Round 2.

All three contestants who participated on the third pilot appeared in other game shows after the pilots were recorded.

  • Maggie Brown: Appeared on The Joker's Wild (CBS), Blank Check, Press Your Luck (the pilot and two actual episodes) and Wipeout (the latter two of which were both hosted by the late Peter Tomarken).
  • Jack Campion: Participated in several other pilots, including Blank Check, Press Your Luck, Card Sharks (1978), and two pilots (1983, 1984) for Jeopardy!.
  • Lynn Klein: Competed on the short-lived Double Dare.

Episode status

Second Chance was canceled after only four months and the series was likely destroyed due to network policies of the era. The only episode known to exist is Pilot #3 (taped November 9, 1976)[2], along with an audio clip of an episode opening announced by Jack Clark.


Second Chance's theme was originally used on the four-episode 1976 version of I've Got a Secret, while a remix of it was used on the 1977-1984 Australian versions of Family Feud.


External links


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