Game Shows Wiki
Joey Lawrence (Pilot)
Cat Deeley (Series)
Mr. Q (Series only)
Hal Sparks
Pilot: 8/16/2008
GSN: 6/13/2009 – 8/15/2009
Endemol USA

"In 1988, Inventor Robin Burgener taught his computer twenty facts about his cat. Little did he know, he created a monster, capable of learning and processing thousands of words, by challenging humans to the classic game Twenty Questions. Named 20Q, it exploded online, and became one of Mattel's most popular toys. The supercomputer known as Mr Q (Mr Q: "Hello, Humans!") has beaten millions worldwide while processing billions of questions. Can anyone stop this machine? It's time to play… 20Q!!!"

20Q, the classic electronic game by Mattel that became a TV game show. This series was part of a short-lived block called Big Saturday Night.


The game was divided into four parts.

Preliminary Game[]

The first part involved members of a randomly selected row of the studio audience. Mr. Q would give a category, and clues to the identity were revealed one at a time. The first contestant to come up with the correct answer would qualify to play the main game. Three qualifiers were determined in each preliminary round.

Main Game[]

The three players then played the main game head-to-head. Mr. Q would give a category, and then the contestants were given a choice of two questions. For example, if the category was Food and Drink, the questions could be "Is it caffeinated?" or "Is it served for breakfast?" A player in control would asks either of the two questions, and if the answer was yes, that player would retain control of the board; otherwise, he/she would lose control. On each turn, after a question was asked, the player could either choose a question that hadn't been played yet, ask for a new pair of questions (although he/she had to choose one of them), or he/she could choose to attempt to come up with the correct answer. If correct, the player won the game, $5,000, and a chance to play the semi-final round against the winner of the second main game; a wrong answer lost control.


In the semi-final round, the players competed one at a time in the same category, with one player (via coin toss) on stage, and the other player offstage in a soundproof isolation booth. The first player was given a category, and then a series of clues. Every few seconds (indicated by two short low-pitched beeps), another clue would appear on the screen. The player's goal was to guess the subject using as few clues as possible. The other player would then play the same category, and had to come up with the answer in fewer clues. The player who figured out the subject with fewer clues won the round, received a prize, and advanced to the end game.

End Game[]

In the end game, the player was given selection of two categories, and Mr. Q had to play the game as the contestant asked questions from a provided list of 20. While Mr. Q could attempt to answer at any time, the contestant was only given one chance to guess the answer. At a critical point in the game, Mr. Q would go into "sleep mode" and Deeley would ask the contestant if he/she had any idea what the answer was, after which Mr. Q would awaken from his "nap". If the player buzzed in with the right answer before Mr. Q did, he/she won $20,000; if Mr. Q was wrong, the human contestant was given one chance to win; should he/she be incorrect or Mr. Q came up with the correct answer first, nothing additional was won.


The pilot was taped on August 16, 2008 with Joey Lawrence of Blossom fame, but Deeley replaced Lawrence due to a conflict.

Ken Jennings was featured as the "residential expert”, who picked out the categories. The front game was played in the same way as the series, except the losers each received $1,000 for making it on stage, and the winner of the round won $20,000.

In addition, each contestant had a computerized scribble pad that showed the audience the answers they thought the answer could be. The contestants would then buzz-in with their final answer.

Only one game was played, and the winner advanced to the endgame, which was played in the same way as the series; before the round, however, the contestant selected one of 25 balls, each having a covering concealing a number that, should he/she win the round, would multiply the $20,000 won earlier, up to $500,000.

Finally, the "computer" had a female voice, and was referred to as "Debra-Q".


Some of the music and sound effects from this game show were previously used on 1 vs. 100.

Production Location[]

Hollywood Center Studios


Press Pics[]

Pics from the show[]