Game Shows Wiki
Peter Haskell (Pilots)
Tom Kennedy (Series)
John Harlan
50GS 01.jpg
NBC Pilots: 7/21/1976
NBC Daytime: 10/4/1976 – 12/31/1976
Ralph Andrews Productions

"(contestants, categories and dollar amounts to be played) on NBC's biggest money program, the 50 Grand Slam! And here's the star of the program, Peter Haskell/Tom Kennedy!"

50 Grand Slam was a short-lived attempt to revive the genre of big-money shows in the 1970s.


Eight contestants competed on each show, with two competing at a time. Contestants were selected and matched up based on a specific category or area of expertise; there was also a "general knowledge" category.

The two contestants, in turn, were read a (usually) four-part question in their category. The current champion, or the winner of a coin toss, decided whether to play first or second; while the first player heard the question and answered it, the second would be placed in an isolation booth. After the first contestant had answered, the isolated player was read the same question. Whoever answered more parts of the question correctly won (see below for the money scale), and had the option to either quit with any money won, or face another opponent on the next episode with the risk of losing all the money if they failed. In the event of a tie, both contestants won and each got the option to stop or continue. In order to win the money, however, the winner had to answer at least two questions correctly, regardless of category.

Although primarily a quiz show, there were occasional digressions; for example, on the premiere episode, two contestants playing in a golf category, in lieu of answering questions, were asked to make a specific shot on a miniature driving range that had been set up in the studio. Each player was given five balls, and the winner was the one who had made the most shots out of the five (with a minimum of two required to advance).

Among the more conventional categories were General Knowledge and Shakespeare, while another focused on The Beatles. One contestant in this category, Steve Zisk, defeated all participants, including a well known writer for Rolling Stone magazine, only to eventually lose to the "house", whose odds he largely had been responsible for raising to all correct responses.


Here are the payoffs for each level.

Games Won Award
1st Win $200
2nd Win $500
3rd Win $1,000
4th Win $2,000
5th Win $5,000
6th Win $10,000
7th Win $20,000
8th Win $50,000

With the exception of general knowledge, each category remained in play until all nine contestants had played it or someone won $50,000. Contestants who made it to the $50,000 level and lost won a car as a a consolation prize. During the brief run of 50 Grand Slam, a total of five contestants were able to achieve this feat.



NBC Studios, Burbank, CA


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It premiered and ended on the same day as the show that preceded it on the NBC schedule, Stumpers!, which was hosted by Kennedy's good friend Allen Ludden, who appeared at the beginning of the premiere to wish Kennedy luck (Kennedy would do the same on Ludden's show which premiered before Kennedy's).

After 50 Grand Slam was cancelled, it was replaced with Tom's other show, the daytime version of Name That Tune.


50 Grand Slam @ Game Show Utopia

YouTube Videos[]

The 1976 Premiere Episode

The 1976 Finale Episode