Robb Weller (Pilot)
Bob Goen (Series)
Announcers (series)
Johnny Gilbert (January–March)
Jay Stewart (March–April)
CBS Pilot: 11/8/1986
CBS Daytime: 1/4/1988 – 4/1/1988
Jay Wolpert Productions
Taft Entertainment Television

"Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had a Blackout Button? Well, today, (insert celebrity's name) & his/her contestant partner (insert contestant's name) and (insert celebrity's name) & his/her contestant partner (insert contestant's name) all have blackout buttons! Right here on… BLACKOUT! And now, here is the host of Blackout, BOB GOEN!!!"

Blackout was a short-lived word game show where two contestants and their celebrity partners blackout (censor) the opposing teams' descriptions of words to prevent them from solving puzzles. Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with the equally short-lived 2012-13 reality competition series Total Blackout.


Main GameEdit

At the beginning of a round, a fill-in-the-blank puzzle was revealed. The puzzle in question was a bad pun with four missing words (one of them being the punchline word). Then a member of one team recorded a 20 second description of a word showing on his/her monitor.

The partner of the giver wore headphones and had his/her half of the podium moved up so he/she couldn't see the screen nor hear what the description was. When the time was up, the partner was released from isolation and listened to a playback of the description, but there was one big catch: one member of the opposing team was equipped with a "blackout button"; pressing it down blacked out (muted) the playback. The person blacking out could blackout up to seven seconds (plus one second for every repetition of any key words) of the description.

Despite the blacking out, if the player could guess the word, the team won the word. If the player couldn't do that, the opponent, who had heard the whole description, would take a guess. Should the giver give away the word, any part of it or even a form of it while recording (signified by a buzzer, later a "BOING!!!!"), the opponents automatically won the word. If neither player identified a word, play simply continued to the next word.

The team that won the word won $100 and the right to solve the puzzle. At the puzzle, the word just described appeared in one of the four red boxes under the puzzle, and then the team had five seconds to think it over. When time was up, if the team could solve the puzzle, they won the round; however, if they couldn't, the next word was played with the next giver describing the next word. Teams would alternate turns back and forth until the puzzle was solved or if all four words were played, and on the fourth word, if neither player identified that last word, then Bob would read a pre-written description of that word and the first player to buzz-in with the right word won the word and an additional $100, but if the buzz-in player was wrong, Bob read the whole description to the opposing player. Now back at the puzzle, if the team who won the last word could not solve the puzzle, the opposing team got a chance to solve the puzzle.

Two puzzles were played each show. On the first puzzle, celebrities described the words and the contestants guessed them, while on the second puzzle the roles were reversed.

The first team to solve the two puzzles won the game; if the game ended in a tie, a tiebreaker word was played. The contestant with the higher dollar amount/most correct words scored (or the winner of a coin toss in case of a tie) had the decision to either play or pass after being shown the word. The person describing had only 10 seconds this time to describe the word, while the person blacking out had three seconds (with the one-second penalty for a repetition remaining in effect). If the partner of the describer guessed the word, he/she won the game for the team, but if the partner was wrong or if the describer gave away the word, the opposing team won the game.

Both contestants kept their cash, but the winner of the game along with his/her celebrity partner also won a chance to play the bonus round. During the next break, the winning team decided amongst themselves who would give and who would receive (more contestants wanted to give).

Contestant AreaEdit

The challenging team played red and the championship team played yellow.

Bonus Round: Clue ScreenEdit

In this round, one member of the winning team faced the clue screen while his/her partner had his/her back to it. The player facing the screen was given a category and saw up to six clues appear one-by-one every two seconds; not only that, he/she was also given the answer to the puzzle just to get an idea of how many clues the giver wanted to be revealed, and when he/she thought there was enough information, he/she would yell "Solve it!", causing the clues to stop revealing and allowing the partner to turn around and take a guess. If the player facing the screen gave away the answer to the puzzle, the puzzle was thrown out.

Each correct answer was worth $250, and if the team could solve five puzzles in 70 seconds (1:10) or less, the contestant won $10,000.


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Middle "C" Productions


Jay Wolpert


CBS Television City, Hollywood, CA


  • To this day, Blackout is the only game show in history to replace and be replaced by the same show. The show in question was The $25,000 Pyramid (Clark).
  • Robb Weller of Entertainment Tonight (which was ironically what Bob Goen would go on to do) hosted the pilot. Robb did go on to host Win, Lose or Draw in 1989 after previous host Bert Convy left to do 3rd Degree. A clip of the pilot would be shown in the opening clip of the 1994 ABC TV miniseries The Stand.[1]
  • Some of the show's sound effects were previously used on the game show Whew!, which ran from 1979 to 1980.
  • Blackout was the last game show announced by veteran game show announcer Jay Stewart. He died on September 17, 1989.
  • Like a few other Jay Wolpert game shows, it had a cartoon opening; this one was of a hand doodling around while a voice with that hand could not stop talking. The other hands were tired of hearing too much chatter, so they put out a blackout button to stop the chatterboxing. The voice of the nonstop talker was that of Jay Wolpert's wife; her voice was a sped-up tape recording.

In popular cultureEdit

A brief clip of the intro to the Weller pilot can be seen in the opening credits of the 1994 ABC TV miniseries called Stephen King's The Stand.[2]

Blackout Pilot Clip From Stephen King's The Stand

International versionsEdit

Three years later, after the American version was cancelled in 1988, a Dutch version of the show ran on the EO Network (Evangelical Broadcasting) in the Netherlands from 1991 to 1992, hosted by Bert van Leeuwen.[3]


More PicturesEdit


Production CompaniesEdit


Trade AdsEdit



  1. The intro to The Stand with Blackout pilot clip included.
  2. The intro to The Stand with Blackout pilot clip included.
  3. Article on the Dutch version of the show


Rules for Blackout @
Rules for Blackout @
Rules for Blackout @ The Game Show Temple
Rules for Blackout @ Josh's Game Show Site

YouTube VideosEdit

Blackout Opening
Playing of the first round