NBC Daytime: 6/14/1993 – 1/14/1994
Stephen J. Cannell Productions
"From the entertainment resort capital of the world, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, it's the exciting new prize maximus letter-perfect game show, Caesars Challenge! Ladies and gentlemen, Ahmad Rashad!"
Caesars Challenge was a game show set in Las Vegas, NV, where three contestants played anagrams mixed with trivia.
Three contestants competed, one a returning champion (or designate if a previous champion had retired).
Three rounds were played. The object in each round was to solve a jumbled word displayed on a 9-screen slot machine on stage. Seven-letter words were used in Round 1, eight-letter words in Round 2 and nine-letter words in Round 3.
Each new word fit into a category that was originally revealed to everyone, but later only revealed to home viewers. Rashad asked the players a toss-up question with three choices based on the category, and a player who buzzed in with the correct answer won money and chose a letter to place in its correct position in the word. If two players gave incorrect responses, the third player won the money and the choice of letter by default.
The player had five seconds to guess the word, and, if correct, won additional money based on the unplaced letters left in the word. If they did not guess the word, questions and letter selections continued until someone guessed it. Two words were played in each of the first two rounds. Round 3 included as many words as time allowed.
During the time when the category was only revealed to the home audience, Rashad announced the category of the word to the contestants after the word had been correctly guessed.
|Rounds||Number of Letters in the Word||Value (x Unplaced Letters)||Maximum Value|
One position in the word was signified as the Lucky Slot. If, after choosing a letter whose correct position was the Lucky Slot (signified by a siren and coins dropping below), a contestant guessed the word correctly, they won additional money. Each show began with a Lucky Slot bonus of $500, and $500 was added to the bonus after each word until it was won, at which point the bonus reset to $500.
When time was running short (signified by a car horn), letters were placed automatically into the current word and the first contestant that buzzed in with the correct answer won money based on the unplaced letters. An incorrect answer locked that player out of play. The Lucky Slot was out of play during the speed-up round.
The player with the most money at the end of the game won and advanced to the Bonus Round. Originally, the winner shopped for prizes with their winnings (a la classic Wheel of Fortune). Later, they were given a prize package equal to their winnings. The other players left with parting gifts, including dinner for two and tickets to a headliner show at the Circus Maximus showroom at Caesars Palace. In the case of a tie, another speed-up round was played between the tied players.
A giant rotating bingo cage filled with 200 lettered balls was lowered from the ceiling. One by one, the letters spilled out of the cage and Doherty announced the letter as the ball rolled down a ramp. Once a dictionary-certified nine-letter word could be formed from the letters, the cage stopped rotating, a gong sounded and a booming voice (announcer Steve Day) announced "Caesar says STOP!"
The nine letters were then be placed on the slot machine screens in the order that they rolled down the ramp. Based on the champion's tenure, he/she chose letters to be placed into their correct positions. Contestants were allowed to place one letter for each day they had been on the show. The contestant then had 10 seconds to try to solve the word. If the contestant solved the word correctly, they won a car and retired as champion; otherwise, they returned on the next show.
The champion faced a game board with five words. The first word had five letters, the second had six, and so on up to the fifth word consisting of nine letters. The first word would shuffle its letters (similar to the Speed-Up Round), placing a letter in its correct position each time. After each correct guess, the contestant moved on to the next word. Guessing all five words in 30 seconds won the car.
In the beginning, the words were displayed on a monitor. Later the scrambled words were revealed on a green screen. It is not known if that the same monitor remained.
Starting with the introduction of this bonus round, the champion was now limited to a maximum of three consecutive appearances or until they won a car, whichever came first.
During the closing credits of every show, Rashad and Doherty went into the studio audience and gave audience members an opportunity to unscramble five-letter words. Correctly guessing the word won a handful of casino chips, dollar coins, and gold foil-covered chocolate medallions from a bowl held by Doherty.
The show's pilot, taped in 1992 and which apparently aired during the run, contained several differences from the actual series.
The biggest change was a "betting" format; while individual questions were still worth $100/$200/$300, players started with $2,500 and could bet up to a certain limit whether they could guess the word or not, using keypads in front of them. For the first three words, the maximum bet was $250 and the payoff was 2:1. After that, the limit increased to $500. For the fifth word on, the odds increased to 3:1.
In addition, the Lucky Slot carried over from the previous show. Finally, there was no Speed-Up Round, and in the audience game, only casino chips were offered as prizes.
At the end of the credits, the airplane that was previously seen on Personals is used on production company's logo.
Like most other Rosner game shows, when the car was won, balloons were released. More often than not, however, they would still be left on the floor when the next episode began.
Rick Rosner & Mike Dubelko
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
All episodes exist. Reruns aired on the USA Network from June 27 to November 4, 1994.
- Caesars Challenge fanpage
- Rules for Caesars Challenge
- Another Caesars Challenge Rules Page
- Sounds from the show
- Flash game of the first bonus round
- Game Show Temple: Caesars Challenge
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