Hosts
Allen Ludden (1953–1962)
Robert Earle (1962–1970)
Art Fleming (1978–1982)
Pat Sajak (1984)
Dick Cavett (1987)
Peyton Manning (2021)
Announcers
Don Morrow
Jerry Damon
Mel Brandt
Alan Berns
Nelson Davis
Jim McKrell
Broadcast
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NBC Radio (Weekly) (College Quiz Bowl): 10/10/1953 – 12/14/1955
CBS Sunday Afternoons (G.E. College Bowl): 1/4/1959 – 6/16/1963
NBC Sunday Afternoons (G.E. College Bowl): 9/22/1963 – 6/14/1970
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Syndication (Special): 6/3/1978, 1979
CBS Radio: 1979–1982
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NBC Primetime Special (30th Anniversary College Bowl National Championship): 5/23/1984
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Disney Channel: 9/13/1987 – 12/20/1987
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NBC: 6/22/2021 - present
Packagers
Moses-Reid-Cleary Productions (1959–1979)
The College Bowl Company/Lorimar (1984)
Richard Reid Productions/The College Bowl Company (1987)

College Bowl (formerly known as College Quiz Bowl, and then G.E. College Bowl) was the first-ever televised quiz bowl. The format of this show would spawn a multitude of other academic bowls all over the nation.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

The format was simple. Two four-member teams representing various colleges and universities competed; one member of each team was its captain. The game began with a "toss-up" question for 10 points; the first player to buzz in got the right to answer, but if (s)he was wrong, the other team could try to answer (if a player buzzed in before the host finished reading the question and was wrong, the team was penalized 5 points). Answering a "toss-up" correctly earned the team the right to answer a multi-part "bonus" question worth 20, 25 or 30 points (sometimes 35); the team members could collaborate, but only the captain was allowed to actually give the answer. The game continued in this manner, and was played in two halves. During halftime, the players were allowed to show a short promotional film of their school; or they might talk about career plans or the like. The team with the most points at the end of the game won a $1,500 scholarship and the right to return the following week against a new team. The losing team won $500. Five-time champions retired with a grand total of $10,500. From 1967 to 1970, the winners earned $3,000, the runners-up received $1,000, and five-time champions retired with $19,500.

College Quiz Bowl aired on NBC radio from 1953 to 1955 and awarded each winning team $500.

The 1978 and 1979 championship specials were televised to various stations. Art Fleming also hosted the CBS radio version which aired from 1979 to 1982.

The 30th anniversary special aired on NBC on May 23, 1984. The one-hour special consisted of two semifinal matches and the finals match with the winning team earning $20,000 in scholarship grants with $5,000 going to the runners-up and $2,500 to the semi-finalists.

The 1987 championship was hosted by talk show host Dick Cavett on the Disney Channel. College Bowl '87 awarded a total of $34,000 in scholarship grants, with the top prize being $10,000.

International versions[edit | edit source]

University Challenge[edit | edit source]

A British version of the televised College Bowl competition was launched as University Challenge in 1962. The program, presented by Bamber Gascoigne, produced by Granada Television and broadcast across the ITV network, was very popular and ran until it was taken off the air in 1987. In 1994 the show was resurrected by the BBC with Jeremy Paxman as the new quizmaster. It remains very popular in Britain. The show, and the catch phrase used by Gascoigne (and later Paxman) before each toss-up question, "Your starter for 10," was the inspiration for the novel Starter for 10, and the subsequent film. A New Zealand version of University Challenge ran from 1976 to 1989, and was revived in 2014.

Challenging Times[edit | edit source]

An Irish version of the competition called Challenging Times ran between 1991 and 2002. It was sponsored by The Irish Times newspaper, and presented by Kevin Myers, then a columnist with that newspaper. Over the course of the show, University College Cork had the most wins, with three, while National University of Ireland, Galway qualified for the most finals, winning twice and placing second twice.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

On the November 29, 1964 episode, the Virginia Military Institute Cadet team scored the highest score in the history of the NBC-TV series.

It was recently announced the NBC will revive the show with former footballer Peyton Manning as the host.[1]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

1963 Flyer Ad[edit | edit source]

Sponsors[edit | edit source]

General Electric (GE) (1953-1970)
Captial One (2021-present)

Studios[edit | edit source]

Various College Campuses (1953–1961, 1979–1984)
CBS Studio 59, New York City, NY (1961–1963)
NBC Studio 6A/8H, New York City, NY (1963–1970)
Konover Hotel, Miami Beach, FL (1978)
Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL (1987)

Rating[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

Links[edit | edit source]

Official Site
Josh Rebich's College Bowl Rule Sheets
College Bowl history discussion group

Videos[edit | edit source]

A full episode from March 29, 1959 (USC vs. Barnard)

YouTube[edit | edit source]

Clips of the 1960 Army vs. Navy game (West Point vs. Annapolis)
A full episode from April 3, 1960 (New York University vs. University of Oklahoma; Don Morrow hosts)

A full episode from March 1966 (Princeton vs. Agnes Scott)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Clips from the October 11, 1969 episode (Johns Hopkins vs. Bradley; Season 12 Premiere)
Most of the 1984 NBC special

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