|Jack Barry Productions/CBS|
OPENING SPIEL: "9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... COUNTDOWN! Johnny Mann!"
This is an article for the 1974 pilot. For the 1990 pilot, see Countdown (2).
Each of the three players in this game appeared on a podium with nine digits. Mann would introduce a song clip, and then give a question that would either be to identify the sound clip or answer a question based on the sound clip. If a player answered the question correctly, two sets of 7 big flashing lights appeared next to Mann, and the player's buzzer stopped the lights. Based on the sum of the lights that were lit, the player could remove any combination of his/her numbers that matched the total (a la High Rollers) with a maximum of two digits removable.
Unlike High Rollers, each player's remaining digits were summed together and the sum represented his/her score. Rolling a sum of 7 counted as a wild and allowed him/her to remove any two numbers.
With their score, players tried to become the closest to zero without going bust. As long as nobody had declared "freeze", a bust didn't knock that player out of the game; he/she simply lost his/her turn. However, as soon as a player froze, a bust by either of the other two players knocked him/her out. A tie in score always went to the player who got to the score first.
Bonus Round: "Winner's Circle"Edit
Similar to Golden Medley from Name That Tune, though here the winning contestant had to get nine songs in 60 seconds and passing gave him/her a different song. Winning awarded some cash and prizes, and the player returned to take on two new challengers.
CBS Television City (Studio 33), Hollywood, California