Game Shows Wiki
Bill Rafferty
Debbie Bartlett
Susan Carr
Johnny Gilbert
Syndication (Daily): 9/17/1984 – 9/13/1985
Charles Colarusso Productions
Group W Productions

Spiel #1: "Today, Every Second Counts for three lucky couples who will try to win these beautiful prizes and this exciting brand new car on television's newest comedy game show, Every Second Counts! And now, here is the man who makes every second count, Bill Rafferty!"

Spiel #2: "These lucky couples have all won exciting prizes including a brand new car. And today, three more lucky couples will have their chance to win this (insert car) on television's funniest game show, Every Second Counts! And now, here is the man who makes every second count, Bill Rafferty!"

This is an article for the 1984-85 Syndicated series; for the unsold 2009 Pilot, see Every Second Counts (2).

Every Second Counts was a game show where contestants could win seconds by answering questions.


Three couples competed in a game of answering questions & earning time.

Main Game[]

The game was played in two rounds, one half of each couple would play in the first round, while their spouses would play in the second round. Each round had three categories with nine dual-choice questions, either true/false, yes/no or this/that (mostly with a funny flair, hence why the show was billed "TV's newest comedy/funniest game show" in the opening). Some categories were named after the this/that choices. On each category, host Rafferty read each player an item, a word, a name or a statement. A correct answer would earn seconds, while a wrong answer eliminated the couple from the remainder of the category; this was classified as being "frozen out". The category continued until all nine questions were asked or if all three couples missed a question & were locked out.

Values of Seconds[]

  • Round 1 – 2 seconds
  • Round 2 – 4 seconds

The couple with the greatest amount of time at the end of the second round won the game and advanced to the bonus round. If two or all three couples were tied, another set of questions was asked. The first team(s) that gave an incorrect answer lost.

Bonus Round[]

In the bonus round, the winning couple used their winning time to answer a certain number of questions on four levels to win prizes. On each level, host Rafferty gave a choice of two categories, each with three possible answers to be used on all questions. Once a category was chosen, Bill started asking a series of rapid-fire multiple-choice questions from the chosen category. Each right answer brought the couple one step closer to completing that level.


Each level required a different number of correct answers to complete:

  • Level 1 – 4 questions
  • Level 2 – 5 questions
  • Level 3 – 6 questions
  • Level 4 – 7 questions

(22 Altogether)

Each completed level won a prize, and completing all four levels before time expired also won a brand new car. If they didn't win the car, they still won $100 for each correct answer on the level they didn't complete.



Trade Ads[]


Studio 7, KTTV Television, Los Angeles, CA


  • Los Angeles - KCOP
  • Chicago - WLS
  • San Francisco - KTZO (now KOFY)
  • Washington, DC - WJLA
  • Detroit - WDIV
  • Seattle - KING
  • Minneapolis - KMSP
  • Sacramento - KOVR
  • Indianapolis - WISH
  • Kansas City - KEKR (now KSMO)
  • Milwaukee - WTMJ
  • Grand Rapids - WZZM
  • Norfolk - WAVY
  • Piedmont Triad - WFMY
  • Tulsa - KOTV
  • Louisville - WLKY
  • Green Bay - WFRV
  • Portland, ME - WCSH
  • Toledo - WTOL
  • Tuscon - KTTU
  • Rochester, NY - WHEC
  • Springfield, IL - WAND
  • Marquette - WJMN
  • Terre Haute, IN - WTHI
  • Lexington, KY - WTVQ
  • Cleveland - WCLQ

International Versions[]

Countries that have previously aired their versions of Every Second Counts include:


This was Bill Rafferty's first game show, having hosted Card Sharks in syndication from 1986 to 1987 & the 1987 revival of Blockbusters on NBC Daytime in later years.

Although it wasn't a big success in America, one year after the show's cancellation, a new & more popular English version premiered with Paul Daniels as host. It enjoyed a nice seven-year run on BBC One from 1986 until 1993. Unlike the US version, each couple had a choice of two categories before a question was asked. This version also included a mini-game in between rounds where Daniels would ask a question to each couple, again, after choosing a category. Once Paul finished reading the question, the couple would have 10 seconds to answer correctly (allowing multiple guesses); if successful, whatever time remained on their clock would be added to their score. Also, if the game ended in a tie, a toss-up question was asked, with the first couple to ring in with a correct answer scoring one second and winning the game.

John Ricci Jr. produced a different version of Every Second Counts with Mark L. Walberg (or Mark Walberg) as the host.

The show's title is used as a catchphrase for Apolo Ohno in the GSN 2013 revival of Minute to Win It.
(example: "You've got a Minute to Win It. Every...Second...Counts!")


Rules for Every Second Counts
Official Pearson site for "Every Second Counts" (via Internet Archive)

YouTube Videos[]

Opening Credits
A full episode of the show
Another full episode of the show

Still Another full episode of the show: