The topic of this page has a Wikia of its own: Hollywood Squares wikia.


Bert Parks (1965 Pilot)
Sandy Baron (1965 Pilot)
Peter Marshall (1966–1981)
John Davidson (1985–1989)
Tom Bergeron (1998–2004)


Joan Rivers
Jim J. Bullock
Shadoe Stevens
Rosie O'Donnell (1998, Secret Square Round only)
Peter Marshall (2002 Game Show Week)


Kenny Williams (1965–1981)
Shadoe Stevens (1986–1989, 1998-2002)
Jeffery Tambor (2002–2003)
John Moschitta (2003–2004)


Richard Stevens (1987, 1988)
Howard Stern (1988)
Henry Winkler (2002, 2003)
Rod Roddy (2002 Game Show Week)
Shadoe Stevens (2003 Game Show Week)
Mother Love (Valentine's Day 2004)

Pilot: 4/21/1965
The Hollywood Squares (1966)-Logo
NBC Daytime: 10/17/1966 – 6/20/1980
The Hollywood Squares 60s Logo
NBC Primetime: 1/12/1968 – 9/13/1968
Syndication: 11/1/1971 – 4/10/1981 (reruns aired until 9/11/1981)
Hs85 open
Pilot: 12/12/1985
Syndication (Daily): 9/15/1986 – 6/16/1989 (reruns aired until 9/8/1989)
Hollywood Squares 2000 1b
Hollywood Squares 2001
Hollywood Squares H2
Syndication (Daily): 9/14/1998 – 6/4/2004

Merrill Heatter/Bob Quigley Productions (1966–1981)
Century Towers Productions (1986–1989)
Moffitt-Lee Productions/One Ho Productions (1998–2002)
Henry Winkler-Michael Levitt Productions (2002–2004)
Columbia TriStar Television/Sony Pictures Television (1998–2004)

Rhodes Productions (1971–1979)
Filmways Television (1979–1981)
Orion Television Syndication (1986–1989)
King World (1998–2004)

(The) Hollywood Squares (Also known as H2) was the long-running game of celebrity tic-tac-toe.


Here's Peter Marshall's way of explaining Hollywood Squares:

"The object of the players is to get three stars in a row either across, up & down or diagonally. It is up to them to figure out if a star is giving a correct answer or making one up; that's how they get the squares."

Here's how John Davidson explains the Game:

"The object of the game is to simply win Tic Tac Toe, three squares across, down, or diagonally, or acquire as many squares as you can."

Here's what it meant:

The object of the game was to get tic-tac-toe. That's three Xs or Os in three stars' squares (one for each square), either across, up & down or diagonally; or be the first contestant to capture five of the nine squares. The Xs were almost always by the male contestant (dubbed Mr. X), while the Os were almost always by the female contestant (Miss Circle).

Here's how they do it:

The two contestants in taking turns picking off each of the nine celebrities seated in a great big tic-tac-toe board. On each star, the host asked a question to that star afterwhich the star would usually give a crazy answer (classified as a zinger) followed by his/her real answer. After hearing the real answer, the contestant in control decided to either agree, meaning the star was correct, or disagree, meaning the star answered with a bluff. Sometimes a star would come up with no answer; when that happened, the host would ask the contestant to answer it himself/herself or pass it up. On a pass, the question would be thrown out, and a new question would be asked to the same celebrity. In any case, if the contestant's judgment/answer was correct, he/she gets the square (hence the phrase "X/Circle (O) gets the square" {Peter would say, "Put an X/a circle (O) there [insert answer and/or extra information]}); if the contestant's judgment/answer was wrong, his/her opponent got the square unless it would mean a win; when that happened nothing would be placed in that square because a win had to be earned by the contestant in control. Up until the later episodes in the 1998 version, if a player could not win with five squares on the board, his/her opponent automatically got the remaining square and the five-square win.

The first player to get three-in-a-row or five squares won the game and money for that game.

Secret SquareEdit

In certain games, one of the squares would be dubbed the "Secret Square". The contestant who picked that square would usually have sounds going off to let the contestant, the star, and everybody else know. Then the star would be asked a special question (usually multiple choice). The star gave an answer but without a zinger and if the contestant could correctly agree or disagree with the star's answer, he/she won a bonus prize or prize package. On two of the versions, the host would tell everybody who the Secret Square was if not chosen.

NOTE: The "Secret Square" was not featured in the original 1965 pilot.

The Hollywood Squares (1966–1981)Edit

NBC Daytime VersionEdit

The daytime version used the "rollover/straddling" format, that meant the show could end with a game still in progress and had to be continued/finished on the next show. Two contestants (one a returning champion, the other the challenger) played a best 2-out-of-3 game match with each game worth $200 (when the show started, each game was worth $100 and winning the match was worth $300 more for a total of $500). The first game of every show (unless it was an unfinished game in progress) was always a secret square game. The secret square was a progressive jackpot prize package which started at about $1,000 {for the broadcasts of 1966} with another prize added each day when it's not claimed {from 1967 to 1980}; by the late 1970s, new Secret Square jackpots generally started in the $3,500-$4,500 range. Starting in September 1976, the winner of the match picked a star for a prize; each star had an envelope with a prize inside with the big prize being $5,000 in cash; whoever the winning player chose won the prize inside that envelope. Champions stayed on the show until defeated or if they won five matches at which point they won a bonus; from 1966 to 1976 the bonus prize was a brand new car, but in the final years of the daytime version from 1976 to 1980, the bonus was upped to $5,000, two new cars (later $10,000 and one car) and a luxury trip, for a total of over $25,000 in cash & prizes.

There was also a slightly different tie game rule in the Marshall version than in the later versions (first player to earn 5 squares). A player only won a game, without getting 3 in a row, by earning squares sufficient to shut out their opponent from possibly getting 3 in a row. In most cases, this was achieved by earning 5 squares, but it was mathematically possible to earn as many as 6 squares, without getting 3 in a row, and still not shutting out the opponent from potentially getting 3 in a row (specifically, a player could get 3 diagonal squares even after the opponent had already earned the other 6 squares; this occurred at least one time in the history of the show). The player still needed, in this version of the show, to earn that shutout square themselves.

In the final episode of daytime series (which by that point had an altered contestant area and new theme music), the contestants playing that day were tied one game apiece, but there wasn't enough time to play a tiebreaker game. So to make up for it, both contestants won an additional $200 and each selected a star and won a prize for their troubles. Then after the final commercial break, the Hollywood Squares staff gathered around the contestant area for one last goodbye.

Nighttime/Syndicated VersionEdit

The nighttime version was much different, for it used the self-contained format which became standard on future versions of the show. Two contestants played the game for the entire show and each completed game was worth $250 ($300 on NBC). On the NBC nighttime version, the Secret Square was played in the first two games, with different prizes per game; if the first Secret Square prize was not claimed in the first game, it carried over to the second game, and then if not won in the second game, it went unclaimed.

On the syndicated version, multiple Secret Square games were played on each show, each with different prize packages attached to them. During the first two seasons, there were two such games, valued generally from $2,000 to $3,000; as with the NBC nighttime version, if the first Secret Square prize package was not claimed in the first game, it carried over to the second game. From the third through seventh seasons (1973-1978), the first three games were Secret Square games with package values ranging from $2,500 to more than $7,000 (at least once topping $8,000) and did not carry over to other games if not won. The eighth and ninth seasons had Secret Square games in the second and third games, again with prize values of $3,000 to more than $7,500. The Secret Square game was not played in the final season.

Should time run out in the middle of a game (signified on the syndicated version by an annoying loud horn referred to as "The Tacky Buzzer"), the contestants were awarded $50 for every square captured to their score. On the NBC nighttime version, the player with the most money won a bonus prize, whereas on the syndicated version the player with the most money won a new car:

Seasons 1-7:

  • Chevrolet Vega – Seasons 1 & First Half of 2.
  • Pontiac Astre – Second Half of Season 4, 5 & 6.
  • Datsun B-210 – Second Half of Season 4, 5, 6 & 7.
  • Datsun F-10 – Season 6
  • Pontiac Sunbird – Season 7

Seasons 8-9: The winner now got to choose a star and win a prize. Unlike the daytime version, where prizes under $500 were mixed in with that version's top $5,000 prize, every prize was worth over $5,000; the top prizes were the cash and a new car (usually, either the Sunbird, Pontiac LeMans in Season 9, Datsun Li'l Hustler or a Datsun 200SX), and often a luxury vacation and other gifts (such as furs or, in one show, an "investment diamond") were offered.

If the match ended in a tie, one final question was played with the star of one contestant's choosing; if the contestant could agree or disagree correctly, he/she won the match; otherwise, the match went to the opponent. In the event a contestant should finish with nothing, that contestant still won $100.

During the later years of the run, Merrill-Heatter Productions offered a substantial prize package for all contestants, win or lose.

1980-1981 seasonEdit

For the final season, which debuted in September 1980 as a five-day-a-week series, the show moved to the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to the elimination of the Secret Square game, the bonus round was eliminated as well as cash per game; each game won a prize, and players who won the most games when time expired won a bonus prize (usually, an exotic trip and other gifts), plus qualified to compete in a season-ending tournament for a $100,000 prize package. If the show ended during a game, the player with the most squares won the prize for that game.

On the final episode, Eric Lloyd Scott won the tournament final and a Geodesic Dome Home from Domes America, a Botany 500 Wardrobe, a 52-day cruise on Delta Line Cruises, the first Apple II computer system, the original Sony Betamax, a Coachmen 17.5' Travel Trailer, a Midas Midavan RV, a Buick Riviera, and $20,000.

Storybook SquaresEdit

Main article: Storybook Squares

During the third year of the show, a short-lived Saturday morning kid's version of Hollywood Squares was in effect. It was called Storybook Squares. In this version, the stars playing (usually the same ones from grown-up Hollywood Squares) dressed up as fairy tale characters, historic people, etc. This version lasted for four months in 1969, from January 4 to August 30, but it came back for special weeks in 1976-1977.

Like the normal version, two contestants competed (with a boy as X and a girl as O). The game was played exactly the same as the original Hollywood Squares, but no money was involved. Instead, the children played for prizes for each game won (both players earned a prize for a tie game). Two Secret Squares were played.

In 1976-1977, the show was brought back as a series of theme weeks. This time, teams with three generations of family members (for example, grandmother/mother/daughter) faced off, and each game was worth $300, with each team earning $50 per square should time run out (similar to the short-lived NBC primetime version from 1968). The kids played for the first segment of the show, and their parents squared off in the next game and the grandparents for the rest of the game, unless time was running out (in which case all three players on each team played).

The team with the most money at the end of the game won a large prize, such as a car or exotic vacation.


At one time, the entire set was shaken by an earthquake. Everybody left the studio except for Paul Lynde who stayed put in his square.

(The New) Hollywood Squares (1986–1989)Edit

After five years off the air, a new version of Hollywood Squares was instituted. It was played with a new set of stars and with the original version's semi-regular, John Davidson, at the helm. The show's new announcer was LA DJ Shadoe Stevens, who became the bottom center "square" in the show's second season.

In this version, just like the original version's nighttime version, two contestants played for the entire show and for each game won the winning contestant won $500 and starting in Season 2, the third and all future games were worth double or $1,000. The second game of each show was a secret square game and it was usually played for a trip (which had John coin the phrase "Pack Your Bags" upon a secret square win). Time running out was now signified by a double car horn; by that time each square claimed was worth $200 ($100 in the first season), with that amount awarded should a player finish with nothing.

The player with the most money at the end of the match became the champion. If the match ended in a tie, one final question was played with the star of one contestant's choosing. If the contestant could agree or disagree correctly, he/she won the match; otherwise, the match went to the opponent. The winner of the match went on to play for a brand new car.

The Car GameEdit

To start, the new champion chose one of five keys by drawing out of a small bowl. Then he/she selected one of five cars at center stage under the show's logo that he/she thought the key chosen would start that car. Once the car was chosen, the champion went inside the chosen car alongside a good-luck celebrity of his/her choosing (all nine on Friday shows or when a champ is retiring) and on the count of three turned that key. If that key started the car, the champion won the car and retired from the show; otherwise, he/she returned to play the next day with the same key and one fewer car to choose from. If the champion won five days in row and didn't win the car after the first four, he/she won the car that was left.

Each week featured a different set of five cars, all of the same make. In the event that a champion on Friday returned the following Monday, the lowest-valued cars were eliminated corresponding to the number of prior attempts and the champion selected a new key from the remaining cars available.

In the final season, each of the nine celebrities held a key, and all five cars were available each day, no matter how many times the champion had played for the car. The champion had to pick a key each day, and the celebrity who held that key would be one of the good-luck celebrities. Five stars held keys for each individual car; four stars held keys that didn't start any car. To compensate for the increase in difficulty, champions could simply stay on until winning a car or until they were defeated.

The cars that was available on the show were, Ford (on the pilot), Cadillac, Isuzu, Hyundai, Toyota, Jeep, Volkswagen, Buick, Mazda, Lincoln, Mercury, Merkur, Chevrolet and Renault.


The show became infamous for its April Fools prank played on John Davidson in which two "contestants" (they were actually stunt people) got into a fight after the so-called Ms. Circle "O" (Annie Ellis) caught the so-called Mr. X (Greg Barnett) cheating by peeking behind John's card. It ended by having the fake Ms. Circle push the fake Mr. X off the contestant area after which the audience said, "April Fools', John!" After the commercial break and John's explanation, the two real contestants (with one of them going for the car automatically since this was his final day on the show) came aboard and the game played as normal (the contestant going for the instant car win pretended to be sick), but only two games and the tiebreaker were played that day.

During one of the weeks a record of four cars were given away in one week; during that week the Renault GTA convertible was the car that was won those four times.

The New Hollywood Squares was the first game show ever to go on the road for special weeks. It went to Hollywood, FL, Radio City Music Hall and the Bahamas, among others.

To celebrate the 100th episode of The New Hollywood Squares, there was a very special "Announce-Off" between Shadoe Stevens and his brother Richard Stevens. Richard Stevens became the main announcer for a few months before his brother returned.

John Davidson also mirrors to DeRay Davis who was a former semi-regular panelist on the original MTV2 version in 2012 before becoming the host of the current VH1 version of Hip Hop Squares since 2017.

Possible 1992 RevivalEdit

At the time, when King World[1]bought the format rights from Orion Pictures, they once considered reviving the show in syndication for the Fall 1992 season, however, the idea was scrapped later on.

King Gets the Square

Planet Hollywood SquaresEdit

In 1995, King World teamed up with comedienne Roseanne Barr along with a popular restaurant chain Planet Hollywood tried to do a spinoff of the show under the name Planet Hollywood Squares[2]where it was intended to be paired up with a revival of The Gong Show, but was held off until 1997 just to see if their revivals of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game were working out. However, this never came to fruition.

Planet Hollywood Squares

(The All New) Hollywood Squares/H2 (1998–2004)Edit

In 1998, after a nine-year hiatus, syndication giant King World acquired the rights to the show and produced yet a new version. The new show was hosted by Tom Bergeron (who also hosted the video game version for the Wii), and comedienne/actress Whoopi Goldberg became executive producer as well as the center square. Other regulars included award show writer/comedian Bruce Vilanch, Canadian-born Caroline Rhea, actor Martin Mull (who later became the permanent center square in the show's final season), and the always loud Gilbert Gottfried. Shadoe Stevens was once again the announcer on the show until 2002, when he was replaced by Jeffrey Tambor in Season 5 (2002-2003 season), followed by John Moschitta in the final season (2003-2004 season).


In the beginning for the first four months, the payoffs were similar to the 80s version. Later the payoffs were doubled. Any contestant who finished the game with nothing still won the captured square amount.

Games First Four Months Rest of the Series
First Two Games $500 $1,000
Game 3 $1,000 $2,000
Game 4 & Beyond $2,000 $4,000
Captured Squares $250 $500

The highest front game score was $12,000 (won by a Mr. X named Tom); also the highest in the overall history of the show.

The tiebreaker was the same as the previous versions except that the player who had won more games, more squares overall or won the last game played (whichever came first) had the option to play the question or pass it to his/her opponent, with a miss by either player giving the opponent the win (and captured square amount) by default.

Secret SquareEdit

For the first few months, there were two Secret Square games; the first in game two, and the second in game three. Later, should the Secret Square's prize not be won in the second game, it carried over into the third game. By season two, only one Secret Square game was played each day, but it did revive the progressive prize filled jackpot featured in the daytime version of the original. This was now called the "Secret Square Stash". The biggest Secret Square stash totaled $50,731.

Bonus GamesEdit

Bonus Game #1Edit

For the first three seasons as well as early in the fourth season, the show revived the Peter Marshall bonus game in which the winning contestant picked a star and won a prize inside the chosen star's envelope, with the biggest prize being a new car. Later months had the contestant make a judgment on the star's answer to one final Secret Square-style question in order to win the prize. Failure to do so in the first season won a consolation prize of $2,500 in cash.

Bonus Game #2Edit

After several taped weeks through the fourth season, a new bonus game was instituted. In this bonus, the winning contestants picked a star to partner with in this round. As before each star had an envelope, only this time instead of prizes, they contained money amounts, ranging from $1,000, all the way to $5,000, in $500 increments. The amount revealed by the selected star became the scoring amount for the round.

The winning contestant then had 60 seconds to answer as many three-choice questions himself/herself as he/she could for the value inside the envelope. The star partner could help by conferring, but only the contestant could answer. When the time was up, host Tom gave a category to one final open-ended question, and the winning contestant decided whether or not to answer that question in a "Double or Nothing" fashion.

This bonus was the more complicated and controversial of all bonuses, and there were very few contestants picking the option of going for the final question, so it was terminated after season four, with the highest payout being $60,000.


In 2002 at the beginning of season five, Whoopi Goldberg left the show and former Happy Days star Henry Winkler took over as executive producer and sub-announcer. The new announcer at that time was semi-regular Jeffrey Tambor, and subbing during Game Show Week was Price is Right and Press Your Luck announcer Rod Roddy. Plus, the set was completely overhauled for a new and literal golden look to the show, with the contestants standing instead of sitting as in previous seasons. Also there were now rotating center squares with one of them being the original Master of the Hollywood Squares Peter Marshall during Game Show Week (he also hosted the main game portion on Thursday of that week). In addition, the theme song was changed to a remixed version of "Square Biz" by Teena Marie, called "Hollywood Square Biz".

Also starting with the fifth season, all Secret Square questions were visual questions.

In the final season, the show revived the best 2-out-of-3 game match format from the NBC Daytime version, with each game being worth $1,000 ($2,000 for the whole match). If a player didn't win any money during this season, he/she received acknowledged parting gifts. The scoring format from the first five seasons was used during theme weeks where certain groups of people (lifeguards, celebrity lookalikes) played. In addition the "Secret Square Stash" was discontinued, allowing different prizes to be played for each match, regardless of whether the previous match's prize was won or not. Also, the world's fastest talker John Moschitta became the new announcer with first announcer Shadoe Stevens being the sub announcer during the second Game Show Week.

The Master ReturnsEdit

On December 12, 2002, during Game Show Week, both Marshall and Bergeron traded places with each other. This was the only time Marshall would host an episode of Hollywood Squares since the his version went off the air in 1981. In the episode, Marshall hosted the first portion of the show, with Bergeron taking over for the bonus round much later in the episode.

The Return of the Key GameEdit

H2 also re-instituted the key bonus round from the John Davidson version but with a new twist. The bonus was split into two halves, in the first half, winning contestant had 30 seconds to capture as many stars as he/she can. On each star host Bergeron read a true/false statement about the celebrity chosen, and all the contestant had to do was to agree (true) or disagree (false) on that statement.

For each star captured, an incorrect key from a board of nine was eliminated. When time ran out or if he/she went through all the stars, Tom and the contestant went over to the keys alongside the grand prize he/she is playing for. The number of bad keys according to the number of squares captured were blacked out (with one additional key blacked out for each new attempt at the same grand prize during Season 5), and the contestant had to choose from the ones still lit. For themed weeks, one key was eliminated at the outset in addition to any keys eliminated for stars captured. For the final season (minus theme weeks), champions always had nine keys to work with regardless of how many times they were playing for the grand prize.

Once the winning contestant chose a key, if that key worked, he/she won the grand prize; if not, then the winning contestant still picked up $500 (later $1,000 but reduced to $500 during the final season) for each square captured. The winning contestant could also win the grand prize if he/she captured all nine stars (which happened on four occasions) or got enough right so that the winning key would be the only one left.

Prize StructuresEdit

Here are the grand prizes for Season 5:

  1. Car
  2. $25,000 (in safe)
  3. $30,000+ Trip Around the World (in steamer trunk)
  4. $50,000 (in safe)
  5. $100,000 (in safe)

Nobody ever made it to the final prize, though the highest somebody tried to win was $50,000. During special weeks, the bonus was played for either $25,000 for charity, or a car during special non-celebrity weeks.

Here are the grand prizes for Season 6:

  1. $10,000+ Trip (in steamer trunk)
  2. $10,000 (in safe)
  3. $40,000+ Luxury Car
  4. $25,000 (in safe)
  5. Trip Around the World (in steamer trunk)

Only one person made it to the final prize, but that contestant managed to win four of the prizes. During special weeks, the bonus was played for $10,000.

Returning ChampionsEdit

In the first season there were no returning champions; at that time two new players competed every day. Starting in season two champions stayed on the show until they won five matches or defeated, and in matches with returning champions, the challenger always began the first game.


Tournament of ChampionsEdit

Starting in Season Two, the show began having an annual Tournament of Champions each May, with the season's biggest winners returning to compete for additional cash and prizes. The format changed each season:

Season 2 – Six five-game winners came back to play again. Play was as normal, except the Secret Square was worth $2500, which was added to the score. The bonus game was also played for cash, from $5000 to $15,000. The two contestants who earned the most money came back for a two-game final, playing by the same rules as the semi-finals. In addition to the other cash won, the champion won an extra $50,000. The final bonus round was worth up to $15,000.

Seasons 3 & 4 – Eight four-game winners competed in a semi-final game. The two top winners returned on Friday. The Secret Square prize was an actual prize, again added to the final score, but was the same each day so no one has an advantage. The champion won $25,000 and the trophy, and a Jaguar was among the prizes in the bonus game. Season 4's tournament was similar to that of the previous year, except that the bonus game winnings were taken into account. The final grand champion won a Mercedes-Benz in addition to the money.

Season 5 – Season 5 had a "Close but No Cigar" week to decide who would join the seven undefeated winners in the normal tournament. The bonus round was played for a $25,000 Bloomingdale's shopping spree until Friday, when it was replaced by a cruise on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. The winner of the tournament chose one of the celebrities who then revealed a cash amount of up to $50,000 inside a sealed envelope.

Season 6 – The winner of the tournament played the standard bonus round and chose one of the captured celebrities, one of whom was holding an envelope with up to $100,000 in it.

College ChampionshipEdit

Each year from Seasons 2-5 had 14 college students competing. Seven quarter-final games were played. The four contestants with the highest overall totals move on to the semi-finals. The two winners played in the final game, where the winner won a $25,000 savings bond (later a car), as well as a trophy for their university. Secret Square and bonus round prizes were added to the totals to determine who moved on. In Season 5, the bonus round was played for $25,000 (savings bonds in the quarter-finals, cash in the semi-finals), and the grand champion automatically won a new Jeep Wrangler.

In 2001, Goldberg was not present during some tournament shows, having Caroline Rhea and other celebrity guests taking over center square. In the Finals, comedian Jiminy Glick (played by Martin Short) took over center square.


On October 1, 1999, a well known happening occurred in which Gilbert Gottfried said "YOU FOOL!" after the contestants missed six consecutive tries on their decision whether they agreed or disagreed. The seventh time Gottfried and the contestant agreed, finally winning the square and the game.

Potential revival (2014)Edit

According to an 2014 article from TVNewsCheck[3]it was reported that "If opportunities arise, syndicators could dust off some game show projects. They include CBS Television Distribution's Hollywood Squares. However, this never came in development stages.

Syndicators Serious About Playing Games


1965 Parks VersionEdit

On April 15, 1965, a pilot for The Hollywood Squares was shot with Bert Parks as the host instead of Peter Marshall, along with many of its first regulars: Charley Weaver, Rose Marie, Wally Cox, Abby Dalton, and Morey Amsterdam along with Gisele Mackenzie, Jim Backus, Vera Miles and Robert Q. Lewis making up the nine boxes. The gameplay was very similar to the actual series as well. The contestants played the best two out of three match, and each completed game was worth $250 with the winner returning in the next match. A few differences between the pilot and the actual series were these:

  • The Contestant Area was reversed with Miss Circle (O) on the left podium and Mister X on the right podium.
  • Instead of asking the contestants "Do you agree or disagree?", the host would ask the contestant, "I ask you, Mister X/Miss Circle (O), is that question right or wrong?" If the contestant got it right, the host would say, "And he/she gets it right. X/Circle (O) gets the square!" If the contestant got it wrong, the host would say, "I'm sorry, that's wrong. X/Circle (O) gets the square!"
  • Jim Backus (Mr. Thurston Howell III of Gilligan's Island fame) was the center square in the pilot. However, the late Ernest Borgnine (of McHale's Navy fame) was the first center square when the show premiered on October 17, 1966.
  • There was no "Secret Square" round at all in the pilot.
  • When a contestant correctly guessed the celebrities' answer right or wrong, a very short and out-of-place victory cue would be played.
  • After a contestant (either Mister X or Miss Circle) won his or her two games, a new challenger comes into play.
  • Sometimes one star would answer the question, then another star would blurt out a "Zinger". Even Bert Parks himself would even set them up to do so for example:
    • Bert Parks: "This question is about age...who is older, Dean Martin or Joey Bishop?"
    • Charley Weaver: "I know Dean Martin drinks whiskey that is older than Joey Bishop!"
    • (After contestants’ misses) Morey Amsterdam: "Bert, you know, The Twentieth Century was going to do a story on Dean Martin but they couldn't get a liquor license."

In conclusion, the show was disjointed. There's a good reason for it. According to The E! True Hollywood Story documentary from 2003, it was revealed that the taping session was riddled with technical and other problems. Audience members started to walk out, and the producers even handed out $10 bills to tourists at the Farmer's Mart to fill in the seats. Tapings finally wrapped up at two in the morning. CBS’ head of daytime Fred Silverman in 1976 told former webmaster Steve Beverly, "Bert Parks was a terrible host, If they'd offered us Peter Marshall, then I might have changed my mind!" Both NBC and CBS have shot down the pilot twice but for NBC's case, they apparently saw enough there to work with to green-light it after a second look, but this time with "The Master" Peter Marshall himself as host instead of Parks. (NOTE: Marshall says in his book Backstage With The Original Hollywood Square that there was a second pilot shot, this time with comedian Sandy Baron as the host, even though Marshall himself claims that he thinks he spotted it on tape in 2005. As of now, there's no confirmation if the Baron Squares pilot exists or not. Also, Sandy Baron would later serve as a panelist on the actual show itself).

1985 Davidson VersionEdit

After The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour died an ignominious death in daytime on NBC in 1984, Orion Television wanted to keep the franchise alive. They did so by taping an all-new pilot for the revival on December 12, 1985. Sadly, Peter Marshall wasn't invited along for the ride, so former "semi-regular" square John Davidson (who would incidentally go on to do the 1986-1989 show itself) became the host instead. along with: Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson, Jackie Collins, Marla Gibbs, Apollonia Kotero, Dick Butkus & Bubba Smith, Steve Landesberg, Tony Danza and Dom DeLuise joining in on the classic "Star-Studded" game of tic-tac-toe fun.

Each game was worth $500, with game #2 always being the "Secret Square" game. On this particular pilot, one of the most interesting questions occurred when then-late night King Johnny Carson did a walk-on cameo appearance (which you can see below) for a question. After stealing the show (and about three minutes of air time) the game continued. Whoever had the most money at the end of the game went on to play the bonus game.

The Bonus GameEdit

The bonus game for this pilot was to simply pick a car: a celebrity was along for good luck and if the car was the "pre-selected" car (a 1-in-5 chance), the contestant won the car he/she picked.


72px-TV-PG icon svg


1965-1969 – "The Silly Song" by Jimmie Haskell and his Orchestra

1969-1979 – "Bob & Merrill's Theme"/"Merrill & Bob's Theme" by The William G. Loose Orchestra

1979-1981 – Stan Worth and his Orchestra
Open – "The Hollywood Bowl #2"
Close – "The Hollywood Bowl #1"
Prize Cue – "The Hollywood Bowl #3"
Unused – "No. Hollywood"

1986-1989 – Stormy Sacks as "It's Hip to Be The Hollywood Squares (remixed in 1988-1989)"

1998-2002 – "I Love Hollywood" by Jennifer May Mauldaur & Paul David Weinberg (remix in 2001-2002)

2002-2004 – Teena Marie
Main – "Hollywood Square Biz"
Alternative – "Square Biz"

Theme Lyrics (1998-2002, "I Love Hollywood")Edit

Sung By Whoopi Goldberg (1998-2001) & Bruce Willis (2001-2002 as the remixed theme)

I'm driving down Hollywood Boulevard
With the wind in my face
Life is good!

The lights and the cameras, the glitter, the glamour!
The lights and the cameras, the glitter, the glamour!
The sun's always shining, and life is good!

(Chorus repeats)

Theme Lyrics (2002-2004, "Hollywood Square Biz")Edit

Sung by Teena Marie.

(Whoo!) Everybody get up!

It's the Hollywood Squares!


Flashback, who's that

Have you heard the latest

Playing with the greatest on the Hollywood Squares

That's what I said, if you didn't know yet

This thing it was kismet, you can feel it in the air

So did you have a doubt, I'm 'bout to spell it out

We're playing Hollywood Square biz

We've got the best, the most, players from coast to coast

And I don't wanna boast, it's Hollywood Square biz

I'm talking square biz to you people

(Square, square biz) Hollywood Squares, that is

(Square, square biz) I'm talking 'bout circles and X's

(Square, square biz, Hollywood Squares)

Hollywood Squares that is, square biz


Put a circle in that square

Square biz

Put an X in that square

Square biz

So did you have a doubt, I'm 'bout to spell it out

We're playing Hollywood Square biz

We've got the best, the most, players from coast to coast

And I don't wanna boast, it's Hollywood Square biz

I'm talking square biz to you people

(Square, square biz)

Hollywood Squares, that is

(Square, square biz)

I'm talking 'bout circles and X's

(Square, square biz, Hollywood Squares)

Hollywood Squares that is, square biz

Square biz

Square biz, square biz

(Hollywood Squares)

Square biz, square biz

Square biz, square biz

(Hollywood Squares)

So did you have a doubt, I'm 'bout to spell it out

We're playing Hollywood Square biz

We've got the best, the most, players from coast to coast

And I don't wanna boast, it's Hollywood Square biz

(Instrumental break 1)

Hollywood square biz

We're playing square biz

Hollywood square biz

(We're playing Hollywood square biz)

We're playing square biz

(Instrumental break 2)

Square biz

Square biz

I'm talking Hollywood square biz

Your number's up, no

Dismiss, dismiss

Flashback (x4)

So did you have a doubt, I'm 'bout to spell it out

We're playing Hollywood Square biz

We've got the best, the most, players from coast to coast

And I don't wanna boast, it's Hollywood Square biz

Square Biz (original version from which the 2002 theme is based)Edit

Everybody get up! (2x)

Flash back -- Who's that

Dancing to the latest

Suave de bone, the greatest

Ooo he sure is moving me

That's what I said

Though you didn't know yet

Our love it was kismet

Soon to be made history

So don't you have no doubt, I'm gonna spell it out

I'll hip you to the Tee that is

I've got the best the most -- baby from coast to coast

And I don't want to boast, but I love you

Square Biz

I'm talking Square Biz to you baby

Square Square Biz, I'm talking love that is

I'm talking Square Biz to you baby

Square Square Biz, I'm talking love that is

So shy, oh my

Had to change that real quick

Had to use a few tricks

You know like my femme fatale

Phase two, me you

Dancing on a cloud

I'm gonna sing it loud

Cause my love is on the wow

So don't you have no doubt, I'm gonna spell it out

I'll hip you to the Tee that is

I've got the best the most -- baby from coast to coast

And I don't want to boast, but I love you

Square Biz

I'm talking Square Biz to you baby

Square Square Biz, I'm talking love that is

I'm talking Square Biz to you baby

Square Square Biz, I'm talking love that is

Phase three, ooo wee

On a love oasis

Joy upon our faces

Sent from up above

Bombs burst -- fireworks

Big production thing

I'm talking Horns and Strings

Orchestration in my love

So don't you have no doubt, I'm gonna spell it out

I'll hip you to the Tee that is

I've got the best the most -- baby from coast to coast

And I don't want to boast, but I love you

Square Biz

I'm talking Square Biz to you baby

Square Square Biz, I'm talking love that is

I'm talking Square Biz to you baby

Square Square Biz, I'm talking love that is

Tee: Hey baby, what's your name

Rick: The ladies call me Slick Rick

Tee: Well don't be too slick now

I'm talking Square Biz (repeat 2 times)

I'm talking Square Biz to you (repeat 2 times)


Baby what's happening, entre vous Lady Tee

I've heard a boatload of other ladies' raps

But they ain't got nothin' on me

I'm less than five foot one -- 100 pounds of fun

I like sophisticated funk

I live on Dom Perignon, Caviar, Filet Mignon

And you can best believe that's bunk

Here's what I'm talking -- Square Biz, Square Biz

I've been called Casper, Shorty, Lil' Bit

And some they call me Vanilla Child

But you know that don't mean my world to me

Cause baby names can't cramp my style

I love chicken and Buff's collard greens

A little hot water corn bread

I love you too Cat Daddy, but don't you let that

Go to your head -- That's what I'm talking baby,

Square Biz

You know I like spirituals and rock

Sarah Vaughn, Johann Sebastian Bach

Shakespeare, Maya Angelou,

and Nikki Giovanni just to name a few

I'm wild and peaceful, Lady Tee

I got to keep my irons in the fire you see

I got the point, the scam, the low, the deal

What you feel, say what!

Flash back -- who's that (repeat 4 times)


  • NBC Studios, Burbank, CA (1966–1980 & 1986–1987)
  • The Versailles Theater at Rivera Hotel, Las Vegas, NV (1980–1981)
  • The Prospect Studios (ABC Television Center [West]), Los Angeles, CA (1987)
  • Fox Television Center (Metromedia Square), Los Angeles, CA (1987–1988)
  • Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA (1988–1989)
  • CBS Television City, Hollywood, CA (1965 pilot & 1998–2004)


International VersionsEdit

Here are a list of countries that did their versions of Hollywood Squares:

  • Arabia
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada (French language only)
  • Czech Republic
  • China
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom


Main Article: Hollywood Squares/Merchandise

Additional PagesEdit

Hollywood Squares/Quotes & Catchphrases
Hollywood Squares/The Squares In Popular Culture
Hollywood Squares/Video Gallery
Hollywood Squares/Merchandise


To see pictures of the many logos over the years click here.
To see press photos, pictures & drawings of Hollywood Squares, click here.


  1. Look under the blurb King Gets the Square
  2. Roseanne, Planet Hollywood Reviving Game Show
  3. Syndicators Serious About Playing Games


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.