|Marc Summers & Arthel Neville|
WWL New Orleans, LA: 10/7/1996 – 1/1997
Majority Rules (not to be confused with the short-lived 1949-50 ABC Primetime game show of the same name) was an equally short-lived game show which was all about people's opinions.
The game was for people with great opinions and their ability to express them. Contestants playing the game came from the studio audience; they won the right to play based on how strong their opinions were.
Opinion-typed questions were asked, and audience members buzzed in to be the first two players to give their own answers (one from each player). When the answers were given, the rest of the audience voted on which answer was the best. The player who's answer got the most votes won $500 and the right to play in the next round. As soon as three/four contestants won the questions, that's when the game began.
Host Marc read opinion questions with two possible answers, the objective was to guess which one was more popular than the other. On each question, the first player to buzz-in had a chance to answer. A correct answer won $100, but an incorrect answer lost $100. On any question, a player could challenge the buzz-in player's answer if he/she thought the first answer was incorrect; whoever won the challenge stole the other player's money.
When time ran out, one more question was asked and that question would be asked to the studio audience, plus it was worth $1,000. Marc read the question to which it had three possible answers (instead of two) to the audience, and they locked in their answers as to which was the best answer; meanwhile the contestants secretly voted as to which would be the most popular. The most voted answer was then revealed and the player(s) who selected the right answer split the money ($250 for all four players, $350 for three, $500 for two; these proportions could vary on a pari-mutuel basis), but if only one person chose the most voted answer he/she got the whole pot.
The two players with the highest scores went on to the "Speaker Circle". If there was a tie for 2nd place, one final question was asked to the tied player with no right to challenge; the player who won that question advanced to the "Speaker Circle". All players kept the cash.
Later shows eliminated the audience selection process and added a second portion of Round 1, to which the audience voted on which was the best answer. There were three additions that made this round interesting:
- A player who buzzed in did not have to choose either of the two answers given; instead he/she could come up with an answer of his/her own.
- If there was no challenge, the player to buzz-in first got $100 for the answer and another $100 from an opponent of his/her choosing.
- Both Marc & Arthel took turns asking questions.
Round 2: Speaker Circle Faceoff
One final question was asked (this time by Arthel) to both players who both thought of an answer during the break. Each player had 15 seconds to convince the audience to vote for his/her answer. The order of players was determined by selection of who would go first or second, which was made by the player in the lead (or the winner of a coin-toss in case of a tie). When they were done, the audience cast their votes and the player whose answer had the most votes won the game & $2,500. The losing player received an additional $500.
Bonus Game: The Big Check
One more question with three possible answers was asked to the studio audience, their votes were tabulated by computer. The winning contestant's job was to place the answers in order from highest percentage of votes to lowest percentage of votes on the big check from left to right, for the percentages (which were mentioned after the answers were locked in) represented the digits of the check and how much the winning contestant could take home. For example, if Choice A contained 59% of the votes, Choice B contained 24% of the votes, and Choice C contained 17% of the votes, the highest possible amount on the check would be worth $5,924.17. If the player could do that successfully, he/she won $10,000 plus the amount of the check. Before the reveal, the winning contestant was given an offer to bailout with a fixed amount $5,000.
Players could appear for two shows, with the highest total awarded being $37,260.23.
In the earliest taped episodes, the first two rounds were nothing more than elimination rounds. The qualifying round saw audience members who were not part of the majority get eliminated. The elimination process went on until there were seven players left. Those seven went on to the first main round which was also different: there was no money score and correct answers from three players advanced to the second part of Round 1 with the survivors of that part of the round going to the "Speaker Circle". Starting with the 9th episode, only four players would go on to the first round, and the first two to answer Marc's opinion questions correct went to the "Speaker Circle".
The Speaker Circle round was basically the same as the later shows except that each player had 20 seconds instead of 15. Also, win or lose, both players received $100 for every audience member that voted for his/her answer.
The Big Check round was played the same way except that the cash buyout was the equivalent of the winning player's winnings, so therefore, the winning player could take home double their money.
This was the first game show produced by DreamWorks Television.
Majority Rules began as a test series on KPNX Phoenix, AZ. WWL New Orleans, LA added the show to its schedule on October 7. Unfortunately, it never expanded beyond those two stations before its cancellation.
NBC Studio 1, Burbank, CA
Marc: Remember, anyone can win; anybody can have fun when you play by what? Contestant: MAJORITY RULES!