Game Shows Wiki
Jerilee Bonner
Danny Seckel
Craig J. Jackson
TBS Superstation: 8/28/2006 – 10/20/2006 (This show probably also aired on WTBS 17 in Atlanta and in Canada)

Midnight Money Madness was a phone-in game show where at-home viewers could text in to have a chance to play puzzles and trivia games for a chance for cash prizes.


This was a game show where the contestants were home viewers. American residents over 18 years of age could enter the contest by text messaging a request, dialing a 1-900 number, or by using the online form. A person could enter up to ten times, regardless of entry method. The official rules detailing charges and entry Were located at the show's website.[1] Entries had an equal chance of selection, regardless of the means of entry.[2] If selected, the registrant would be called and become a participant. Participants stayed on the line listening to a recorded message until they either proceeded into the next round of selection or dropped from the participant pool. One person from the final round of selection was chosen to be brought on-air for a question. The on-air contestant had the chance to play the game for cash.

The program was produced by Endemol, more notable for their big-budget game shows and reality programs like Deal or No Deal, 1 vs. 100 and Big Brother. In July 2007, Endemol ventured into another participation TV program with Take the Cake.


The show featured various mini-games which were played throughout the program. The rewards for the games were cash prizes ranging anywhere from $100 to $3,700.

To speed up the games at certain points, various methods were employed:

  • Hints given by the hosts to viewers.
  • A "lightning round" where more calls were accepted than normal.
  • The host increasing the prize amount as an incentive.
  • A timer would start to represent how long the game would remain and a new one would come up.

Some games, such as "What the Blank?" & "Things That Are…" relied heavily on sexual innuendos for comedy on the show, such as "Things that precede the word 'ass'," or "Things you prefer bigger."

The games below were the most commonly played games, but not the only games played. Some games were purposely played only once, while others were titled differently but had similar gameplay.

Game Instructions
Find the Phrase A rebus or visual representation based on a popular, everyday phrase was given. (e.g., VA DERS would be Space Invaders, because there is a space in the word "Vaders".) The caller had to identify what the phrase was.
Four/Five Famous A certain category was given, with a group of people or items pre-selected that fit the category, each of which had a certain cash value. The contestant had to guess one of the items in that category.
Gargle-Oke The hosts would take a drink of water and attempt to gargle a famous song. The contestant had to identify the song.
Impersonation Contestants had to guess what celebrity or fictional character a guest comedian was impersonating.
Let 'em Bounce Three sections of a word were on the screen. The contestant had to re-arrange the sections to form the proper word.
Linked Together Four words were written horizontally on the screen with one missing letter in each. The missing letters linked together vertically to form another word which the contestant had to guess, similar to a crossword.
Mumble Jumble Similar to an anagram, a word, name or phrase with the letters mixed up was given. The contestant then had to identify what the unscrambled phrase was.
Nitty Griddy A 3×3 grid appeared with the three letters in a designated word located in various spots. The caller had to identify how many times the designated word appears in any pattern.
Order Up! Five images were given relating to a certain person (i.e. Images of the evolution of Michael Jackson's nose.) The contestant had to identify in what order of time the photos were taken.
Things That Are… A descriptive word was given to describe five pre-chosen items (each worth an increasing value). The contestant had to identify one of the five items to receive its dollar amount.
Tip the Scales A gathering of items was placed on the stage. The contestant had to identify which items, when combined, weighed a designated amount.
What the Blank? Similar to the Super Match on Match Game, a phrase with a blank was given. Callers gave the answer that they thought would fill in the blank. If he/she picked one of the pre-chosen answers, he/she won its designated value.
Wheel Word Contestants had to spell a word around a circle by correctly filling in a blank letter and determining whether the word goes clockwise or counterclockwise around the circle. The hosts generally provided the first letter.
Which One Doesn't Belong? Four or five words or phrases were given, and callers had to decide which one was out of place in context with the rest. The winning caller did not, however, have to give the correct reason for why it doesn't belong.
Night Cap At the end of the program, a question pertaining to events from earlier in the show was given. The contestant had to answer that question correctly. If he/she did, one of the hosts would spin a wheel containing values between $200 and $2,500. Whatever value the flipper of the wheel landed on was awarded to the contestant. If not enough time remained to play a whole Nightcap game, the last contestant of the show would be awarded whatever value the wheel landed on.

The Midnight Money Madness Door[]

Sometimes during a show, a doorbell for a door on the side of the stage rang and a celebrity, known from other various appearances and stints, would be present for the show. He/She would sometimes help out with clues or simply be there for comic material. Notable appearances included Phyllis Diller[3], Jim J. Bullock[4], Brigitte Nielsen[5], Barry Williams[6], and Debra Wilson(parodying Whitney Houston)[7].


There had been many complaints of technical difficulties and unscrupulous behavior on part of the hosts, producers and creators of the show.[8] Many on the TBS forums felt that it was necessary to report when the online entries were down (as show participation at that stage is considered gambling), while others feel that the show was simply bad due to technical problems.

Two of the first three East Coast episodes had a lot of technical problems. For example, during the second episode, the hosts spent the first ten minutes of the show elaborating on the entry methods. After that break, the viewers were told they are making sure their phones do not malfunction and to avoid dead air, TBS played an episode of Bloopers. The show went on normally approximately sixty minutes into the broadcast. The third East Coast episode, on August 30, had more problems. This time the problems were all off the air. The internet participation was stifled due to more technical difficulties on the part of TBS for the first forty-five minutes.

Additionally, on one episode, a blooper happened, where after an on-home contestant named Greg tried to fill the one remaining blank that to complete "Wasting…" as "money", "water" and "energy" were revealed, and with forty seconds left, the board slipped off the main prop, and caused the one remaining answer to reveal prematurely, and that answer was "brain cells", and the guy did a pun saying "Wasting props!". The host and guy were to go to commercial. This clip was seen on an episode of Most Outrageous Moments.


  1. Midnight Money Madness. Archived from the original on 2007-05-31. Retrieved on 2007-06-19.
  2. Midnight Money Madness rules. Retrieved on 2007-06-19.
  3. Appeared on the August 29, 2006 episode.
  4. Appeared on the August 30, 2006 episode.
  5. Appeared on the September 22, 2006 episode
  6. Appeared on the September 12, 2006 episode.
  7. Appeared on the September 8, 2006 episode.
  8. MMM forums. Archived from the original on 2006-11-09. Retrieved on 2006-08-29.


Official Site (via Web Archive)