Game Shows Wiki
Mark L. Walberg
Vanessa Marshall (2004)
Mitch Lewis (2004–2005)
Broadcast (PAX)
Aired Pilot (2-Day Special): 5/17/2004 – 5/18/2004
Full Series: 8/9/2004 – 2/4/2005 (reruns aired until 6/21/2006)
CreativeArts Entertainment
PAXSON Entertainment

On the Cover was a game show where the questions had answers relating to people, places, and things that appeared on the covers of popular magazines.


Three contestants competed in a game of identifying people, places and things on covers of magazines, CDs, DVDs and other items, and answering pop culture questions.

Main Game[]

Round 1: Lightning Round[]

In this round, each contestant had 15 seconds to identify celebrities and shows on a series of covers based on the clue given by Walberg. The answer, which was always there, was pixelated so that it wasn't given away. However, only one guess was allowed per cover. Each correct answer was worth 100 points.

Round 2: On the Cover[]

In this round (referred to on the air as the "On The Cover Round"), three covers were displayed on the board. Each one was assigned a point value that began at 250 points. The leading player chose a cover, and a question was asked concerning some aspect of what was on the cover. The first player to buzz-in got to answer the question, and a correct answer awarded the points and control of the board. An incorrect answer gave the other players a chance to answer. After each question, a new cover replaced an old cover and was assigned the 250 points, while the value of the unchosen covers increased by that amount until they were chosen. The round continued until time was called.

Round 3: Parody Covers[]

In this round, three parody covers were displayed on a "rack" on the board. The answers to questions were the celebrities on those covers (more often than not forming a common bond). Each correct answer on the first rack was worth 500 points. After five questions, a new rack of parody covers was introduced, with the value of the questions increased to 750 points. The questions on the final rack of covers were worth 1,000 points. When the round was over, the player with the most points won the game. If the game ended in a tie, a sixth question using the third rack was asked, and the first player to answer correctly won the game; a wrong answer meant the other tied contestant won the game.

Bonus Round: Mystery Cover[]

In the bonus round, the winning player was shown a grid of nine boxes with numbers arranged in a random order. Behind the boxes was a mystery cover that the contestant had to identify. To remove the boxes, the winning contestant had to identify what was on nine covers in 20 seconds (30 in earlier-taped episodes). Each correct identification revealed a piece that corresponded to the identified cover. When time ended, or if all nine covers were played (whichever came first), a category to the mystery cover was revealed, and the numbered boxes were revealed. If the winning player was able to identify what was on the mystery cover within 10 seconds, he/she won a trip; failing to do so earned a consolation prize.

NOTE: In the opening of the show & before the start of the bonus round, announcer Mitch Lewis gave a fact about the subject of that day's mystery cover; and Mark would gave that same fact to the winning contestant when the bonus was done.

Pilot Format[]

In the two pilots, the format was different. Here are the differences:

  • Point values were lower.
    • Round 1 - 25 points per cover
    • Round 2 - 50 points (plus 50 for each time the cover was unchosen)
    • Round 3 - 1st Rack = 100 points, 2nd Rack = 200 points, 3rd Rack = 300 points
  • Contestants stood next to the host during round one, as opposed to standing at the podiums.
  • The parody covers had the celebrity's name or pun-related answers above them.
  • The winning player won a prize for winning the main game.
  • The bonus round allowed the contestant to answer four questions about the celebrities on four "On the Cover" covers (one for each question) to solve the mystery cover. Each answer was a clue to a puzzle. Success meant winning a prize package that included a trip to the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Taping Location[]

Glendale Studios, Glendale, California


The double-buzz used for wrong answers in the first round and the first part of the Mystery Cover round was carried over from Wheel of Fortune, which has been used when time ran out of the bonus round since 1989.

The sound used to indicate that the contestants ran out of time in the second or third rounds was originally used on Challenge of the Child Geniuses.

Additionally, the sound used when the lights were dimmed for the Mystery Cover round would later be carried over to Deal or No Deal when the models would slowly start to open the briefcases.

130 episodes were produced.


Additional Page[]

On the Cover/Catchphrases


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Andrew Barkin
Christian Darby
Rick Leed
James Ring


Official Website
PAX Website
Rules for On the Cover

YouTube Videos[]

People On TV (A 1990 Pilot which was a precursor to On The Cover)

The Early Aired Pilots[]

Pilot A
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Pilot B
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The Series[]

Premiere (Matt vs. Karen vs. Trista)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

8/12/04 (Don vs. Blaine vs. Parker)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Contestant Matt Gilbert
Main Game (Edited)
Bonus Game