Game Shows Wiki
Bob Eubanks
Debbie James
Ed MacKay
Powerball the Game Show.jpg
Syndicated (Powerball states): 10/7/2000 - 9/28/2002
Johnathan Goodson Productions

Powerball: The Game Show was a lottery show for states with the Powerball jackpot.

Format (2000-2001)[]

The first format was a big race setup.

Powerball Express[]

On the cliff (Similar to Price is Right's game Cliff Hangers), a train pushed a red Powerball to one of five spaces signifying zero to 600 miles (points), or completely off the board. The balls represented each of the possible spaces (and a black "danger ball" with an "X" for off the board) were dumped into a lotto machine, and one was secretly drawn. Players were given an offer to take a sure 500 miles and sit the game out, or take a chance on the number of miles drawn. After the first draw, the balls for the remaining possible spaces, another "danger ball", and a new ball for a 1,000-mile space on the very end of the cliff, are mixed up. Players were opted to either keep their miles or risk them on every draw, but if they were playing when the ball had gone off off the edge, they had lost all their miles.

After that game, 50 to 140 bonus miles were randomly assigned to all ten players in order to break ties.


Balls of varying weights were added to an on-stage buoy. Successfully added balls were worth 700, 1,500, and 2,000 miles to players who were still in the game during their successful addition (players can sit the game out altogether and receive 1,000 miles, or quit after any successful ball addition), but any of the players who were still in the game when the buoy capsizes had lost all miles won in that round.

The Home Stretch[]

Players attempted to predict whether the majority of respondents to a poll question answered Yes or No. Each correct answer was worth either 100, 1,000 or 3,000 miles, chosen randomly. After each of the first two questions, the four lowest scorers were eliminated.

After the third and final question, the highest scorer was that week's champion and won $2,500.

Earlier Tapings[]

Earlier taped shows had the survey game be played first, Powerball Express second, and Capsize third.

Format (2001-2002)[]


Six or seven players competed in that game. In each turn, two players were randomly selected and the one who was selected first had hit a button which released a ball in a variable starting position. From then on, a ball rolls on a track which led to the basket. Getting the ball to reach the goal was not an easy task as swinging clubs attempted to knock the ball off the track. If a play was successful, then the players stayed alive in the game. If the ball was knocked off the track, then both players were eliminated. If six players competed, then when two of them were left standing, one more turn was played to determine the winner. If seven players competed, then the one who's left standing was deemed the winner. The winner of that game won $5,000.


In each turn, two players were randomly selected. The player who was chosen first picked one of eight balls (each of various unknown weights). That ball was placed on the redesigned onstage buoy. One player then pressed the button which unlocked the buoy. If the ball stayed on the buoy after two swings, they remained in the game. If the ball fell off, both players were eliminated. After each turn, a new ball replaced an empty position at the ball table. Play continued until the last turn was conducted to decide the winner. The winner of that game won $5,000.


This game used a set piece which was designed to look like a futuristic supercomputer. Six or seven players competed in that game. In each turn, two players were randomly selected to take a position on one or the other of the spaces (the "X" space or the "O" space). The Brainiac had then secretly "booby-trapped" one of the spaces as it's program predicted they are more likely to choose. Any of the players who had stood on a "booby-trapped" step were eliminated. Any of the players who had stood on the space that wasn't booby-trapped remained in the game, but eventually they would be selected to play again. Players who survived the turn while standing on the "O" space received a "life preserver". If a player with a "preserver" was chosen, then he/she had to put it in a box and another selection took place.

Like with the first game (see Gauntlet), if six players competed, then whoever was left standing won the game. If seven players competed, then when two were left standing, one more turn would decide the winner. The winner of that game won $5,000.


Before the playoffs were conducted, one of the remaining contestants were selected in a Wild Card Draw. That person joined the winners of the previous games and had also won $5,000. In the playoffs, a survey question was asked and players locked in their answers in percentages. The two players who came closest to the actual percentage moved on to the next round. The same process was repeated with another question to determine the winner.

Zero Gravity (Bonus Round)[]

The winning contestant played the bonus round, called "Zero Gravity". A ball, suspended in mid-air by various air jets, was dropped onto a spinning wheel (similar to the one on Wheel of Fortune) divided into 16 sections, each having dollar amounts ranging from $10K, $25K, $50K, and $100,000. There were four spaces for each amount. More air jets would push the ball around the wheel, and the jets would turn off after 20 seconds. The jets also had red strobe lights and sparkly effects were projected on the wheel.

The player may keep what they won, or risk it for a second spin with four spaces each worth $10K, $15K, and $20K, and one each of $25K, $50K, $200K, and $1,000,000.

In the event the ball had landed on the $10,000 space in the initial spin, s/he was then automatically given the second spin since that was the lowest amount available. In the event it would land on $100,000, the player had to keep their winnings and could not spin again.

In the second season, only one spin was taken with the dollar values as the same as the second spin in Season 1; whatever amount the ball had landed on was the grand prize for that show.

The $1,000,000 top prize was won twice in the show's two seasons, by Tim Holbrook of St. Cloud, MN and Barbara Edgeley of California, KY.

Home Players[]

A home player element was utilized as well. Twenty players from each state (as well as "border jumpers" from surrounding states) who sent in non-winning tickets were revealed during the course of the show; every name revealed won $250 ($500 in the second season) plus additional money equal to 1% of the amount won in Zero Gravity (anywhere from $100-$10,000).


  • The music used for the bonus wheel was recycled into The Price is Right for the Million-Dollar Spectaculars, used when someone spun for the Million during the 2003-07 specials.
    • The bells and sirens from The Price is Right were re-used when the Powerball rested on the $1,000,000 during the Zero Gravity bonus round.
  • This was the final game show hosted by Bob Eubanks.


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Related Show[]

Powerball Instant Millionaire - another syndicated lottery show airing from 2002-04.

YouTube Links[]

A full episode from November 18, 2000
A full episode from September 7, 2002