John Conte
Ginger Drysdale
Stan Chambers
Word Authority
Tad Kent
Unsold Pilot for NBC: 7/14/1962
Bill Derman Productions

Shopping Spree (not to be confused with the Family Channel show of the same name) was an unsold show based around anagrams.


Main GameEdit

Two players were shown a word and had to alternate making other words from it, receiving one point per word. This continued until one either gave an illegal word, repeated a word, or took too long to give a word, with the opponent challenging any given word by hitting a bell with a xylophone mallet.

After one player was ruled incorrect, their opponent continued making anagrams until also giving an invalid word, repeated word, or taking too long. Once both players were done, a bonus word was revealed; if either had given this word, s/he received an extra five points.

After two words, the player with the higher score won the game.

Bonus RoundEdit

Various prizes were now present onstage such as toasters, grandfather clocks, furs, and cars. The player chose a prize, then got their front-game score in seconds to find that prize's tag. Of note, the tags did not match the prizes, so the one for a car may be on a clock; further, some tags were events, such as forfeiting a prize or swapping one tag for another.

After time expired, the claimed tags were read and credited to the player.


Ivan Ditmars


KTLA, Los Angeles, California


  • Assistant Ginger Drysdale made several mistakes during the pilot, including an attempt to escort the wrong player to the bonus round.
  • The used words, as well as the scores, were displayed on a glass wall and written by two production assistants.
  • Bill Derman's contract with KTLA included their furnishing the facilities, announcer, director, tape stock for recording, and three kinescopes for sales purposes. If the show had gone to series, Derman would have been required to use the station's facilities for recording.
    • The contract also noted that, if the show was sold prior to August 1, 1963, the station would get $750 per week the series aired. If the sale was after that date, Derman would have to pay KTLA a reimbursement fee of $1,050.
  • While the program was shot for NBC, the network let its nine-month option on the show lapse. Derman attempted to sell the show to ABC, who declined by claiming that it conflicted with Window Shopping (despite the fact the latter had ended in 1962). CBS also declined, and an attempt at syndication through United Artists also fell through.
    • At the same time, Merv Griffin was developing an anagram show for NBC, and his agent saw similarities to Shopping Spree. To avoid a lawsuit, Merv bought the rights from Derman on August 7, 1963, giving Bill a creator credit and $750 per week that the resulting show, Word for Word, was on the air.
    • In response to this, KTLA cancelled Derman's Beat the Odds on August 23, despite the show still being popular. Later, Paramount (which owned KTLA) attempted to sue Derman's production company for a share of the royalties he got from Word for Word and lost.


Shopping Spree at The Game Show Pilot Light
The lawsuit between Paramount Television and Bill Derman Productions (free registration required to view)

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