Game Shows Wiki
Peter Tomarken
Bob Hilton
TKO 1989.jpg
Unsold Pilots for ABC: 11/10/1989
Mark Goodson Productions

"Meet (insert contestant, occupation, and location); (insert contestant, occupation, and location); and (insert contestant, occupation, and location). These three players will compete all this week on, T… K… O! And here's the star of our show, Peter Tomarken!"

TKO was an unsold game show pilot where three contestants were asked questions and were given initial letters to the answers (à la Blockbusters).


The First Two Rounds[]

The contestants faced a game board with three columns consisting of five spaces each. Only the topmost space in each column was revealed at the start of the game, each showing a dollar amount and a one-word category. The player in control chose a space, and all three were shown three sets of initials. Peter asked a toss-up question whose answer corresponded to one set. The first player to buzz in, choose the correct set, and say what those initials stood for won the value of the question and chose the next space. If no one chose the correct initials within a certain time limit, Peter gave them the correct initials and the players could still win the money by mentioning what they stood for. There was no penalty for an incorrect answer. Once a space was played, it was removed from the board and the space below it became available.

Each question was worth more money than the previous question in the column. In Round 1, question values increased from $100 to $500 in $100 increments, going down each column. These values were doubled for Round 2, meaning that the question values increased from $200 to $1,000 in $200 increments.

Two spaces in each round were secretly designated as Knockout Questions. When a player answered one of these correctly, he/she not only won its value, but could deduct the same amount from one opponent's total, effectively stealing their money. Scores could never go below zero, however.

Each round continued until all 15 questions had been asked.

Final Round: The Knockout Game[]

In the final round there were no categories, just general knowledge questions which followed the same format as in the first two rounds. When a player buzzed in, a money spinner stopped on a value between $500 and $1,000 in $25 increments. A correct answer did not award this amount, but instead allowed the player to deduct it from one opponent's score. When a player's score reached zero, he/she was eliminated from that day's game. The last surviving player won the game and kept whatever money he/she had left, plus an additional $5,000.

The same three players were to compete through an entire week of shows.


The buzzer sound for an incorrect answer is borrowed from the "Fast Money" round from Family Feud.

The sound for the "Knockout" is borrowed from The Price is Right pricing game Pathfinder and Trivia Trap.

The full pilot aired on Buzzr as part of their "Lost and Found" week on September 8, 2015.

In 2016, a clip of the pilot aired in a promo on Buzzr called Celebrating 75 Years of the TV Game Show.


Edd Kalehoff for Score Productions

The theme was later reused on Goodson's Body Talk, and still later on the lottery game shows Illinois Instant Riches and Bonus Bonanza.


CBS Television City, Hollywood, CA


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The Game Show Pilot Light: TKO

YouTube Videos[]

Pilot 4
Clips of the pilot with Fixed Audio