|Mark L. Walberg (2007)|
Christopher Knight (2008–2009)
Syndication (Daily): 9/22/2008 – 4/10/2009 (reruns until 9/18/2009)
OPENING SPIEL: "It's time to play Trivial Pursuit! And all across America, viewers are taping trivia questions to get in the game! (viewers asking questions) You can play, star, and win on Trivial Pursuit: America Plays!"
REST OF SPIEL: "Hi everybody, I'm Christopher Knight, and welcome to Trivial Pursuit: America Plays. The show that lets you at home get in the game by giving you a chance to play against our studio contestants for thousands of dollars in prize money. All you have to do is send us your trivia questions, because you CAN be part of the American Team."
The twist was that the questions were provided by people all around the United States and all those whose questions did get used had a chance to win money as well.
The show pit three in-studio players against "America's Team", which consisted of people who submitted their questions via the show's website.
Six color-coded categories which roughly correspond to the actual categories (the green of which was most often "Whatever", which was a miscellaneous/wild card/potpourri category) were shown:
Note: Purple replaced brown like red replaced brown in the 1993 shows.
A randomizer picked a category and value ($250 to $500 in increments of $50 depending on the difficulty) for each question. Each correct answer by the studio contestants put the value into the studio bank, and earned that player a wedge for their scoring token, if they didn't have one of that selected color. An incorrect answer put the value in America's bank, and no money was put in the studio bank for that question, even if it was answered correctly by another player. The money was added each time a contestant attempted to answer the question and failed to answer correctly, so America's bank would be credited with double or triple the value of the question if more than one player gave an incorrect answer. If nobody buzzed in, or if nobody attempted the question after somebody answered that question incorrectly, the face value was added to America's bank.
The first question of the round was an "All Play" question, which was a toss-up in which anyone was eligible to answer. The player who answered this toss-up question correctly had first chance at the following question, and kept control until they missed. If they missed or took too long to answer the question, the other two were able to buzz in and steal control and the wedge with a correct answer. However, as in the board game, if a contestant answered a question in a category they already had a wedge for, no wedges were awarded, but the contestant earned control of the next question.
It took three wedges to win the round. Once a player earned three wedges, they moved to the "Hot Pursuit" round, and the next question was an "All Play" for the other two players, who competed to join the first player. The first two players to fill three of the wedges in their token moved on to the next round; the other was eliminated.
For the second or third question (which was almost always the green category) of the first round, the captain of America's team was introduced, via live webcam, to ask it. They were shown multiple times through the show.
Round 2 was called Hot Pursuit. All questions were "All Play"/toss-up questions worth $500 ($1,000 in some earlier-taped episodes). There were no specific categories; each correct answer simply filled in one wedge, regardless of color. The first player to fill all six wedges of their token won the game; the three wedges from the first round carried over, so it took three correct answers win the game.
The winning player faced "America's Team" one-on-one, with six new categories, each with increasing values:
The categories were shown at the outset, and the order in which they were asked was shuffled. The host put the categories into motion, and when the America's Team captain saw an order that sounded suitable, he/she yelled "Stop!", which set the categories' order and value. As before, questions answered correctly went to the player's bank, while questions answered incorrectly went to America's Bank. The team with the most money in their bank at the end of the round won all the money in their bank. If America won, its bank was divided evenly among all the people who had their questions asked that day. In that situation, a list of the winning members of America's team was shown, similar to a credit roll.
At any point, if it became mathematically impossible for one bank to overtake the other, the final round ended right there. If the studio bank won in this situation, the studio player had the chance to play the next unused question (not necessarily the last) as a double-or-nothing wager, or pass. If America's bank was higher, the remaining questions were discarded. If there was a tie at the end of the game, a sudden-death question was asked. The bank who answered the question correctly won the game.
All contestants, win or lose, went home with a Trivial Pursuit board game.
Based on the board game of the same name by Selchow & Righter-Horn Abbot, later Parker Brothers, now Hasbro.
This was the first game-show-based-on-a-board-game that was distributed by Debmar-Mercury, the second was Celebrity Name Game (based on the board game Identity Crisis) in 2014.