Many game shows like The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune are revered for their longevity. Others, like Password, are remembered for their various incarnations that were popular throughout the years. The game shows in this list belong to neither of these groups – in fact, they are polar opposites!
Here are seven game shows that have had some of the shortest runs of all time. From a couple of months to only a couple of episodes, these games are gone, but perhaps not forgotten.
1. "Blankety Blanks"
Blankety Blanks was hosted by the legendary Bill Cullen. The show ran for eleven weeks in 1975, and featured teams of celebrities and contestants. The game itself was both confusing and somewhat dull, with teams competing to fill in phrases with missing words, called "blankety blanks." The phrases were usually puns, and generally not very funny. It had potential, however. Instead of reorganizing and putting more energy into the show, ABC decided to cancel it.
2. "Your Number's Up"
Your Number's Up was a strange little game that lasted only three months on NBC in 1985. It was rather confusing, with the regular game, a studio audience game, and a home game running all at the same time. Contestants had to guess acronyms to earn points, and at the same time a number wheel was spun to match four digits with the last four digits in an audience member's phone number. Audience members could win a trip to Hawaii by matching their phone numbers and then correctly predicting who would win the game. Not surprisingly, Your Number's Up was a title that foreshadowed the plug being pulled quickly on this awkward game show.
3. "It's Your Chance of a Lifetime"
It's Your Chance of a Lifetime was only on the air for five episodes in June of 2000. Gordon Elliott hosted this quiz show, which consisted of a single contestant answering questions to earn prize money. If a contestant answered the first question correctly, the show paid off their credit card bill. Each question afterwards was worth a set amount of cash. Even though the show only lasted for one week, one of the top prize winners in game show history won over a million dollars on It's Your Chance of a Lifetime. Dr. Tim Hsieh won $1,042,309 out of a possible maximum prize of $1,280,000. FOX had planned to move the show to one night a week, but instead abruptly pulled it from their lineup completely.
4. "The Chair"
The Chair was based on a very odd premise. Contestants were hooked up to a heart monitor and given a "redline" rate – 160% of their resting heart rate. If any contestant went over this rate while answering questions, their prize money was reduced by $100 per second until they either ran out of money, or stabilized their heart rate. Adding to the bizarre setup, there was a Heart Stopper round in which the contestant would have to face something that was designed to raise their heart rate. One contestant faced a live alligator that was lowered in front of her, while her chair moved closer to the beast. The Chair was hosted by John McEnroe, and ran for a total of nine episodes on ABC in 2002.
5. "The Chamber"
The Chamber, which aired on FOX in January of 2002, was another oddity that tried to entertain at the expense of its contestants. The Chair on ABC was often compared to this little gem. Each player was strapped into a "chamber" and forced to endure intense heat and cold, as well as other distractions such as falling tacks or gusts of wind. As the contestant braved the chamber, host Rick Schwartz would ask them quiz questions that they had to answer. Contestants were also hooked up to heart and blood pressure monitors, and had a pre-determined "Danger" zone which they could not pass for more than 20 seconds on the monitors. The Chamber fared even worse than The Chair, with a total run of a mere three episodes before viewers had had enough.
6. "Big Deal"
Hosted by Mark DeCarlo, The Big Deal was an over-the-top game that required contestants to participate in stunts and challenges to earn prizes. Contestants had to do things like throwing rocks at the windows of their own homes in order to win new furniture (and new windows). Another stunt required a contestant to fling teddy bears at a spiked wall, attempting to skewer the bears. The end game was an almost exact copy of Let's Make a Deal, in which DeCarlo asked the top prize winners of the day to exchange their prizes for what's behind one of three screens. If contestants decided to swap, they had to keep what was behind the screen and forfeit their earlier winnings. Only six episodes of The Big Deal were ever aired on the FOX network.
7. "Show Me the Money"
Show Me the Money was a fun game show hosted by William Shatner, which ran for only five episodes on ABC. There were 13 female dancers on the show, and each one held a scroll that contained a dollar amount that the contestant could win. Contestants were asked to answer general-knowledge questions. After giving the correct answer, the contestant could then choose a dancer and have the amount on their scrolls added to their potential winnings pot. The contestant had to answer six questions correctly in order to win the cash in their pot. Shatner had a ball with the contestants and often broke into a dance, along with the dancing models. ABC cited declining ratings and canceled the show, which caused an uproar among many fans.