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The Pyramid on GSN

Game Show Network Makes Over an Icon


Mike Richards on the set of The Pyramid

Mike Richards hosts The Pyramid

Courtesy GSN

GSN debuted their own original version of the iconic Pyramid game show in August 2012. Called simply The Pyramid, the show was the culmination of years of speculation, pilots, and dashed hopes.

Back in the summer of 2009 CBS filmed a couple of pilots for a new Million Dollar Pyramid with hosts Tim Vincent and Dean Cain. The show was being considered for daytime but was passed over for Let's Make a Deal. Nearly a year later CBS once again went ahead with a Pyramid pilot, this time hosted by Andy Richter. That one also went down in flames when CBS opted to fill their daytime slot with The Talk.

Just when we thought it was over, cable channel TBS picked up the Andy Richter version of the show... and it went nowhere.

Finally, GSN announced that The Pyramid would be added to its summer/fall schedule in 2012. Reactions were varied - some wondered if GSN could actually do the show justice, while others were just happy that it was actually coming back this time.

The Pyramid Overview

The first thing most of us noticed is that GSN has kept fairly close to the original setup with their new version of the game. The format is almost identical, the set and atmosphere are similar, and there are some nice throwbacks to earlier incarnations of the game.

The show is hosted by Mike Richards, who you may know as the executive producer of The Price is Right, or one of the former hosts of Beauty and the Geek. He's a great choice for this show, as he's not snarky or there to churn out one-liners. Instead he's funny when he should be, encouraging almost always, and able to move the show along at a good pace without making anything feel rushed.

How it Works

The basic setup of the game is the same - two "civilian" players are teamed up with two celebrity players. Various categories are presented on the pyramid and teams take turns choosing them. For each category there are seven words that must be guessed. One player gives clues to the other, enabling the other player to guess the words. The civilian players each get to play with both of the celebs, and at the end of the main game the best player moves on to the Winner's Circle.

In this version, the Winner's Circle starts out with $10,000. For every perfect round in the main game (seven out of seven words guessed correctly) $5,000 is added to that player's Winner's Circle bank (along with a $500 payout that is theirs to keep whether they win or lose the game). On the pyramid there are six categories - if the contestant doesn't get all six correctly to win his or her total bank, the money ladder is as follows:

  • First category: $100
  • Second category: $200
  • Third category: $300
  • Fourth category: $400
  • Fifth category: $500
  • Sixth category: $750

Should You Watch?

The essence of Pyramid is strong in this revival, and if you're a die-hard fan of the earlier versions you'll love some of the added touches like the old-style sound effects. It's updated and a little more modern, but not to the point where the game suffers. The set is bright and colorful, and the main focus is on the game first, then the contestants. Just as it should be.

GSN and Richards have done a decent job in keeping the spirit and atmosphere of Pyramid alive, while at the same time making minor changes that don't affect the game too much. Some of the celebrities chosen to appear on the show haven't been the best at playing the game, and that's always been a gripe of mine with any celeb-based game show. They should really screen the celebrities somehow before bringing them on to play with actual contestants.

If you enjoy Pyramid overall, you'll enjoy this one as well as long as you're not expecting Dick Clark and a parade of A-list celebrity guests.

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