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Battlestars was an Americanmarker game show that aired for two separate runs on NBC during the early 1980s. The show's first run aired from October 26, 1981 to April 23, 1982. An updated version titled The New Battlestars ran for 13 weeks, from April 4 to July 1, 1983.

Battlestars was similar to Hollywood Squares in its game play and use of multiple celebrities (leading some fans to dub it "The Hollywood Triangles"). The show was produced by Merrill Heatter Productions, Heatter's first show produced without Bob Quigley.

The host was Alex Trebek and the announcers were Rod Roddy (1981–1982) and Charlie Tuna (1983).

Main game

Two contestants one a returning champion competed. The champion sat at the blue podium and the challenger at the red podium. They faced a six-member celebrity panel, who sat in a large space-like set made up of triangles. Each triangle had three numbers (1–10) attached to their points; hence, they were called "Points of Light" (1-4-5, 2-5-6, 3-6-7, 4-5-8, 5-6-9, and 6-7-10).

The contestant in control pushed a plunger on his or her podium to stop a flashing randomizer, and the number it stopped on determined which celebrity would be asked a question. The questions were asked in the style of The Hollywood Squares, except that a celebrity was given two possible answers and had to choose between one or the other. Once the celebrity chose an answer, the contestant was asked whether he or she agreed or disagreed with the celebrity. A correct response meant that the contestant kept control. If the contestant was wrong, control passed to the opponent. Regardless of how the contestant in control answered, the Point of Light was lit and it was then taken out of play. However, similar to Hollywood Squares, if a miss would result in the capture of a celebrity to an opponent by default, the Point would remain in play.

If the player in control lit the last Point of Light around a celebrity, even if his or her opponent was responsible for the other two lights, the player "captured" that star. The first contestant to capture three stars won the game, $500 and played the bonus round.

If a number was attached to two or more triangles, the contestant chose which celebrity to play with, although the choice defaulted if it meant a star could be captured (unless, of course, more than one star could be captured on the play). Also, if a contestant managed to capture all six celebrities (a rare feat), he or she won a bonus prize on the original version and $1,000 on the 1983 revival.

1983 changes

The rules were identical except for these minor changes:
  • The object was to extinguish the Points of Light rather than to light them. This was merely a cosmetic change and had no bearing on the rules.
  • The Points of Light were now extinguished regardless of whether or not the contestant's decision was correct.
  • The randomizer was only used when control passed between contestants. Upon getting a correct answer, the contestant in control simply chose a number verbally.


Another minor change, which had no bearing on the rules, involved the displaying of the two answer choices for the home and studio audience. The players in the studio did not see them, however.

Bonus game

1981–1982: Battlestars Two

A famous celebrity face was completely hidden under 16 numbered blocks. The winner of the game chose three cards, representing three blocks on the board, which Trebek would put in an electronic scanner on his podium. After the three blocks were removed, the contestant verbally picked one more square that would help him or her most. On some episodes, the contestant's choice was made prior to drawing the three cards. If a card drawn matched the number of the square the contestant already chose to reveal, the contestant would draw another card. The contestant then had a chance to identify the celebrity for $5,000.

However, if he or she gave a wrong guess or could not answer, the contestant drew up to three additional cards (one at a time) and could solicit help from the celebrities. The prize value dropped to $3,000 for the first card, then $2,000 and $1,000. If the contestant failed to identify the face after four attempts, he or she won nothing.

1983: The Main Event/Battlestars Bonanza

The winner and the three captured Battlestars (or three of the contestant's choice if more were captured) played a three-question bonus round. Each multiple-choice question had three possible answers which were displayed to both the contestant and the celebrity in play. After the celebrity offered his or her choice, the contestant was asked whether he or she agreed or disagreed. If the contestant was correct in disagreeing, he or she had to choose the correct answer from the two remaining choices to win any cash. Each corect answer earned $500 in cash.

If, however, the contestant answered all three questions correctly, he or she won the "Battlestars Bonanza", a jackpot that started with $5,000 cash and a prize package (generally a combined value of $10,000 or more), with another prize added each time it was not won.

Broadcast History

NBC scheduled the first version of Battlestars at 11:30 a.m./10:30 Central, replacing Card Sharks and switching places with Password Plus. However, it became yet another in a long line of victims of CBS' Price is Right, and NBC pulled it after a six-month run.

After a retooling, the game returned one year later, at Noon/11 Central. Like practically all shows since Jackpot! in 1975, though, Battlestars proved no match at all for CBS' The Young and the Restless and ABC's Family Feud, nor was it widely cleared by local stations, which opted to show local news instead.

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