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Musical Chairs was a game show that aired from June 16 to October 31, 1975 on CBS. Singer Adam Wade hosted, making him the first African-American game show host. Wade was pedigreed, having had three Billboard top ten hits in 1961. The series was recorded at the Ed Sullivan Theatermarker (CBS Studio 50) in New York Citymarker, and sportscaster Pat Hernon was the announcer.

The series aired at 4:00 PM (3:00 Central Time) against NBC's Somerset and ABC's Money Maze (and later You Don't Say!); it was not successful in the ratings against that competition.

Usually appearing on each episode were guest singers and musical groups, among them The Tokens, The Spinners, and Sister Sledge as well as up and coming singers and stars such as Alaina Reed, Kelly Garrett, Jane Olivor, and Irene Cara.

Main game

Four contestants competed, one usually a champion. Three rounds and nine songs were played. A singer (host Wade and/or one of the guest performers) would begin to sing a song, but would stop at a certain point. The singer would then sing three different lyrics for the next line of the song, which were displayed on back-lit panels. The players would then try to select which one of the three options was correct by pressing a button on their console. The third panel occasionally contained humorous or absurd lyrics. Since the incorrect answers were lyrics, the show required that songwriters/lyricists be hired to write the show.

The first three who rang in correctly in Round 1 won $50 each, the first two in the second round $75, and the first in the third and final round $100.

At the end of each round, the player with the smallest prize total left the game but kept any money accumulated. After the third round, the player with the most money won the game and played the bonus round.

Bonus round

In the first bonus round, the contestant had to name each song that was sung (with the singer humming through any place that would "normally" have the title being mentioned, much like the "Sing-A-Tune" round of Name That Tune). Getting a stated amount in 60 seconds won a bonus prize.

Later, the bonus round was dropped and the winning contestant simply had his/her maingame total doubled.

Beginning in mid-September, a new bonus round was introduced - the day's winner chose one of three categories, then heard the melody of a song. The lyric was then shown with ten words missing; each time a word was correctly placed the contestant won $100. Getting all 10 in the proper places within 30 seconds won $2,000.

Episode status

The show's status is unknown, as CBS had ceased wiping its daytime game shows in late 1972. One episode exists with musical guests Irene Cara, soap star Mary Stuart, and The Spinners.


  1. Game Shows '75: Musical Chairs

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