- For more information on the British version of Supermarket
Sweep, see Dale's Supermarket
was an American
. Part of the format was similar to other team-based quiz
shows; the other part was a live-action race through a supermarket,
a novel concept at the time. In the timed race, cameras followed
the teams with shopping carts through a large vacated supermarket
with several aisles; the value of items thrown into the cart
determined the winning team. The original show was broadcast on
revivals airing on Lifetime
(1990-1995, reran until 1998) and later PAX
(2000-2003, reran until 2004).
Supermarket Sweep was broadcast from Food Fair supermarkets, mostly around New York City. For the Lifetime version, a mock supermarket
was created at Hollywood Center Studios.
It was modeled after a Hughes Market until
September 1993, when it was remodeled again after a Unified Western
Market. The PAX version was staged in the same set and studio as
the Lifetime version. Beginning in September 2001, the show moved
The host for the 1965-1967 ABC version was Bill Malone. The
announcers were Wally King from 1965-1966, and Richard Hayes from
1966-1967, with Johnny Olson
as frequent substitutes during
those years. The host for the 1990-1995 Lifetime version and the
2000-2003 PAX version was David
. The announcers were Johnny
from 1990-1995 and again from April-September 2000,
then Randy West
for the rest of the
originated on ABC
and aired from December
20, 1965 to July 14, 1967. The show was revived by Lifetime
on February 5, 1990, and ran
until May 26, 1995, with reruns airing until August 14, 1998. It
was revived again by PAX
on April 3,
2000, and continued there until May 23, 2003, with reruns airing
until March 26, 2004. PAX reaired the episodes from the final
Lifetime season (1994-1995) from April 5, 1999 to March 31,
Two teams, usually married couples, competed. Each team began with
a base time of one minute. In the first part of the game, the teams
were shown a grocery item and were asked to guess its retail price.
The team who came the closest won the item and an additional 10
seconds to their time. Six items were played.
In the second part of the game, one contestant from each team went
on a shopping spree through the market, using the time accumulated
in the first half of the game; two contestants ran the sweeps
separately. After each contestant ran their sweep, the total value
of groceries in each player's cart was determined. The team with
the highest total won the right to return to the show and play in
the next game. Both teams kept the groceries they picked up.
The gameplay of the Lifetime/PAX version of Supermarket
consisted of three segments: the question round, the Big
Sweep, and the Bonus Sweep. The game was played between three teams
of two related individuals, such as a parent and child, spouses,
siblings, or best friends. In the last two rounds, the team members
wore sweatshirts of the same color. The show gave the appearance
that pairs were chosen to be contestants based on who in the
audience (or in the show's last two seasons, the market) held the
pre-distributed grocery items that the announcer called for at the
beginning of the show.
At the beginning of the game, all three teams started with a base
time of 1:30. The questions answered correctly added time to their
clocks. The round was divided into three segments; in the first two
segments, one teammate from each team answered a variety of
questions and/or played one of several games that involved pricing
everyday grocery items, with the teammates switching between
segments. The third segment was the Round Robin game, in which the
teammates rotated after each question.
Players were asked a series of questions, usually with a specific
brand of grocery items as answers; each question was worth 10
seconds. In each round, the questions followed a specific format,
which varied between rounds and shows. The formats used on the show
- Guessing which item a series of interesting facts
- Guessing which item went with a particular slogan or jingle.
- Determining the brand name of a product, the picture of which
had the brand name edited out.
- Selecting one or more of the answers to a series of questions
from a bank of five or six possible choices.
- Filling in the blanks to reveal a product's name; contestants
were either given clues and/or letters that were progressively
added (either randomly or spelled backwards).
- This or That Selecting the correct answer
earned 10 seconds; selecting the wrong one gave the other two teams
10 seconds each. A similar variation used was called "Fact or Not a
Fact", which determined whether a statement about a product is true
- Animal Sounds Given 3 to 5 animals (cow, sheep, pig, chicken, and/or fish) as
the answer choices, for which contestants must make the correct
- Twisted Guessing a product's name from
synonyms and/or antonyms that replaced each word. For example,
"Cow's Ear" is a clue for Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce.
- County Fair Tested the players' sense of
knowledge of a particular gadget.
- Supermarket Trivia Trivia questions were asked
about the items sold in the supermarket.
- Checkstand Headlines Facts about a famous
event that were read about in checkstand tabloids were given to the
players, and the players were to guess what the fact referred
The Supermarket Sweep
logo from February 5, 1990 to May
During each segment, different games were played involving everyday
groceries. These games varied from day to day and generally
involved the following objectives:
- Selecting which of the three items was priced above or below a
certain amount, was not a given price, was on sale, was incorrectly
priced, was correctly priced, or was the most expensive.
- Determining how much of one item could be bought for a certain
amount of money.
- Guessing whether the actual price for a product was higher or
lower than the price displayed. A variation also included the
possibility of the shown price being correct.
If a player was correct, the team earned 10 seconds; however, if
all three players were right, 20 seconds (30 in the "On Sale" game,
and for all games since late 1992) was added to all three teams'
- 30-Second Shootout At the beginning of the
second segment of the question round, both contestants on a team
played an individual game, which banked the team 30 seconds of
Sweep time. Each team took turns by playing the game individually.
The format usually consisted of a contestant guessing a series of
6-letter (originally 5) words using the clues given by his or her
partner (similar to The $25,000
Pyramid and Password). The first letter of
each correct answer was a letter in the name of a brand name or
item from the market, which the guesser then had to determine to
earn the Sweep time. Each of the teams had 30 seconds to achieve
this (40 in the final Lifetime season), and if a word was
accidentally blurted out by the clue-giver, the team was
disqualified automatically. An additional rule was that once a clue
was used on one of the words in the list, it was not to be used
again (doing so would lead to disqualification of that team). On
some episodes, an alternative format was used with a picture of a
product shown. Each clue changed the product's picture.
- Snack Attack Movie Game Three 10-second
questions about movies were asked. The player who answered the last
of the three questions correctly earned the right to take a
taste test of a food item in the
market; correctly identifying the item earned that team a $50 bonus
for the Big Sweep. If the contestant guessed right on a second
chance (multiple choice at that point, and consisting of three
choices), that team earned $25. Originally, the question related to
the item only had two choices and only the correct choice would
earn the $50 bonus.
For the final segment, the teammates switched after each question.
The contestants were shown the scrambled letters of a brand name,
common food, or item, and three clues were given for 10 seconds
each. If no one buzzed in and then answered correctly after the
last clue was given, all three clues were repeated quickly. On some
episodes, an alternative format was used with five clues given and
no scrambled name. The Round Robin originally consisted of four
questions, but was lengthened to six in 1992.
Beginning in September 1990, a Mini-Sweep was played at the
beginning of the first round. A toss-up question (usually a rhyming
couplet) was asked with a particular product as the answer. The
team that correctly answered the question earned ten seconds, as
well as a chance for one team member to run into the market to
retrieve the product, which was marked with the show's logo. If the
product was returned within 30 seconds, the team won $50 towards
their Sweep total. If the team member returned with the correct
product, but it didn't contain the sticker featuring the
Supermarket Sweep symbol on it, no bonus was awarded.
A year after its debut, the bonus was doubled to $100 if the
product was brought back within 20 seconds. After 3 seasons, a
second Mini-Sweep was added at the beginning of the second round
and was later used only during special weeks on the PAX
The "Big Sweep" was the chance for the teams to run throughout the
aisles and to grab whatever they could off of the supermarket
shelves. The clock was set to the highest time that was earned by
the three teams. The runner for that team was sent out into the
market, with the other runners entering when their time had
remained on the clock. During the Big Sweep, the show's announcer
provided the "play-by-play."
The runner could bring their cart back to the team's register at
any time, at which point it was exchanged for an empty cart. Any
items in the runner's cart when the bell rang were included in
The three main rules for the Big Sweep were:
- The teams could only take up to five of each item.
- Any items dropped and/or upset had to be returned to the shelf
or in one's cart, or incur a $25-per-item penalty. Teams were also
penalized for running into supermarket displays, cameramen or any
- Only one member of each team could be in the store at a time;
the other team member was required to remain at the checkout
counter to unload the groceries.
The product limit, which was absent in the original ABC version of
the show, was added to prevent a team from overloading their carts
with expensive items, such as poultry
laundry detergent, or over-the-counter drugs.
In most episodes of the show's first season on Lifetime
(February-May 1990), costumed characters such as Frankenstein's Monster
, a gorilla
, or a creature named Mr. Yuck ran through
the aisles during the Sweep. If the character came near a
contestant or vice versa, the contestant had to turn around and go
in the other direction. The characters were dropped in 1991.
Once time was called, all products were scanned while the show took
a final commercial break. Afterward, the grand totals of each
team's takes were revealed. The team with the highest grand total,
including bonuses from the question round, won their Sweep total in
cash and the right to play in the Bonus Sweep. The other teams
received parting gifts. In early episodes of the first season, the
totals included cents. In later episodes, and for the rest of the
series, the totals were rounded off to the nearest dollar.
Many bonuses were available during the Big Sweep at different times
during the show's run. Each contestant was only able to take one of
each bonus type. With the exception of the Bonus Specials shown
below, all items picked up by the runner had to be in the shopping
cart (and properly bagged/sealed, if necessary) or over the red
checkout line before time ran out in order to count. Some of these
- Bonus Specials (Value: $50–$200, later up to
$250) The only bonus feature to appear in every episode. Three
jumbo-sized stuffed animals, giant,
inflated balloons of products, or cardboard
promotional signs for products with bonus tags attached to them
were scattered throughout the market. In order for the bonus to
count, the runner had to bring the item over the red line painted
on the floor around the checkouts (without destroying the item or
the tag) before the time expired. A runner was allowed to steal an
opposing team's item if it was left unprotected before getting it
to the checkouts.
- These over-sized products and/or signs were worth $50, $100, or
$200. In September 1993, a fourth bonus worth $250 (dubbed the
"Super Bonus") was added to the market. During the Twin Car
Giveaway Tournament, a $300 bonus (dubbed the "Super Super Bonus")
was added, replacing the $50 bonus. In all cases, only one bonus
was allowed to a customer.
- Coffee (Value: $100, later $200) Runners were
required to grind a bag of Millstone
Coffee or Maxwell House
- Candy (Value: $100, later $200) Runners were
required to bag and weigh a dollar's worth of Brach's Candy, give or take two cents.
- Shopping List (Value: $250, later $300 for the
Alphabet Game) Before the Sweep, David gave a list of the three
products (originally four) in the market to be found. The
Alphabet Game was played the same way, but with
David mentioning the three consecutive letters of the alphabet as
well as the products beginning with those letters (the products had
to be placed into the mini-baskets that were located in the front
of the cart to count, and only one of each item; multiple
mini-baskets could be used if needed). Other variations included
- Magazine Display Picking up the three (or
four) magazines that were listed by David, from the many titles to
- Jelly Belly Machine Bagging the three flavors
of Jelly Belly jelly beans that David
wanted from the many flavors that were available.
- International Bread Center Bagging certain
quantities of the three bread types that were listed by David, from
the many bread types on display.
- Fruit Fantasy Putting the certain quantities
of lemons, apples, oranges, and grapefruits into a fruit basket, to
be picked up in the market's produce section.
- Breakfast Break Getting the five breakfast
items that David asked for with the help of their partners; this
was later changed to two breakfast items and then dropped
- Cake Designing the cake and writing the show's
name and the team's number on the top.
- Frozen Yogurt Machine Dispensing the three
flavors of frozen yogurt into a plastic cup, from the following
four flavors: Triple Fudge Chocolate, Vanilla Bean Dream, Sweet
Peachy Peach, and Berry Berry Raspberry.
- Mystery Product (Value: $250, $300 if a movie)
Runners tried to find a product using the clues displayed on three
television monitors in the market. This
bonus was later changed to the use of two television monitors from
April 2000-May 2003. Another variation included "Splitting the
Name", with one half of a product's name on each of the two
- For the "$300 Movie", midway through the Sweep, David announced
"Activate the TV monitors", at which point the television monitors
came into play.
- Manager's Special or Red Tag
Special (Value: $200) During the Sweep, Ruprecht announced
the "Manager's Special" or the "Red Tag Special" of the day via the
market's loudspeaker. The contestant had to run to a red-and-white
barrel at the front of the market or a shopping cart at the back of
the market that was filled with products and find the specially
marked item (marked with a red star or a red X for the Manager's
Special, a red tag for the Red Tag Special). An unmarked item
awarded no bonus to the team, even if it was the correct
- Stack Job or Recycle Machine
(Value: $100, later $150 for the Stack Job) Runners had to find one
of the three bags filled with empty soda cans that were spread
throughout the market and return the bag to their partner. Their
partner then had to go to their table and, using all 21 cans, stack
the empty soda cans in the shape of a pyramid as shown before the
Sweep began. Getting the "Stack Job" done awarded the team a token
good for the bonus.
- For the "Recycle Machine" the partner had to go to the
recycling machine and recycle all 10 cans into the machine, one at
a time, after which the machine issued a $100 receipt.
- Super Sandwich (Value: $200) Three tables were
placed at one side of the market, each set up with the ingredients
for a submarine sandwich: roll, meats, cheeses, lettuce,
condiments, etc. Each runner could go to one of the tables and use
all the items on it to build the sandwich, then wrap it in aluminum foil and seal it in a bag with a
- Sweep Swipe or Market Madness
(Value: $200–$250) A limited supply of items (two cases of candy,
five boxes of detergent, etc.) were placed in front of the three
tables or the shopping carts, one for each of the three teams.
Runners moved the items (from the floor or from another team's
table or cart), one at a time, onto their own table or their cart.
For each item in one's possession at the end of the bell, the team
received a bonus (either $50 or $100 per item).
- Cracker Jackpot! or Jolly Time Is
Money! (Value: $100, later $150 for Jolly Time is Money!;
$200 for the Cracker Jackpot) Runners tore open boxes of Cracker Jack or emptied bags of Jolly Time
Popcorn in order to find a token with the
show's shopping cart logo on it.
- Bonus Envelope (Value: $200) Halfway through
the Sweep, the host announced a clue to a specific product. After
hearing the clue, the partners at the checkout counter ran into the
market to find their teammates and give them the clue. If the
teammate points out the item to their partner, the money was lost.
Runners had to find the product and take the bonus envelope that
was located next to it. A variation was played with movie titles at
the video stand.
- Giant Box of Laundry Detergent (Value:
$25–$100) A giant box of laundry detergent (Gain or Cheer) was
located at the back of the store with the four colored envelopes on
it. The runner picked one of the envelopes and the money was added
to the team's total.
- Balloon Pop (Value: $150) Three of the
shopping carts or the large garbage bags filled with balloons were
located in one of the back corners of the supermarket. Runners
brought back one of the carts or bags to the checkouts for their
partners to pop. Their partners had to pop all of the balloons
before the time had expired.
- Instant Coupon Machines A contestant won bonus
money by getting a coupon and locating the associated product on a
supermarket shelf nearby.
- Double and Triple Coupons
Certain items had double-value or triple-value coupons located on
or near the actual item that multiplied its value accordingly.
The winning team was given 60 seconds to find three products in the
market. They were given a clue to the first product, after which
the time started. The second clue was affixed to the first product,
and the third clue was on the second product. If the team found the
third product, they won $5,000. The winning team had to find all
three products and return with them to win the money. If they found
the final product before one of the other products, originally the
team would automatically lose, but after the first 2 seasons, the
team that found the $5,000 too soon were just reminded to find all
three products, then return to find the money. If the team was
unsuccessful, the team still won $200 for each product found. The
team had to have their hands on the money before the bell signaled
the end of the 60 seconds.
Clues had several formats in the series. Some clues were two-line
rhymes describing the product, with its brand name as the final
missing word in the rhyme. Other clues used a play-on words of the
product's title. On occasion, clues lead to a movie in the movie
rack, a fruit or a vegetable in the produce section, a flower in a
special kiosk located at the front of the market that was used only
during the Bonus Sweep, or a greeting card near the magazine
During both runs of the show, special tournaments were held
periodically, as well as other individual shows in which former
teams were invited back for a chance to win more money or a
Twin Car Giveaway
From September 5-30, 1994, at the beginning of the show's final
season on Lifetime, a month-long Twin Car Giveaway tournament was
held. During the first three weeks of the tournament, a standard
game was played each day. The twelve teams with the highest Big
Sweep totals from these episodes at the end of the third week
returned for the fourth and final week, in which games were played
with no Bonus Sweep. The six teams with the highest Big Sweep
totals during that final week returned for the Friday show to play
for a pair of Geo Trackers
. On the
Friday show, the first three teams played an eight-question Round
Robin game, where each correct answer was worth $50 towards their
Sweep total. Each of the first three teams then had a flat three
minutes in the Big Sweep. This process was repeated for the other
three teams. At the end of the show, the team with the highest Big
Sweep total won the two cars (a combined value of more than
$25,000) in addition to whatever else that they won on their
previous shows. All other teams kept their prior winnings. Team #1,
James and Rick, won with a Big Sweep total of $1,598, and won a
grand total of $28,710 (the highest grand total ever). A total of
$84,562 in cash and prizes was won by the contestants over the four
Other tournaments and specials
Occasionally, former teams were invited back to play for additional
money or a trip. These consisted largely of "Sweeps of Champions",
which gave previous winners a chance to go on another Bonus Sweep
for the opportunity to play and get a second chance at $5,000. On a
few early "Sweep of Champions" episodes, former players were
invited back for a chance to double their money to $10,000. Others
- "Gourmet Week": Allowed the teams to play for a trip to
- "Second Chance": Allowed previous winners who won their Big
Sweep, but missed the $5,000 to come back for a second chance on
Friday to go for that amount.
- "You Can't Lose!": Like the Second Chance episodes, but no
Bonus Sweep was played during this week. In these episodes, one
team was guaranteed to win $5,000 after they lost on their first
- "Double Your Money Week": Similar to the few early "Sweeps of
Champions" episodes from the Lifetime version, except in the PAX
version the winning team with the highest Super Big Sweep total at
the end on the final day didn't have to run around the market
looking for another $5,000 as in early "Sweeps of Champions"
episodes they automatically doubled their money to $10,000.
- "Mother-Daughter Week": Featured on the Lifetime run with
mother-daughter teams competing, sometimes with children under the
age of 18.
- "Family Week": Similar to the Mother-Daughter Week in the
Lifetime version (only with various family members), the Family
Week in the PAX version had relative teams to win $5,000 at the end
of the week. No Bonus Sweep was played in that week.
- "Cruise to Paradise": Invited back 12 former teams who lost
their Big Sweep to play for a 7-day Carnival Cruise for two (and
two guests) to the Mexican Riviera. No Bonus Sweep was played at
the end of that week.
- "Cruise Week": Similar to the "Cruise to Paradise" week, except
no Bonus Sweep was played throughout the entire week.
- "Tournament of Heroes": Troop teams were to win the $5,000 at
the end of the week. No Bonus Sweep was played in this week.
version, later aired on the Global Television Network
produced from 1992-1995 and is currently airing on GameTV
in Canada. Tino Monté was the, according to
the opening, "host and games master extraordinaire" and Dave King
was announcer. The supermarket in this version was much smaller
than in America and did not contain the specialty racks such as
videos, cards, or flowers. The only exceptions were the Voortman
cookie hut, a (rarely used) produce section and a display of Nabob
coffee located right behind host Monté. The question rounds each
began with a Mini-Sweep which, if won, added $50 to a team's total.
On at least two occasions (when the item being searched for was a
health food) a gift certificate worth $75 from Naturally Yours
Health foods was also awarded for a win.
Each team started with a base time of 1:00 and for the Big Sweep,
only the Shopping List bonus was used in every episode. The
Manager's Special (using a wooden crate rather than a red-and-white
barrel) was also sometimes used. While the five-per-item rule
appeared to be in play (contestants would frequently take five of
most items), the announcer rarely mentioned either the rules of the
Sweep, or the value of the products. Similar to the "bonus
specials" used on the American version, occasionally the market had
three inflatable cheeses (referred to as "inflatables" on-air) with
a bonus hidden behind a label of either $50, $75, or $100. Although
rarely mentioned, teams were allowed only one each of these.
Originally, the bonus round had the winners looking for $
5,000, as with the American show, but later
on the winning team chose a scroll representing one of the letters
in the show's title, containing a cash amount of $500, $1,000, or
$5,000, or a prize such as a Doncaster recliner, two Bulova
watches, Mini Maid service for a year, a VCR, a 32" television, or
a trip to Acapulco, Mexico, or Cuba (which has never been a prize
on an American game show due to the boycott
), and whatever
was on the scroll was the prize to be played for. If a team lost
the bonus round, they won a consolation prize of a coffee
percolator and a year's supply of Nabob coffee.
At this time, it is unknown what the Canadian version's set was
aired on ITV
during the day with Dale Winton
and Bobby Bragg as announcer; it was produced by FremantleMedia
The show was revived in 2007 and filmed 60 episodes at the
Maidstone Studios, this time produced by Talkback Thames
. The rules were the same as
America and Canada, except thet the winning team looked for
original run was taped at Central's Lenton Lane studios in Nottingham, and the setup was a little different from
The new version has a slightly different set from
the original, and it has a new theme tune. The grand prize has also
been upped to £5,000. British Fun House
announcer Gary King
replaced Bobby Bragg as
As in Canada, teams started with 1:00. As with America and Canada,
each show started with a Mini-Sweep worth £25 to the
Unlike other versions, teams could grab no more than three of one
item, as opposed to five. As with America and Canada, the "Shopping
List" was also used frequently. The Manager's Special (renamed
"Dale's Sale") was also used on some occasions. Brand names were
rarely, if ever, mentioned on this version. Also, the UK version
did have some games of their own, including "Pricing Gun", where
teams could earn £50 by pricing up to 12 coffee pots. The bonuses
only went from £25 to £100 on this version.
The original set was transformed to look like a Co-op, ASDA, or
Somerfield market, depending on the season. The current set
resembles an ASDA market, due to ASDA sponsoring the show. Like the
American set, this did have racks of videos and flowers, etc. that
the Canadian version lacked.
An Australian version was produced by Grundy
, airing on the Nine Network
from 1992-1994 with former
host Ian Turpie
assisted by Tania Zaetta
. Col Mooney
and Alan Glover served as announcers.
The supermarket on this show was originally a Coles Supermarket
, but was later changed
to a generic supermarket. Like America, the winners searched for
5,000. The later set was
identical to the American show, as was the case with most
Grundy-produced Australian games based on American programs.
had two versions – the first was produced by
from 1990-1993. The revival,
produced by Record
during the 2000s, was
in fact part of the TV show Note e Anote
. Both versions
were hosted by Ricardo Corte Real.
("Supermarket") aired during the 1990s on
commercial television station Antena
with Enrique Simon as host. The rules were identical to
America, except that the currency used was the now-defunct Peseta
. The series aired every midday at
around 1:25 PM. Considering the 100-to-1 exchange rate between the
peseta and dollar, it is probable that Pts 500,000 was the grand
All but seven episodes of the ABC version have been wiped
. The Lifetime/PAX version remains fully intact.
The Canadian version of Supermarket Sweep
airs in reruns