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The $128,000 Question was an American game show which aired from 1976-1978 in weekly syndication. This revival of The $64,000 Question was produced by Cinelar and distributed by Viacom Enterprises.

Originally, Viacom had intended to revive the series with the same title (and top payoff), but when rival series Name That Tune announced plans to add a "$100,000 Mystery Tune" for the 1976-77 season, Viacom did not wish for their series to only have the second-biggest payoff and added an end-of-season $64,000 tournament to the format.

Further hindering the show was that a planned deal with CBS owned-and-operated stations to carry the show in major markets had to be scrapped because of the network-imposed $25,000 winnings limit for game shows. While the producers were able to get the Metromedia-owned stations to fill these gaps, ratings proved mediocre and the show was canceled after a two-season run.

Hosts and announcers

Mike Darrow hosted the first season with Alan Kalter as announcer while the series taped in the Ed Sullivan Theatermarker in New York Citymarker.

For the second season, Alex Trebek hosted while Canadian voice-over artist Sandy Hoyt replaced Kalter. The series moved taping to Global Television Network in Don Millsmarker near Torontomarker, Ontariomarker.


Each player would select his or her expert category from a game board and be quizzed in the same style as The $64,000 Question. The questions were valued at $64, $128, $256, $512, $1,000, $2,000, $4,000, $8,000, $16,000, $32,000 and $64,000.

Winners of $64,000 would return at the end of the season to compete for an additional $64,000.

Consolation prizes

Each contestant who missed a question worth $4,000 or less would end up winning $1. A miss on the $8,000 or $16,000 level would award the player a new car. Any contestant who lost on a $32,000 ($24,000 plus a car in season two) or $64,000 question would end up leaving with $16,000 ($8,000 plus a car in season two).

Tournament play

Four contestants won $64,000 during the first season. The semifinals consisted of three rounds of questions for each player. Players were asked four questions in each round. If the player answered all four questions correctly, an additional question was asked. Each correct answer scored one point in round one, two points in round two and three points in round three. After three rounds of questions, the two players with the highest scores advanced to the finals, in which the finalists would alternate answering questions. The first player to answer six questions correctly won $64,000. However, each contender would be given an equal number of questions. If both players were tied at six points each, the players continued answering questions until the tie was broken.

Season two featured two $64,000 winners. The playoff game consisted of four rounds of gameplay. In each of the first four rounds, each player was given four questions. Each correct answer scored one point in round one, two points in round two, four points in round three and eight points in round four. After the fourth round, both players took turns answering 16-point questions until one player achieved a total score of at least 128 points, thereby winning an additional $64,000.

Episode status

The status of the show is unknown, although it is presumed to be in the hands of CBS Television Distribution. Five consecutive episodes from season two and several brief audio-only clips from season one exist and are traded among private collectors.


  1. Steve Beverly's "Name That Tune" page

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