All-Star Blitz is an American game show that aired on ABC from April 8 to December 20, 1985, with reruns airing on the USA Network from March 31 to December 26, 1986. Peter Marshall was the host and John Harlan was the announcer for the series, which was produced by Merrill Heatter Productions, in association with Peter Marshall Enterprises.
Two contestants, one usually a returning champion, competed to uncover and solve hidden word puzzles with the help of a four-celebrity panel. The puzzles, which varied in length from two to six words, were concealed behind a grid of six monitors above the panel, and a star was positioned at the corner of each monitor. There were 12 stars in all, arranged in four columns of three with one column above each celebrity's seat.
The object for the contestants was to light the stars around the monitors. To begin play, the home audience was shown how many words were in the puzzle and four stars were randomly lit (originally just two). The contestant in control, usually the challenger, chose a celebrity and a position (top, middle, bottom). The star in that position was lit, and Marshall then asked a question to the chosen celebrity. The contestant either had to correctly agree or disagree with the given answer, in much the same manner as Hollywood Squares and Battlestars. Choosing correctly allowed the contestant to keep control and pick again, but making a wrong decision passed control to the opposing player who could choose another star.
Once all four stars around a monitor were lit, its part of the puzzle was uncovered and the contestant in control had the option to guess the puzzle or continue playing. An incorrect guess forfeited control to the opponent. Each part of the puzzle could only be uncovered with a correct agree/disagree choice, meaning that a celebrity could potentially have to answer multiple questions as control passed back and forth.
Play continued on a puzzle until one player solved it or all six monitors were uncovered, with the player who uncovered the last monitor winning the game by default.
The first contestant to solve two puzzles won the match and a prize package, and went on to play the Blitz Bonanza. Rather than featuring models, celebrity guests often modeled and demonstrated prizes while being described by the announcer, which would be preceded by a message on the game board monitors describing the prize(s).
Each episode of All-Star Blitz was played to a time limit. If time was called during a puzzle, the contestant in control was given the option of whether or not to guess the puzzle. Choosing not to guess ended the game, and the solution to the puzzle was revealed. Guessing incorrectly gave the option to the opponent. Regardless of the decision and its outcome, play resumed on the next episode with either a new puzzle or the Blitz Bonanza as dictated by the rules.
In the Blitz Bonanza round, the champion was given one final puzzle to solve and was told how many words it contained (later, only the panel and the home audience were shown this information). In order to reveal the puzzle pieces, the champion had four chances to spin a large wheel which controlled the light borders on the game board's six spaces. As the wheel spun, the light would move from one space to the next. Once it stopped, the lit space would be uncovered. For each subsequent spin, the possibility existed that the wheel could cause the light border to land on a space that had already been revealed. If this happened, it was referred to as a "wasted spin" and play continued.
If fewer than four spaces were uncovered after the last spin, the champion was given the option to leave the board as it was or give up the prize package he/she had won in the main game in exchange for one more spin. He/she then had 10 seconds to think while the celebrities secretly wrote down their guesses. A correct guess by the champion won a cash jackpot that started at $10,000. Originally, this jackpot increased by $5,000 for each attempt it went unclaimed, to a maximum of $25,000. Later, it increased by $2,500 for each unsuccessful attempt and was capped at $20,000. If the champion was incorrect, he/she won $250 for each celebrity who guessed the puzzle correctly. Champions could play the Blitz Bonanza a maximum of four times before retiring from the show.
All-Star Blitz originally aired on ABC at 11:00 AM EST, replacing Trivia Trap and followed by the long-running Family Feud. However, the series found itself facing strong competition from the first half of the powerhouse The Price is Right on CBS and Wheel of Fortune on NBC.
In June 1985, two months after All-Star Blitz premiered, Family Feud was cancelled, and All-Star Blitz moved up a half-hour to the 11:30 AM EST slot formerly occupied by Feud. However, now competing against the second half of Price, as well as Scrabble on NBC, ratings did not improve and All-Star Blitz ended its run on December 20, 1985.