No. of episodes
First episode date
12 July 1976
Country of origin
Final episode date
22 October 1976
Merrill HeatterBob Quigley
The Prospect StudiosHollywood, California
Merrill Heatter, Bob Quigley
Second Chance (game show), The Big Showdown, The Magnificent Marble Machine
Hot Seat is an American game show which aired on ABC from July 12 to October 22, 1976. The series was created by Heatter-Quigley Productions, which at this point were best known for creating Gambit and The Hollywood Squares.
Two married couples played against each other one at a time. One of the spouses had to guess what the other would say when asked a round of three questions.
The spouse sitting in the "hot seat" would have their emotions measured by an electronic GSR device. Each question would have two choices. The player at the podium would select one answer and the spouse would respond to each choice with a negative response. The arch above the "hot seat" would feature a meter which indicated which answer was more of a lie; the answer that was the most true (the one which had the most lights lit up) was considered the correct answer.
The three questions were worth $100, $200, and $400. The couple with the most money at the end of the show could take either an additional $500 or play the bonus round for a trip and a new car. Whichever option was not chosen went to their opponents.
The pilot, recorded on January 17, 1976, was played the same as the series with the exception of the bonus round: the husband sat in front of a turntable, while the wife saw the lie-detector reactions in another isolation booth. The husband would be shown three prizes (in this case, a washer/dryer combo, an expensive sports car, and a cheap iron with ironing board), and had to say "No, I would not like that prize." for each one. After the husband's third reaction, the wife chose which prize the couple would win.
However, there was a twist: namely, the third prize was modeled by a young lady wearing a bikini. The wife, unaware of this and only seeing that the lie detector had shot to the very end of the scale for the third prize, chose it (again, based on her husband's reaction, which had clearly lied about not wanting the model). After the wife came out of the booth, she screamed in agony upon seeing what the show had done.
The series is believed to be destroyed due to network practices. One episode, believed to be the Premiere, exists on the trading circuit in fair quality.
In Popular Culture
The term "Hot Seat" would later be used as the contestant's seat on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?.
Since 2009, an Australian spinoff called Millionaire Hot Seat would later be named after it.
In 2016, The term "Hot Seat" would later be used as a name for a pricing game on The Price is Right.