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Split Second (game show)

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No. of episodes
1,025 (1972-1975)

Final episode date
September 1987

Game show


Country of origin
United StatesCanada

First episode date
15 December 1986

Number of episodes
1,025 (1972–1975)

Program creators
Monty Hall, Stefan Hatos

Split Second (game show) The pilot for quotSplit Secondquot

Created by
Monty HallStefan Hatos

Directed by
Kip Walton (1972-1975)Henry Pasila (1986-1987)

Narrated by
Jack Clark (1972–1975)Sandy Hoyt (1986–1987)

Theme music composer
Stan Worth (1972-1975)Todd Thicke (1986-1987)

Presented by
Tom Kennedy (1972–1975), Monty Hall (1986–1987)

Game show, The Who - What - or Where G, You Don't Say!, It's Anybody's Guess, Three for the Money

Split second may 8th 1975

Split Second is a game show that was created by Monty Hall and Stefan Hatos and produced by their production company, Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions.


Split Second (game show) Look at the board

There were two editions of Split Second produced by Hatos and Hall. The first was a daytime series produced for ABC that premiered on March 20, 1972 and was recorded at ABC Television Center in Hollywood. The second was produced for syndicaton in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada at CHCH-TV's studios; this series premiered December 15, 1986, and was a co-production of Hatos-Hall and distributors Concept Equity Funding Limited and Viacom Enterprises. Canadian television stations CHCH-TV, CFAC-TV, and CITV-TV assisted in production of the syndicated series as well, but were not credited on American airings. The original series ran until June 27, 1975 and the syndicated series aired until the end of the 1986-87 season with reruns airing until September 11, 1987.

Split Second (game show) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaen88aSpl

Tom Kennedy was the host for the original ABC version, with Jack Clark serving as announcer. The revival series featured Monty Hall as host with Sandy Hoyt as announcer.

Split Second (game show) Split Second game show rehearsal with Jack Clark YouTube

Rounds 1 & 2

On each version three contestants, one a returning champion (or designate), competed.

Split Second (game show) Look at the board

Each question Kennedy or Hall asked had three possible correct answers. Some questions took a form such as "Name the three films for which Katharine Hepburn won the Oscar for Best Actress." For most questions, three words, names, or phrases were displayed on a board which acted as clues, and the question took a form such as "Pick a word from the board and give its plural." Approximately once each day on the ABC version there was also a "Memory Buster", in which Kennedy gave a list of items and asked which three of them were common to each other.

Split Second (game show) ABC39s Split Second with Tom Kennedy quotThe Fast Wayquot The Original

Contestants rang in by pushing a button on their podiums. The first person to ring in was permitted to provide any one of the three answers. The second-fastest provided one of the remaining answers, and finally the slowest player got whatever was left, by default. In the '70s version, the clues on the board were revealed first and contestants could buzz-in before the question was completed, whereas in the syndicated version the answers were revealed after the question was finished, and if a contestant rang in too soon (before the choices were revealed), he or she was forced to take a turn after the other two had had their chances.

Split Second (game show) Split Second Series TV Tropes

Bob Synes, producer of the 1970s Split Second, took a very strict stand regarding contestants’ answers; he required contestants to guess the answers exactly right, meaning mispronounced answers were ruled incorrect, similar to most other quiz shows like Jeopardy!. When Hall took the reins of the 1980s version he acted as judge himself, giving the player credit for the correct answer if he/she mispronounced the answer or was close enough to the right answer.

Each player received money for a correct answer. The value of each answer was determined by the number of people supplying a correct response, and no money was deducted for answering incorrectly.

For example, if two players gave a correct answer in round one of the ABC version, each player received $10.

During the latter half of the ABC version, the first person to be the only contestant to respond correctly on a question during the first two rounds, a situation which Kennedy referred to as a "Singleton," also won a bonus prize, his or hers to keep regardless of the game's outcome.

Countdown Round

The Countdown Round served as the final round and determined the winner. No money was awarded for correct answers in this round. Instead, a correct answer enabled a player to keep control of the question and answer the remaining two parts.

Each player was required to give a set number of answers in order to win the game. The leader entering the Countdown Round had the lowest number, with the second place player needing one more answer than the leader and the third place player two. In the event of a tie, the tied players had to give the same number of answers. On the original series, the leader needed three answers to win (which could be accomplished in one question), the second place player four, and the third place player five. These numbers all increased by one when the syndicated series debuted, with four being the lowest number and six the highest.

The first player to count down to zero won the game regardless of their total score and moved on to the bonus round. All three players got to keep whatever they had won.


Every new champion was given a choice of five car keys, which corresponded with five cars that were displayed on stage. The champion chose a car to attempt to start with the key, and if he/she was successful the car was won and the champion retired. If the car did not start, it was taken out of play and the champion tried the same key in another car if he/she returned the next day. If after four consecutive tries the key did not start a car, if the champion won the next game he/she received a choice of any of the cars on stage.

In addition to the car, a retiring champion received a cash bonus. The bonus started at $1,000 and increased by $500 for each unsuccessful bonus round (originally $200 to start with $200 more for each unsuccessful bonus round), resetting only when a champion won a car.


The bonus round on the 1980s Split Second utilized five screens which champions picked from to try to win the car.

Initially, a champion tried to determine which of the screens hid the word "CAR" behind it. If the champion picked the correct screen on the first try, he/she won the car and retired. If not, the champion won $1,000 in cash and the screen was blacked out if the champion won the next game. The process repeated until the champion chose the right screen, was defeated, or won five consecutive games, at which point he/she automatically won the car.

The bonus round was reworked later in the run and the object of the round changed. The car and another merchandise prize were available for the champion, who once again tried to pick out the car. This time, instead of being behind one screen, the word "CAR" was behind three and if the champion could correctly select those three screens, he/she won the car and retired as champion. The champion's choices were revealed one at a time and if one of the screens concealed the other prize, the round immediately ended and the correct combination of screens was shown. The champion was then presented with a decision. Hall offered him/her the prize and (later) $1,000 cash to retire as champion or continue playing. The cash offer increased to $2,000 for a second unsuccessful attempt and then to $3,000 for a third.

If the champion reached the bonus round four days in a row and still had yet to win, the odds were increased in his/her favor by adding an additional "CAR" screen. After that, if the champion still managed to select the one screen with the other prize, Hall made a final offer of the prize and $4,000 to the champion, who would win the car automatically with a fifth match victory.

ABC, 1972–1975

Split Second occupied only one timeslot during its three-year run, 12:30 PM (11:30 AM, Central), against the traditional CBS favorite Search for Tomorrow and NBC's The Who, What, or Where Game. It displaced Password, which moved ahead a half-hour. Although never able to surmount Search, Split Second kept a large number of affiliates on the network at that hour (preemptions, mostly for local newscasts, had plagued ABC for years). Within two years, NBC replaced 3W's with a succession of short-lived games.

Split Second's 1972 entry completed ABC's most successful block of daytime game shows, which included Password, The Newlywed Game, The Dating Game, and Let's Make a Deal, a lineup which lasted for nearly two years.

However, the decline of its lead-in, Password, began to adversely affect the Nielsens of Split Second, and it was one of four game shows ABC cancelled between June 27 and July 4, 1975. After a week of 60-minute episodes of the soap opera All My Children, Split Second was succeeded by another soap, Ryan's Hope.

The winning contestant on the final episode lost the bonus game but was awarded the car anyway, since he would have no opportunity to try again on a future show; the final $1,000 cash jackpot was split between the two runner-up contestants (one of whom was future ABC News and CNN correspondent Judd Rose).

Syndicated, 1986–1987

After The All New Let's Make a Deal had been cancelled earlier in 1986, Hall and Hatos decided to develop a revival of their second-most successful original program and bring back Split Second. The new series launched at the midway point of the 1986-87 television season and, as noted earlier, emanated from Hall's native Canada.

The show aired simultaneously in the United States and Canada upon its premiere, but many more Canadian markets cleared Split Second than their American counterparts (although it was cleared in at least one major market, New York). With the reappearance of episodes on Canada's GameTV, there have emerged some notable production differences for episodes aired in Canada. These are listed as follows:

  • As the show returns from its first two commercial breaks, some trivia questions are displayed on the screen for the viewers. On the American airings, three questions were shown. The Canadian airings usually only displayed one question, with announcer Sandy Hoyt filling the time with fee plugs.
  • On the American airings, the bonus round is played immediately as the show comes back from its final commercial break. On the Canadian airings, a series of promotional consideration plugs are read before the round begins.
  • In the closing credits, Canadian airings credit Hatos-Hall, Concept Equity Funding Limited, the Canadian stations involved in the production of the series, and distributor Viacom. The Canadian entities do not receive credit on American airings; only Hatos-Hall and Viacom receive billing.
  • 1990 Pilot

    A pilot for an attempted revival was taped in 1990, with Robb Weller as host. This version was produced by Ralph Edwards-Stu Billett Productions (Billett having co-produced the ABC version) and featured the same main-game payoffs as the syndicated version.

    The bonus round was completely different from both earlier versions: Three exotic vacations were offered, with a graphic for each hidden behind three video screens. Selecting the screen which contained the chosen locale's graphic won that trip for the champion.

    Episode status

    The original ABC version is believed to be wiped due to network practices at the time. Six episodes are known to exist and have been posted on YouTube: four consecutive episodes from May 19 through the 24th, 1972, featuring Michael Russnow (prior to the adoption of the "Singleton" and "Memory Buster" elements); an episode from May 8, 1975, with Marvin Shinkman becoming a five-time champion (Shinkman was later a champion on Double Dare in 1977 and Jeopardy! in 1986); and the June 27, 1975 finale.

    The UCLA Film and Television Archive holds 15 episodes spanning the entire run, beginning at episode #39 (May 11, 1972) and ending with the finale.

    The syndicated version is completely intact, and is currently owned by Hatos-Hall Productions and reran on The Family Channel from August 30, 1993, to March 4, 1994, and January 2 to September 29, 1995, as part of its afternoon game show block. As of October 2013, GameTV is airing reruns.

    Two copies of the 1990 pilot are listed among UCLA's holdings, with different recording dates.


    The show ran in Australia from 1972 to 1973 on Nine Network, hosted by Ken James and later by Jimmy Hannan, and produced by Reg Grundy.

    United Kingdom

    The show ran in the United Kingdom from 1987 to 1988 in the STV region of ITV, hosted by Paul Coia.


    Split Second (game show) Wikipedia