Knockout (game show)

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Genre Game show
Created by Mark Maxwell-Smith
Directed by Arthur Forrest
Presented by Arte Johnson
Narrated by Jay Stewart
John Harlan
Theme music composer Hal Hidey
Bruce Belland
Composer(s) Hal Hidey
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Ralph Edwards
Producer(s) Bruce Belland
Mark Maxwell-Smith
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Ralph Edwards Productions
Original network NBC
Original release October 3, 1977 (1977-10-03) – April 21, 1978 (1978-04-21)
Related shows Odd One Out (UK version)

Knockout is an NBC game show that aired from October 3, 1977 to April 21, 1978. A Ralph Edwards production, it was hosted by Arte Johnson, with announcing duties handled first by Jay Stewart and later by John Harlan.

Unlike most game shows, Knockout did not begin with the announcer making the customary introduction of the show and host; instead, Johnson would make an ad-libbed remark while already standing on the set, then ask the announcer to introduce the day's first three contestants.


The object of the game was to find one item from a list of four items that was not related to the other three. Three players would be shown the four items, one at a time, and the first player to buzz-in would try to figure out which item did not belong. A correct answer earned a player a letter in the word "KNOCKOUT" which was displayed on his or her podium.

In addition to the letter, the player with the correct answer had a chance to earn more letters by figuring out the common category of the remaining three words or by daring one of his or her opponents to answer. If the contestant answered correctly, he or she earned another letter; but if the dare was successful, he or she earned two letters. If the dared player identified the bond, he or she earned two letters for himself or herself.

If the dare was successful the contestant could dare the third player for another two letters or just give the answer for only one letter. If the contestant scored a "6-letter play" by successfully daring both opponents and then solving the category he or she also won a $300 bonus.

The first player to light up his or her word (lighting up all 8 letters in the word KNOCKOUT) became the champ, won a bonus prize, and a chance to play for up to $5,000 in the bonus round.

Bonus round[edit]

The Knockout bonus round was played in two parts; in the first part, three items with a common category were revealed to the champ, one at a time. The champ tried to identify the category. If the champ did so on the first clue, it was worth $500; $300 for two clues; or $100 for three clues. However, if the champ is still stumped upon the three clues revealed, the bonus round ended.

In the second part, the contestant chose one of three hidden clues. Using the clue he or she chose, the winning contestant had to identify the subject of all three clues. Doing so multiplied his or her part one winnings by 10, for up to $5,000 total.

Players could stay on the show until losing twice, or have played 5 bonus rounds, whichever came first. All five-time champions won a car.

Broadcast History[edit]

Succeeding Monty Hall's short-lived It's Anybody's Guess, Knockout marked Ralph Edwards' third attempt at a daytime game on NBC in three years. After failing with two different short-lived versions of Name That Tune, which had become a major hit off network, he banked on the appeal of former Laugh-In star Johnson who had, in the intervening years since that show's cancellation, become a regular panelist on games like Hollywood Squares and Gong Show.

Johnson's popularity, however, was no match for ABC's Family Feud, which was on its way to becoming daytime's most popular game at 11:30 a.m./10:30 Central. Knockout got only a six-month run before NBC replaced it with a revamped High Rollers. As for Edwards, he would never again attempt a daytime network show, preferring to stick to syndication for Tune and later shows like The People's Court.

Episode status[edit]

The show was wiped as per NBC standards of the era. One episode is known to circulate among private collectors, and another is held at the Paley Center for Media; a third is held at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, listed as Episode #75 (aired January 11, 1978).[1]


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