The Big Showdown

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The Big Showdown
The Big Showdown.jpg
GenreGame show
Directed byDick Schneider
Presented byJim Peck
Narrated byDan Daniel
Theme music composerScore Productions
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes140
Executive producer(s)Don Lipp
Ron Greenberg
Producer(s)Shelley Dobbins
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Don Lipp Productions
Ron Greenberg Productions
Original networkABC
Original releaseDecember 23, 1974 –
July 4, 1975

The Big Showdown is an American game show that aired on the ABC television network from December 23, 1974 to July 4, 1975. Jim Peck (in his national television debut) hosted the program and Dan Daniel (then a disc jockey on New York City's WHN) served as announcer.

The series was recorded at ABC's New York studio TV15 on West 58 Street, and packaged by Don Lipp’s Daphne Productions and Ron Greenberg, with assistance by MCA Television.


Round 1 (The Big Showdown)[edit]

Three contestants competed. Before the round began, Peck announced a target score or "payoff point," and selected a dollar value for it by pressing a buzzer on his podium to stop a randomizer ($25, $50, $75, $100, or $500), he then read a one-point toss-up question. The first contestant to buzz-in and correctly answer it chose from one of six available categories, each with a different point value from 1 to 6 as represented by faces of a die. A correct answer to a question awarded the points for the chosen category and allowed the contestant to select the next one. A miss locked the contestant out of that question and gave the opponents a chance to answer; the payoff point had to be reached exactly, and contestants were not allowed to select or answer any question that would put them over that total, being automatically locked out in the latter case. The first contestant to reach the payoff point won the money associated with it. A new dollar value and payoff point were set, the latter raised by several points above the previous one, and Peck asked a one-point toss-up to award control of the board. A toss-up was also asked whenever all players missed a question.

A new set of categories was introduced after the second payoff point had been reached. Four or more payoff points were played during this round, depending on the speed with which the game progressed.

Speed round[edit]

A 90-second speed round was played to end the Big Showdown, with each payoff point worth $100 after the one currently in play (if any) was reached. Once time ran out, the contestant with the lowest score was eliminated but kept any money accumulated during the game. In the event of a tie for second place or a three-way tie, Peck asked questions from the one-point category until the tie was broken. Players who buzzed in with a correct answer moved to the Final Showdown, but were eliminated for responding incorrectly.

Round 2 (Final Showdown)[edit]

The two remaining contestants competed to reach a payoff point of seven. Three categories were played, again represented by faces on a die, and point values were 1, 2, and 3 respectively; the scores were reset to zero, and the contestant who had been in the lead at the end of the first round chose the first category. As before, no contestant could choose or answer a question that would put him/her above the payoff point; the first contestant to reach seven points won the game and an additional $250; both contestants kept any money they had accumulated during the game.

Bonus Round[edit]

The champion now had a chance to win up to $10,000 by rolling pairs of oversized six-sided dice, whose sixes had been replaced by the words "Show" and "Down" (one of each per pair). Model Heather Cunningham joined the show at this point to assist the contestant by providing the dice to him/her.

The champion rolled the dice once at the outset, and immediately won $10,000 if "Show-Down" came up. Otherwise, the total shown on the dice was set as the player's payoff point, with "Show" and "Down" counting as zero; the total could thus be any value from 1 to 10; the champion then had 30 seconds to roll as many pairs of dice as possible, using a new pair for each roll.

Rolling "Show-Down" at any point ended the round immediately and awarded $5,000; every time the payoff point came up, the contestant won $250 and a five-second bonus, to be used once the 30 seconds had run out. If the champion did not roll "Show-Down," he/she kept the money for any payoff points and returned to play against two new challengers on the next episode.

Champions remained on the show until they either lost a match or rolled "Show-Down" in the bonus round.

Episode status[edit]

The series is believed to have been wiped due to network practices of the era. An audio clip of the opening to one episode also exists,[1] as well as audio of the complete series finale. Two episodes also exist on videotape: the 1974 pilot and an episode from 1975 where Jim Peck falls while making his entrance down the stairs (which has made an appearance on The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments).


  1. ^ "Big Showdown Theme Song". Retrieved 1 February 2012.

External links[edit]