$10,000 Sweep, The

You probably haven’t heard of The $10,000 Sweep because it was an unsold game show pilot. The way it worked, two pairs of contestants competed against one another to answer questions. If a team won one game, they earned $2000. If they won two, they got $4000 and so on, for a total possible winning of a then-staggering ten grand. ABC didn’t buy the show but the notion of giving away ten thousand dollars stayed with producer Bob Stewart who soon sold The $10,000 Pyramid to CBS with Dick Clark as host. Sweep was hosted by another, unrelated Clark — Jack Clark, a frequent game show announcer and an occasional an on-camera host. He passed away in 1988 and probably still holds the record for hosting game shows that didn’t get on the air.

Not only did he preside over an amazing number of unsold pilots but he was one of the first people many producers called when they needed someone to host an untaped “run-through” of a potential program. Many shows go through dozens of such rehearsals and tests before they get anywhere near an actual pilot, and Jack Clark was the guy who — assuming he wasn’t working for pay somewhere that day — would always come over and host your run-through for little or no money. Around 1981, I worked with him on an unsuccessful effort to revive the show Rhyme and Reason in a new format. It led up to a run-through for NBC execs (and went no further) but I was impressed with Clark’s obvious experience and with how utterly cooperative he was. Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall were the celebrity panelists and though we were doing it just once in a dingy rehearsal hall for an audience of about ten, Clark performed like he was hosting a real TV show on a real set with a full house and all of America watching. A very nice man and, as they say, a true professional.