Pass the Buck

Bill Cullen hosted oodles of game shows, some of which lasted for years. Pass the Buck was one of his biggest flops, debuting on CBS in April of 1978 and disappearing thirteen weeks later.

Here’s how it worked: Four players competed, answering questions that had multiple answers like, “Name a U.S. president who served two terms” or “Name a flavor of ice cream sold at Baskin-Robbins.” If the first player gave an acceptable answer, as determined by the program’s judges, $25 was added to the bank and the play passed to the second player. If the second player took too long or gave an unacceptable answer, he or she would be eliminated if the next player answered correctly. Eventually, three of the four players would be eliminated and the remaining player would win all the money then in the bank and a chance at the bonus round which no one seemed to understand.

The producers kept fiddling with the rules, especially with that bonus round, but time ran out for Pass the Buck before they got the bugs out.