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Triple Threat is an American television game show that pitted two teams of three generations against each other to test their knowledge of past and present television, movies and music. Produced by Television Program Enterprises, the original version aired in weekly syndication from October 8, 1988 to October 1, 1989. A second version aired daily on the BET cable network from September 14, 1992 to September 17, 1993.
The original version was hosted by Jim Lange (in what would be his final game show) and sub-hosted by Alan Hunter. Spencer Christian hosted the BET version. The original series was produced at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood, while the 1990s run of the show was taped at NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. The announcers were Sam Riddle on the 1988 version (who was also a producer for the show) and John Walker on the 1992 version.
The original pilot was taped in 1987 and was hosted by Sam Riddle, with Johnny Gilbert serving as announcer. Ben Vereen and his daughter (shortly before her fatal car accident) and Scott Baio and his mother were the celebrity duos.
Two teams of three played, each consisting of a civilian contestant, a celebrity guest, and one of the celebrity's relatives.
In all rounds, a song and/or music video was played, and three toss-up questions connected to the song were asked. Each question had four possible answers which were revealed one at a time. A player could buzz in with a guess at any time, as long as at least one answer had been revealed. A correct answer scored money for the team. An incorrect answer lost money, at which point the opposing team could take a chance to answer as the remaining answers were revealed. A team also lost money for buzzing in before at least one answer was revealed; if this happened, all four answers were immediately revealed and the opposing team was given a chance to answer.
In the first two rounds, one player from each team representing his or her own generation faced off against each other. For the first round, the songs played came from their own generation and were worth $50 each, while in round two the songs came from another generation and were worth $100 each. Three songs were played in each round, one song per pair of players.
The final round of the game was the "Free for All" round, so called because all six players were equipped with their own buzzers and could buzz in on every question. A series of songs were played within a set time limit, with each correct answer being worth $200. When time expired, the team with the most money won the game and advanced to the "Triple Threat Relay Round".
If the game ended in a tie one final question was played. The team that buzzed in with the correct answer won the game; if they were wrong, their opponents automatically won, but they still got a free guess.
The Triple Threat Relay Round was a bonus round played just like a relay race. Three artists were displayed on the game board, with each having three spaces below their names. Additionally, at either end of the board were two blank areas, also with three spaces each, and these served as "Out of Play" areas.
One at a time, each team member was handed a card with a song title on it by Lange. They would then walk over to the board and place the card either under one of the artists' names or in the Out of Play area. This continued for 60 seconds. Each correct title paid off at $100, and once the team correctly identified all three song titles for a respective artist a series of chasing lights above the column lit up. If all nine titles were placed correctly before time ran out, the civilian player would win three times what the team had earned in the main game. On the episodes hosted by Alan Hunter, the players would have to match movies to actors appearing in them.
Gameplay was basically the same as the original version; however, a few changes were made to the format. Instead of having celebrity guests on the teams, civilian families of three competed. In addition, the game was played for points instead of cash, with prizes awarded in the Relay Round, and the winning family returned as champion to compete on the next show. Having aired on BET, this version focused more on Black-oriented music, TV shows, and movies.
One member of each family played per song. Correct answers added points (5 in the first round, and 10 in the second), while incorrect answers lost points and gave the opposing team to answer from the remaining choices.
Using the same rules as the Lange version, all family members competed in the "Free for All" round, with each correct answer being worth 20 points. At the end of the round, the family in the lead won a prize package and advanced to the Triple Threat Relay Round.
Aside from cosmetic changes to the board, the Relay Round was played the same as in the original version. Correctly guessing all nine songs for all three artists won a trip to both Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida; after doing so, the winning team would retire as champions. On some episodes, players had to match movies to actors appearing in them.
During the last week of this version, a Tournament of Champions was held; the winners won a trip to the Euro Disney Resort (now Disneyland Resort Paris), while the second place family won a trip to Walt Disney World.
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