PYRAMID: Enters the 21st Century!

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Updated: June 25, 2010

CBS shot a new pilot yesterday of classic game show, PYRAMID hosted by Andy Richter (Conan O’Brien) on the Sony Studio Pictures lot in Culver City.

After a nostalgic reel of past “Pyramid” shows was shown, Executive Producer, Michael Davies opened the day’s filming by stating that they chose to keep the game play the same because, “why mess with perfection”, and that “Pyramid” is the “greatest game show in television history”. The new set, he stated, is without an actual physical pyramid. Producers chose to display the pyramid via seven surrounding screens. That new feature, along with “bringing the show to it’s feet” (contestants and celebrities stand rather than sit) is what he explained has entered PYRAMID into the 21st century.

Gone is the physical pyramid on the new PYRAMID game show for CBS.

Special celebrity guests for the two pilot episodes were: Moe Rocca, and Rachel Harris for the first show, and Betty White and Aisha Tyler for the second one, although they were shuffled around for a third show. Producers shot a variation of outcomes and combinations of celebs and contestants, for what I’m guessing, to edit together the best of possible shows to present to CBS.

The game is played in a multiple of rounds. The first round, two players compete for “best of three”. Players must guess seven words based on a number of clues that include physical demonstration given to them by celebrities within sixty seconds. During the second set of word answers, contestants have the chance to win a prize if they guess all seven words. Some prizes given out yesterday were a Bravia Plasma TV, and a Canon digital camera. The third attempt determines who will go to the second round, “the winner’s circle”, which is actually square, to name the six topic pyramid answers in an attempt to win $10,000.

Contestants that are trialing get the option to “double down” first which means their word play is twice as difficult and points earned per correct answer are two instead of one. Then their opponent may also choose to “double down” or not when the game goes back to them.

A new pair of contestants are brought out onto the stage to play best of three. The winner goes on to also attempt to win $10,000. The two winners play for another best of three, then that winner plays for the grand prize of $25,000 in which the player must answer all six categories correctly in order to win. The person giving the clues can only do so in “lists” and are not allowed to use physical gestures in this round. Their wrists are held-down by black straps on the sides of the chair to ensure this. Contestants get to keep the money they earned for the correct answers during the pyramid rounds.

Pyramid tiers are three $200 questions, two $300 questions, and the top and final $500 question.

Moe Rocca played a very physical game by miming a lot of gestures, while Aisha Tyler used smart verbiage while Betty White stole the spotlight from Richter, which if he’s not quick on his feet will happen a lot by celebrity guests, by telling the audience “don’t mind my back.” Then, “don’t mind my front!”. As well as flirting with one of the producers. White had a slip-up while tying to guess a word that caused for a profanity. Of course everyone enjoyed her immensely.

Andy Richter surprisingly was left to fend for himself most of the day. He was obviously green to game show hosting, but left with little instruction on point updates and often not realizing what to say next. With a little bit more breaking-in though, I think he’ll be fine. We are pulling for him!

Produced by some of the same people as “Million Dollar Password”, the set was very similar as well as the feel of the whole show. Familiar faces from “Deal or No Deal” and “The Newlywed Game” were also seen on the set. Hopefully having a combination of past successful show veterans on staff might just rub off on this new version of “Pyramid”.

Check out more great “GAME SHOWS” here on Hollywood Junket




  1. Skeleton Boy says:

    They modified the format, but they asked “why mess with perfection”. What sense does that make? This doesn’t sound as appealing as the 1980’s reruns. Why lower the prize money from last year’s pilot?

  2. E.J. says:

    Big Pyramid fan (and game show fan in general) here. Hmmm. Michael Davies didn’t want to “mess with perfection”, but there is no longer an actual pyramid (now “seven surrounding screens”), and the contestants now stand instead of sit. This “has entered Pyramid into the 21st century”.

    That sounds like messing with perfection to me, using his words. Why is the show called Pyramid??? And what is the big deal about having contestants stand up these days? They did the same thing on Hollywood Squares (which I auditioned for) and Password, and now this. To me, it just adds discomfort and doesn’t “project energy” as I was told. I feel for Betty White, especially.

    By the way, on Donny Osmond’s Pyramid (produced in the 21st century) contestants still were seated.

    I liked the 1980’s Pyramid set, with the rotating trilons, seats, winner’s circle, and all. Last year’s revival set was a pleasant reminder of those successful Pyramid days. Pyramid was huge in the 1980’s. Why change (just for the sake of change it seems) the most basic setup of the gameplay?

    I will watch the new show if it’s picked up, but I already have my objections. I hope they use the “cuckoo” and sounding winner’s circle clock. Did they?

  3. J.R. Ewing says:

    Well, as long as the contestants keep their pants on, this Pyramid revival should be fine.

  4. David W says:

    A Pyramid incarnation with no Pyramid set???? What on earth is Davies thinking?

    Yet another screwed up reimagination of one of the great game shows, because some new producer thinks he can “make it better,” when it was already one of the “gold standard” game shows ever produced.

    Bring the show back with bigger prize money, the same format, a slightly refined/updated set, and watch it succeed!!!

  5. […] celebrities sprinkled into the audience seating here and there. Read HOLLYWOOD JUNKET’s article “PYRAMID: Enters the 21st Century!” watch new and classic game shows anytime on […]

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