Hot Streak (ABC, 1986)
As you’ll know I have reviewed a lot of my favourite British game shows on this blog. I have also looked at American versions of game shows that came to the UK. But this is a look at an American game show that was never shown in this country, so why was I interested in it? This is because Hot Streak was hosted by Bruce Forsyth, one of Britain’s most popular TV personalities, and this was clearly an attempt make Brucie a star in America.
Hot Streak launched on ABC in 1986 (although an unaired pilot had been made as early as 1983). Two teams of five took part, one all-male, and one all-female. Unsurprisingly Bruce did a lot of his patter and catchphrases that had gone down so well with British viewers, but how would he interact with American contestants who would be much more excitable and seemed to jump up and down and clap at everything?
The idea of Hot Streak was that the team captain picked a category from a choice of two. There were 40 seconds on the clock and they would then have to describe the category to the next contestant down the line, and if they got it right they would then have to pass it on to the next one, and so on, the idea being to create the longest streak of correct answers in the available time, with four being the maximum.
There was $100 for every correct answer, but if a word was repeated by a contestant in their description the clock would stop and the streak would end. The opposing team would then do the same with the other category. The second round had the same format only a new team captain is assigned so the streak is in a different order, and in the third and final round every answer is worth $200. The winning team keep their money and go into the bonus round.
In the final, the assigned captain is given a category, and they are asked to give four words that they associate with it. There are 20 seconds on the clock, and the four teammates have to talk on the category for five seconds each, every chosen word that is said is worth $200. This is then done again for $300 a word. Then this is done one more time to multiply what they’ve won by five, but only if they get all four words, meaning a maximum of $10,000 can be won.
The winning team can then return for the next edition as the defending champions. The format reminded me a little of a cross between The Pyramid Game and Talk About. How did Hot Streak do? Well, put it this way, it ran for just 13 editions and did rather badly, Bruce didn’t host another show in the US, and although there have been versions made around the world, there has not been a British version. Unfortunately Bruce’s dream remained unfulfilled.