The YouTube Files – Win, Lose Or Draw USA.

Win, Lose Or Draw (NBC, 1987-1989)

Win, Lose Or Draw was the quick-draw game show that brightened the ITV daytime schedule for eight years in the 90s, but the original American version of the show launched in 1987. There was a version on NBC, and also a syndicated version, but this piece will concentrate on the NBC version. Firstly, did you know that the co-creator of the format was none other than Burt Reynolds, the set design was based on his own front room, and his production company co-produced the show.

The host was Vicki Lawrence, and two teams of three took part, one all-male, and one all-female. Two celebrities (well what passed for celebrities on American TV at this time, and it seems that a lot of people who were in sitcoms or daytime soaps about a decade earlier took part), along with a non-famous player. Their name badges were in the shape of an easel, in the UK it was a pencil (why do I notice these things). vlcsnap-00073

The show began with a caricature of all the celebrities taking part that day on the board, along with the host. There weren’t too many differences in the format to what we saw in the UK. The opening sequence was the same too, although the music was different. The teams simply have to guess the famous phrases that are being drawn, so hopefully they can communicate this in time. Remember to sit on the floor.vlcsnap-00017

In the first three rounds, every contestant has one go. They had a minute to draw the clue, and if their teammates got it right, they won $200. If they hadn’t got it with 30 seconds remaining, a doorbell sounded, and they could swap with a teammate, but the money went down to $100. In the UK version, only the money would go down. If they didn’t get it though, it was passed over to the other team for a chance to steal the money.vlcsnap-00014

Then there was the speed round. One of the team is nominated to play, and they have to draw as many clues as they can in 90 seconds for $100 each, and they can only pass on two. The winning team then received a bonus of $1,000, meaning that a contestant could win around $2,000 on average. And if they have any leftover time, someone is pulled out of the studio audience to play a round, for a chance to win $100 themselves and get on TV, much to their delight. vlcsnap-00015

The NBC version ran until 1989, while the syndicated version ran until 1990. There were also some special editions made on location around America. And there was a spin-off series for teenagers that ran for a few years (there was a British version of this that was shown on GMTV). At least there wasn’t a late-night spin-off in America! There was also a board game and computer game version, and along with the UK, there were also versions of Win, Lose Or Draw in various other countries including Canada and France.

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