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Cash Explosion

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Bob Grossi (1987-1988)
Paul Tapie (1988-2000, 2000-2004)
Mike Armstrong (2000)
Leilani Barrett (2004-2006)
David McCreary (2007-Present)
Sharon Bicknell (1987-2004, 2007-Present)
Michelle Duda (2004-2006)
Cherie McClain (2007–Present)
Broadcast (Syndication, Ohio area)
Original Run: 2/7/1987 – 9/30/2006
Revival: 10/6/2007 – Present

Cash Explosion is a game show for the Ohio Lottery that is the longest-running lottery show.

Format 1 (1987-1989)Edit

Seven players, each of whom entered a "Cash Explosion" ticket with three "ENTRY" symbols scratched off, competed in a race to reach the top of a seven tier pyramid. Each had a box of seven cards in front of them, numbered "-2" to "3". Each player drew a card, then moved up the pyramid by those number of spaces.

In every contestant's track was a randomly designated bonus square. Landing on it gave the player the option to leave the game and take a new car or stay in the game. Regardless of their decision, once two bonus squares had been revealed, all other bonus squares were voided; this was to avoid giving away seven cars.

The first person to land on the final square by exact count won $50,000. If any player returned to the start line at any point in the game, they were eliminated.

The losing contestants were each given $1,000. Those players could take the $1,000 or trade it away for one spin of a wheel containing various amounts of cash and/or prizes (later limited to only cash). The odds of spinning something worth more than $1,000 were high, so players often spun the wheel.

Toward the end of this format, each player was staked $1,000. For each legitimate move up or down the track, the player won/lost $50 (i.e., a "2" was worth $100 in addition to moving up the track 2 spaces; a "3" for $150; a "-2" for a loss of $100). Still later, moving up or down was worth $100 per move. Reaching the goal augmented the player's total to $50K, while the others could keep their cash or trade it away for a spin of the wheel.

Format 2 (1989-2006; 2007-present)Edit

Semi-Final RoundEdit

Four people compete in the Semi-Final Game. They originally faced a 24-space game board with six columns of four rows. The columns were labeled D-O-U-B-L-E and the rows, P-L-A-Y. On October 3, 2009, the board was increased to 36 spaces, and now consisted of nine columns of four rows. The rows are now labeled C-A-S-H, and the columns, E-X-P-L-O-S-I-O-N.

On a player's turn, the columns randomly flash. They press their button to stop the lights on a column, and pick one of the four rows in that column. They win whatever money is behind the space represented by that row/column combination, originally between $1,000 and $3,200, later between $1,500 and $5,000.

There were originally three special spaces on the board. Two of them are marked "Double"; if picked, the contestant gets another turn, and whatever they land on next is doubled. (If that turn results in the other "Double" card being hit, they get a third turn, with whatever they land on being multiplied by four; in this event, a player could win as much as $12,800 on a single turn.) The third special square is the "Bonus" card, which not only contains a money amount, but a bonus prize (originally a new car, currently $25,000). Originally the contestant had to choose whether he/she wanted the bonus (dropping out of further play if they took it) or the money, but by 1993 contestants were simply awarded both. (Prior to the start of the current format, the bonus prize did not count towards their score, and if it was found in a "Double" situation, only the score money behind the bonus was doubled, i.e. the bonus does not become two cars or $50,000.)

In 2000, a second bonus prize was added to the board. This bonus prize was four years of prepaid tuition at any four year college or university in Ohio, along with extra cash thrown in to make the prize worth $20,000. This was later replaced with Ohio Lottery tickets attached to a dollar amount. In all cases, like the standard Bonus card, the value of these prizes was not added to the score, but the dollar amount attached to them was. The second bonus prize was dropped by 2004.

On October 3, 2009, the number of special spaces was increased from three to nine, as two $10,000 cash bonus squares were added, along with four more double squares. Every time a player hits a double square, as before, they get an extra turn, but now, each of the letters in E-X-P-L-O-S-I-O-N now conceal cash amounts; landing on one of those letters reveals a dollar amount that is doubled, from $4,000-$10,000. This ALSO prevents landing on a another double or bonus space.

On June 28th, 2014, a "Game Changer" effect was added to the 3rd round, thus raising the drama and turning the tide of the game for the players. The Game Changer is hidden in one of the columns for each of the players. 

After each player has three turns, the one in the lead wins the game, has their score doubled (bonuses do not count), and advances to the Championship Game. All other contestants leave with whatever they had won.

In the event of a tie for the lead after three rounds, a tiebreaker round is played. Originally, the tying players each picked a playing card from a set of eight, with the highest value card winning; these were later replaced by cash amounts from $100–$800, again with the highest amount winning.

A second Semi-Final Game is played with four new contestants and a new board, exactly as before.

Championship RoundEdit

Original formatEdit

The original Championship Round format was very much like The Price Is Right's Showcase Showdown. The two Semi-Final winners face off against the returning champion. The bonus round was played with a wheel (later 3 wheels one for each player). One space was labeled "Double", while the others were numbered 1-9. To begin, a target number was selected randomly. Each contestant got a chance to spin the wheel, and could spin either once or twice. Landing on "Double" meant they could spin again, and whatever number they landed on was doubled. The person who came closest to that target number without going over was the winner. If there was a tie, the tying players each picked a playing card from a set of eight. The player with the highest card won.

Match 3/Cash ChallengeEdit

A new bonus round called "Match 3" was in place by 1993, debuting on Cash Explosion's fifth anniversary show. In the new bonus round, nine squares were put on a board (or six squares if a champion had retired undefeated the previous week). Behind each one was one of the contestant's names, and each name was used three times. The contestants took turns picking squares off the board, uncovering the names behind them. The person whose name was uncovered three times first won the game and the right to return the following week. Starting with the October 3, 2009 show, three cash bonuses totaling $25,000 were added to the championship game board, for a total of twelve spaces, but they simply serve as bonus cash, and do not reflect the score. In 2012, as part of the show's 25th anniversary celebrations, the name of the bonus round was changed to the "Cash Challenge".

From 1993-2009, a first-time champion's winnings were augmented to $50,000, while a two-time champion earned another $50,000 for a total of $100,000. A three-time champion earned another $100,000 for a total of $200,000 and retired from the show.

Beginning October 3, 2009, three cash bonuses totaling $25,000 (two $10,000 spaces and one $5,000 space) were added to the championship gameboard which now features a total of twelve spaces. If a contestant selects a bonus space they win that amount of money and control passes to the next contestant in line. Additionally, contestants no longer retire after winning their third game. First-time champions still win a total of $50,000, two-time winners $100,000, and three-time winners $200,000 (bonuses not included). However, a champion wins an additional $100,000 for every subsequent week they win thereafter. Champions can remain on the show until defeated, with no monetary limits or maximum number of appearances. Under this format, the highest amount awarded was $520,000, which was reached by Terri Waddell on the October 20, 2012 episode, when she was defeated during her record-breaking seventh appearance on the show.

Beginning November 19, 2016, bonus prizes were added to the board; these include merchandise, trips, and cars.

25th Anniversary SpecialEdit

On 8/18/12, Cash Explosion celebrated its 25th Anniversary with an hour-long special (though they had actually started the celebration on 2/25/12, adding five $5,000 bonus spaces to the board until 8/18). The first half was a standard show, the second half was the special itself; featuring 12 players who won a second-chance drawing of special anniversary tickets. Three semi-final games were played; the winners went to the Cash Challenge, and the winner had their score total bumped to $250,000.


Player AreasEdit


Cancellation and ReturnEdit

The show was replaced in October 2006 with Make Me Famous Make Me Rich, due to sagging ratings and drooping ticket sales. However, the replacement did even worse in ratings and ticket sales, leading the Ohio Lottery to announce that Cash Explosion would return in October 2007.

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Mike Jackson


Official Site

YouTube VideosEdit

Contestant J.R.
Clip of an intro from 2002
1989 Cash Explosion promo from WOWK in Huntington, WV (has Wheel of Fortune promo before it)

Full EpisodesEdit

January 9, 1988
From 1989 (2nd Round & Bonus): Part 1, Part 2
May 9, 1998

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