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Hosts
Bill Cullen (1979-1980)
Geoff Edwards (1980 {sub}, 1986-1991)
Blake Emmons (1986)
Tim Vincent (2006 Pilots)
Dylan Lane (2006-2007)
Michael Catherwood (2015-2016)
Announcers
Johnny Gilbert (1979-1980)
Rod Charlebois (1986-1991)
Broadcast
Crpilotlogo
Pilot: 10/28/1979
Cr80
NBC Daytime: 1/14/1980 - 6/20/1980
Cr86
The New Chain Reaction Logo
Vlcsnap-128048
USA (Daily): 9/29/1986 - 6/28/1991 (with repeats through 12/27/1991)
Chain Reaction 2006 Pilot
GSN Pilots: 3/29/2006
Cr06
GSN: 8/1/2006 - 6/9/2007
Chain Reaction 2015
GSN: 7/16/2015 - 1/29/2016
Packagers
Bob Stewart Productions (1979-1980)
Bob Stewart-Sande Stewart Productions (1986-1991)
Global Television Network (1986-1991)
Embassy Row (2006-2007)
Sony Pictures Television (2006-2007, 2015-2016)

"Chain Reaction, where one word leads to another, and the right word leads to thousands of dollars."

On Chain Reaction, contestants tried to connect words that form a multi-word chain.

NBC VersionEdit

In this version, two teams of three (consisting of two celebrities and one contestant) competed to guess words that connect to each other above and below in some way. All the connected words make up a chain.

Main GameEdit

The chain consisted of eight words or phrases. The top & bottom words were revealed at the start. The player on the team in control chose which position to reveal a letter (either above the previously revealed word or below the previously revealed word). When the letter was revealed, the player had five seconds to guess the word. The last letter of each word was not revealed; when that happened, each player gets one last shot at it. Should the player on the team in control say the form of the word, the guesser got one last chance to say the exact word. A correct word kept control of the chain, but an incorrect word or not being able to guess passed control to the opposing team. Each correct answer also earned points according to how many letters were in the word, if the word was marked with the plus sign ("+"), the value of the word was worth double. The chain continued until one team reached 50 points, or if the chain was completed. When the latter happened (and it usually does, mostly on the first chain), another chain was played. The first team to reach 50 points won the game, $250 to the contestant, and the right to play Instant Reaction for $10,000. The losing player won $5 a point.

Pilot RulesEdit

The game is pretty much the same except for the following:

  • Married couples played with a single celebrity partner. One spouse played one chain and the other played another.
  • The chain board turned around to reveal another chain but in the other direction.
  • The word boxes were backlit boxes instead of digital displays. Plus, the top & bottom slots were red while the rest were blue.
  • Instead of plus signs ("+"), the last word (the one remaining unsolved word) was the double scoring word. That gimmick would become available in the 1986 revival.
  • Losing couples won their final score in dollars plus a parting gift.

Instant ReactionEdit

The Instant Reaction bonus game went through three versions plus one from the pilot, but they were all played the same way, and offered a grand prize of $10,000 to the championship contestant.

In the bonus round, the two celebrities from the winning team were shown a word, a phrase or a name on their secret screens; their job was to get the contestant to say the answer by constructing a question. The catch is that they have make that question by adding one word at a time. Giving more than one word, uttering part of the answer or conveying the essence of the answer disqualified the answer. To finish the question, one of the celebrities must hit a bell in front of them allowing the contestant to come up with an answer. Each correct answer brought the winning contestant closer to the $10,000, and completing the round within a time limit won the $10,000 grand prize.

The idea of constructing questions using one word at a time was used once before in a failed pilot called Get Rich Quick. Later, this idea became its own game show called Go.

Version #1Edit

The winning team started with one dollar, and had 60 seconds to win the $10,000. Each correct answer added a half zero to the pot; so two correct answers was worth $10, four was worth $100, six was worth $1,000, and eight correct answers won the $10,000.

This version lasted just the first week, even after a very funny first bonus game where only $10 was won.

Version #2Edit

The winning team now had 90 seconds to win the $10,000, but the winning contestant can only receive the dollar if he/she can say the correct first answer. This time after that each correct answer added a full zero to the pot and after the fourth right answer, each answer was now worth $1,000 until they reached $5,000. And then the final answer was worth $10,000.

This version was blamed for having the contestants win too much money. So they scrapped it in favor of one more version.

Version #3Edit

This version was a simple one, for each correct answer was worth $100, and getting 10 answers in 90 seconds or less won $10,000. Later the $250 prize for winning the game was discontinued and $5/point for losing players was changed to consolation prizes. (In one episode, a losing contestant won $500 with the parting gifts by spotting an audience member saying one of the answers.) All because that the winning team was given $100 to start with each correct answer being worth $100 more. So nine correct answers in 90 seconds was required to win the $10,000 grand prize.

Pilot VersionEdit

In the pilot instead of playing for $10,000, the winning team (consisting of one celebrity and a married couple) played for $100,000. They had 60 seconds within which to win it.

They started at one penny, and each correct answer moved the one off to the left meaning that the first two correct answers were worth a dime (ten cents) and one dollar respectively. The next five correct answers added a zero to the stake, so a total of seven correct answers was needed to win the $100,000 grand prize.

Returning ChampionsEdit

In the series, champs could remain for 10 matches. The champion limit for the pilot is unknown.

USA/Canadian VersionEdit

In this version, the celebrities were dropped, and the show now featured two civilian contestants on each team. In each chain one member of each team was the giver, and the other was the guesser. Points were no longer determined by the length of the word.

Main GameEdit

The chains now consisted of seven words with the top & bottom words still given at the outset. The giver of the team in control can choose to give a letter over or under the previous word to his/her partner or the opposing guesser. Either way, the letter was revealed (unless it was the last letter, meaning that the letter would stay unrevealed) and the player in control of the mystery word had a chance to guess. A correct guess earned points and kept control, but an incorrect guess passed control to the opponents. If the team got the last word they received double value (or five points more in round one), and the chain was over.

Here are the values of points for each chain:

  • Round 1 - 10 points for the first four words, the last was worth 20 (later 15)
  • Round 2 - 20 points for the first four words, the last was worth 40
  • Round 3 - 30 points for the first four words, the last was worth 60

The second chain of the day gave one team a chance to win some bonus money. In the first season, the word in the center had a dollar sign ($) next to it (originally an asterisk (*)). The guesser who got that word right won $250 to his/her team. Later on starting in season 2, the money word was replaced with a special chain called the Missing Link chain. In the Missing Link game, the team in the lead was shown a three word chain with the first & last words still revealed at the outset. If the leading team can guess the word, using no letters, they won $500; otherwise, they played for $100 less for each letter revealed.

The first team to reach 200 points or more won the game.

In 1988, teams were removed, and now only solo players competed; they now acted as both giver & guesser. Plus, a fourth chain was added; each word in that chain was worth 40 points with the last word being worth 80 points. Prior to this, the fourth chain with those values was used as a sudden death chain if the 200 point goal hadn't been reached yet. The first player to reach 300 points won the game.


Whatever the format, the winner(s) of the game earned right to complete one more chain for a cash jackpot.

Bonus ChainEdit

In the bonus chain, the winning team/player was given the top word only followed by the initial letters of the remaining six words and a letter counter which started at seven (originally nine). On each letter, the team/player tried to guess what the word is starting with that letter and connected to the previous word. Giving the correct word moved on to the next letter, but missing the word added another letter & lowered the counter by one. Each correct answer (plus the top word) was worth $100, and completing the chain before the counter ran down to zero won a cash jackpot which started at $3,000 ($2,000 in the case of solo players) plus $1,000 for every day it's not won. During the first season if there was time left, the team would play another bonus round for $1,000 for the team's favorite charity.

Champs could remain for five days and if it happened in the first season, the team won $5,000.

The $40,000 Chain ReactionEdit

In the final season of the show, the game was now played in a tournament fashion, with 128 players competing. It also instituted the following changes:

  • Missing Link chains were now worth up to $300, with the first letter now given immediately. These were done after the second chain.
  • It now took 500 points to win the game
  • Games now played to a fifth chain worth 50 points for the first four words, and the last word worth 100 points. If no one reaches 500 points, then a sixth chain is needed, the first four words are worth 60 points and the last word is worth 120 points.
  • There was no bonus chain

Each week, eight players competed with the winner of each group of eight winning $7,500. Sixteen $7,500 winners played a single elimination tournament with the four survivors playing the double elimination semi-finals. Then the two winners of the semi-finals went on to play a final game worth $40,000 to the winner.

Home GameEdit

When Geoff Edwards was the host, at the end of the show, announcer Rod Charlebois (who by that point became co-host) played the Missing Link game with Geoff. He would show the answer to the previous day's puzzle, followed by a brand new puzzle. This all came about because Geoff was not Canadian. Canadian television rules clearly state that all Canadian TV shows airing in the USA must have at least one Canadian TV star on air. As such, Rod had his on-camera appearances and home games. On rare occasions Rod himself would play a fifth chain against the day's winner if the contestant reached 500 points in four chains.

GSN Versions (2006-2007 & 2015-2016)Edit

Lane era/(2006-2007)Edit

This version was largely like the classic NBC version except all members of both teams were civilian contestants, and it was played in a battle-of-the-sexes manner. Plus, the game was now played for money for each correct word.

Main GameEdit

The chain had seven words just like the USA version except they were now two-word phrases or compound words. As always, the top & bottom words were revealed, then a player on the team in control chose where to see a letter above or below the previous word and had five seconds to guess. In season one, the last letter was always revealed and if neither team guessed the word by that point, host Dylan Lane announced the word and nobody scored. Later in season two, the show followed the tradition of the previous versions and decided not to have the last letter revealed; instead a shuffling placeholder was shown to let the contestants know. A correct guess won money for that word, and completing the chain earned the right to earn more money by completing a four word chain called the Speed Chain.

In the Speed Chain, the team in control was shown the first and last words as usual, followed by the first letters of the middle two words. They had seven seconds to think it over, and at the end of that time, the team was asked for their answer. A correct completion won the value of the words in the regular chain. In each new chain, the team that's trailing or the team that didn't start the last chain in case of a tie went first. In season one, if either team fails to give the remaining word to complete the chain, the team that gave the last correct answer has the right to play the speed chain.

In round one, each word and the Speed Chain was worth $100; In round two it was worth $200; and round three was worth $300.

The fourth and final chain was dubbed the Gambling Chain. (Dylan lane calls it the gambling round) So called because the teams can now bet from $100 to $500 on each turn. A correct answer added the wager, but an incorrect answer deducted the wager. If either team went broke at any time this round, the game was immediately over and the opposing team won.

If both teams finished with money in their bank, the team with the most money at the end of the Gambling Chain won the game. If the game ended in a tie, a series of Speed Chains were played. The teams alternated turns solving Speed Chains until one team missed. The team that missed their Speed Chain lost, and the other team won the game. The winning team kept the cash and went on to play the bonus round.

Bonus RoundEdit

The bonus round was played like the original version. For two members of the winning team were shown a series of answers. Their job was to construct questions for those answers by adding one word at a time. When they were finished, they or the third member dubbed the guesser must then signal allowing the guesser to give an answer. A word was discarded if the guesser guessed incorrectly, the questioners used more than one word at a time, said any part of the answer, conveyed the essence of the answer, or formed an unacceptable question. They also moved on to the next word if the guesser guessed the right word or if any member of the team passed.

Season 1Edit

The winning team gathered around host Dylan Lane's podium. A bell was placed on the podium for all three players to hit, and the guesser was blindfolded so that he/she cannot see the answers. They had 90 seconds to go through as many answers as they can. If the team can get the first seven words, they doubled their main game winnings, and getting ten answer tripled their main game winnings. Later it was changed to needing five answers to double the cash, and seven to triple it.

Season 2Edit

The bonus was altered a bit in season two. For now the questioners stood behind two stands and facing two answer monitors (one of each for each questioner), while the guesser sat in a chair in front of his/her partners and equipped with a hand buzzer. This time the winning team had 60 seconds to get through as many answers as they can. On each answer, if the guesser felt he/she heard enough information, the guesser then buzzed in which stopped the clock briefly allowing the guesser a few seconds to answer. Each correct answer was worth $100, and getting five correct answers in 60 seconds or less won an additional $5,000.

PilotEdit

Earlier in March 2006, GSN filmed a pilot with host Tim Vincent. Gameplay was very similar to the Dylan Lane-hosted version, with a few changes:

  • The teams of three could be of mixed gender, rather than the "guys vs girls" in the ongoing show. In this case, a team of two men and a woman (united in their love of STAR TREK) went against a team of two women and a man (presumably grouped for their love of alcoholic beverages).
  • The front game was played in five rounds rather than four.
  • Each team started with a bank of $1,000 and added to it in each of the first three rounds just as before.
  • Only the player who got the last word in that round's chain could solve the Speed Chain puzzle. That player was given 10 seconds and could get no assistance from their teammates, but could make multiple guesses at the chain's missing words during that 10 seconds. Also, if the player guessed one of the words, it was immediately revealed. If they failed to guess both words in the chain correctly, the other team could briefly confer and have their captain try to guess. In addition, the chains were worth $50 more than that round's word-guessing amount ($150 for the first Speed Chain, $250 for the second, and $350 for the third).
  • At the end of the fourth round (still a wagering round with wagers of $100 to $500), one final Speed Chain was played for $750.
  • A fifth round was played, also allowing for wagering, but the top limit this time was $1,000 (again, in $100 increments). Whichever team was leading after this round's play was declared the winner.
  • The bonus round was played just as in the early Season 1, needing to guess 7 words in 90 seconds to double their front game winnings, or 10 to triple them.[1]

Catherwood era/(2015-2016)Edit

While the teams were once again reduced to pairs, the overall format is similar to the 2006 version, minus the speed chains except that when the gambling chain finished with a tie, both teams were shown two different kinds of speed chains. One team had to choose Chain A or Chain B. Next, they were given 7 seconds. If one team fails to figure out the 4-word chain, the other team had to figure out theirs in 7 seconds. If one team succeeds in solving the 4-word chain, that team wins the chance to play the superchain.

Bonus Round ("Superchain")Edit

In the new endgame, the winning team has 45 seconds to guess seven more words. To start, a keyword is given; the seven words involved connect to that word. The seven words has to follow the specific keyword. For example, there's dog house, dog pound, dog tag, dog dish and dog catcher. On each word, the first three letters are given one at a time. A correct answer moves on to the next word. The team can pass on a word if they're stuck and they must go back to it, if there's time left on the clock. Guessing all seven words correctly wins $5,000. (No additional money was awarded for failing to get all 7 words.)

RatingEdit

72px-TV-G icon svg

MusicEdit

Main (1980, 1986) - "Thru Train" by Bob Cobert
This is a remix of the theme song from the series Supertrain also by Bob Cobert.

2006 - Alan Ett

International VersionsEdit

  • Action Réaction - (Action Reaction) is the French-Canadian version of the game show that aired on TQS (now V) from 1986 to 1991. It was played completely the same as the USA version, which ran concurrently. Hosted by Pierre Lalonde of Mad Dash.
  • Kata Berkait - (Hooked Word) is the Indonesian version of the show, airing on RCTI from 1995 to 2001. The original host for the show in seasons 1-5 was Nico Siahaan from 1995 to 2001, followed by Taufik Savalas for the show's sixth and final season in 2001.
  • Reazione a catena: L'intesa vincente - (Chain Reaction: The Agreement Winner) is the Italian version of the show, airing on Rai 1 since 2007. where they had different rounds in addition to the "Chain Completion" game, the main game in America. Some of the rounds came from a pilot for a UK game show called Combination Lock. When the Italian show started out, it had the same bonus game from America; later the show started using its own bonus game. Reazione a catena: L'intesa vincente also had graphics similar to the ones from the GSN version, on which this version was based. The original host for this version was Pupo from 2007 to 2009, followed by Pino Insegno from 2010 until 2013 and currently Amadeus (not to be confused with the famous 17th century music composer of the same name) since 2014.
  • Lancana Reakcija - (Chain Reaction) is the Serbian version of the show, airing on TV Kosava in 2006. Hosted by Voja Nedeljkovic, just like its Italian and Turkish counterparts before it, the show was based on the 2006-07 Lane version.
  • Kelime Zinciri - (Word Chain) is the Turkish version of the show, airing on Samanyolu TV since 2012. Hosted by Kamil Guler, and just like its Italian and Serbian counterparts, the show was also similarly based on the 2006 Lane version.
  • Lucky Ladders - is the UK version of the show, which aired on ITV from 1988 to 1993. It uses the U.S./Canadian format from 1986 to 1991. The only major difference here is that this version uses the rollover/straddling format unlike the U.S. version starting in 1986, where it was self-contained, although the original NBC version from 1980 used the rollover/straddling format as well. Hosted by Lennie Bennett.

TriviaEdit

  • The USA Network version also aired simultaneously on Global Television Network in Canada.
  • On Season 2 of the GSN version of Chain Reaction, there was a special Win with Words week edition where 3 teachers face off against 3 students. In this 1 week event, the red team can have at least 1 male and 1 female on the teachers team. The same thing applies for the students on the blue team side.

Additional PagesEdit

Chain Reaction/Quotes & Catchphrases
Chain Reaction/Gallery
Chain Reaction/Video Gallery

ReferencesEdit

  1. CHAIN REACTION Pilot Episode posted by Tim Vincent

LinksEdit

Rules for the first three versions of Chain Reaction @ Loogslair.net

NBC eraEdit

Adam Nedeff's NBC Chain Reaction Page
David's NBC Chain Reaction Page
NBC Chain Reaction @ tv-gameshows.com
The Game Show Temple: rules for the NBC Chain Reaction

USA eraEdit

Adam Nedeff's USA Chain Reaction Page
Screengrabs of The New Chain Reaction

GSN erasEdit

Official Site for GSN's Chain Reaction
The Game Show Temple: Rules for the 2000s Chain Reaction

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