Johnny Mann
Johnny Jacobs
Unsold Pilot for CBS Daytime: 4/12/1974
Jack Barry Productions/CBS

This is an article for the 1974 pilot. For the 1990 pilot, see Countdown (2).

This version of Countdown was a pilot involving a mix of Name That Tune and High Rollers.


Each of the three players in this game appeared on a podium with nine digits. Mann would introduce a song clip, and then give a question that would either be to identify the sound clip or answer a question based on the sound clip. If a player answered the question correctly, two sets of 7 big flashing lights appeared next to Mann, and the player's buzzer stopped the lights. Based on the sum of the lights that are lit, the player can remove any combination of his or her numbers that match the total (a la High Rollers) with a maximum of two digits removable.

Unlike High Rollers, your remaining digits are summed together and the sum represents your score. Rolling a sum of 7 counted as a wild and allowed you to remove any two numbers.

With your score, you are trying to become the closest to zero without going bust. As long as nobody has declared "freeze", a bust does not knock you out of the game; you simply lose your turn. However, as soon as a player freezes, a bust by either of the other two players knocks them out. A tie in score always went to the player who got to the score first.

Bonus Round ("Winner's Circle")Edit

Similar to Golden Medley from Name That Tune, though here the winning contestant had to get 9 songs in 60 seconds and passing gave you a different song. Winning awarded some cash and prizes, and the player returned to take on two new challengers.


CBS Television City (Studio 33), Hollywood, California


Countdown (1974) at The Game Show Pilot Light