Host, Inventor, and Executive Producer
Wink Martindale
Johnny Gilbert
Syndication (Daily): 9/9/1985 - 9/5/1986
Merv Griffin Enterprises
Wink Martindale Enterprises
King World

"If it was news and you know it, you'll win some heavy cash on Headline Chasers! And now, here's our headliner, Wink Martindale!"

Headline Chasers pits two couples against each other in a game of solving newspaper-type word puzzles called Altered Headlines to win money. The headlines are make-believe although based on real people and events. It plays similar to Wheel of Fortune another creation by the late Merv Griffin.

The Main GameEdit

Round 1Edit

A newspaper page is revealed on a giant monitor. Its headline has several letters missing with a few left in there. This is classified as an Altered Headline. Then four clues are shown to the couples one by one, with more letters revealing after each. The first couple to buzz-in gets to solve the headline, and if they are correct, they win money; but if they are wrong the opposing couple gets to decide to either see more clues and letters or solve the headline immediately. A correct answer is worth $500 (minus $100 for every clue revealed).

After the headline is solved, the couples are then asked two questions (which are connected to the headline) posed by host Martindale. Each correct answer to each question is worth $100.

Three Altered Headlines are played in this round.

Round 2Edit

In this round instead of headlines, the couples now face real-life and well-known magazines. Each one has a blacked-out face as well as anything else that referred to the mystery person's identity that the contestants must identify on the cover. The couples were given clues in the same manner as the Altered Headlines with $500 as the starting value and $100 taken away for each clue. Also pixelated film clips of news makers which would slowly come to focus are played with the couples trying to identify them by voice only. Unlike the magazine covers, no clues were given as $100 was taken away every few seconds over the course of the clip. For this round only, the jackpot was frozen for the other team when the first team missed.

Two of each are played in this round.

Round 3Edit

This round is played the same way as round one except that the altered headlines are now worth up to $1,000.

Only this time, the countdown went this way:

Clues Values
No Clues $1,000
1 Clue $800
2 Clues $600
3 Clues $200
4 Clues $100

Bonus questions in this round are worth $200.

Four Altered Headlines are played in this round and after the 4th headline, one question is asked; then the couples write down how much they want to wager of their current totals, with the higher wagering couple getting the question first. After the question was asked, if the couple with highest wager gets it right they win the money that they wagered, but a wrong answer deducts the money they wagered; then the question passes to the opposing team who will then decide to play or pass the question (same rules apply if they play).

The couple with the most money won the game. Both teams keeps the cash. If the game ended in a tie, one final altered headline is played and whoever buzzes in with the right answer wins.

Headline ExtraEdit

The winning couple plays a bonus round called Headline Extra. To start, the couple chooses which subject to solve one last altered headline from. Then the headline was revealed and they have 5 seconds to think it over and then solve the headline; otherwise, if they are stumped they can ask to buy another clue. When they ask for clues they then get 7 seconds to solve the headline. A correct answer is worth $5,000 minus $1,000 for every clue they bought, while failure to solve the headline wins nothing.

The highest possible score is $23,600 and only possible if a couple answered every question correctly, doubled their score with the final question, then won the bonus.


  • This was Wink Martindale's first-ever game show he created and/or produced. He created the show by reading newspapers in his Malibu home. That's when he thought, "What a great idea for a game show." In order to host this show, however, he sadly had to leave Tic Tac Dough, his then-current and best-known hosting gig in favor of new host Jim Caldwell.
  • The original name for Headline Chasers was The Front Page.


Stations that aired this include:

  • New York - WABC
  • Los Angeles - KHJ
  • Chicago - WLS
  • Philadelphia - WCAU, which dropped it after five weeks on the air in favor of $100,000 Pyramid on 10/14/1985
  • Dallas - KXAS
  • San Francisco - KRON
  • Boston - WNEV
  • Atlanta - WXIA
  • Seattle - KOMO
  • Miami - WPLG
  • Sacramento - KXTV
  • San Diego - KCST
  • Raleigh - WTVD
  • Hartford - WTNH
  • Kansas City - KCTV
  • Buffalo - WKBW
  • Jacksonville - WJXT
  • Wichita - KWCH
  • Des Moines - KCCI
  • Portland, ME - WGME
  • Toledo - WTOL
  • Baton Rouge - WAFB

Fictional Newspaper NamesEdit

"Newspapers" featured include:

U.S. Report (a takeoff of USA Today)
The Guardian (not to be confused with Manchester, England's leading paper)
The Sporting Times (a takeoff of Sporting Green sections in newspapers)
The New York Globe (a takeoff of the New York Daily News)
The Los Angeles News (a takeoff of the Los Angeles Times)
The Chicago Herald (a takeoff of the Chicago Tribune)
The Philadelphia Dispatch (a takeoff of the Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Washington News (a takeoff of the Washington Post)
The Boston Tribune (a takeoff of the Boston Globe)
The Phoenix Star (a takeoff of the Arizona Republic)
The Miami Globe (a takeoff of the Miami Herald)
The Denver Globe (a takeoff of the Denver Rocky Mountain News)
The New Orleans Herald (a takeoff of the New Orleans Times-Picayune)
The Omaha News (a takeoff of the Omaha World-Herald)
The Charleston News (a takeoff of the Charleston Gazette-Mail)
The Cheyenne Times (a takeoff of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle)


Trade Ads from Broadcasting MagazineEdit


"Samba de la Noche" by Merv Griffin


TAV Celebrity Theater, Hollywood California


"Join us again next time for our next edition of Headline Chasers, where we'll meet two new couples and find out who knows more about the events, the places and the faces that made front page headlines. I'm Wink Martindale. Goodbye, everybody." - Wink Martindale (1985-1986)


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Rules for Headline Chasers
Photos from Headline Chasers
Tammy Warner's Headline Chasers Page