NBC Daytime: 1/3/1983 - 4/1/1983
|Jay Wolpert Productions|
Metromedia Video Productions Inc.
One half hour from now, you'll know enough about (category #1) & (category #2) to win $10,000 in cash, if you were a contestant on... HIT MAN! And now, here's the host of Hit Man, PETER TOMARKEN!
Hit Man was a short-lived 1983 game show on NBC. It was one of three game shows to premiere on NBC on January 3, 1983, after the soap operas Texas and The Doctors were canceled. The other two were Just Men!, an equally short-lived show hosted by Betty White, and Sale of the Century, which ran for six years.
Each game of Hit Man began with three contestants watching a 3-minute piece, narrated by Peter Tomarken, about a specific topic (with the returning champion also doing so from offstage). Peter then read questions pertaining to that story once it was finished. The object of this round was to climb a ladder by answering five questions correctly. Contestants buzzed in to answer questions; each right answer moved the contestant up one notch (signaled by a three-part sound effect: the first was NBC’s E-note bell, the second was used later on Super Password, and the third was used on Sale of the Century) while a wrong answer eliminated that contestant from the next question (indicated by the NBC Claxon). In a two player situation, when one player was out, Peter would advise the lone player not to buzz in just to avoid a penalty, if s/he doesn't know the answer.
The first contestant to cross the finish line by coming up with five correct answers won $300 and the second player to do so won $200; both players advanced to the next round while the third player was eliminated from the game, leaving with only parting gifts.
The two remaining contestants competed against the show's returning champion in this round. A short story about a different topic was presented. After the story, each player was given a number of "hit men" to defend. The champion was given seven hit men, the first contestant to reach the top of the ladder in the first round was given four, and the second contestant to reach the top was given three. The object for the challengers in this round was to eliminate all of the champion's hit men (with the victory going the challenger eliminating the champion's last man), while the object for the champion was to eliminate both challengers' hit men. They did so by answering questions pertaining exclusively to the second story. Correct answers knocked out an opponent's man, but incorrect answers knocked out that player's own man.
The champion competed against one of the two surviving challengers in each question during this round. The first challenger to reach the top of the ladder in the previous round had the option to go against the champion first or allow the other challenger to go first. Once that decision was made, Tomarken started asking those second story questions. If a challenger answered a question correctly, the champion lost a hit man; if a challenger answered incorrectly or failed to reply, he/she lost a hit man and lost control to the other challenger.
The champion defended his/her title by eliminating both opponents. If the champion lost all of his/her hit men first, the challenger who eliminated the champion's last hit man won and was crowned new champion. The winner of the game went on to play Triple Crown for $10,000.
NOTE: In the pilot, the challenging contestants each got one extra hit man (five for the 1st winner and four for the 2nd winner) and two for the champion.
The winner of the game played the "Triple Crown" bonus round. The contestant had his/her back to a game board with eight randomly-placed columns: one column had one square, two columns had two, two columns had three, two columns had four, and one column had five. It was up to the contestant to fill each square with a "money man" by correctly answering questions about both of the short stories that were presented during that episode (this is why the returning champion was allowed to hear the first story, despite not participating in that round).
The contestant was given 60 seconds to fill three columns with "money men" (each completed column was indicated by a crown above it, hence the title). The contestant, not knowing how many spaces are in each column, would call out a column, and would be asked questions alternating between each subject. If a contestant answered any question incorrectly or passed on a question, a new column had to be started, and if the contestant returned to a column where he/she missed, he/she had to start over from the beginning. The contestant won $1,000 for filling one column and $2,000 for filling two. If three of the eight columns were filled within 60 seconds, the contestant won $10,000.
Pilot - "Worlds Away" by Pablo Cruise
Series - Paul Epstein for Score Productions
A cue used during a celebrity profile was later recycled into The Price is Right as the second Safecrackers Cue.
- Apparently (unconfirmed), creator/producer Wolpert hosted the original pilot, but refused to heed then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff's wishes that he lose 20 pounds and wear a toupee.
- This is the first game show where Rod Roddy & Peter Tomarken made their appearances together.
- Game show announcer Randy West was the series’ final champion. He would later go on to be a contestant on Press Your Luck.
- The last episode is also noted for its hilarious contestant plug. Rod Roddy said, "If you would like to be a contestant on Hit Man, forget it!" After Rod pitched it back to Peter, Peter explained what Rod just said. The finale almost went unannounced, but Peter was determined not to let it slide. However, the finale of Peter and Rod’s next show, Press Your Luck, did go unannounced.
- A British version hosted by Nick Owen ran on ITV for four months from February 21 to May 30, 1989.
Although all episodes exist, this show hasn't been licensed for reruns since cancellation, due to the fact that the clips shown during the main game were only licensed for 1 appearance, and Jay Wolpert Productions is currently unable to re-negotiate.
- Classic Game Shows: Hit Man
- Hit Man @ tv-gameshows.com
- Rulesheet of Hit Man
- Josh Rebich's Hit Man Rule Sheet