Mike Darrow (1976-1977)
Alex Trebek (1977-1978)
Lauri Locke
Cyndi Reynolds
Sylvie Garnet
Patti Lee
Alan Kalter (Season 1)
Sandy Hoyt (Season 2)
Syndication (Weekly): 9/18/1976 – 9/1978
Cinelar Associates

"This is Bernard Korman, in a few moments he will began the climb that starts with $64 and ends with a chance to win $128,000. On THE $128,000 QUESTION! And now, here's your host, Mike Darrow!"

A revival of The $64,000 Question with double the stakes.


Contestants first chose a subject category (such as "Boxing", "Lincoln" or "Jazz"). The contestant would then be asked questions only in the chosen category, earning money which doubled ($64, $128, $256, $512, $1,000, $2,000, $4,000, $8,000, $16,000, $32,000, $64,000) as the questions became more difficult. At the $4,000 level, a contestant would return each week for only one question per week. They could quit at any time and retire with their money, but if they got a question wrong, they received a consolation prize. Upon reaching the $4,000 level, they were placed in the "isolation booth", where they could hear nothing but the host's words. As long as the contestant kept answering correctly, they could stay on the show until they had won $64,000, at which point, they would be entered in a tournament for another $64,000.

When a player entered the isolation booth, the questions became multi-part, depending on the level:

Prize Level Answers Needed
$8,000 4
$16,000 5
$32,000 6
$64,000 7

After a few weeks, they changed the rules a little; you were allowed to miss one part, but had to answer a "makeup" part to win the money. (The first $64,000 question asked only had 6 parts, but no makeup.) In the second season, the $4,000 and up questions were in the isolation booth; also, the "makeup" parts didn't start until $32,000.

Consolation PrizesEdit

Prize Level Range Award
$64-$4,000 $1
$8,000 or $16,000 Buick Skylark
$32,000 ($24,000 and a Buick Electra during Season 2) or $64,000 $16,000 in Season 1, $8,000 and a Buick Electra in Season 2. Early in Season 1, a player who missed only one part of the $64,000 question would leave with $32,000.


Four contestants won $64,000 during the first season. The semifinals consisted of three rounds of questions for each player. Players were asked four questions in each round. If the player answered all four questions correctly, an additional question was asked. Each correct answer scored one point in round one, two points in round two and three points in round three. After three rounds of questions, the two players with the highest scores advanced to the finals, in which the finalists would alternate answering questions. The first player to answer six questions correctly won $64,000. However, each contender would be given an equal number of questions. If both players were tied at six points each, the players continued answering questions until the tie was broken.

Season 2 featured two $64,000 winners. The playoff game consisted of four rounds of gameplay. In each of the first four rounds, each player was given four questions. Each correct answer scored one point in round one, two points in round two, four points in round three, and eight points in round four. After the fourth round, both players took turns answering 16-point questions until one player achieved a total score of at least 128 points, thereby winning an additional $64,000.



  • Originally, Viacom had intended to revive the series with the same title (and top payoff), but when rival series Name That Tune announced plans to add a "$100,000 Mystery Tune" for the 1976-77 season, Viacom did not wish for their series to only have the second-biggest payoff and added an end-of-season $64,000 tournament to the format.
    • Further hindering the show was that a planned deal with CBS O&O's to carry the show in major markets had to be scrapped because of the network-imposed $25,000 winnings limit for game shows (which, at the time, was also extended to syndicated games airing on the O&O's). While the producers were able to get the Metromedia-owned stations to fill these gaps, ratings proved mediocre and the show was canceled after a two-season run.


A board game was released by the Ideal Toy Company in 1977, which followed the Season 1 format complete with a category tree. The game was given to contestants who appeared on the show during Season 1.


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Rules for The $128,000 Question

YouTube VideosEdit

Darrow Era
The full September 18, 1976 Premiere (1983 KDOC repeat): Part 1, Part 2

Trebek Era
A full episode from November 17, 1977
A full episode from November 24, 1977: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
A full episode from December 1, 1977
A full episode from December 8, 1977
A full episode from December 15, 1977

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