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Even when television was in its infancy, it was apparent that Game Shows were a good idea. Test airings of radio hits Truth or Consequences and Uncle Jim's Question Bee had been done on July 1, 1941, while The BBC did Spelling Bee back in 1938.

On July 2 a young man named Gil Fates debuted his creation, the CBS Television Quiz, on the network's then-only station WCBW (now WCBS). While Quiz was the first regularly scheduled quiz series, it wasn't the first to be sponsored. Fates himself hosted and co-produced the show (his other producer was Worthington Miner), with Frances Buss as scorekeeper.

Quiz began on Wednesdays at 8:30 PM, then moved to Thursdays on October 2; on January 8, 1942 it was reduced to 55 minutes to allow for a five-minute news report at 9:25. The show moved to Mondays on February 2 at 8:35 for 50 minutes (a five-minute civilian-defense program aired at 8:30, later replaced by a Red Cross program). On March 30, the Red Cross program ended and Quiz went back to 55 minutes.

While the show's future seemed endless in an era when throwing ideas against the wall to see what sticks was rather new, it was canned on May 25, 1942 not due to executives but World War II — two weeks earlier, the War Production Board issued a mandate to stop building TV stations and Quiz, along with most of the lineup on WCBW and WNBT, was removed in favor of war-related programming. Fates later worked for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman games, while Buss (later Buss-Buch) became the network's first female director.

Now, you may have noticed that we haven't mentioned the format yet, which is because 1) nobody seems to know any details of it and 2) what we do know may shock you — the contestants were told the answers, but had to give the questions. ... Wait, what?!


Game Show Tropes in use:


This show provides examples of:

  • Missing Episode: As you may have gathered from when it aired, Quiz doesn't exist in any form whatsoever — no audio, no pictures, not even amateur film. Unlike some other games, Quiz truly is Lost Forever.
  • Obvious Beta: It's basically a proto-proto-Jeopardy! (Merv Griffin's What's the Question? pitch, with a 10x10 board, was the proto-Jeopardy!)
  • Short Runners: July 1941 to May 1942 for 47 episodes.
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