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Many Game Shows, once they take off and become enduring hits, will try to add new gameplay elements to the show to keep it fresh and interesting. Sometimes, these new elements will work; other times, they just don't for one reason or another:

  • Maybe the elements weren't fully fleshed out, or simply weren't that interesting.
  • Perhaps they were removed in an attempt at freshening up the show, for ratings, or simply because management said so.
  • Or it could've been an either-or situation where nearly everyone chose the same option due to Complacent Gaming Syndrome.

Usually, these elements are retired without fanfare or any mention afterward, making this a game show-specific subtrope of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.

Examples of Retired Game Show Element include:

Bullseye US

  • Initially, when a contestant finished a contract, they were given the option to bank their money (and forfeit their turn) or keep going (risking losing their money). Almost everyone banked the money, so the rules were changed so that the contestant automatically banked it.

Double Dare

  • A number of stunts and obstacles were retired after their first couple appearances. Most notable is how, for one episode, they tried replacing the pies in the "Catch the Pies in your Large Clown Pants" challenge, with G.I Joe's. This led to a contestant's broken nose and the idea was dropped.

Family Feud

  • Subverted with one rule change: initially, whoever rang in with the higher answer could choose to have their family play the question or pass it to the other family. At least 99% of the time, "play" was chosen. The play/pass option was retired for the 1988-95 revival, but returned when the current version began in 1999.
  • Feud also used a Bullseye (later Bankroll) round from 1992-95 and 2009-10. All five family members played survey questions ranging from $500-$2,500 in value (doubled in the second half/syndicated version), and whoever gave the top answer had that question's value added to the family's jackpot (determining how much they would play for if they proceeded to Fast Money). [1]
  • Also, before the introduction of the Bullseye round, the values in the main game were in dollars, meaning a losing family would walk away with more than just some nice prizes — the dollars they earned were theirs to keep. Once Bullseye debuted, the dollars became points because, as Ray Combs once put it, "the dollars are in your bank." But the main game has inexplicably clung to using points even in the current version, nullifying the purpose of the change.


  • For a time in 1997, Jeopardy! tried "Bonus" categories, which were clues written to have two correct responses. Anyone who rang in with a correct response could try for the second right answer (for the same value), or offer the other right answer for another contestant. These were only used three times.

Let's Make A Deal

  • The 1984-86 version featured a "Door #4" element that would pop up at a random time over the course of the episode. A random contestant would be chosen via the "People Picker Computer" and have the opportunity to make deals with Monty which changed over time.
    • Original Format: A choice between a prize and a mystery amount ranging from $100-$5,000 behind said door.
    • Second Format: Door #4 was quickly changed to a 20-space carnival wheel with spaces ranging from Zonks to a new car. The wheel had a few different layouts as the series progressed.
      • Revived for the Wayne Brady version as Go for a Spin.

The Price Is Right

  • The original show frequently had Home Viewer Showcases, in which home viewers were asked to bid on showcases of prizes. Whoever was closest to the actual retail price without going over won it. In the event of a tie, the tied players would be asked to bid on an individual prize in the Showcase. The current show used these Showcases in 1972, 1978, and throughout the 1980's, with a winner now being chosen randomly in the event of a tie, but the HVS was likely retired for the same reasons The Phone Home Game (see below) was retired. The HVS's done through Seasons 9-17 were done in November and were Christmas themed (except for 1980's "Showcase of the Future"), but Season 18's HVS was summer-themed due to it being done in April 1990. The Home Viewer Showcase was briefly revived in March 2011 with new rules, but no more have been done since.
  • Play Along, thought to have been done throughout the 1980's, now believed to have only been done from 1986 to 1988. One game an episode would be designated the "Play Along" game (except for the Phone Home Game, which already HAD a "home viewer" element), and whatever the contestant won in that game, a randomly-selected player would also win. If a contestant lost their game, the contestant won a T-shirt. On some episodes, a Showcase Showdown would be the Play-Along game instead, with all three spinners each playing for a home viewer; the home viewer would only win something if a contestant spun a dollar. Again, this was likely retired due to waning interest in home viewer promos.
  • Since Mike Richards took over, a number of gimmick episodes have been done. Some of these gimmicks have been retired over time, most notably the "law enforcement salutes", possibly retired in the wake of increasing criticism of police and their tactics, while others have come in and out over time.
  • Primetime specials have gone in and out over time. No new specials were done after September 1986 because the existing 1986 specials failed in the ratings. It didn't help that they went up against NBC's "Must See TV", including The Cosby Show. The Million Dollar Spectaculars, originally started in Summer 2002 as military specials with lower stakes, were ousted in 2008 amid suspicion of Michael Larson-style shenanigans.
    • Initially, to win the million (or the $100,000 in the military specials), contestants had to get a dollar in their bonus spin; the million replaced the usual $10,000 bonus. It was changed in Season 36 to have one game be designated a "million dollar game" plus have the million be given out for a double Showcase win (with the DSW range raised to $1,000, later $500).
  • The current show began with only a very small amount of pricing games, and has constantly taken games in and out of the rotation over time. Unlike most other entries on this page, nearly every pricing game ever retired from Price has had some sort of reasoning behind its retirement:
    • Add 'em Up (1986-88): Too hard, supposedly disliked by the staff, and possibly incompatible with 5-digit cars (which was definitely a bad thing by 1988).
    • Balance Game (1984-85; unofficially "Balance Game 1" or "Balance Game '84"): Was considered too confusing.
    • Bullseye (1972; unofficially "Bullseye I" or "Bullseye '72"): The fifth game ever played on the show, ousted after the ninth episode because it was nigh-Unwinnable. They tried adding a $500 range, playing for a boat, and even ditching the range in favor of rounding the price to the nearest $10; none of this worked. Also, the prop was recycled from Any Number's board; the middle prize's readout had a hidden fourth digit.
    • Bump (1985-91): Likely retired because of Bob's fallout with model Dian Parkinson, who gave the game its own spin by giving the contestants and Bob backrubs and wriggling her hips provocatively while handling the props. Political Correctness Gone Mad may have also been a factor.
    • Buy or Sell (1992-2008): Too many contestants were confused by it; supposedly disliked by the staff.
      • Prior to 1998, winning contestants didn't win the cash they'd made.
    • Clearance Sale (1998-2009): Too similar to Eazy Az 1 2 3.
    • Credit Card (1987-2008): Supposedly withdrawn to be "revamped for HD", although Richards claimed in June 2011 that it is not retired. Amusingly, the game was played for nearly a full year after the titular card's "expiration date" of December 2007.
    • Double Bullseye (1972): Two-player Retool of Bullseye '72 that required a fourth One-Bid and guaranteed a car giveaway. Ironically, the game ended in less than seven guesses at least twice, suggesting that the original Bullseye might not have been quite as unwinnable as originally thought. The game actually debuted on Dennis James' nighttime version, which was well-known for its myriad experimentation[2], but ironically, in most markets, its playings weren't aired until after the game had been retired in daytime.
    • Double Digits (1973): Too confusing. Played once with one set of rules, resulting in a win; played four more times with a second set of rules, resulting in losses. Incidentally, its game board was also recycled from Any Number.
    • Finish Line (1978): Give or Keep replacement that suffered from mechanical problems. It had a favorable 12-4 record.
    • Fortune Hunter (1997-2000): Too few wins (about 1/3 of its lifespan), took too long to play, and the rules were often confusing for some contestants. Plus, contestants could theoretically mess up and still win, and the $5,000 cash prize was hyped like Plinko's $50,000 prize despite how cheap $5,000 was by 1997. It also had an inconsistent price reveal: losers were always shown the prices of the four prizes so they could see where they went wrong, while winners rarely got a price reveal.
    • Gallery Game (1990-91): Overly tacky "art gallery" motif, won only on its debut playing.
    • Give or Keep (1972-90): Disliked by the staff; Roger Dobkowitz had planned a Season 38 comeback until he was sacked.
    • Hit Me (1980-2006): Deemed too confusing; the lack of a consistent rule regarding Aces held by the House, whose ruling seemed to hinge on Barker's mood, certainly didn't help.
    • Hurdles (1976-83): Too mechanically complex for its own good, malfunctioning frequently towards the end of its life.
    • It's Optional (1978-83): Required knowing the price of various car options, which was asking way too much of contestants; to be fair, it was played for five years and won 60% of the time.
    • Joker (1994-2007): Was going to survive into Season 36, but Drew Carey didn't like that it could be lost even if the contestant played the pricing portion perfectly, which happened several times. (Roger Dobkowitz later said that he didn't like that, either.) [3]
    • Make Your Mark (1994-2008; originally Barker's Marker$): Retired one playing into Season 37 after Drew screwed up the rules. Rather than correct him, the staff decided to make his mistake the "new rules"...then ousted the game right after that taping.
    • Mystery Price (1973-74): Rules were seen as too confusing and complicated, despite a favorable 11-6 win record.
    • On the Nose (1984-85): Involved sports-related stunts, which was unfair to uncoordinated and/or physically-unfit contestants. Unlike Hole in One, the game could not be made any easier.
    • On the Spot (2003-04): Confusing rules, awkward setup with an ugly set, and a low win percentage. A change for its last two playings to not even use all the small prizes, while resulting in wins, didn't exactly help.
    • Penny Ante (1979-2002): Subject to prop breakdowns, and a rainstorm destroyed the prop while in storage. The staff had planned to build a new prop, but never got around to it and announced its retirement in Spring 2007...although, until said announcement, the staff had originally stated that they had put the finishing touches on the game and that it would come back as early as late Season 35...
    • The Phone Home Game (1983-89): Took too long to play, plus not enough interest or ratings to justify its usage. Appeared to go into its usual yearly hiatus in 1989, but no Home Viewer Showcase appeared until April 1990 (the aforementioned "Summer Fun").
    • Poker Game (1975-2007): Truncated rules of Poker that were deemed too confusing, and a bizarre restriction on prizes more than $999. (Numerous fan versions done on online forums show that this game is perfectly compatible with more expensive prizes!) As of the Season 40 premiere, it's also the oldest game to never offer a car (the previous record holder was Race Game...).
    • Professor Price (1977): A setup which had almost nothing to do with the show's core format of identifying prices (trivia questions that had numbers as answers, then determining whether or not the number was in the price of the car) and a win structure that required getting at least one of the trivia questions right. To be fair, while it was only played twice (November 14 and 21, 1977) it was won on both playings, making it the only pricing game with a perfect record.
    • Shower Game (1978): Boring game with no actual strategy and a rather large set (it stretched from the Turntable to Door #3!); a viewer's complaint that it reminded them of the Holocaust probably didn't help.
    • Split Decision (1995-97): Considered too confusing, despite being played more frequently than Any Number (same prize types) during its lifespan. A contestant who stretched the 30-second format to its limit and knocked off two number cards didn't particularly help matters, either; neither did testing a "three tries" format on May 24 and 30, 1996. Its final playing (January 16, 1997) likely sealed the nail in the coffin after the contestant guessed $512 for the dishwasher on two occasions.
    • Super Ball!! (1981-98): Skeeball-type game that often took far too long to play for too little payout, particularly if balls got stuck (or if played with a particularly inept contestant, like Mohini in 1991). Sometime between October 1986 and May 20, 1987, they began showing the first three small prizes together rather than one at a time. This certainly streamlined the first half of the game, but didn't help in the long run.
    • $uper $aver (1989-96): Retired at Bob's request after he screwed up the rules on-air and cost the contestant the game as a result. Also plagued with mechanical problems.
    • Telephone Game (1978): Word of God (Roger) said, quite literally, that "It was lame!" Played just three times, and infamous for the fandom believing it used a completely wrong set of rules.
    • Trader Bob (1980-85): Too similar to Give or Keep, and had no room for error to boot.
    • Walk Of Fame (1983-85): Problems keeping up with inflation, which made the game too hard. Possibly also retired out of respect for Johnny Olson; although the final playing was on an episode Gene Wood announced and aired after his death, it was taped while he was alive. They didn't show the autograph book signatures (one of which was his), on that playing.
      • The game originally used three autograph books with one Second Chance, which was reduced to the more familiar two by its third playing (the second playing's contestant won the first three prizes).
      • The pricing portions of Rat Race and Spelling Bee may be Spiritual Successors, since they both use "price ascending items within certain ranges" mechanics.
  • Also, these pricing games were retired/put on hiatus at some point, but eventually brought back:
    • Bargain Game (out 2008-2012; originally "Barker's Bargain Bar"): Either withdrawn to be revamped for HD or to dissociate the show's ties with Bob Barker. Also suffered from mechanical problems; ironically, the current game is less mechanically complex than its predecessor.
    • Bonus Game: Shell Game was originally intended to replace it, so it was out from 1974 to 1975.
    • Card Game (out 2012-2014): Supposedly withdrawn to be "revamped for HD". In addition to a new set, the game now has an elaborate new reveal in which the car is "driven" out of Door #3. The game is now played in front of Contestants' Row and Door #4 has a "Welcome to Carey's Card Club" sign on it.
    • Check Game (out 2009-2013): Supposedly withdrawn to be "revamped for HD"; supposedly disliked by Mike Richards. Was also out for a brief period in Season 15 while it was being renamed from "Blank Check", as Barry and Enright had taken offense to that name.
    • While Finish Line was active, Give or Keep was taken out of the rotation.
    • Make Your Move went on a brief hiatus not long after its debut; when it returned, it was retooled to use two 3-digit prizes with an overlapping digit. This rule change confused pretty much everyone, so the old rules were brought back.
    • Pick a Pair (out 1988-1990): Likely withdrawn to have its set revamped. The Ferris wheel set was deemed Awesome but Impractical and the carnival music was deemed annoying.
    • 3 Strikes (out for much of 2009): On its first playing in Season 37, Drew called the game "tedious and numbing". After this, two rule changes were tried, none of which worked. They eventually went back to what did work, but they also went back to putting all three strikes in the bag instead of just one.
    • Time is Money (2003-04; returned September 2014): The original game was plagued with "production issues that spent way too much time on filming and editing" (basically, the set was too big and looked awkward); a major rule change on its third playing to remove the $500 voucher made the name an Artifact Title and didn't help. Roger had planned a comeback on the Turntable with a smaller set, but never got around to it. It's now a cash game played for $20,000 with a "money clock" element, thus making the title meaningful again.
    • Some active games were only played once in a season: Shell Game (Season 28), Triple Play (Season 37), and Step Up (Season 43). Subverted with Bullseye '76 (Season 4) and Rat Race (Season 38), which both debuted at the ends of their seasons and only could be played once.
  • In addition, some active games have had retired elements:
    • Bullseye '76 had a $5-$10 target with a $9-$10 bullseye initially. This was deemed too hard given how cheap groceries were in 1976, so it was quickly dropped to $1-$6/$5-$6, then raised in 1989 to the current $2-$12/$10-$12 due to inflation.
    • Card Game started out with no opening bid, and the blue deck cards were only worth $200-$1,000; inflation has forced the opening bid and ranges to go up over time to the current $15,000 opening and $1,000-$5,000 ranges. Some early playings are believed to have used the red deck to determine the range; how exactly an Ace would've been handled is unclear.
    • Check Game's win range was $3,000-$3,500, then $5,000-$6,000.
    • Check Out initially had a 50¢ win range, then a $1 win range. The game was rarely won under these ranges.
    • Cliff Hangers initally used four small prizes. (It was also planned to have a 50-step mountain, but that was scrapped before the game debuted.)
    • On the Dennis James version, Clock Game sometimes used three prizes. Also, there was initially a "shadow space" rule where the contestant would win a $1,000 bonus if they won the game with 2 or more seconds left on the clock (the last two seconds of the clock had a "shadow" on them). The 1986 primetime specials had bonus envelopes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. In 1998, a fixed $1,000 bonus was added to the game ($5,000 in primetime); it was ousted when the game was revamped for Season 43. The game has also used 4-digit prizes at various points, but it's proven to be too difficult for contestants; this eventually led to the current practice of awarding a bonus prize.
    • Cover Up's "wrong price" initially really was a wrong price; it was changed in June 2013 to nonsensical things like pictures of Drew, Symbol Swearing, Wayne, Jonathan, a Zonk sign, Tiffany, and Cat, and pink ribbons.
    • Dice Game originally didn't have the "all numbers must be between 1 and 6" rule.
    • Sometimes, on the Dennis James version, Double Prices would be played for two prizes. The contestant would go on to play for the second one regardless of whether or not they won the first.
    • Gas Money originally was played more like Deal or No Deal. The contestant would first pick a price, then play the game.
    • Grocery Game's players were initially given supplies of the groceries early on. Even earlier than that, they'd also get a $100 cash bonus; Bob's phrasing of how it works implied that they'd keep it even if they lost the game, as long as they didn't go over the win range. Speaking of which, the win range was initially $6.75-$7; it changed to the current $20-$21 range in 1989 due to inflation.
    • ½ Off initially didn't award any cash bonuses. From Season 36 to 39, the cash bonus was $500 for each right pick, potentially allowing a contestant to win $11,500 ($26,500 at night).
    • In Hi-Lo's first playing, the contestant had to decide if a grocery item's price belonged on the Hi or Lo row instead of just picking three items and hoping they were the most expensive.
    • Hole in One had no "or Two" rule until the 1986 specials.
    • On It's Optional's first playing, there was no limit to the number of options a contestant could add to the left car.
    • On Lucky Seven's first few playings for 5-digit cars, the last digit was given for free.
    • Money Game's first experiment with 5-digit cars, Big Money Game (done primarily on the Tom Kennedy version), also saw the last digit being given for free. This was tried twice in daytime and was deemed too confusing there. Money Game wouldn't offer 5-digit cars again until 1990, and then, the current practice of giving the middle digit for free was instated. Much less confusing that time.
    • One Away's earliest playings saw Bob simply asking the gentlemen how many numbers a contestant had right, and them responding with a series of horns.
    • Pass the Buck initially had eight spots, with three Lose Everythings and a $2,000 space. The contestant also had to earn all three picks. By January 2002, this was deemed too time-consuming.
    • Penny Ante was practically a completely different game for its first few playings. The two prices for the two grocery items could be any of the eight options present, and if a contestant made a wrong guess, real pennies equal to the price shown would fall into a catch basin. If the contestant's wrong guesses totaled up to $1 or more, they lost.
    • Plinko initially offered $25,000.
    • Pocket Change has had three different money distributions over its lifetime.
    • On its second playing, Professor Price allowed the contestant to pick the questions Match Game 70's-style, with A, B, and C cards. Of course, the second and fourth questions were still "Is that a digit in the price of the car?"
    • Punch a Bunch was a drastically different game for its first 11 playings. First, the contestant picked a small prize. Then, if they got it right, they picked a letter in the "PUNCHBOARD" sign AND punched a hole. The letters concealed two each of numbers from 1 to 4, one 5, and one 10, while the holes had 20 "dollars" slips, 20 "hundred" slips, and 10 "thousand" slips. To win the $10,000, the contestant had to find the 10 and punch a "thousand" slip. Amusingly, the PUNCHBOARD sign was retained until the game's set was revamped for Season 25, while the practice of describing the small prizes all at once was kept until early in the 1990's.
    • Range Game initially used a $50 range finder, then a $100 one. (Dennis James's version also briefly used a $200 finder!)
    • Prior to Season 39, Shell Game's cash bonus was $500 instead of "the value of the prize".
    • On its first playing, Shopping Spree showed how much the contestant had spent instead of how much was left to spend.
    • Temptation was initially a small prize game and didn't offer the contestant the chance to make changes.
    • 3 Strikes used a "one strike in the bag" format from 1998 to 2009. Also, for its last two playings in Season 37, it reverted back to being a "regular" car game and gave the first digit for free.


  • On The $25,000 Pyramid, the "7-11" bonus offered a choice — the team could take $50 per word or try to get all seven words for the $1,100 bonus. "Play it safe" was retired because almost nobody ever took it.
  • The John Davidson $100,000 used more bonus categories, such as Double Trouble [4] and Gamble For A Grand/Trip [5].

Supermarket Sweep

  • The second batch of episodes of the first Lifetime season had a giant monster (such as Frankenstein's Monster or a gorilla) that would occasionally roam the aisles, and contestants would have to turn around if they encountered it. This, obviously, was retired because it was stupid.

Wheel Of Fortune

  • Perhaps the most famous retired element was the shopping. Until the late 1980s, contestants used their cash winnings to buy prizes. If they didn't have enough money or they didn't like the prizes, they could also get a Service Merchandise gift certificate or put winnings "on account", which was risky. On a whim, the producers experimented with a play-for-cash format on the nighttime version in October 1987, and it proved so successful that the shopping was permanently ousted from there. The daytime show continued to use shopping until the first CBS episode (July 17, 1989), which began using a scaled-down version of the play-for-cash format.
  • Several categories have been retired over time. See here for a list; at least three were only used once, and one more didn't last a full season.
  • From 1993-96, the show tried puzzles that included differently-colored letters as part of a home viewer sweepstakes. The differently-colored letters spelled out a word, which home viewers could then mail to the show to enter a prize drawing. Variants included red letters that spelled a common word; gold letters that spelled the name of an Academy Award winner; half red/half blue letters that spelled out the last name of a President; and half red/half blue letters that spelled out an Olympic event. Between 1992 and 1995, the "red letters unscrambled to form a common word" variant became part of the actual game, with a $500 bonus to the contestant if s/he could unscramble the word.
  • Puzzler, used in syndicated Seasons 16 and 17. It was a mini-puzzle that could come after any of the first three rounds, with an answer related to the puzzle immediately before it. Solving the Puzzler in five seconds won a $3,000 bonus.
  • The Preview Puzzle, present only in syndicated Season 17, was a partially-filled puzzle intended as a teaser for viewers at the top of the show, with no bearing on the game. This and the Puzzler were removed the next season and effectively replaced with the current Toss-Up rounds.
  • Many wedges have also been retired from the Wheel over time:
    • Countless dollar values. Most notably, the $1,500 space that was in Round 4 at night from 1987 to 1996, a decent-enough second if you can't hit that round's top dollar value of $5,000.
    • Buy A Vowel, a single (two from Round 2 onward) wedge that contestants could land on in order to buy a vowel. Landing on it without having $250, or after all vowels in the puzzle had been bought, essentially turned it into another Lose A Turn. It was used from the original 1973 pilot until some point in 1975, lasting long enough to see the ousting of the original two-digit spaces and the arrival of gift certificates, a format which appeared in both of Milton-Bradley's Home Games. It's long been thought that contestants had to land on this wedge to buy a vowel, but the pilots and some of the surviving aired series episode show contestants able to buy vowels at their discretion, making the thing redundant.
    • The second Lose A Turn wedge, used for a time in 1975 for later rounds.
    • The Star Bonus token in April 1978, which allowed a contestant earning it to overtake the leading contestant in a bonus round at the end of the puzzle, played for one of the four big prizes in the show (the difficulty of the puzzle corresponded with the prize's value). However, there was no guarantee that the Star Bonus round would be played, so when it unexpectedly was the episode would be awkwardly edited to fit it in. The prizes designated for the Star Bonus were also available during regular rounds, meaning that any contestant could earn enough money to buy them and render an opponent's token useless. In addition, the day's eventual top-winner after the last regular round could claim the Star Bonus token.
    • Syndicated Season 13 had Double Play, a token which could be used to double the value of the contestant's next spin. Far too many contestants wasted it by using it before hitting Bankrupt or Lose A Turn, or just never got around to using it. [6]
    • The original Jackpot space, used from 1986-88 in daytime only; instead of adding the value of each spin like the current Jackpot does, this one merely increased by $1,000 every day until it was won. The highest known value for it was $21,000.
    • The second Jackpot space, used from 1996 to 2013. Each time a money space was spun, the Jackpot, which started at $5,000 ($10,000 on the Friday Finals when that format was used), would increase by that amount. When a contestant hit the Jackpot space, they had to call a letter in the puzzle, then solve it immediately after. This was replaced in syndicated Season 31 with the Express wedge.
    • Surprise, a special prize which, if won, was not revealed until after the puzzle was solved. This was used for most of the 1990s.
    • 25 Wedge and Big Money Wedge, both used only in Season 25. The former offered a prize that was 25 of something (sometimes $2,500; i.e., 25 $100 bills), and the latter alternated among three different cash values (which were treated as an odd cross between a prize and a regular cash space: Like a prize it was not multiplied by the number of times the letter called appears in the puzzle, but if claimed the money could be used to buy a vowel as if it came from a cash space), Bankrupt and Lose A Turn. Season 25 also included a double-sized $2,500 wedge sponsored by Dawn dish soap for three weeks.
    • The $10,000 cash prize, a 1/3-size $10,000 wedge surrounded by 1/3-size Bankrupts. It was treated as a cash prize and could not be spent on vowels. This was re-worked in syndicated Season 26 for the identically-structured Million Dollar Wedge.
    • The Free Spin. Originally a wedge that could be landed on to claim a Free Spin token, then replaced on October 16, 1989 for a singular token placed on a money wedge. Any time that a contestant lost a turn, s/he could use Free Spin to get an Extra Turn right away, or opt to hold it until later. It was replaced by the Free Play wedge, where the extra turn is taken as soon as the wedge is hit, and no extra turn is offered if the first turn is successful. (The wedge also offers a free vowel.)
  • The format of the bonus round initially allowed the player to pick from 5 prizes displayed on stage. Then the format changed to the contestant choosing a random envelope from the letters W-H-E-E-L, before being replaced with the bonus wheel used now.
  • The show has used returning champions at various points. The daytime show initially limited champions to five days, then three. The syndicated show used returning champions from 1989 to 1996, then switched to a "Friday finals" format that brought the three highest scorers back for one more go-around until 1998. The reasons the show has given for dropping returning champions haven't been explained very well.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

  • The American version axed the Fastest Finger when the syndicated run debuted and just had contestants brought in one at a time. (The Fastest Finger returned for Super Millionaire and the 10th anniversary specials.)
  • Later on, they removed 50:50 (replaced by Double Dip amidst fan allegations that it wasn't actually random, basically started by Norm MacDonald), Phone-A-Friend (BuzzerBlog's Alex Davis tried to explain this away as "budget issues", but it was likely eliminated because it very clearly devolved into Phone-a-Google) and Switch The Question (Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
  • In September 2010, the original format was replaced by Super Mix, which also dumped Double Dip and Ask The Expert for two of Jump The Question (and later a "+1" Lifeline, when Terry Crews took over).


  1. (Bankroll {1994-95} only used three questions, and one person from each family went up to answer all three.)
  2. for example, One Right Price debuted on that show with different rules well before its 1974 daytime debut
  3. (The game had been scheduled to return on February 29, 2008, but was replaced by Bonus Game.)
  4. ($500 for getting seven two-word phrases in 45 seconds)
  5. (25 seconds to get all seven words for $1,000 or a trip)
  6. (Word of God is that it also would've been discarded had someone used it before landing on a prize wedge, although that never happened.)
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