MonopolyTVshow 1990

Monopoly was an American television game show based on the classic boardgame. The show was created by Merv Griffin and produced by his production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises.

Monopoly aired as a summer replacement series on ABC along with Super Jeopardy!, a special tournament edition of Griffin's popular quiz show. Monopoly premiered on June 16, 1990, and aired following Super Jeopardy! for twelve consecutive Saturday nights until September 1, 1990, when the run ended without renewal.

Former Jeopardy! contestant Mike Reilly was chosen to host the series, with Charlie O'Donnell as announcer. Three separate women, Kathy Davis, Kathy Karges, and Michelle Nicholas, served as co-host/dice roller.

Main game

Round 1

Three contestants, playing as red, gold, and green, competed to win monopolies on the monopoly board. Starting from "Go" and moving clockwise a property at a time, each colored property went up for grabs. To win the property and its price (as money), a player had to answer a question using a crossword puzzle-like clue beginning with a given letter provided by Reilly (the letter changed for each side of the board). Wrong answers deducted the property's price from the player's score. If no one answered a clue correctly, another question with another clue would be asked for the property, but the money that could be gained or lost on that question/clue was halved.


Each time the last property of a colored group was taken, control of the monopoly would then be up for grabs. If one player earned all the properties in a group, then that player earned the monopoly. However, since split/divided-ownerships were never allowed unlike the normal game, if two players had properties in the group, a series of playoff questions/clues between those two players came into effect. Each of the two contenders needed as many right answers as opposing properties in the group. No money changed hands on these clues. If a player answered a playoff question/clue incorrectly, the opponent automatically received credit for a correct answer. If all three players had one property each, Reilly would give a toss-up question/clue to all three. The player with the right answer would get to take one property (and thus, decided whom to play against [should any player miss, that player was disqualified & lost his/her property]). The two players with properties then had a separate playoff as above. After all this, whoever ended up with the monopoly earned the combined price of all the properties in that group.

After claiming all the monopolies, players then (during a commercial break) decided how to build houses and hotels on properties, using the cash won by answering questions/clues and making monopolies. Houses cost $50 each, and hotels cost $250.

Round 2 (Big Money Round/Make You or Break You Round)

After all development had finished, the three players would then have a chance to earn money as a flashing neon cursor moved around the board via the roll of the dice. The hostess rolled the dice, moving the cursor the corresponding number of spaces.

Depending on where the cursor landed, various outcomes were possible. And here they are:

  • Regular Properties - Host Reilly read a question/clue to the player who owned the property. A correct answer to the question/clue earned the rent (there was no penalty for a wrong answer). If the owner's response was not correct, the other two players could buzz in for a chance to earn the rent (risking losing money for a wrong answer). NOTE: Should a property have no real estate whatsoever, the mortgage value in the regular game became the rent value.
  • Chance & Community Chest - Like the normal game, a card was drawn (a computer effect of the card appeared to the home viewers) and it either effected the player(s) scores or took the neon cursor to anywhere on the board. Some of the cards were from the actual board game, while the rest are created exclusive to the game show.
  • Utilities - Host Reilly read a toss-up clue to all three players. The first player to buzz in with a correct answer won $100 times the total number last rolled (example: the dice had a 5 rolled so $100 x 5 is $500)
  • Railroads - When any one of these railroad spaces was landed on, it opened the door to a "Hostile Takeover" situation. Host Reilly read a clue to all three players. The first player to buzz in with the correct answer can move the cursor to the first property of any opponent's monopoly. The player then needed to answer one clue unopposed for each property in the monopoly, a correct answer advancing the cursor to the next property. Completing the contract stole the monopoly from that opponent. If a player failed to answer a clue, then the player was penalized the rent for the property on which the cursor was, and the owner of the property received that rent.
  • Free Parking - Reilly read a clue to all three players. The player with the correct answer won a jackpot which started at $500 plus money paid up by the player(s) in terms of taxes, fines and things.
  • Go to Jail - When that space was landed on, all three players were fined $250.
  • GO - Passing Go added $200 to all three players' totals, $400 for landing on Go.
  • Taxes - Luxury Tax cost all players $75 each, while Income Tax charged each player 10% of their cash total.

The Once Around the Board/Block Bonus Round

The champion then had a chance to win $25,000 or $50,000 by completing one trip around the board. Before starting the round, the champion selected one space on the second row, one space on the third row, and two spaces on the fourth row to be "Go to Jail" spaces (along with the one in the corner). The player then had up to five rolls of the dice to move the cursor, starting from "Go," once around the board without landing on any "Go to Jail" space. Rolling doubles gave the champion an extra roll. Each space traversed earned the champion $100. The champion could stop and take the winnings after any successful roll, as landing on "Go to Jail" or falling short of "Go" after the allotted rolls lost the bonus money. However, passing "Go" earned $25,000, and landing on "Go" exactly earned $50,000 (which never happened).

1989 Pilot Rules

Round 1

Instead of going around the board, Monopolies were captured at random; but they were not revealed until after they were captured. Plus instead of answering a number of clues based on the number of properties involved, it takes two correct answers on all Monopolies to capture them as well as the total amount of each; also the letters change for each new Monopoly. Incorrect answers eliminated the player who gave one from the Monopoly.

Round 2

The second and final round is pretty much the same as in the series, except with these differences:

  • There was no hostess rolling the dice next to the host. The dice were rolled offstage by a stagehand.
  • Instead of just a neon light to mark the players' position, Patty Maloney, posing as Rich Uncle Pennybags, walked around the board. Maloney is best known for playing Darla Hood in Hanna-Barbera's animated version of the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies, which King World co-produced for ABC.
  • Each player also owned a Community Chest space.
  • On a steal on individual properties, a successful steal on the clue just missed allowed the player to steal the Monopoly by getting one or two more clues right. Similar to the Railroad spaces.
  • Though played the same way, the Railroad spaces were replaced with "Takeover" spaces.
  • When a contestant stole a Monopoly from another player, not only was the Monopoly's value added to the stealing player's score, but it was deducted from the original owner's score.
  • Halfway into the round during a second break, the players can use the money to improve their properties.

The Once Around the Board/Block Bonus Round

The rules are the same except the payoffs are smaller; each passed space was worth $50 while making it around the board won $10,000. There was no bonus for landing exactly on GO.

Finally, there were returning champions.

1987 Runthrough Rules

Note: A runthrough is a crude mockup of how the game should be played. If it's accepted, the money is spent on an actual set for a full pilot.

The front game was altered from what we know:

  • The three players were represented not only by color (blue instead of green in this instance), but by three of the tokens used in the actual game; Dog, Car, and Hat.
  • Each player starts with a $5,000. Before the game, each player rolled the dice. The highest number got to choose from three envelopes, the second highest from two and the lowest took the leftover. Each of those envelopes contained either seven or eight properties. This made sure that each player had one monopoly with a second player having two but not having a stake in Boardwalk/Park Place. Additionally, three of the other four non-monopolized properties are all in 2-to-1 ratios for one player, except for Boardwalk/Park Place.
  • "Rich Uncle Pennybags" assigns one house to each of the monopoly properties. Each player had the option of adding two houses if they so desire.
  • Once the dice are rolled, several elements are put into play.
    • If a player lands on an owned space that is part of a Monopoly, they simply pay rent to the owning player if they don't own the property.
    • If a player lands on an owned space that is not part of a Monopoly, the player who owns two of the three properties is asked a trivia question with two possible answers. If the player is correct, they receive the third property and claim the Monopoly. If the player is incorrect, the other player receives the two properties to complete the monopoly. In either case, the new owner of the monopoly can improve it with up to two sets of houses if they desire, paying the normal game rates for the wanted amount of houses for that property.
    • If they land on Free Parking, they win the money currently in the Free Parking pot, which starts at $500.
    • If they land on a railroad, the player will be moved to a different space depending on the result of a mini-game. In round one, the mini game involved a player choosing from three hidden selections, with the chance of refusing one selection but being stuck with the next one. In round three, the mini game involved a player picking a letter in the word "monopoly" and moving to the designated space.
    • If the player is assigned to jail, on their next turn they are asked a trivia question with two possible answers. If they are correct, they are released. If they are incorrect, they pay $500 to Free Parking and they are released.
    • If the player lands on Community Chest, they are asked a trivia question with two possible answers. If they are correct, they win a set of houses. If they are incorrect, they lose a set of houses.
    • If the player lands on Chance, they are asked a trivia question with two possible answers. If they are correct, they go to Free Parking. If they are incorrect, they move to Luxury Tax and lose $100 times the roll of the dice.
    • Doubles gives the player another roll of the dice.

For Round 2, players during the commercial could add two more houses on any of their monopoly properties, as long as their bank did not go below $2,000. Additionally, $250 was added to Free Parking.

For Round 3, players during the commercial could improve as much as the want, as long as they could afford it. Additionally, some rules changed:

  1. All players received the cash values of their properties and improvements as an augment to their current banks. They kept the properties.
  2. $250 more added to Free Parking.
  3. Chance and Community Chest were now wagering spots, where players could add or lose money in their bank based on their bets on a three-choice trivia question.
  4. All rents doubled.

The bonus was similar to what we know, except each space was worth a prize instead of cash. Landing on or turning a corner was worth $1,000. Finally there were six extra Go to Jail spaces instead of four, all placed at random. As in the aired version, passing GO was worth $25,000 and landing exactly on GO was worth $50,000.


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