|Presented by||Chuck Woolery|
|Narrated by||Mark Thompson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||44|
|Running time||42–44 minutes|
|Production company||Dick Clark Productions|
|Original release||November 4, 1999 –|
July 14, 2000
Greed[a] is an American television game show that aired on Fox for one season from November 4, 1999 to July 14, 2000. Chuck Woolery was the show's host while Mark Thompson was its primary announcer. The game consisted of a team of contestants who answered a series of multiple-choice questions for a potential prize of up to $2,000,000.
Dick Clark and Bob Boden of Dick Clark Productions created the series in response to the success of ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. While its television ratings were not quite as successful as Millionaire's, Greed still improved on Fox's performance year-to-year in its timeslots. The show's critical reception was mixed as some critics saw it as a rip-off of Millionaire, although others believed Greed to be the more intriguing and dramatic of the two programs. It was abruptly canceled following the conclusion of its first season as Fox's leadership shifted the network's focus to scripted programming.
Six contestants are asked a question with a numerical answer. After all six submit an answer, the answer is revealed and the contestant whose numerical guess farthest from the exact answer is eliminated. The remaining contestants are stationed at podiums based upon the closeness of their guess to the correct answer, and the one who had the closest guess becomes the team's captain. If two or more contestants give the same guess or guesses that are of equal distance from the correct answer, the one who locks in their answer before the other(s) receives the higher ranking. During the show's run as Super Greed, the qualifying round was eliminated, and the five contestants were introduced and sent to positions determined by a random drawing backstage.
The team attempts to answer a series of eight questions worth successively higher amounts, from $25,000 up to $2,000,000 ($4,000,000 for Super Greed episodes). Each of the first four questions has one correct answer to be chosen from several options (four for questions one and two, five for questions three and four). The host reads the question and answers to one contestant, who chooses one of them. The captain can either accept that answer or replace it with a different one. If the final choice is correct, the team's winnings are increased to the value of that question; the captain can then choose to either quit the game or risk the money on the next question. If the captain quits after any of these four questions, the money is split evenly among all five team members. Giving/accepting a wrong answer ends the game and forfeits all winnings. The team member in the lowest position (farthest from the correct answer when a qualifying question was played) gives the answer to question 1, and each question after that is answered by the member in the next higher position.
The remaining four questions each have four correct answers to be chosen from several options, starting with six for question five and increasing by one for each question after that. The host reveals the category of the upcoming fifth question to the captain and offers a chance to end the game, with the prize money being split among the remaining players according to their shares. If the captain chooses to continue, a "Terminator" round is played (see below) prior to the question being asked. The captain is given a single "Freebie" lifeline prior to question five and can use it once to eliminate a wrong answer from a question.
For questions five through seven, answers are given by the players in the positions below the captain, one each from lowest to highest. The captain answers last, then (if necessary) chooses to either give enough additional answers to make four or delegate the choices to other members. Once all the answers are in, the captain approves the team's four choices, though they can change one of the answers if desired. Answers are revealed individually as correct or incorrect; if three correct answers are found, the host offers a buyout to quit the game. Ten percent of the question's value is offered on questions five and six ($20,000 and $50,000 ($100,000 on Super Greed episodes), respectively), to be split evenly among the remaining players, and the team's decision is entirely up to the captain. On question seven, each team member can choose to take an individual buyout consisting of a Jaguar XK8 convertible and $25,000 cash (approximately $100,000 total value).
If the captain (at questions five and six) or at least one team member (at question seven) chooses to continue with the game, the fourth answer is revealed. If it is correct, the team splits the cash award for that level's question. If an incorrect answer is revealed at any point, the game ends and the team leaves with nothing.
|Regular episodes||Super Greed|
A Terminator challenge is played before each question starting at question five. One contestant is chosen at random and given the option to challenge a teammate to a one-question showdown for their share of the team's collective winnings. If the selected contestant issues a challenge, they are given a guaranteed $10,000 to keep regardless of the result of the outcome of the Terminator or the overall game. If the selected contestant declines to issue a challenge, the team remains as it was and the host proceeds to the next question.
The two contestants face each other across podiums at center stage, and the host reads a toss-up question. The first contestant to buzz in and answer correctly eliminates the other contestant from the game and claims their share of the collective winnings. If a contestant buzzes in and provides an incorrect response or does not immediately respond, their opponent wins by default. If the team captain is eliminated, the contestant who wins the challenge becomes the new captain.
Contestants were originally required to wait for the question to be read completely before buzzing in. This was later changed to allow contestants to buzz in at any time if they knew the answer, though the host would immediately stop reading the question at that point.
Before the $2,000,000 question, each team member can decide to quit with their share of the team's collective winnings or continue playing. If any team members choose to continue, a question with nine possible answers is presented, of which four are correct. In the only instance in which a contestant chose to play the final question, the remaining contestant was given 30 seconds to select four answers and was warned that if four answers were not selected within the time limit, the game would end and the contestant would leave with nothing. Following the selection of answers, correct responses are revealed individually. None of the answers can be changed and no buyout is offered following the reveal of the third correct answer. If all four chosen answers are correct, the contestant (or team) wins $2,000,000.
Only one contestant reached this level throughout the show's run. On the episode that aired on November 18, 1999, Daniel Avila chose to risk his $200,000 individual winnings to play for the top prize (which had been increased to $2,200,000 as it was during Greed's progressive jackpot shows). However, Avila missed the question based on a Yale University study about the four smells most recognizable to the human nose (peanut butter, coffee, Vicks VapoRub, and chocolate). Avila correctly guessed peanut butter, coffee, and Vicks VapoRub but incorrectly guessed tuna instead of chocolate, and left with nothing.
In the first month of Greed's run, the top prize started at $2,000,000 and increased by $50,000 after every game in which it went unclaimed. As no team had reached the jackpot question and provided the necessary correct answers, the jackpot reached $2,550,000 in the first month. When the program was picked up as a regular series in Fox's weekly lineup, the top prize was changed to a flat $2,000,000.
Greed: Million Dollar Moment
In February 2000, eight previous Greed contestants were brought back for a "Million Dollar Moment" at the end of each of four episodes. The contestants were all players who got close to the $2,000,000 jackpot question. Two contestants faced off with a Terminator-style sudden-death question, and the winner was given a $1,000,000 question with eight possible choices. The contestant had up to 30 seconds to study the question, then 10 seconds to lock in the four correct answers to win the money. Correct answers were revealed one at a time (as on the jackpot question, no buyout was offered after the third correct answer), and if all four were correct, the contestant won an additional $1,000,000. However, if any of the answers were wrong, the contestant won no additional money but kept any money won on previous episodes.
Curtis Warren became Greed's only Million Dollar Moment winner when he successfully answered a question about movies based on television shows on the episode that aired on February 11, 2000. Warren was the program's biggest winner with $1,410,000 and briefly held the title of biggest U.S. game show winner of all time; combined with an earlier six-figure winning streak on Sale of the Century in 1986 and an appearance on Win Ben Stein's Money, his total game show winnings stood at $1,546,988. Warren's record was broken shortly thereafter by David Legler, who won $1,765,000 on NBC's Twenty One. He has since been surpassed by others, including Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer.
From April 28 to May 19, 2000, the show was known as Super Greed. The qualifying question was eliminated, and the values for the top three questions were doubled, making the eighth question worth a potential $4,000,000. The cash buyout on the sixth question was increased to $100,000, and any team that got this question right and continued past it was guaranteed $200,000 regardless of the outcome of the game.
Two teams reached the seventh question during this time. The first team (consisting of John Epperson and Lisa Stigers) was offered the same individual car/cash buyout as in the regular episodes with the cash portion increased to $75,000 (bringing the total value to $150,000), and both remaining members elected to take the offer. Members of the second team (consisting of Phyllis Harris, Lauren Griswold, and David Juliano) were offered an individual $150,000 all-cash buyout; all three chose to continue and shared the $2,000,000 prize.
Greed was created by Dick Clark and Bob Boden of Dick Clark Productions. It was considered by television crtics and network producers to be Fox's response to the success of ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Clark and Boden pitched the show to Fox in September, and six episodes were ordered, which began taping less than three weeks later. The series was only given about a month of preparation before it was set to premiere in November 1999. Fox had set the target premiere date of Thursday, November 4, because it was three days before Millionaire was set to return to ABC, and by mid-October, one Fox executive was concerned the network might not have the show ready in time.
In selecting a host, producers considered included veteran game show hosts Chuck Woolery and Bob Eubanks, as well as Keith Olbermann and Gordon Elliott. On October 13, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Gail Shister reported that Olbermann was close to being named host, while also noting Phil Donahue was Fox's first choice, though he proved to be too expensive for the network. Woolery was ultimately selected as the show's host due to his game show experience. The production team omitted taping a pilot, allowing the series to be ready in time for its premiere on November 4. Mark Thompson served as the announcer, Bob Levy and Chris Donovan directed the program, and Edgar Struble composed the soundtrack. It was initially subtitled "Greed: The Multi-Million Dollar Challenge". The tagline for the series was "the Richest, Most Dangerous Game in America."
In January 2000, Fox brought Greed back to its schedule by airing it three nights in a row before it began airing weekly on Fridays, in order to avoid competing head-to-head with Millionaire on Thursdays. After renewing the show through the summer of 2000 while hinting at a possible return the following season, Fox abruptly canceled the program on July 14, 2000. By 2001, Fox executives Sandy Grushow and Gail Berman had led a shift in the network's focus through a greater emphasis on scripted programming. In December 2000, Clark stated that he was working on a revised version of Greed that he would initially pitch to Fox and then propose to other networks. While this proposed revival was never launched, Greed was acquired by Game Show Network (GSN) for reruns in January 2002.
The majority of Greed's contestants during its first couple of months were hand-selected and recruited by the show's producers so long as they could pass a test of multiple-choice questions to qualify. Many of them had already appeared on other trivia-based game shows, including Avila and Warren, who were previously winning contestants on Jeopardy! and Win Ben Stein's Money respectively. The window between Avila's test and when his episode taped was only three days, as he took the test on a Saturday and taped the show the following Tuesday. Once the show became a regular series, Fox began a more nationwide search for contestants, and any legal resident of the U.S. was invited to call or mail in an entry for a chance to audition.
Like Millionaire, Greed's basic set was atypical of the traditional game show, giving the show a more dramatic feel. The New York Times' Julia Chaplin compared the set to a video game, saying it was "painted to look like stone blocks, reminiscent of the torch-lighted medieval castles in games like Doom and Soul Calibur." Greed's set designer, Jimmy Cuomo, noted the inspiration from science fiction in his set, specifically from Star Trek and various castle settings in video games.
Greed's success in the United States led to it becoming a worldwide franchise as the show was adapted and recreated in several other countries. Versions of Greed have existed in the Arab World, Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. Additionally, the original American series aired in Canada on Global.
Greed received mixed critical reception. At the beginning of the show's run, some critics saw Greed as little more than a bad attempt to capitalize on ABC's success with Millionaire. Scott D. Pierce of Deseret News called the series "a rip-off" of Millionaire, adding "just how liberally Fox and Dick Clark Productions stole from the ABC hit is a bit of a shocker". Joyce Millman of Salon added, "a stench of desperation surrounds the show" and referred to it as "Fox's last hope" for a primetime hit that television season. Millionaire host Regis Philbin was unsurprised Fox launched a competing show, saying, "It's so Fox, isn't it?" In comparing Greed to Millionaire, New York Daily News's David Bianculli wrote that the former "doesn't have heart" as it allowed contestants to duel with each other, while also arguing Woolery lacked "warmth and empathy" compared to Philbin on Millionaire.
Others were more favorable of Greed, particularly due to its elements of drama. Writing for The New York Times two weeks after the show's debut, Caryn James believed Greed was a more dramatic show than Millionaire, comparing it to "blood sport" and saying it "evokes uglier sentiments and brings in less conventional contestants". Time's James Poniewozik gave the series a more positive review, arguing that "Greed Trumps Millionaire" based on its lack of lifelines and ability to pit teammates against each other. By the beginning of December, Bill Carter (also of The New York Times) wrote that the series "has fared passably well". Twenty years after Greed's premiere, Forbes's Marc Berman wrote an article titled "20 Years Later: I Still Feel The Need For Greed", arguing that the show could eventually be rebooted due to the "current era of [game show] revivals".
Greed premiered with a 4.0 rating in adults 18–49 and a total of 9,860,000 viewers. improving on Fox's Thursday night performance from its other shows that season. The rating gave Fox an improvement of more than 100 percent in that timeslot over the previous week, marking the network's best Thursday ratings in more than six months. By mid-January 2000, Greed brought in a respectable 12,000,000 viewers, which marked Fox's best performance in the timeslot since the debut of Millennium, although the number totaled less than half of Millionaire's audience of 28,000,000. Alan Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote that Greed's producers would occasionally have to displace the show and change its schedule to avoid going head-to-head against Millionaire. The July 14, 2000 episode, which would ultimately be the series finale, earned 6,670,000 viewers.
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The remaining five players together attempt to climb the "Tower of Greed" ($25,000 to $50,000 to $75,000 to $100,000 to $200,000 to $500,000 to $1 million to $2 million or more).
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His recent composing credits include Dick Clark's Your Big Break and Greed series...
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Greed...bills itself as 'the richest, most dangerous game in America.'
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'Greed will be airing original episodes all summer long and is absolutely not canceled for the fall,' said a Fox spokesman.
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