Here's a rare clip from the very first week of the $10,000 Pyramid from 1973!
(The flash frame at :02 is from a promo for What's My Line?)
The $10,000 Pyramid premiered on CBS daytime on March 26, 1973 with celebrity guests Rob Reiner and June Lockhart. CBS canceled the show a year later due to a dip in ratings, possibly caused by the constant programming interruptions from the Watergate hearings. ABC picked up the show a few months later in June of 1974, and a weekly syndicated version of the show known as the $25,000 Pyramid debuted that September with Bill Cullen hosting.

Inflation hit in 1976 and the daytime version became the $20,000 Pyramid. The $25,000 Pyramid ended its weekly run in 1979 and ABC canceled the daytime show in 1980. The show returned to syndication in 1981 as the $50,000 Pyramid, which had a short run of five months.

In 1982, CBS revived the show as the $25,000 Pyramid on its daytime schedule. Dick Clark, who hosted the previous daytime versions of the Pyramid, returned as host. In 1985, the show returned to syndication with the $100,000 Pyramid with Dick Clark hosting both the daytime and nighttime versions. $100,000 Pyramid ended its run in September of 1987, and the daytime version soon followed in December. The $25,000 Pyramid was replaced by a new CBS daytime game show, Blackout, hosted by Bob Goen. Thirteen weeks later, Blackout was canceled and was replaced by the show it replaced, the $25,000 Pyramid, which ran for 13 more weeks until it was gone for good in July 1988. Family Feud took over the next Monday.

Two contestants paired up with a celebrity partner and would choose from six categories on the small pyramid. The contestant or celebrity would then have to describe seven words that came up on their screen in 30 seconds relating to that subject. A contestant could use gestures and could describe it however he/she wanted to without actually saying the word or saying a form of the word. (i.e. A contestant could not describe lightning by saying "Its the streak of light in the sky during a thunderstorm." because light is contained in the word lightning and that would be an illegal clue.) If a contestant gave an illegal clue, the word would automatically be skipped and the total possible amount of points a contestant could earn out of seven would be six. Contestants played three rounds per game and the team that had the most points at the end of the game, won the game and went to the Winner's Circle for a chance at $10,000.

(Bill Cullen hosts the $25,000 Pyramid)
In the Winner's Circle, a contestant or celebrity would describe the six categories on the board by giving a list of clues. A clue that is too descriptive would be an illegal clue, and the contestant would have to give up the chance at the $10,000. However, each category won was worth money so the contestant could still earn more money.

Example of legal game play for describing "Parts of a Car": "The tires, the hood, the engine, the turn signal," etc.
Example of illegal game play for describing "Parts of a Car": "You drive it, you use a steering wheel to direct it," etc.

If all six categories were correctly guessed in 60 seconds or less, the contestant would win $10,000. On the $20,000 Pyramid, a contestant would try for $10,000 on their first trip to the Winner's Circle, $15,000 on their second, and $20,000 on their third. On the daytime and syndicated $25,000 Pyramid, a contestant would go for $10,000 on their first trip and $25,000 on their second trip to the Winner's Circle.

The daytime rules applied to both the $50,000 and $100,000 Pyramid. Contestants played for the top prize in a tournament style, where the top three contestants with the fastest Winner's Circle time (fastest main game time on the $50,000 Pyramid) would play during a tournament week. During that week, the first contestant to win in the Winner's Circle would win the top prize.

In the first main game of both the CBS daytime $25,000 Pyramid and syndicated $100,000 Pyramid, a "7-11" hid behind one of the categories. Upon finding the "7-11," a contestant could win a $1,100 bonus if they could get all 7 words in 30 seconds or less. In the second main game, a "Mystery 7" hid behind one of the categories. The contestant would have to describe things from the "mystery" category and, if successful, would win a bonus prize. The $20,000 Pyramid and the syndicated $25,000 Pyramid featured "The Big 7" that usually featured a $500 bonus.

In 1991, the $100,000 Pyramid was revised with John Davidson as the host and it ran until 1992. Donnie Osmond hosted a revival of the $10,000 Pyramid, simply titled "Pyramid" for two seasons from 2002-2004.

Memorable Moments

William Shatner goes solo in the winner's circle on the $10,000 Pyramid!
Billy Crystal helps a contestant reach the top of the pyramid in :26 seconds on the $20,000 Pyramid in 1977.
The first $100,000 win on the $100,000 Pyramid in 1985!


RGS Stats

Dick Clark
Bill Cullen
John Davidson
Donny Osmond

Bob Clayton
Steve O'Brien
Jack Clark
Johnny Gilbert
Charlie O'Donnell
Bob Hilton
John Cramer

$10,000 Pyramid (CBS)
Premiere: March 26, 1973
Finale: March 29, 1974
(Approx. 225 Episodes)

$10/$20,000 Pyramid (ABC)
Premiere: May 6, 1974
Finale: June 27, 1980
(1,582 Episodes)

$25,000 Pyramid (CBS)
Premiere: Sep 20, 1982
Finale: Dec 31, 1987
Premiere: April 4, 1988
Finale: July 1, 1988
(1,404 Episodes)

$25,000 Pyramid (SYN)
Premiere: Sep 1974
Finale: Sep 1979
(150 Episodes)

$50,000 Pyramid (SYN)
Premiere: Jan 26, 1981
Finale: Sep 4, 1981
(95 Episodes)

$100,000 Pyramid (SYN)
Premiere: Sep 9, 1985
Finale: Sep 2, 1988
Premiere: Jan 7, 1991
Finale: March 6, 1992
(550 Episodes)

Pyramid (SYN)
Premiere: Sep 2002
Finale: Sep 2004
(315 Episodes)