Scattergories was a NBC network game show based on the 1988 board game of the same name, hosted by Dick Clark with Charlie Tuna as the announcer.
Two teams of four players competed in a battle of the sexes manner (four men vs. four women). The show was based on the board game of the same name and featured a panel of five celebrities. However, the difference was that instead of being live in studio, each celebrity's participation was videotaped in advance.
The show first premiered on January 18, 1993, but after 20 weeks on the air, it ended on June 11, 1993.
The team in control was given 15 seconds to name up to six items that fit a particular category and started with a specific letter of the alphabet. The team scored a point each time the team gave an acceptable word. However, no player could give two consecutive answers, and no word could be used as part of more than two answers.
After the list was complete or time ran out, the other team could challenge any word they believed to be unacceptable.
If challenged, a panel of five jurors voted whether or not the word was acceptable, with the majority vote ruling. If the word was unacceptable, the challenging team scored a point; otherwise the controlling team received an additional point.
Originally, Clark read the category and then the letter in play for the round and members of each team attempted to buzz-in and provide a word that fit both criteria. The team who won the toss-up scored a point and played the remainder of that half of the round. This was later changed to having the challengers play the first category and letter.
If the team in control had given at least four proper answers, they then were given a chance to earn up to four additional points with the celebrity panel.
One at a time the team chose a member of the panel and that celebrity's response was played back to the team. If the celebrity gave an answer that was not on the team's list, they received one point. If the team chose a celebrity that gave an answer matching any of the team's answers, a point was taken away.
In the second round, the above point values were doubled and whoever was ahead at the end of the round won the game and $500.
If both teams were tied at the end of round two, a toss-up similar to the one used to determine control at the beginning of the episode was played. The first team member to buzz-in and give an answer ruled valid by the judges won the game for their team.
For the bonus game, one final category was played. This time, each of the five celebrities was assigned a random letter and had to give an answer that started with their letter.
After the winning team was given the category, going in order from left to right they had to give two answers for each celebrity and both answers had to start with the celebrity's assigned letter. The team was given twenty-five seconds to do this.
After the time expired, the judges went over the team's words and if any words were disallowed, the celebrity attached to those words was taken out of play. Celebrities were also taken out of play if the team failed to come up with the necessary two words.
Once the judges were done, the team was shown each of the celebrities' responses that they had unlocked.
If a celebrity gave an answer that was not one of the two given by the team, they earned $100. If the team managed to do this for three celebrities, they won a cash jackpot that started at $4,000 and increased by $1,000 each day it went unclaimed.
Originally, the winning team picked one of five cards, each containing the name of a different celebrity.
The team won the jackpot if they had captured the celebrity whose name was on the card, or all five celebrities were captured. If they were unsuccessful, they won $200 for each captured celebrity.
"Scattergories" and a revival of Grundy's earlier hit "Scrabble" joined the NBC lineup on the same day.
NBC was looking to replace the soap opera "Santa Barbara" (which had been airing since 1984), but had recently suffered a dive in ratings thanks in part to stations becoming more prone to moving their schedules around to open the 3:00 pm slot that "Santa Barbara" occupied for other programming such as talk shows.
NBC agreed to give that timeslot back to the affiliates once "Santa Barbara" ended (the network was the first to do this; ABC gave the slot back in 2012 while CBS affiliates and some ABC affiliates are allowed flexibility as to where they choose to air programming).
In exchange, NBC reclaimed the noon hour as a network timeslot and chose to place both of its new game shows there.
The show aired at 12:30 pm (following Scrabble) for its entire run. However, affiliates of all three major networks had for years chosen to preempt any network programming that they aired in the noon hour, instead airing local newscasts or syndicated programming.
Scattergories was no exception, as not all of the NBC affiliates cleared the show. In markets that did, the series was up against "Loving" on ABC and the top-rated "The Young and the Restless" on CBS and did not perform well against either soap opera.
NBC decided to end the midday game show experiment after twenty weeks and Scattergories aired its last episode on June 11, 1993. It was replaced by Caesars Challenge, which aired until January 14, 1994.