Lifespan: January 1983 - April 1983
Hosts: Peter Tomarken
Announcer: Rod Roddy
Produced by: Jay Wolpert Enterprises
A game show with a quite original concept that had a couple of flaws that never really allowed it to get off the ground.
Players:Four players competed, one of whom was a returning champion.
Round One: In the first round, the three challengers watched a short documentary on one particular subject. In this video were all the answers that the contestants would need in the upcoming round. Players buzz in for control of answering the question. If the player was correct, their "Hit Man" on a ladder behind them moved up one step. If they were wrong, they were locked out of the next question. The first player to have their Hit Man go all 5 steps up the ladder won $300 and the right to go to the next round; the second place player won $200, and at that point the last place player was eliminated.
Round Two: In the second round, the two remaining challengers went up against the returning champion. Again, a short film is shown which contains all the answers for the questions. After this film is shown, each player is allotted a number of Hit Men based on their standing.
Returning Champ - 7 Hit Men
First Place Finisher in Round One: 4 Hit Men
Second Place Finisher in Round One: 3 Hit Men
The players again answer questions based on the video. A correct answer knocks out one of your opponent's Hit Men, while a wrong answer knocks out one of your own. The champion takes on one challenger at a time; when a challenger loses a Hit Man, the champion goes against the other challenger. The Champion wins if he can knock out both of the Challengers by knocking out their Hit Men, while a challenger can win by knocking out the final Hit Man of the champion (even if your fellow challenger knocked out the first 6 Hit Men, you would win by knocking out the 7th.)
End Game:In the end game, the champion has 60 seconds to answer questions about both of the documentaries that day. At the beginning, the player is shown a board with 8 columns: 1 has 5 circles in it, 1 has 1 circle in it, and 2 each have 2, 3, and 4 circles in them. The player turns around, the columns are shuffled, and the player chooses one. The player must then answer as many questions correctly as there are circles in the column in order to claim that column. The player does not know how many questions are in this column until they get the number required. If the player gives an incorrect answer or passes, the column is negated and the player must choose another.
Prize Money:For filling one column in 60 seconds, the player gets $1000. Two columns is worth $2000, and three gets you the grand prize of $10000.
The format of this show leaves a couple of things to be desired. First, all of the documentaries were still pictures with narration by Tomarken, none of them had any video. The second was that getting $10000 for 3 columns meant that a player who answered 13 questions (the 5 column and the two 4 columns) got the same amount of money as one who answered 5 (the 1 and the 2 2's.) This came out to be a bit awkward and unbalanced. Giving the players the answers at the beginning was a really good idea, though. It allowed for equal footing in terms of general knowledge, and encouraged playalong by the audience and buzzer battles up on stage.
This show also features one of the most memorable contestant calls in game show history. On the final episode of the show, announcer Rod Roddy said, "If you'd like to be a contestant on Hit Man, forget it!"