|April 12, 1974, at CBS Television Studio 33, Los Angeles|
Each of the three players in this game appeared on a podium with nine digits. Mann would introduce a song clip, and then give a question that would either be to identify the sound clip or answer a question based on the sound clip. If a player answered the question correctly, two sets of 7 big flashing lights appeared next to Mann, and the player's buzzer stopped the lights. Based on the sum of the lights that are lit, the player can remove any combination of his or her numbers that match the total (a la High Rollers) with a maximum of two digits removable. Unlike High Rollers, your remaining digits are summed together and the sum represents your score. Rolling a sum of 7 counted as a wild and allowed you to remove any two numbers.
With your score, you are trying to become the closest to zero without going bust. As long as nobody has declared "freeze", a bust does not knock you out of the game; you simply lose your turn. However, as soon as a player freezes, a bust by either of the other two players knocks them out. In the first game, a player froze at 5 when she had a 1 and a 4 left. However, a second player with a lucky roll of 7 was able to knock his score down to 1, forcing the third player to clean out perfectly, which he failed to do. A tie in score always went to the player who got to the score first.
The bonus game was similar to Golden Medley from Name That Tune. In this version, you had to get 9 songs in 60 seconds. However, unlike Name That Tune where you were required to get the seven songs they gave, on Countdown a pass gave you a different song. Winning the "Winner's Circle" (that's what it was called) got you your typical Jack Barry-collection of prizes and little money to pay the taxes on them. The player also returned to take on two new challengers.