Twenty One 1982 Pilot
21 pilot
April 24, 1982 at CBS Hollywood
Run time
30 Minutes
Jim Lange
Charlie O'Donnell

Game FormatEdit

Two contestants (one a champion, the other the challenger), were both placed in isolation booths, so they cannot hear or see the other's score or progress. Plus, they couldn't see the audience due to the arrangement of the lighting in the studio.

The object of the game was to score 21 points as fast as you can, or come closer to 21 points than the opponent.

The game was played for up to five rounds. In each round, a category was given, each category has eleven questions of increasing difficulty, they ranged in value from 1 to 9 (one point being the easiest, nine being the hardest). Each contestant in turn (starting with the challenger) with the other's booth turned off, decided how many points to play for, and then a question worth that value was asked by the host. A correct answer added the chosen point value to the player's score, but an incorrect answer subtracted the chosen point value from the player's score (the scores can never go below zero). After the first two rounds, both players' booths were turned on though they still don't know each other's score and they were now given the option to stop the game, but they must stop only if they think they're leading. That's important, because when the game is stopped voluntarily, the player with the most points at that point wins; if they didn't decide to stop the game, the game continues. On games when they didn't stop voluntarily, the first player to reach 21 points won the game. Should the challenger reach 21 first, the champion who has a score of 12 points or more was given one last chance to catch up and take the game to a 21-21 tie or save more money (which will all be explained later); the challenger's booth was left on during that time to make sure he/she can hear everything going on.

Winning contestants won $1,000 times the difference between the winning & losing scores should they win the first game (thus, a 21-0 win is worth $21,000). In case of a tie, new games added $1,000 more to the pot. Money won by the challenger was taken out of the champion's total winnings; that's why before each game, championship players always get a decision to either play that next game or retire from the show.

Bonus GameEdit

The winner of the game played a bonus game for more cash and a prize. The champion faced a board of random shuffling numbers from 1-11, the champion was given a remote control to stop the shuffling. The object of the bonus game is to get to 21 or come as closer to 21 than the "computer" without going over, anything over 21 is a bust. On each turn, the champion decided to either take the number he/she will land on or give the number he/she will land on to the "computer" afterwhich he/she stopped the shuffling. Whatever number it landed on was added to either player's score. The computer can keep building its score until it hit 17 or more, this rule did not affect the contestant. If the contestant can manage to beat the computer in any way, he/she won $2,000 and a prize package.


See AlsoEdit

Twenty-One (2000)