Trivia Trap

Trivia Trap
Created by Mark Goodson
Directed by Marc Breslow[1]
Presented by Bob Eubanks
Narrated by Gene Wood
Charlie O'Donnell
Bob Hilton
Composer(s) Edd Kalehoff[1]
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 128
Executive producer(s) Chester Feldman[1]
Producer(s) Jonathan Goodson[1]
Running time approx. 22-26 Minutes
Production company(s) Mark Goodson Productions
Original network ABC
Original release October 8, 1984[1] – April 5, 1985[1]

Trivia Trap is an American game show produced by Mark Goodson Productions. It was created by producer Goodson and originally ran from October 8, 1984 to April 5, 1985 on ABC. The game featured two teams of three contestants each who competed against each other to answer trivia questions in various formats. Bob Eubanks was the host, and Gene Wood announced during the first two weeks. Charlie O'Donnell announced during the third week and was replaced by Bob Hilton for the remainder of the series.


Trivia Trap was the final Mark Goodson-produced game show to have an original format. From then until the acquisition of Goodson's company by the predecessors of FremantleMedia (and thus ceasing to exist), all of the shows produced by Mark Goodson Productions were revivals of previous series.

Two teams of three contestants  the Juniors, who wore blue sweaters and were under 30 years of age; and the Seniors, who wore red sweaters and who were over the age 30  answered trivia questions to reach a goal of $1,000. The members of the championship team then competed individually to win or share a top prize of $10,000.[1]

First format

The teams were shown two rows of monitors with four answers in each row. The team in control chose one of the two rows, and then a question was asked pertaining to those answers. The team members took turns selecting an answer that they thought was wrong, until all three wrong answers were eliminated, or the correct answer was chosen. The team received $50 for selecting each wrong answer, and $300 for eliminating all three incorrect answers.[1] After one team played their question, a new row replaced the one used, and the second team chose which row to play. Each team played two questions.

This format remained in place until December 14, 1984. Mark Goodson decided to rework the format after a focus group from American Film International indicated that the original format of eliminating wrong answers was a gameplay flaw.[2]

Second format

Beginning on December 17, 1984, the first two rounds of the game were overhauled.

Fact or Fiction?

The first round consisted entirely of true/false questions.

To start the round, the champions were given a choice of two packets, one with a red mark on it and the other with a black mark. Three questions worth $25 each were asked to the team members. After the champions were done, the challengers played their packet.

Two sets of questions were played, with the challengers given first choice for the second set.

The Trivia Trap Round

The team in the lead (or the champions, in case of a tie) played first and had a choice of two categories. After the category was chosen, four answers were shown. One contestant answered, then the other two had a choice to agree with that answer or disagree. Whether the contestants agreed or disagreed correctly determined the value of a correct answer. If all of them agreed and the answer was right, the team won $200. If one agreed and it was correct, the team won $100. If everybody disagreed it would be worth $50, but if they disagreed correctly, they would then be able to choose the correct answer in the same way explained above. Like before, the other contestant could disagree to try to save the team. After the question, their opponents played the other category. Each team played two questions.

$1,000 Trivia Race

Control of this round began with the team in the lead (or the champions if scores were tied or the winners of a coin toss if two new teams played). Three categories were always in play, with a new one replacing the category selected. Eubanks posed a question in the category and the controlling team was given three attempts to answer it. Answering the question correctly earned $100 and kept control, but if after three tries the team did not answer correctly, control passed to the opposing team. There were ten questions in each slot for a total of 30 questions. Except for a very brief period in February 1985, if neither team had reached the $1,000 goal after ten questions the value of each question was doubled to $200.

The first team to reach the goal won the game and advanced to the $10,000 Trivia Ladder.

$10,000 Trivia Ladder

The contestants played individually rather than as a team, placed at three numbered podiums based on their performance in the Trivia Race. The contestant at the first podium was shown four answers to the first question and could either attempt the question or pass. If the first contestant passed, the second contestant was given the same option. If both contestants passed, the remaining contestant was forced to answer the question. The question was asked, and the player in control attempted to select the correct answer from among the four possible to win $1,000 and the right to attempt the $10,000 question. Answering the question incorrectly eliminated the contestant from the rest of the round. This process repeated for the second question, with one of the remaining two electing to play or pass.[1]

The final question for $10,000 again had four answer choices, but it was played differently from the previous three questions. If one contestant was left, that contestant simply stated his or her answer as before. Otherwise, contestants chose an answer secretly by pushing a button on a hidden panel inside their podiums. Any team member who correctly answered the final question won an equal share of the $10,000 prize. If only one team member answered correctly, he or she won the entire $10,000.[1]

Any team that played the Trivia Ladder five times retired undefeated.

Broadcast history

Trivia Trap premiered on October 8, 1984 in ABC's 11:00 AM timeslot. That time was home to popular game shows The Price Is Right on CBS and Wheel of Fortune on NBC and struggled as a result. ABC canceled Trivia Trap after six months and 128 episodes; the show's final episode aired on April 5, 1985. The following Monday, All-Star Blitz took over the show's timeslot.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Schwartz, David; Ryan, Steve; Wostbrock, Fred (1999). The Encyclopedia of TV Game Shows (3 ed.). Facts on File, Inc. pp. 71–73. ISBN 0-8160-3846-5.
  2. Baber, David (2008). Television Game Show Hosts: Biographies of 32 Stars. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7864-2926-4.
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