The Word Game is a 1980 unsold pilot hosted by Dick Martin, announced by Kenny Williams, directed by Jerome Shaw and co-created and produced by Harry Friedman and Jay Redack for Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley Productions and it was taped at NBC Studios in Burbank, California on April 5, 1980. It was a precursor to Wordplay and it was a spiritual successor to the 1965-67 show Oh My Word. It was best described as when Oh My Word meets The Who, What or Where Game.
The gameplay is rather similar to Wordplay. Three celebrities and two contestants play with a game board with over nine words (the middle column was raised higher than the outer columns). The object is how to figure out the definitions of those words.
Here are the money amounts for each round:
- Round 1 - $5, $10, $15
- Round 2 - $25, $45, $60
- Round 3 - $75, $90, $100
In addition to the cash, one of the words in the game was a bonus word. The player who picked that and chose the right definition not only won the hidden dollar amount, but also a new car.
The player with the most money at the end of round three won the game and kept the cash. If the game ended in a tie, one last word was played.
The bonus game is the same as the main game, but faster and the time limit is 60 seconds.
- The theme song for the show was later used on the 1982 game show Fantasy.
- The sounds for the show is the same one used on the 1966 version of The Hollywood Squares.
- The time-up's buzzer was the same one as the 1978 version of High Rollers and Wheel of Fortune.
- Originally, Heatter-Quigley got the rights to the Oh My Word format with Jim Lange is tapped on to host, but Jim Lange left the show due to creative differences and rehash the format and replaced Lange with Dick Martin.