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Monopoly (game show)

Monopoly was a game show loosely based on the board game of the same name which aired on ABC for thirteen weeks between June and September 1990. Mike Reilly, a former Jeopardy! contestant, hosted and Charlie O'Donnell was the announcer. Merv Griffin created and executive produced the show.

Game Play

Round 1

Three contestants played, each one was represented by a color (red, gold, & green). Starting on Mediterranean Avenue, and continuing clockwise through each color-group property on a standard Monopoly game board, a crossword puzzle-style clue was read, with the right answer beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet. The first player to buzz-in with the correct answer won the value of the property in cash and gained control of it. Each incorrect answer deducted the value from the player's score. Each entirely missed question halved the property value until someone gave a correct answer.


If more than one contestant controlled properties in the same color group, a series of play-off questions would determine which player gained control of the "monopoly" in that group. (Example: If the Red player controlled Connecticut Avenue, and the Green player had Vermont and Oriental Avenues, the Green player could gain control of the entire Light Blue group by answering just one question, while the Red player would need two to do the same.) Split-ownership of color groups was not allowed. In the case of each of the three players owning one property in a color group, a toss-up was asked of all three players. The player to get the right answer immediately took control of one of his opponent's properties in that group. The other opponent would now have to answer two questions to gain the monopoly, while the player who answered correctly has to answer only one additional question to take control.


The player who won control of the monopoly also earned the value of all the properties in the group (from an additional $120 for the Purple group to $750 for the Dark Blue pair of Park Place and Boardwalk). A perfect score in round 1 would be $9,180.

The Crossword Puzzle Clues

The first letter of each answer was given to the players. All questions asked along one "street," or side of the game board, started with the same letter.

The Big Money Round

During a commercial break, the players used the money accumulated during Round 1 to purchase houses ($50 each) and hotels ($250 each) to place on their properties (which must be built evenly on each property in a single Monopoly). This determined the rent value of each question asked while on that property.

A pair of dice were rolled, and an indicator light (starting on GO) traveled that many spaces clockwise on the board. If it landed on a color group property, whoever controlled the property was given the question first; if that player missed, no penalization was assessed for that player but the clue was given to his/her opponents, who lose the amount if incorrect. A correct answer won the rent value (full hotel rent from the regular game, 1/5 of the hotel rent per house, or the mortgage value if there are no buildings) of that property.

Other Spaces

  • Utilities (Electric Company and Water Works) - They were played for 100 times the number rolled to land on it (i.e. a roll of 10 meant the question would be worth $1,000).
  • Railroads - The Railroad spaces allowed for "hostile takeovers". A toss-up was asked of all three players. Whoever answered correctly could move to the first property of an opponent, and attempt to answer as many questions as there were properties in the group to take control of it. If the player succeeded, control of the monopoly was theirs, collect the value of all the properties in that color group, and movement would continue from the last property in the group. If the player missed a question, the "hostile takeover" failed, the original owner collects rent from the first player, off the property they answered incorrectly on, and movement continued from the last property the player tried to take over.
  • Card Spaces - Chance and Community Chest cards could contain bonuses, penalties, or movement instructions.
  • GO - When the indicator light passed GO, all players received a $200 bonus. The bonus was $400 for landing exactly on GO.
  • Tax Spaces - Income Tax & Luxury Tax acted like their regular game counterparts, taking (respectively) 10% (for Income Tax) and $75 (for Luxury Tax) from all players' banks.
  • Free Parking - Free Parking was a toss-up space worth a jackpot starting at $500 and added to by any fines collected from taxes or cards.
  • Go to Jail - Go To Jail sent the indicator to the In Jail space and cost the players a fine of $250 each to continue.

Play continued in this fashion until time was called. At that point, the houses and hotels were sold back to the bank at their original value. The player in the lead at that point won the game and kept the money.

Bonus Round (Once Around the Board)

In the Bonus Round, the day's winner tried to complete one circuit of the game board in five rolls of the dice, while avoiding landing on one of the Go To Jail spaces on the board.

Before the Bonus Round, the player chose four spaces to be Go To Jail spaces (one on Second Street (the board side with the maroon and orange properties), one on Third Street (red & yellow side) and two spaces on Fourth Street (green & dark blue side)). In addition, the standard Go To Jail corner space already on the board was still in play, making for a total of five Go To Jail spaces on the Bonus Monopoly Board. The other spaces on the board had no bonus or penalty attached to them for the Bonus Round.

The player could stop after every "safe" roll (a roll not landing on a Go To Jail space) and take $100 for every space passed. A roll of doubles added an extra roll to the total rolls that could be taken. Landing on any Go To Jail space ended the Bonus Round and the player earned no extra money. Making the complete circuit of the board by passing GO was worth $25,000. If the player landed exactly on GO, the amount won was doubled to $50,000. (During the summer run of the series on ABC, the $50,000 bonus was never won.)

Episode Status

All episodes of Monopoly exist, but no repeats of the show have been in reruns since its last broadcast in 1990.


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