Headline Chasers

Headline Chasers is a syndicated game show that ran from September 9, 1985 - September 1986. Wink Martindale hosted the show and Merv Griffin Enterprises produced the show.

This show pits two couples against each other in a game of solving newspaper-type word puzzles called Altered Headlines to win money. The headlines are make-believe although based on real people and events.

The Main Game

Round 1

A newspaper page is revealed on a giant monitor. Its headline has several letters missing with a few left in there. Then four clues are shown to the couples one by one, with more letters revealing after each. The first couple to buzz-in gets to solve the headline, and if they are correct, they win money; but if they are wrong the opposing couple gets to decide to either see more clues and letters or solve the headline immediately. A correct answer is worth $500 (minus $100 for every clue revealed).

After the headline is solved, couples are then asked two questions (which are connected to the headline) posed by host Martindale. Each correct answer to each question is worth $100.

Three Altered Headlines are played in this round.

Round 2

Instead of headlines, couples now face real-life and well-known magazines. Each one has a distorted face that the contestants must identify on the cover. Also distorted film clips of newsmakers are played with the couples trying to identify them by voice only. Again correct answers are worth $500 (minus $100 for every clue revealed).

Two of each are played in this round.

Round 3

This round is played the same way as round one except altered headlines are now worth up to $1,000. The prizes are:
Clues Values
No Clues $1,000
1 Clue $800
2 Clues $600
3 Clues $200
4 Clues $100

Bonus questions in this round are worth $200.

Four Altered Headlines are played in this round and after the 4th headline, one question is asked; then the players write down how much they want to wager of their current totals, with the higher wagering couple getting the question first. After the question was asked, if the couple with highest wager gets it right they win the money that they wagered, but a wrong answer deducts the money they wagered; then control passes to the opposing team who will then decide to play or pass the question (same rules apply if they play).

The couple with the most money wins the game although both couples get to keep the cash.

Headline Extra

The winning couple plays a bonus round called Headline Extra. To start, the couple chooses which subject to solve one last altered headline from. Then the headline was revealed and they have 5 seconds to think it over and then solve the headline, otherwise if they are stumped they can ask to buy another clue for $1,000 with their original $5,000 stake. When they ask for clues they then get 7 seconds to solve the headline. A correct answer is worth $5,000 minus $1,000 for every clue they bought, while failure to solve the headline wins nothing.


Wink created the show by reading newspapers. What happened was that Wink was reading a newspaper along with wife Sandy, and suddenly he thought, "what a great idea for a game show" so he created it; but in order to host, produce and create the show, he had to leave Tic Tac Dough, his current hosting gig, in favor of Jim Caldwell. As it turned out, neither show was renewed for the following season (with Tic Tac Dough leaving the air after 8 seasons).

The theme music for the show was called "Sambe De La Noche" by Merv Griffin.

In Wink's biography, "Winking at Life", though Merv was amazed by the pilot (originally titled The Front Page during a screening in his office), not everyone agreed with what he and Wink believed about the show's future. On a promotional tour in Miami, the program director who carried Headline Chasers told Wink the gameplay format was too complex to his knowledge.

External links

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