top of page

Shoot the Works

Taped in 1976 for NBC

The Show:

This was one of two pilots shot under the title Shoot the Works, but when it went to series in 1977, the name was changed to Shoot for the Stars. Bill was a celebrity partner in Pilot #1.

Two celebrity-contestant teams competed. Each team starts with $100 and alternates choosing one of 24 boxes on the gameboard. When a box is chosen, the team is shown the dollar value (between $100-$300, plus one box worth $500) and sees a nonsense phrase like "Ordinary/007."

The contestant translates the part of the phrase before the line, the celebrity translates the part after the line, with the hope of discerning a common phrase (in this example, "Common/Bond."). A correct guess wins the value of the box, and there is no penalty for a wrong guess.

Four of the boxes contain stars instead of dollar amounts. If a team finds one of the stars, they must place a wager for the value of the phrase, and unlike the others, there is a penalty for a wrong guess with a star, that being the wager placed by the contestant. The first team to win at least $1,500 wins and plays the bonus game. 

To start the bonus game, the player stops a series of flipping boards to determine the number of correct answers, from 5 to 10, needed to win the jackpot. The clue giver would see a common phrase, like "a bird in the hand," and had to improvise a synonymous phrase on the spot (such as "an avian creature in the palm") to prompt their partner to say it. 


To be honest, the most interesting stories about this pilot have nothing to do with Bill.


In the second pilot, with guests Anne Meara and Rick Hurst, one of the contestants is a young actor named David Michaels.  Bob Stewart was so impressed with Michaels that he hired the young man, and Michaels became Geoff Edwards' personal assistant for this brief series.  After that, he went on to produce various incarnations of Pyramid for Bob Stewart throughout the eighties.

Geoff Edwards received two offers to host pilots for new formats; one being developed by Bob Stewart and the other being developed by Goodson-Todman. Edwards opted to host this pilot. The show he turned down ended up being Family Feud.

Shoot for the Stars ran for 39 weeks and was briefly revived in 1986 as Double Talk on ABC. But, frankly, the game was a bit repetitive and Geoff joked(?) in an interview years later that stagehands fell asleep during some tapings.

Shoot the Works game show Bill Cullen
Shoot the Works game show Bill Cullen
Shoot the Works game show Bill Cullen Geoff Edwards
Shoot the Works game show Bill Cullen
bottom of page