Two teams, each made up of a celebrity and a civilian, compete. One member of the team is shown a "password," which is shown to the home audience. The team member must give a one-word clue to his/her partner in an attempt to say the password. The point value starts at 10, then each time the word is not guessed, the turn goes to the opposing team and the point value is reduced by a point. The team correctly guessing the word scores the points.
The team scoring 25 points wins the game, $100 for the civilian player, and plays the Lightning Round. The celebrity has 60 seconds to convey five passwords to his/her partner with each correct guess worth $50.
Contestants change partners for game two. After the second game, new contestants are called. On the nighttime edition, contestants played for a whole show, and winning the game was worth $250.
Password would see other incarnations after the original left the air. It returned in 1971 on ABC, in 1979 on NBC as Password Plus, in 1984 on NBC as Super Password, and then it returned to CBS prime time as Million Dollar Password.
Password became daytime TV's highest rated show in little time and celebrities clamored to be on it. It was the first East Coast CBS show to be completely pre-empted for continuous coverage of the JFK assassination on November 22, 1963 (Love of Life was the first pre-empted show in the West). Password was still doing fine up until July 11, 1966, when CBS bumped the show for a press conference by Secretary of State Robert McNamara. A little show called The Newlywed Game premiered on ABC that same day at 2 PM Eastern and Pacific and East Coast viewers defected to it (Ben Casey repeats aired in the West opposite Password at 1 PM Pacific--as the press conference aired at 11 AM Pacific time, it's not clear if Password aired out there). Password was canceled a year later. Repeats of the last year aired in syndication in selected markets.
A revival of sorts of Password surfaced on YouTube in 2014 as produced by the diginet Buzzr. Steve Saragoza hosts it. NBC has announced that Password is being revived for a prime time run, probably in the 2021-22 season. Jimmy Fallon will be the executive producer under the Fremantle banner.
|Season One||October 2, 1961||December 29, 1961||65|
|Season Two||January 1, 1962||January 4, 1963||265|
|Season Three||January 7, 1963||January 3, 1964||260|
|Season Four||January 6, 1964||January 1, 1965||260|
|Season Five||January 4, 1965||December 31, 1965||260|
|Season Six||January 3, 1966||December 30, 1966||260|
|Season Seven||January 2, 1967||September 15, 1967||185|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
|Episode Collections - Various Series (Region 1)|
|The Best of Password||December 2, 2008||4|