Hollywood Squares 1999
Hollywood Squares 2000 1a
Hollywood Squares 2000 1b
H2 Alt
Syndicated, September 14, 1998-June 4, 2004
Run time
30 Minutes
Tom Bergeron
Shadoe Stevens (1998-2002)
Jeffrey Tambor (2002–03)
John Moschitta, Jr. (2003–04)
Studio 33, CBS Television City, Los Angeles, California

This is chronicling the 1998 version of (The) Hollywood Squares. This version was also known as H2 (a.k.a. H to the square) from 2002 until 2004.

Game FormatEdit

Although there have been variations over the years in the rules of and the prizes in the game, certain aspects of the game have remained fairly consistent.

Two contestants, almost always a woman playing Os/naughts (called circles in the show) and a man playing Xs/crosses, took turns picking a star and following the traditional tic-tac-toe/naughts-and-crosses strategies, for which square to select. The star was asked a question and gave an answer. The contestants had the choice of agreeing with the star or disagreeing if they thought the star was bluffing. If the contestant was right, he or she got the square; if the contestant was wrong, the other contestant got the square, unless that caused the opponent to get three in a row. In that case, the opponent had to win the square on his or her own. A contestant could also win by getting five "squares" on the game board, thus preventing draws.

On rare occasions, a star would not know the correct answer to a question, but would be unable to come up with a plausible bluff. In such instances, the contestant would be offered the chance to answer the question to win or lose the square as above. Usually the contestants declined, in which case they incurred no penalty and the same star was asked another question.


For most of the first five seasons of this Hollywood Squares series, as well as for theme weeks in the sixth season, the first and second games were worth $1,000 to the winner. The third game was worth $2,000, and every subsequent game until time ran out was worth $4,000. If a contestant did not win anything in the main game, $500 was given to them as a consolation prize. In the early episodes of the first season, if a contestant could not win with five squares on the board, their opponent automatically got the remaining square and the five-square win. In addition, contestants only played for half the money; $500 was won for each of the first two games, with $1,000 for the third and $2,000 for all subsequent games and $250 was given as a consolation prize for failing to win a game. In addition, the consolation prize amount also was used for each contestant's square in the event that time ran out during a game, and was counted towards their cash total to determine the day's champion.

The tiebreaker was the same as the previous versions except that the contestant who has won the most games, most squares overall or won the last game played (whichever came first) had the option to play the question or pass it to his/her opponent, with a miss by either contestant giving their opponent the win by default.

For the first season of this Hollywood Squares series, two new contestants competed on each episode. Beginning in the second season, the returning champion rule was reinstated; a contestant could stay on for a maximum of five days (or, in the final season, matches). The final season saw Hollywood Squares return to the best two-of-three format that had last been seen on the NBC network daytime series; each game was worth $1,000, the first to win two advanced to the bonus round, and contestants were no longer given cash as a consolation prize for failing to win a game. The format changed resulted in episodes no longer being self-contained as they had been and instead having games that straddled episodes.

Secret SquareEdit

The first season also saw up to two Secret Square games. In the earliest episodes of the series, two Secret Square games were played on each show with a different prize offered for each game. The Secret Square was played in both the second and third games of the day, but after two weeks the Secret Square prize would only carry over to the third game if neither contestant had claimed in it the second game. From the second season forward, the Secret Square would only be played for in the second game.

Beginning in the second season and continuing until the end of the fifth season, the Secret Square game was played for an accumulating jackpot of prizes that Tom Bergeron referred to as "The Secret Square Stash". A new prize would be added to the jackpot each day until someone claimed it, with the highest ever Secret Square totaling $50,731 in prizes. For the last season, the Secret Square game returned to offering a different prize in each game, regardless of whether or not the previous prize had been won.


The Bergeron-era of Hollywood Squares employed three different bonus games during its six seasons on air.

"Pick a Star and Win a Prize"Edit

Originally, the show used the same "pick a star, win a prize" format the Marshall version had used during its last few years on the air. Each of the nine squares hid a different prize, with $10,000 cash ($15,000 in Season 3) and a car being the two most expensive. The day's winner simply picked the celebrity they wanted, and won whatever prize was in an envelope that star was holding.

Beginning partway through the first season and continuing until partway through season four, the round was modified to where in order to claim the prize, the champion had to correctly agree or disagree with a Secret Square-style question posed by Bergeron to the chosen celebrity. For the first season, if a contestant did not do so he/she was awarded $2,500 cash as a consolation prize. Once returning champions were reinstated beginning in the second season, no consolation prize was given to a champion for missing the question. However, for the show's recurring theme weeks where contestants only played for one day, the $2,500 cash was given for a miss.

Big Money RoundEdit

Beginning approximately two months into season four and continuing until the end of that season in June 2002, Hollywood Squares instituted a new high-stakes round in response to the recent trend of quiz shows offering big cash prizes.

The champion faced a general knowledge trivia round with their choice of any of the nine celebrities. Again, each of the celebrities held envelopes with varying dollar amounts hidden inside, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 (increments of $500). If the champion picked a square that contained more than one person, they would have to pick only one person from that square. The champion was given 60 seconds to answer as many questions as possible and was allowed to consult their celebrity partner for help; however, only the champion's answers counted. Each correct answer was worth the amount in the envelope, which was revealed at the start of the round.

At the end of the sixty seconds, the champion was given a choice to either quit with the money earned in the round or attempt to go double-or-nothing on an open-ended final question, with the category given to the contestant before he/she made the decision to play on. The top prize in the Big Money Round was said to be $100,000, with the most won by a contestant in the round being $60,000.

Key Bonus RoundEdit

A variation on the 1980s syndicated series' endgame was added to Hollywood Squares in September 2002 and remained until the series ended in June 2004. Nine keys were used, only one of which would win the day's prize. To eliminate the bad keys, contestants had 30 seconds to select celebrities and correctly agree or disagree with statements about the celebrities read by Bergeron. The clock started after the contestant selected the first star.

For each correct response, one of the bad keys was eliminated from the pool of nine. If the champion had made multiple unsuccessful attempts to win the prize, one additional key was removed for each attempt. During themed weeks in which two new contestants played each day, one extra key was removed since the champion had only one chance to win the prize. After the bad keys were removed, the champion chose the one key they thought would win the prize. If unsuccessful, the champion received $1,000 (originally $500) for each correct answer they had given in the first half of the round.

The prize structure was as follows:

  • 1st win: Car
  • 2nd: $25,000
  • 3rd: Trip around the world or "trip of a lifetime" (worth between $20,000–$30,000)
  • 4th: $50,000
  • 5th: $100,000

To win the car, the chosen key had to start its engine. The cash prizes required the contestant to unlock a safe with the correct key, while a steamer trunk had to be unlocked in order to win the trip.

On occasion, the second prize was substituted for a gift certificate in that amount to an upscale store; these were often used as bonus prizes during special weeks or tournaments.

For the final season the prize structure was changed again:

  • 1st win: Trip
  • 2nd: $10,000
  • 3rd: Luxury car
  • 4th: $25,000
  • 5th: Trip around the world

In addition, champions started with nine keys for each attempt at winning a bonus prize regardless of how many times the prize had not been won, and the consolation prize reverted to $500 for correct answers in the true-false round. For themed weeks, the rules in the previous season were used, with winners playing for $10,000.


Tournament of ChampionsEdit

Starting in Season Two, the show began having an annual Tournament of Champions each May, with the season's biggest winners returning to compete for additional cash and prizes. The format changed each season:

Season 2: Six five-game winners came back to play again. Play was as normal, except the Secret Square was worth $2,500, which was added to the score. The bonus game was also played for cash, from $5,000 to $15,000. The two contestants who earned the most money came back for a two-game final, playing by the same rules as the semi-finals. In addition to the other cash won, the champion won an extra $50,000. The final bonus round was worth up to $15,000.

Seasons 3 & 4: Eight four-game winners compete in a semi-final game. The two top winners return on Friday. The Secret Square prize was an actual prize, again added to the final score, but was the same each day so no one has an advantage. The champion won $25,000 and the trophy, and a Jaguar was among the prizes in the bonus game. Season 4's tournament was similar to that of the previous year, except that the bonus game winnings were taken into account. The final grand champion won a Mercedes-Benz in addition to the money.

Season 5: Season 5 had a "Close but No Cigar" week to decide who would join the seven undefeated winners in the normal tournament. The bonus round was played for a $25,000 Bloomingdale's shopping spree until Friday, when it was replaced by a cruise on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. The winner of the tournament chose one of the celebrities who then revealed a cash amount of up to $50,000 inside a sealed envelope.

Season 6: The winner of the tournament played the standard bonus round and chose one of the captured celebrities, one of whom was holding an envelope with up to $100,000 in it.

College ChampionshipEdit

Each year from season two to five had 14 college students competing. Seven quarter-final games were played. The four contestants with the highest overall totals move on to the semi-finals. The two winners played in the final game, where the winner won a $25,000 savings bond (later a car), as well as a trophy for their university. Secret Square and bonus round prizes were added to the totals to determine who moved on.

In 2001, Goldberg was not present during some tournament shows, having Caroline Rhea & other celebrity guests taking over center square. In the Finals, Martin Short (in character as Jiminy Glick) took over center square.

In season 5, the bonus round was played for $25,000 (savings bonds in the quarter-finals, cash in the semi-finals), and the grand champion automatically won a new Jeep Wrangler.

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).


International VersionsEdit


(1998-2002 era)Edit

Board GameEdit

Handheld GameEdit

Hollywood Squares by Tiger Electronics
Tiger Electronic Hollywood Squares Handheld Game Ad (1999)

Tiger Electronic Hollywood Squares Handheld Game Ad (1999)

(2002-2004 era)Edit

Video GamesEdit

Computer GameEdit



HSLogo (7)

TV ScreensEdit

Whoopi GalleryEdit

Trade AdsEdit

Episode StatusEdit


Hollywood Squares Meet Me At The Square (1998)

Hollywood Squares Meet Me At The Square (1998)

Hollywood Squares mid-break bumper, 1998

Hollywood Squares mid-break bumper, 1998

Hollywood Squares contestant plug, 1998

Hollywood Squares contestant plug, 1998

Hollywood Squares promo reel, 2000

Hollywood Squares promo reel, 2000

IWon Hollywood Squares celebrity sweepstakes plug, 2000

IWon Hollywood Squares celebrity sweepstakes plug, 2000

Hollywood Squares "Secret Square Sweepstakes" plug, 2001

Hollywood Squares "Secret Square Sweepstakes" plug, 2001

Hollywood Squares website plug, 2002

Hollywood Squares website plug, 2002

Hollywood Squares contestant plug, 2002

Hollywood Squares contestant plug, 2002

See AlsoEdit

The Hollywood Squares
Storybook Squares
Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour
Hollywood Squares (1986)
Hip Hop Squares
Hip Hop Squares (2017)


Official Website (via Internet Archive)
Official Website/2000 era(via Internet Archive)
Official Website/2002 era (via Internet Archive)
Secret Squares Sweepstakes (via Internet Archive)
Hollywood Squares (Bergeron) program description by Game Show Network
Hollywood Squares by Tiger Electronics