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Million Dollar Password is the most recent incarnation of Password (and the shortest-lived). It ran on CBS from June 1, 2008 to June 14, 2009. It was hosted by Regis Philbin, who appeared as a celebrity guest on Password Plus in the early 1980s.

Main Game (Elimination Game)

Two teams of two (consisting of one contestant & one celebrity), played the game which was now in a Pyramid-like format.

Each team had 30 seconds to get five passwords correctly with each one scoring one point. On each word, the clue giver can give as many one word clues as they can, but they must wait for the guesser to answer or the word is disqualified. As soon as the guesser gets the right word or if the giver passes, the team moved on to the next word (upon passing, the team can come back to the passed word(s) if & when time permits, but giving an illegal clue in addition the rule above disqualified that word). The celebrities gave clues in the first round, and the contestants gave clues in the second round.

The game was played in two halves, and after the first half, the contestants switched partners for the final half. After the second half, the team with the most points went on to play the Million Dollar Password round. If there was a tie at the end of the fourth round, the teams played a tie-breaker in Classic Password mode. In the Classic Password tie-breaker, the teams alternated turns with the contestants giving and the celebrities receiving until one team got the password and winning the game.

Million Dollar Password

In the Million Dollar round, the winning contestant partnered with the celebrity who scored the most points with that contestant (or the last celebrity partnered in case of a tie) and faced a six-level money ladder. To start, the contestant opted to either give or receive (more contestants wanted to give) throughout the round. Then on each level, the giver had 90 seconds to get his/her partner to say five out of a set number of words. On each word, the giver must give no more than three clues to his/her partner; using up all three clues, passing, or giving illegal clues threw out the word, and (of course) guessing the right word won that word. Getting five passwords in 90 seconds won money attached to that level and moved up to the next level with one word fewer than the previous level. Running out of time or not having enough words to get to five ended the game.

Here's how the money ladder went:

5 out of 10 $10,000
5 out of 9 $25,000
(Safety Net/Guarantee)
5 out of 8 $50,000
5 out of 7 $100,000
5 out of 6 $250,000
(Safety Net/Guarantee during season 2)
All five words $1,000,000
(Grand Prize Jackpot)

Losing on the first or second level won nothing for the contestant. Winning the second (and/or fifth levels in season 2) not only won the money, but also guaranteed the contestant that amount of money. After each completed level, the contestant can either stop and take the money or continue playing for the million.

If the contestant did make it to top two levels, he/she was shown the passwords at the start before making a decision. In the first season on the fifth ($250,000) level, the giver was shown the first five passwords, and in the second season, he/she was shown all six. Only one contestant opted to play for $250,000; he lost, dropping back to $25,000. Only one contestant won nothing during the two-season run.

Trivia

Regis would end each show with the same tagline he gave on Millionaire. When the show moved to Hollywood, the tagline was changed to fit the location.

Episode Guide

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