Recession Rocks Pyramid Prize Values

By

Just as we speculated at length yesterday, CBS officially announced today that the 72nd season of Guiding Light will be its last. Judging from your tepid response to yesterday's item, this won't put too much of a cramp in any of your viewing habits. Still, we find ourselves duty-bound to pass along word that TV Week is reporting that the current front-runner for the show's time slot come September is a reboot of The $25,000 Pyramid. This, as you have come to expect from your friendly Vulture editors, got us thinking: In a daytime landscape dominated by game shows where contestants can win up to $1,000,000, why would anyone even bother airing a game show where the top prize is a measly $25k? Well, as you might expect, it's all about the economy, stupid.

Traditionally, game shows that air in prime time command higher advertising rates than the same show would in daytime. However, this doesn't explain why producer Michael Davies (he of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire fame) would want to go the cheapskate route this time around. After all, when the original show hosted by Dick Clark launched back in 1973, it was called The $10,000 Pyramid. If you translate the value of $10,000 back in 1973 to today's equivalent, it would be worth $49,465 (at least according to this Inflation Calculator). With that in mind, your intrepid Vulture editors took a look back at the show's myriad iterations over the years to determine the most valuable pyramid in history:

1973: $10,000 Pyramid = $49,465 in 2009 dollars
1974: $25,000 Pyramid = $113,760 in 2009 dollars
1976: $20,000 Pyramid = $75,758.56 in 2009 dollars
1981: $50,000 Pyramid = $121,801 in 2009 dollars
1985: $100,000 Pyramid = $199,648 in 2009 dollars
1991: $100,000 Pyramid = $157,122 in 2009 dollars

We knew the recession was bad, but until today, we had no idea how bad!

‘$25,000 Pyramid’ Contender to Replace ‘Guiding Light’ [TV Week]