Canadian Game Shows Wiki
Mike Darow
Ken Ryan
John Harris
Global: 9/30/1985 – 12/30/1988
Global Television Network/
Bob Stewart Cable/USA Network

OPENING SPIEL: "Ladies and gentlemen, every one of these fifteen players is holding a different riddle, but one of them is holding a secret Jackpot Riddle that could/will be worth thousands of dollars. Who can it be? At any moment, someone in the game is going to stand up and say… (contestant: "JACKPOT!")

ALTERNATE OPENING SPIEL #1: "Today, the Jackpot stands at (insert amount). And we will continue to add money with every single riddle until someone in the game stands up and says… (contestant: "JACKPOT!")

ALTERNATE OPENING SPIEL #2: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Jackpot stands at (insert amount). And there are only (insert number) contestants left in the game. Which one will open a wallet and say... (contestant: "JACKPOT!")

REST OF SPIEL: (And) Now, here's your host, MIKE DAROW!"

Jackpot was the show where 16 contestants asked and answered riddles to win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.


Sixteen contestants competed for an entire week, with one designated "King of the Hill" ("Queen of the Hill" for female contestants), who stood at a circular podium at stage-left. The other fifteen contestants, numbered 1 through 15, were seated in three-tiered bleachers. Each had a special wallet containing a riddle and a varying cash amount (from $50 to $300 in $5 increments) or the Jackpot Riddle. The King/Queen of the Hill selected a number and the contestant with that number asked a riddle to that player. If they answered correctly, the King/Queen of the Hill continued picking numbers; if they answered incorrectly, the two contestants switched places, with the contestant who stumped him/her becoming the new "King/Queen Of The Hill".

The value of the riddle increased the value of the Jackpot. If the King/Queen of the Hill selected the contestant holding the Jackpot Riddle (one per game) he/she could go for it or play on a continue to build the Jackpot. When going for the Jackpot, if the King/Queen of the Hill answered it correctly, those two contestants split the Jackpot.

If the last three digits of the Jackpot amount matched a pre-selected target number, the King/Queen of the Hill would have a chance to win a "Super Jackpot" by correctly solving the riddle chosen when the target number was hit. Only the King/Queen of the Hill could respond. If the riddle was answered correctly, they both split the Super Jackpot. Super Jackpots were determined at random, and ranged from $4,000 to $9,900 in $100 increments; the highest was $8,200.

Special Riddles[]

  • Bonus Prize – A correct answer won the King/Queen of the Hill a prize.
  • Return Trip – Correctly answering this riddle resulted in both players (riddler and King/Queen of the Hill) being allowed to compete in an extra week of shows.

Other Aspects of the Game[]

  • The Jackpot started at $100.
  • If the Jackpot riddle was found and attempted, the King of the Hill and the person with the Jackpot riddle had to trade places regardless if the riddle was answered correctly or incorrectly.
  • If the Jackpot riddle was not found until the last player, an extra $1,000 was added to the Jackpot.
  • In the second season, there was a "$10,000 Riddler Contest" in which the player who answered the most riddles correctly over a period of ten weeks won a bonus of $10,000. The winner of this bonus was Bob Hultquist of Belleville, ON.
  • In the final season, there was a special riddle called "The $50,000 Riddle". These riddles were considerably harder than the ones usually asked, and all players who correctly answered them split $50,000 at the end of the week. In that season, on one of the show's weeks, only one person won the $50,000 all by themselves. All in all, three contestants correctly answered the $50,000 riddle and they were David Forster, Kagey Gray & Kathy O'Sullivan.
  • Starting in Season 2, any player who ran the board (answered all fifteen riddles without a miss) won a new car.


"Join us tomorrow/Monday when somebody will once again have a chance to stand up and yell... (Contestants: JACKPOT!)" - Mike Darow

“This is Ken Ryan/John Harris (speaking,) hoping (that) you win the Jackpot!” - Ken Ryan/John Harris


Bob Cobert


Bob Stewart


Tammy Warner's Jackpot Page