Sale of the Century (Australian game show)

Sale of the Century (Australian game show)

In Australia, Tony Barber hosted an early version of "Sale of the Century" under the title of "Temptation" during the 1970s, and was also the initial host of "Sale", replaced by Glenn Ridge in 1991. Hostesses over the years have included Victoria Nicholls, Delvene Delaney, Alyce Platt, Jo Bailey, Nicky Buckley and Karina Brown. Pete Smith was "Sale"'s announcer. See below for the show's most recent reincarnation as Temptation, which is hosted by Ed Phillips. The current hostess is Livinia Nixon.

Main Game

All contestants are spotted with $20 to start. The host reads a trivia question to the three contestants (one of which was usually the winner of the previous show). The first to press a buzzer gets an opportunity to answer the question (even if the host is still in the middle of reading the question). Players' scores increase by $5 for each correct answer and decrease by $5 for each incorrect answer. If a player answers incorrectly, the correct answer is revealed and the game goes on to the next question - that is, only one person can try to answer each question.

Gift Shop

Once per round, the highest-scoring player gets to go to a "gift shop" and was offered the chance to sacrifice some part of his/her score to "purchase" a prize. The prizes, and the cost, increased in each round. Contestants were allowed to haggle with the host, who, depending on the game situation, could reduce the cost and offer inducements including actual cash in order to entice the contestant to purchase. If two or more players had the same score at this point, a Dutch auction was conducted for the prize.

Some gift shops also included a bonus prize called a "Sale Surprise", revealed only after the conclusion of the gift shop (whether the contestant bought the prize or not).

Cash Box

The Cash Box replaced the third gift shop in 1986. The player in the lead (auction if there was a tie) would be given the opportunity to play for a cash jackpot, which increased every day until it was won. To play, he/she would have to give up his/her lead over the second-place competitor. If the contestant opted to play, he/she selected one of three boxes. One box contained the jackpot while each of the other boxes contained a smaller amount.


In 1989, the Cash Box was replaced with a "cashcard," an opportunity for the leading contestant to either win a cash prize equivalent to perhaps a month's average wages for a middle-class Australian at the time, earn the opportunity to win a car later in the game (see section on major prizes), receive the score he/she sacrificed back, or reduce the score of a competitor slightly. This cost a player $15 to play. From 1989 to 1993, this was played with four actual playing cards, from 1994 through to 1999, four poker machines were used (the hostess pulled the handle to reveal the prize), and from 2000 until the last episode in 2001, a single touch screen was used.

The prizes offered in the cash card changed as well. Among them were:
* A $15 "refund"

* The "joker", worth a "booby prize" (later replaced in 1993 by a "Take $5" card, where the player could take $5 from one of his/her opponents and add it to his/her score, which in turn was later replaced by the "car space", which gave a player who came up w/it the right to try for the car on the Winner's Board, which normally required a win of $100 or more in order for it to appear);

* A bonus prize, usually worth between $2000-$3000 or more (this was scrapped in favour of a Take $5 reinstatement, with the switch to $ale of the New Century in '00)

* The "cash card" (originally, this was a growing jackpot that began at $5,000 and increased by $1,000 each night it wasn't won, but was later changed to a flat $5,000 in '94)

Also of note is that originally, if the leading player opted not to go for the cashcard, the 2nd-place player was then offered that chance, but the jackpot card was removed from the lineup. In the event of a tie-breaker between the 2nd- and 3rd-place contestants, a general knowledge question was asked, and the first person with the correct answer played. This option was discontinued after 1992.

(NOTE: The "Take 5" space replaced the Car during celebrity specials)

Who am I?/Fame Game

A longer-format question generally known as the "Who am I?" question was asked once in each of the three rounds. Here, a succession of increasingly larger clues were given to the identity of a famous person, place, or event. In this round, players could buzz in and answer at any time, without penalty for an incorrect answer. However, each player only had one chance to answer. If one of the players buzzed-in and answered correctly, he/she had an opportunity to play the "famous faces" subgame, where he/she got to choose randomly from a game board with nine squares featuring the faces of celebrities, mostly performers on the network's shows. Once chosen, the face selected would be spun around to reveal either a relatively small prize (typically appliances or furniture valued at around a weekly wage) or a $25 money card, which awarded $25 to the player's score. Later series added additional $10, $15, & $20 money cards to the gameboard, with the $10 available at the outset, the $15 added at the second "Who am I" and the $25 at the third. Also added in the final "Who am I" was a "wildcard," which offered the choice of $1,000 in cash or a chance to pick again. The $20 was removed in 1993.

Fast Money/Mad Minute

Originally, after the third Fame Game, three more general knowledge questions were asked, and the contestant with the highest score is the winner. This gave way to "fast money", where the host would ask the questions in a particularly rapid-fire manner, attempting to fit in as many questions as possible in a 60 second time limit. Starting in 1989, there was a shorter 30-second fast money section in round two with the original reduced to 30-seconds, later restored to a minute, and renamed "Mad Minute". Most of the more successful players proved themselves particularly adept at this section.


The winner of the game was the person with the most money at the end. If there was a final tie, the tied players answered a tiebreaker "Who am I" question, where a correct answer from either contestant won the game, while an incorrect answer defeated the contestant in favor of his or her opponent.

In a bid to combat declining ratings, the show was renamed "Sale of the New Century" in 2000. The format was also altered slightly to include four contestants per night in an elimination format; the lowest-scoring player would leave after the first fast money round, and another just before the final fast money round.

In addition, a lengthy question, called a 'brain drain', is introduced. Contestants can score $5, $10, $15 or $20, depending on how early they give the correct answer.

Also, contestants who win 'all the way' then compete in a 'best of three' play-off entitled Super Sale. The first two contestants to win since the format change play against each other to win the same amount of cash as the latter contestant's cash jackopt. After this, the 'reigning champ' plays against the next Grand Champion to win 'all the way' for a cash amount equal to their jackpot prize.

The "New" was dropped from the title in 2001, and the show returned to a three contestant format, but continued to eliminate the low scorer before the final fast money.

Bonus Games

The show went through two bonus games during its twenty-one year run:

The Traditional Shopping Format

A series of six prizes was offered, culminating in one or sometimes two luxury cars. A contestant could take his or her cumulative winnings, buy a prize, and retire, or elect to return the next day and try to win enough to buy the next most expensive prize.

Starting in 1982, once the player had won all the major prizes on offer, they had the opportunity to play for one more night to keep those prizes (totaling over $100,000) and win a large cash jackpot (the combination of those prizes was referred to as "the lot"). The jackpot started at $50,000 and increased by $2,000 per night until somebody won it. The largest jackpot ever won was $508,000.

Big Winners during shopping era

*David Walch, over $75,000

*Vincent Smith, over $64,000

*Hayward Mayberley, $343,536

*David Poltorak, $376,200 (also holds the record for highest frontgame score, $200)

Winner's Board

In 1989 the producers did away with the shopping format. Instead, the contestant would face a 12-space board. The Winner's Board, similar to the same format used in the United States between 1985 and 1987 although the US version had 20 spaces for a total of ten prizes, contained six prizes; five of them had two matching cards, one Win card (if picked, the next number selected resulted in an automatic match) and one Car card. The contestant called off numbers and the first prize matched is the first prize won, but in order to win the car, the player must select the Win card first before selecting a number that has the Car card. In 1993, the Car & Win cards were replaced by another prize; as mentioned above, winning over $100 or picking the "car space" in the CashCard allowed the Car & Win cards to be placed. If a champion clears the board, but didn't do either the aforementioned tasks, their next game is for the car.

After the player makes a match, he/she faced a decision: either leave with all the prizes earned off the board, or risk them and play another show. A loss cost the player all his or her prizes from the board, while clearing the board and winning one more game (usually taking seven days to do it) earns them the cash jackpot.

Big Winners during Winner's Board era

*Kate Buckingham, $471,640

*Robert Kusmierski, $676,919 (biggest winner in $ale history [and any Australian game show until Rob "Coach" Fulton won $1,000,000 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"] , prizes include a $508,000 cash jackpot)

*Tony Pestill, $344,183

*John Patterson, $282,647

*Hayden Lewwen, $300,000+

*Ben Wong, $340,249

*Tom Beck, $420,573

*Simon Fallon, $434,065

*Louise Williams, $354,117


:"Main Article: Temptation (game show)"

Ed Phillips hosts the new "Temptation", assisted by Livinia Nixon. There is no announcer; however, former "Sale" announcer Pete Smith still does audience warm-ups for the show. The title change reflects a de-emphasis on the shopping aspect of the game, while offering larger prizes and a possible cash jackpot of $800,000 for particularly successful grand champions.

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