Celebrity gives contestant clue #1: Because it’s an update to a classic television game show with the same name as an Egyptian landmark. Clue #2: Because new host Donny Osmond follows original host Dick Clark. Clue #3: Because you compete in a word game in a race against the clock for cash prizes. Clue #4: Because you can win $25,000 and grand prize of $100,000. Clue #5: Because it features a new set with categories — words and phrases — displayed by Sony plasma monitors and notebook PCs. Clue #6: Because it features faster game play, 20 seconds to guess six words. Contestant replies, the category is: Reasons why you should watch the new PYRAMID® game show. We have a winner.
According to PYRAMID executive producer Stephen Brown, a self-professed game show addict with 22 game shows and a number of award-winning productions to his credit, “The show itself and the game play is very fast-paced. Equally impressive is the contemporary set featuring the latest technology, such as Sony plasma monitors. The marriage of talent and showpiece technology makes PYRAMID an electrifying entertainment experience for the studio audience and television viewers at home. The new PYRAMID retains the same winning formula that audiences have come to enjoy, but has been updated with a new look, sensibilities and the technology to drive faster game play.”
The set design features two pyramid-shaped structures. The smaller of the two pyramid displays features six 32-inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) Sony PlasmaPro™ monitors (model # PFM-32C1). The plasma panels are configured in a 3-2-1 formation from bottom to middle to top. Each monitor is used to display a category and then the dollar value for answering correctly. In addition, one of the plasma monitors features a Super Six category. If selected, prizes such as trips and Sony products including televisions, digital and video cameras, and CLIÉ ™ handhelds can be won. Alternatively, the contestant or celebrity can read the clue off a Sony VAIO® notebook PC, which resides on the players’ desks. The contestant or celebrity needs to guess six words in 20 seconds. The plasma monitors and VAIO notebooks are used for first-round game play.
After the first round, the contestants with the fastest time proceed to the Winner’s Circle.
Seated in the carousel-shaped players’ area, the celebrity faces the larger of the two pyramids. This display consists of six 50-inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) Sony plasma monitors (model # PFM-50C1). A graphics computer with on-board Matrox video card generates the category, which the game show operator cues to send. The graphic is sent via a video router, which transmits the signal to the plasma display. When answered correctly, the plasma monitor displays the corresponding dollar value won.
The plasma monitors are attached by mounting brackets to an aluminum truss structure. They have been assembled in a row of panels in a 3-2-1 formation across bottom, middle and top levels. The plasma build creates the impression of a pyramid structure. The plasma monitors are supported by three steel beams dressed in lit gold, with V-pattern slits, which join together at the tip to create an exterior pyramid base. Strategically placed stage lighting glows from each corner of the pyramid’s edge corners to shine the spotlight on the plasma monitors.
In one sequence, the plasma monitors are used for dramatic effect to reflect the tension of the moment prior to game play in the Winner’s Circle.
Sometimes, following a commercial break, the camera is focused on a close-up shot of the contestant, who appears on a single plasma screen located at the front of the set as they prepare for game play.
Brown explains, “After some interchange between the contestant, Donny and the celebrity, the camera returns to focus on Donny, who says, `Let’s get to the top of the pyramid.’ That’s our cue to quickly cut to a high-wide shot, which reveals the plasma monitors face down. To emphasize the drama of the moment, the Sony displays suddenly rise up, as do spotlights, while high-pitched music with a climatic build can be heard. As the plasma monitors lock into place, a steely sound effect similar to metal being clamped down reverbs throughout the studio.”
According to Brown, “You just can’t do that kind of rotation with other technology, that’s the beauty of these ultra-thin displays. By incorporating Sony plasma monitors into our set, it has allowed us to be flexible and creative in displaying information in a compelling fashion.”
He concluded, “We have been impressed with the clarity of the picture quality of the Sony plasma monitors. They add a visual brilliance to the set and translate well with their anti-reflection screens on television sets in America’s living rooms.”
Sony PlasmaPro monitors are also featured on the sets of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, which are also produced by Sony Pictures Television.
On Sept. 16, the quintessential game show PYRAMID – where players are paired with celebrities to compete in an energetic and entertaining word game for cash prizes – returned to daily television with a contemporary look, a noteworthy line-up of star players and a fresh, dynamic host. The series premiered on stations representing more than 95 percent of the U.S., scheduled primarily in afternoons and daytime.