Monopoly (game show) (Johnsonverse)

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Genre: Game show
Running Time: 22 minutes
Country: United States
Created by: Merv Griffin
Phil Stacker
Distributed by: King World Productions
Starring: Bob Goen
Narrated by: John Harlan (1990-2017)
Paul Boland (2018-)
Seasons: 30
Episodes: 6,900+
Release Date: September 10, 1990 - present

Monopoly is an American television game show based on the board game of the same name. The format was created by Phil Stacker and Merv Griffin and produced by the latter's production company, Merv Griffin Enterprises.

It has aired in syndication since September 10, 1990, and Bob Goen was chosen to host the series, with John Harlan as announcer until his 2017 death. Paul Boland, the former Match Game announcer from 1999 to 2003, was chosen as the new announcer in March 2018 after a series of auditions.


First round

Three contestants (one of whom is a returning champion), colored red, gold, and green, start with $15,000. Whoever answers one of three fill-in-the-blank clues correctly is assigned a random monopoly (including railroads and utilities), but they're not revealed until after they're captured.

Second round

This is when the dice-rolling begins. Contestants can acquire the remaining monopolies by landing on a property. The dice in this round is rolled on a shaker-table (called the Monopoly Rock-and-Roller) during a contestant's turn, and they press a button on their podium to stop it; one of three color-coded indicator lights on the space (starting on Go) travels that many spaces clockwise.

Passing Go nets $1,000 (though landing there nets $2,000), while Free Parking nets the player $5,000 (its starting amount) and all money paid to the pot (consisting of paid money such as taxes, for example), resetting to $5,000 after it’s landed on. Tax spaces (Luxury tax deducts $750 from the player's score, while Income Tax deducts $10%) and Jail do exactly as in the board game, and whoever is in Jail answers a trivia question with two possible answers to get out (if incorrect, $1,000 is paid to Free Parking before they’re released). Chance and Community Chest spaces apply to all players, but they focus on cards that benefit certain players, some of which would force the person who has the card to give money to the person in last place. Railroads let contestants travel to any monopoly and try to take it from the current owner. If a utility is landed on, the contestant must pay 100 times the roll of the dice.

During a commercial break in the round, contestants have a chance to develop their properties (houses cost $50, and hotels cost $100); the rent for a specific property increases depending on the number of buildings, as long as they can afford it. After time is called, the round ends. The person with the most money wins the game. The person in second goes home with $2,000, while the third-place contestant has $1,000.

Final round

The winner has a chance to build on top of their existing score by going across the board in five rolls or less, with the dice again being rolled on the Rock-and-Roller. Rolling doubles adds an extra roll, though getting three in a row ends the game. Landing on a space (with the exception of Mediterranean Avenue) adds $100, though Chance, Community Chest, Free Parking, and Tax spaces are replaced by prizes of varying values. However, there are two Go to Jail spaces, in addition to its usual corner spot; landing on one ends the game, though main-game winnings are not affected. Passing Go nets $25,000, while landing nets $50,000. Running out of rolls before passing Go ends the game with the contestant keeping their winnings in the round.



After years of negotiation with Parker Brothers, Merv Griffin acquired the rights to the Monopoly board game in 1987. A runthrough, hosted by Marc Summers, was produced. with wildly different rules. Two years later, a full pilot was produced, with host Peter Tomarken, and Patty Maloney playing Rich Uncle Pennybags, who represented the players' token. Among the contestants was Reilly, the stated "defending champion" of the pilot. However, Tomarken clashed with the producers over the use of Maloney, calling it "tasteless" and comparing it to slavery.


Season First aired Last aired Episodes
1 September 10, 1990 August 2, 1991 230
2 September 16, 1991 July 31, 1992 230
3 September 14, 1992 August 6, 1993 230
4 230
5 230
6 230
7 230
8 230
9 230
10 230
11 230
12 230
13 230
14 September 22, 2003 August 13, 2004 230
15 230
16 230
17 230
18 230
19 230
20 230
21 230
22 230
23 230
24 230
25 230
26 230
27 230
28 230
29 230
30 230

Broadcast history

After the pilot was reviewed, only 22 stations signed on, with many stations objecting to the use of Maloney as Pennybags. However, Phil Stacker, the then-CEO of Johnson Industries, saw potential in the pilot and ordered many changes, as, having seen the pilot, felt that "the rules were too confusing". Maloney's spot on the board was replaced with lights on the board, and Tomarken was going to be replaced with 26-year-old Mike Reilly, a waiter from Florida who had been a former Jeopardy! contestant and had played as the "returning champion" on the pilot. However, Stacker countered with, and eventually got, Bob Goen, who had hosted several short-lived game shows and pilots up to that point. A second pilot was taped with new rules conceived by Stacker, and this time, it was accepted by hundreds of stations across the US.