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I've Got a Secret (TV Series 1952–1967) - Plot Summary Poster

(1952–1967)

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Summaries

  • "I've Got a Secret" debuted on the heels of the successful "What's My Line?" Though "Secret" had somewhat similar rules, there were other elements that gave the show its own distinctive flavor. As with "Line," four celebrity panelists try to guess an unknown-to-them secret, which the contestant (or sometimes group of contestants) whispered in the host's ear; the secret was always shown to the television and studio audience. Each panelist has one 30-second period to ask questions that will help them try to guess the secret; if a panelist fails to guess the secret before the buzzer sounds, the contestant(s) receive(s) $20 and the next panelist gets a turn. The process repeats until either the secret is guessed or if all four panelists are unable to guess the secret, meaning the contestant receives the maximum payout of $80 (during the early years, each panelist had two questioning periods, with $10 paid per unsuccessful try). Usually, a skit or demonstration of the secret followed each story. During the final segment of the show, a celebrity guest revealed his/her own secret, each followed by a segment, in which the panelists participated. Like "What's My Line," "Secret" had millions of faithful viewers during its CBS run, and spawned a number of revivals (including a weekly syndicated series in 1972 and a 2000 revival on the Oxygen network). Reruns of the CBS series currently air as part of Game Show Network's Black and White Overnight programming block.

  • The format for "I've Got a Secret" was both simple and durable. Four panelists took turns questioning the person with the secret to determine exactly what the secret was. A nominal financial award was given to a contestant whose secret (flashed on the TV screen for the viewing audience) could not be guessed by the panel. Each show gave three regular contestants an opportunity to stump the panel, and also had one celebrity guest with his own secret to hide.


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