play for a billion

Pepsi’s Play for a Billion

Pepsi’s Play for a Billion was a special where the winners of a promotion from Pepsi would have a chance to win $1,000,000 and then have a chance to win a billion.


  • 1 Gameplay
    • 1.1 Pre-game
    • 1.2 Main Game (ABC version)
    • 1.3 Bonus Round
  • 2 Set Pics (WB era)

Gameplay [ edit | edit source ]

Pre-game [ edit | edit source ]

The winners of the promotion each chose a 6-digit number. Through use of a computerized system no two players had the same number.

Meanwhile, under tight security the $1,000,000,000 number was randomly chosen under the supervision of executives from both Pepsi and the network. One person would roll a 10-sided die. Once both executives confirmed the number rolled, a billiard pool marked with said number was placed into a bag. This continued until all six digits had been determined. Thereafter, a chimpanzee named “Mr. Moneybags” would randomly draw the six digits to determine the order.

Main Game (ABC version) [ edit | edit source ]

The ten players closest to the $1,000,000,000 number were called up on stage. In each round a cash offer was made to the group. The offers started at $20,000 and grew by $10,000 in each round (culminating with a $100,000 offer in the final round). The players were given time to consider it, and if a player buzzed in, they would leave with the money offered and forfeit their number to another player of their choice. If no one accepted the offer, the player who was furthest away would leave the game with nothing. The last player left standing won $1,000,000 and played for $1,000,000,000.

Bonus Round [ edit | edit source ]

For the billion dollar round, the contestant number was compared with the billion dollar number digit by digit. If all six digits matched, the contestant won $1,000,000,000; otherwise they would keep the million won earlier.

With PepsiCo unwilling to bear the risk of a potential billion dollar prize, they made arrangement with Berkshire Hathaway to insure the prize at a $10 million premium.

Had any contestant won the billion dollar prize, it would be paid in an annuity at $5,000,000 at year for 20 years, $10,000,000 a year for the next 19 years and $710,000,000 to be paid out in year 40. Or the contestant could opt for a lump sum payment of $250,000,000. The $1,000,000 prize was paid in a lump sum.

Pepsi's Play for a Billion was a special where the winners of a promotion from Pepsi would have a chance to win $1,000,000 and then have a chance to win a billion. 1 Gameplay 1.1 Pre-game 1.2 Main Game (ABC version) 1.3 Bonus Round 2 Set Pics (WB era) The winners of the promotion each chose a…

Pepsi Play for a Billion (2003)

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In this two-hour summer special, The WB and Pepsi teamed up for an entertainment extravaganza highlighting the upcoming WB fall schedule, and offering the chance for one player to win a billion dollars. One thousand winners – determined by whether they found specially-marked bottle caps on Pepsi products – were flown in to Southern California for a chance to win cash prizes.

The special started with a chimpanzee selecting numbered billiard balls at random to form a six-digit number that, if matched at the end of the show, would guarantee the winner $1 billion. Holly Robinson Peete hosted this segment of the show.

The middle section of the show was a series of WB promos and other games with members of the studio audience, often for cash prizes.

Throughout the show, the names of the 12 finalists were announced. These finalists were selected based on how close they came to predicting the 6-digit number – which they picked before the show was aired – for $1 billion.

The end of the show – the last 30 minutes – was where the real excitement was. The finalists, in a game of chicken, were each given the opportunity to buy out their chance at a billion dollars for dollar amounts ranging from $20,000 (first offer) to $100,000 (last offer). The premise was that those that weren’t confident in their prediction could take a sure thing rather than going away with nothing. Each round, everyone had 10 seconds (marked by a huge projection-screen clock) to press a button they were holding if they wanted out. One by one each contestant left or was eliminated from the round until one player remained, and that player won a guaranteed $1 million.

Finally, the 6-digit number was revealed, one digit at a time. If all six digits matched that of the contestant’s prediction, the contestant won $1 billion.

Many folks online thought that a billion prize was financial suicide for Pepsi, who (it was said) actually took out an insurance policy with the world-famous Lloyd’s of London should a contest be lucky enough to beat the 1-in-1,000,000 odds of winning the big prize. Others felt the use of a chimp to make the selection of the winning number silly. But the whole thing was definitely enough of a success that ABC-TV picked up the show the following summer (2004).

Directed by Mark Gentile. With Cass Asher, Drew Carey, Clint Childs, Michael Dotson. ]]>