The ‘Supermarket Sweep’ of the 1990s Wasn’t the First Version of the Show

The reboot of Supermarket Sweep, the grocery game show that swept the nation in the 1990s, will return on Sunday, September 26, 2021, much to the delight of fans. Now in its second season, the reboot is creating an entirely new generation of fans. While most viewers may remember the competition from the 1990s, there was a much earlier version of the show. The real, original Supermarket Sweep aired on ABC in the 1960s. 

‘Supermarket Sweep’ premiered in 1965 on ABC 

While the 1990s version of Supermarket Sweep is the more popular version, the concept was not original. In 1965, Bill Malone hosted Supermarket Sweep. The premise of the original show was simple. Three teams of two teammates competed against each other to garner the highest grocery total during a one-minute and 30 seconds run through a local grocery store. 

A 'Supermarket Sweep' contestant compete in London
A 1966 ‘Supermarket Sweep’ contestant | Jerry Fincher/Express/Getty Images

In the show’s original version, teams were allowed to continue on until another team defeated them or reached a prize cap. Winnings were capped to $20,000. According to IMDb, the original version of the series aired for just a year and a half. The first episode aired in December 1965, and the finale was broadcast in June 1967. ABC aired the episodes sporadically. 

The 1990s remake of ‘Supermarket Sweep’ changed a few details 

When ABC pulled the plug on the original series back in the 1960s, fans assumed that was the show’s end. More than 20 years later, the concept was revived. The series aired on Lifetime for several years in the 1990s, with David Ruprecht taking over hosting duties. The 1990s version of the series made significant changes to the concept.

Two contestants compete on season 2 of 'Supermarket Sweep'
‘Supermarket Sweep’ | Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images

The second incarnation of the game show, just like the original, relied on three teams of two players to compete in trivia rounds before they ran through a grocery store collecting food items in a timed sweep. The 1990s Supermarket Sweep pulled contestants out of the crowd, ala The Price is Right, and contestants were not allowed to move onto another episode. Instead, the winners of the big sweep round moved on to a bonus round. In the bonus round, the winning team competed for the chance to take home $5,000. 

The latest reboot is expanding on the 1990s version of the series 

When ABC announced it would bring back Supermarket Sweep, nostalgic fans were a bit concerned. Many wondered just how much the network planned to keep of the 1990s version. Some fans were worried that new gimmicks would potentially ruin the feel of the competition. Much to their delight, almost nothing has changed. 

With Leslie Jones hosting, teams are still subjected to trivia questions centered around food and grocery items to build the amount of time they have for their big sweep. During the big sweep, one runner from each team must traverse the store to amass the largest checkout total. The team with the largest total goes on to the “super sweep.” The super sweep is different from the original bonus round from the 1990s version of the game. In the reboot, the winning team can win up to $100,000 by solving riddles and finding products, but they have to make tough decisions along the way to get to that top prize. 

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