Big Players is a 1980 unsold pilot hosted by Joe Garagiola, produced by Heatter-Quigley Productions and announced by Kenny Williams, taped at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and it's intended to air on NBC, however, NBC reviewed this pilot and Blockbusters, however, NBC picked up Blockbusters instead. It was known as a precursor to Rick Rosner's Just Men!
The format was slightly similar to the later show Just Men! except the top money is the total of $50,000.
Differences between Big Players and Just Men!
- The host is male, compared to Just Men!'s female.
- Kenny Williams is the announcer, like such other Heatter-Quigley programs as The Hollywood Squares, Gambit, High Rollers and To Say the Least.
- Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley are the producers rather than Rick Rosner.
- The buzzer is the same one that was on the Super Jeopardy! round that failed on the 1978 revival of Jeopardy!
- The opening and closing themes are later used as the opening and closing themes heard on Merrill Heatter's later show Battlestars.
- The win cue music is later used as a win cue theme on the 1983 revival of Sale of the Century.
- The correct answer bell was also used on Mindreaders, Blockbusters and Password Plus.
- It was taped at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
- Unlike Just Men!, Kenny Williams signed off with "This has been a Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley Production!" like other H-Q shows that Kenny signed off.