Quizbusters (WKAR)

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Quizbusters is a television quiz bowl show that has aired on WKAR-TV in East Lansing, Michigan, since 1989. It has been hosted since 1989 by Matt Ottinger. The show is a revival of High School Quiz Bowl, a WKAR show from the 1970s hosted by Terry Braverman that lasted three or four years.[1]

On June 28, 2017, WKAR announced that Quizbusters would end in 2018 at the end of its 29th season. [1]


Game format

The main game consists of toss-up/bonus cycles, except that a bonus question ends if a team fails to answer a part correctly, and a team sweeping a bonus gets 10 additional points. Thus, it is possible for a team to pick up 50 points in one toss-up/bonus cycle (10 for the tossup, 30 for the bonus, and 10 for the sweep).

The game also features rounds consisting only of toss-ups. The Quick Ten at the start of the show consists of 10 toss-ups with no bonuses. There is one Pop Quiz in each half. The Pop Quiz consists of 12 toss-up questions, the answers to each of which begin with a specified letter combination. Players in matching positions from each team compete, one-on-one, for 3 questions in each pop quiz. Finally, the Lightning Round consists of as many toss-ups as can be read in 60 seconds; unlike in the rest of the game, a wrong answer loses 10 points, and the question is not offered to the other team.

Another special feature of the show is the QuizBunch (formerly the Video Bonus), played as the first bonus in the second half. The QuizBunch question's first part is recorded by a special guest on-location. The show also featured an Audio Bonus until season 19, played as the first bonus after the first Pop Quiz, where an audio clue was played before the first part was read.

Tournament format

Sixty-four teams compete each season in two divisions: the Green Division (for larger schools) and the White Division (for smaller schools). The 32 teams in each division are randomly paired to play first-round matches, with the winning teams advancing to a 16-team single-elimination tournament, seeded by the teams' first-round scores. Each division champion team member receives a scholarship to MSU, and the Green Division and White Division champions compete in a Grand Championship to determine the overall season winner. The Grand Champion team members receive book scholarships from a local MSU bookstore.

Before the field filled to 64 teams, the 32-team tournament field was completed with high scoring losing teams from the first round as wild cards.

Question sources

NAQT supplied the questions for the toss-up/bonus portion of the game from Season 14 (2002-03) through Season 24 (2012-13); while the remaining questions were house-written. In season 13 (2001-02), Questions Unlimited supplied questions. [2] Prior to Season 13, and starting with Season 25 (2013-14), all questions are house-written. Quick 10 and Lightning Round questions are drawn from a large database (see [3] and [4]), so question recycling is frequent.

Matt Ottinger is particularly proud of writing one toss-up where all the clues could pertain either to Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Granholm, describing the resulting question as "better than some old physics question." [5]


  1. Quizbusters Special Edition, Episode 2, Season 24