‘Split Second’ blends stopwatch references, bold colors and textures

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Game Show Network’s revival of “Split Second” features a dynamic studio set from JHD Group that blends multiple references to the time element of both the show’s name and gameplay.

“Split Second” ran from 1972 to 1975 on ABC and from 1986 to 1987 in syndication. 

The show is one of several other productions handled by Game Show Productions, GSN’s production arm, as part of a strategy to offer viewers original game shows (or new episodes of revived ones).

The set’s centerpiece is a circular seamless LED video array ringed with a thick internally-lit surround and capped off with shapes suggestive of a stopwatch.

On either side of this is a series of three curved, radiating rings that complement the video panel’s shape, which is used for nearly all game elements. These elements also could be interpreted as a visual representation of pulses being let out, in this case, each second.


Around the circular screen are a series of small accent lights that continue above, a touch that nicely frames out the gameboard and suggests the marks around a clock or stopwatch. 

The curved theme is even continued above the set, where four LED strips illuminated in red form a rough continuation of the rings. On either side of this, additional thin red lines created with light run above the other set walls, while washes of light from just above the header create a sort of transparent “ceiling” formed solely from light that covers most of the grid.

Host John Michael Higgins stands behind a small podium fronted with a gold and red circle element depicting a clock face that’s counting down seconds. 

Contestants are situated camera left in front of a wall with a thin vertical texture that’s dramatically uplit in red.

In front of this background are a series of clock-like elements mounted at varying heights along vertical gold posts. These elements display different amounts of time remaining inside of the rings using the same gold finish. 

The inner portion of these elements appears to float in midair, a trick that’s accomplished by attaching the gold to a sheet of clear material. These elements are carefully positioned and lit so that reflections from the glass rarely appear on camera, completing the floating effect.

This wall also features elongated pill-shaped elements and smaller, simplified circles mounted on vertical poles. 

A header element in the form of a thick internally lit ribbon runs above both side walls, with a thinner one higher up and, finally, capped off with the red laser line and light wash. A think band of gold enveloped the space slightly below knee wall height followed by another line of red near the floor. 

Contestants stand behind an elongated lectern with curved ends and eye-catching accent lighting. Scorekeeping is handled by a strip of seamless LED panels running along the top of this piece.

In addition to these primary scenic elements, there is also another iteration of the circular stopwatch element far camera left of the contestants, though it isn’t actively used as part of the game and typically only appears in bump or wide shots of the space.

The network has paired the set with a matching graphics package in red and gold, much of it using a highly glassy look with a mix of italic sans serif emphasizing the notion of forward motion and time passing and a simple, geometric sans serif for contestant names, scores and the questions and choices shown on the stopwatch video panel.


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