Sunday, January 30, 2011

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It: Game Show News Updates

During this month, I read a lot of game show news articles and press releases that truly grabbed my interest. From Wendy Williams becoming a game show host in addition to already being a successful talk show host to a new game show premiering based on Pac-Man, these game show news updates are sure to peak your interest. Let’s get started shall we?

The Catch
Former 49ers Wide Receiver
Jerry Rice
NBC has ordered a pilot a new game show called The Catch. This show takes the game of catch to the next level as the contestants attempt to catch balls for cash and prizes, such as “catching a ball dropped from a helicopter into a mud pit” (as mentioned by Hollywood Reporter’s release concerning this show). The Catch will premiere as one of NBC’s 2011 summer staples with hosts NFL Hall of Famer and former 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, comedian Michael Kosta, and Rob Gleeson. It’s clear that this will become a cheap imitation of and NBC’s answer to ABC’s Wipeout with a slightly different concept.  I wouldn’t be too surprised if CBS or FOX tried to debut a stunt-based game show to follow suit. This is all the information I could gather for this show so far, but I’ll be sure to gather more information as soon as possible.

Regis Philbin Retires
On the January 18, 2011 show of Live with Regis and Kelly, former Who Wants to be a Millionaire host Regis Philbin made his retirement announcement after being on the show for 28 years. Regis made the announcement near at the top of the show "I don't want to alarm anybody, but this will be my last year on the show”(1). Many people believe that the reason for Philbin’s retirement is because he has been on the show for a long time, but TMZ revealed the truth concerning his retirement from the show. It turns out that the actual reason he is leaving the show is due to a pay cut in his contract after his current one expired.  ABC executives decided to reduce Regis’ salary because he took a lot of time off, partly due to his triple bypass surgery and his recovery from the surgery, and the show has not done as well in the ratings as it had in the past. Regis Philbin currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of TV cameras, clocking in over 16,000 hours of television time. He was given this title in 2004. His last appearance on the show will probably be around late this summer or towards at the end of this season of Live

The former hit GSN original game show sensation LINGO makes its return to television in June 2011. GSN has ordered 40 episodes of the now sixth season of LINGO to run during GSN’s weekday schedule. For those of you not familiar with the show, here’s Chuck Woolery to explain how the game is played on a second season episode of LINGO on GSN: 

Two rounds were played and the team with the most points won the game and played in the bonus round. In the bonus round, the winning team now had to solve as many words correctly in two minutes. For every word they solved correctly, they drew a ball to go on their Bonus LINGO board. If the team got a Lingo in the bonus round, they won $5,000. On a quick side note, the grand prize in the first season of the show was a $4,000 prize package, which included an Argus digital camera, a Borders gift card, a Croton watch, and a Cassiopedia EM-500 Pocket PC. However, if they got a Lingo on their first pull, the team won a Jamaican vacation package worth over $15,000 (later a Harrah’s vacation package in the second season, $10,000 in the third and fourth season, and a progressive jackpot in the fifth season which started at $10,000 and increased $1,000 for every day it wasn’t won). I presume the rules will still be the same, but I hope the show will insert some extras, like a few bonus prize balls during the main game as on the 1987 version of LINGO and keep the progressive $10,000 jackpot in the Bonus Lingo round. This season of LINGO will be produced by ZOO Productions, the same company that produced the former FOX hit series Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. The host of the revival of LINGO will not be former host Chuck Woolery, but popular blue-collar comedian and formerly the star of the short-lived TBS comedy The Bill Engvall Show, Bill Engvall. “I look forward to the new challenge of hosting a game show,"(2) says Engvall. “I have lots of experience yelling answers at a TV set, and will certainly bring that expertise to my new role as host of LINGO”, Engvall replied. It’s very interesting to see the uprising of all of these (good) GSN original game shows today as in 2002.

Wendy Williams hosts new GSN show Love Triangle
Because of GSN’s success with Baggage, which premiered last summer, they will be producing another dating game show called Love Triangle hosted by TV talk show host and author Wendy Williams. For the first season of this show, GSN ordered 32 episodes of the half-hour program. The first episode will premiere on April 18, 2011 on GSN.

"Soon-to-be" game show host Wendy Williams
On each show, each contestant will come on the show caught in an actual “love triangle”, with the dilemma of dating two different people. The show is divided into four segments. The first segment called “The Past” reveals each of the person’s pasts by revealing some surprising and shocking facts about them and what they have done in the past. The second segment is titled “The Present” breaks down and analyzes the compatibility of each person with contestant by a comprehensive personality test. This test reveals which person is the most compatible with the contestant in the four areas that couples fight the most about: money lifestyle, family and sex. The third segment, “The Future”, uses certain predictors to reveal what each person may look like 25 years from now using aged photos and the chances of love success with the contestant. The two people will also be hooked up to a polygraph, called “The Truthbuster” on the show, and asked questions such as “Do you want marriage or children?” The final segment is called “The Big Decision”, which the contestant must make a final choice between picking one of the two people to “settle down” with. But before the contestant makes that decision, Williams gives a comparison of lifestyles between the contestant and each potential mate based on the past behaviors of both. This show was produced by 3 Ball Productions with JD Roth as one of the executive producers. JD Roth is no stranger when it comes to game shows as he has hosted Fun HouseSex Wars, and the former ABC short-lived game show Opportunity Knocks.  “This is 3 Ball’s first series with GSN, and we’re incredibly excited to be working with the network and with such an electric talent as Wendy Williams. We get to combine talk, relationship and game show elements in this series, so it’s going to be a really fun show to put together.” (3) said Roth.

I think Wendy Williams would make a great host of this show because of her excitement, energy, and humor. She will definitely make the show fun to watch by adding her own panache and style to make the show her own, including finding some way to insert her famous catch phrase “How You Doin’?” I probably won’t be able to see the premiere episode, but you can believe that there will be a review on this show. 

Drew Carey's Improv-a-Ganza
Drew Carey returns to improv as his new show Drew Carey’s Improv-a-Ganza will premiere on GSN on March 28, 2011. Like on ABC’s Whose Line Is it Anyway? (shown below) and WB’s Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, this 30-minute program will be filled with improvised sketch comedy acts that are sure to make you laugh. This show will be hosted by Drew Carey and the cast of comics will include most of the regular guests from Whose Line? including Chip Esten (quick side note: he was a contestant on NBC’s Scrabble during the late 80s), Jeff Davis, a guest announcer on The Price Is Right, and Greg Proops from Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP. The show will also feature some newcomers including Heather Anne Campbell, Kathy Kinney formerly from The Drew Carey Show, and Jonathan Mangum, the announcer from Let’s Make a Deal. This show will be interesting to watch to see if it will meet the same comedic expectations as Whose Line? did, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if we see Wayne Brady as a special guest star on an episode of this show, seeing that he was a regular cast member on Whose Line? Even though this is not a game show, since it’s appearing on GSN, I will be doing a review on this show.

Million Dollar Money Drop Live Online Play-Along Game
It looks like the U.S. wants to be like the U.K. after all, as far as FOX’s Million Dollar Money Drop is concerned. For the show’s first season finale appearing on FOX on February 1, 2011, the show will now enable the home viewers to play-along with the contestants on the show with the new live online game. Home viewers will now be able to answer the same questions the contestants do on the show and place their “virtual dollars” on the answers they want instead of screaming the right answers to their TV sets. Personally, I don’t know why FOX waited until the season finale to feature the online game play. This proved to be a success on the U.K. version of the show The Million Pound Drop for the three seasons (called “series” in the U.K.). Furthermore, I believe this will increase the ratings for Million Dollar Money Drop if they continue the online game for the second season if the show is renewed. 

Upcoming Pac-Man TV Reality Series
A "Google"ized version of Pac-Man game
in progress
It seems like the “Millionaire effect” has reared in its ugly head once again as yet another production company has produced another stunt-type game show to respond to ABC’s Wipeout. The premise of the game is based on the cult classic arcade game Pac-Man, in honor of its 30th anniversary. The Merv Griffin Entertainment Company has teamed up with Namco Bandai Games America to take this game to the silver screen and turn it into a game show. According to Merv Griffin Entertainment’s president of television Roy Bank, the show is predicted to be a “big, crazy Wipeout-type event with a lot of energy; the idea we have is to take what Pac-Man is and bring it to life, to bring what is essentially the world's biggest game of tag to television."(4)  I think this show will be fun and interesting to watch as players race through a maze in an effort to win cash and prizes. I haven’t seen anything concerning the debut air date or which network will pick this up yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you informed.

1- PopEater: "Regis Philbin Retiring From Live With Regis and Kelly" by PopEater Staff



4- Deadline Hollywood: “Pac-Man Reality Series in the Works” by Nellie Andreeva 


  1. Have you had a chance to see Love Triangle yet? It's incredible! That and Baggage back to back really liven up my weekday afternoons.

  2. I have seen a few episodes of Love Triangle and I agree that it's a good show! I haven't had much time to write a review about it, but I will do it sometime this week or next week.