Wednesday, April 20, 2011

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It: Game Show News Updates Part 3

Hey everyone! It's been a while, but I'm back with a brand new article that is sure to peak your interest. In this week's article, I'm going to once again spotlight some of the headlines that peaked my interest this month concerning game show news. From a hit GSN game show going international to The Price is Right finding a permanent announcer for their show, I'm sure you are going to enjoy reading about what has happened or what's in store for the future. Enjoy!

Jill Wagner Leaves Wipeout
Wipeout's on-field reporter Jill Wagner
(Courtesy of ABC) 
After acting as an on-field reporter and a co-host on ABC’s Wipeout alongside announcers and co-hosts John Anderson and John Henson for three years now, Jill Wagner has decided to leave the show after the upcoming summer season. Wagner has been on Wipeout since the show’s debut in the summer of 2008. Her leaving the show was entirely her decision as she wants to focus more on her acting career. Wagner told TV Guide Magazine, "After four seasons of co-hosting Wipeout I have been given the opportunity to pursue new directions in my acting career, which I am very passionate about; I am extremely grateful to all those at Wipeout, Endemol and ABC, who have been so supportive of me through these years." Endemol USA producers and producer Matt Kunitz have started searching for Wagner’s replacement. "[Wagner] will certainly be missed but we wish her nothing but the best.  We look forward to bringing a new, fun and vibrant personality to next season's Wipeout." Kunitz said on the matter. I have enjoyed Wagner’s witty, sharp, and often humorous commentary towards the contestants during their short interviews and while they are running the course. Although Wipeout will still be enjoyable to watch with the contestants wiping out on the course, it will not be the same will Jill Wagner out of the picture.

Wipeout’s “Name the Challenge” Contest

The summer Wipeout logo (courtesy of ABC) 
For the upcoming summer season of Wipeout, the producers need YOUR help (according to the show’s website) to come up with a name for the new Wipeout obstacle, which will be added to the course. Click here to enter the contest and to view the drawings and blueprints of the new obstacle. You can enter the contest as many times as you can as there is no prize at stake but only bragging rights. If your suggestion is creative enough, maybe your name for the new obstacle will be selected!!! Enter the contest today!!!!

Catch 21 logo (Courtesy of GSN)
Catch 21 Goes Global
On April 13 in a press release, Pop Monkey Productions announced that they had made a deal with Merrill Heatter, a veteran game show creator noted for his creations of cult classics like Let’s Make a Deal and Hollywood Squares, to secure the international format rights to GSN’s Catch 21. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, Catch 21 is a modern-day version of Gambit where contestants answer questions in order to earn cards to reach the goal of 21, as in Blackjack. According to Pop Monkey’s press release, Hugh Wright commented, "It’s tremendous to be working with a game show pioneer like Merrill on Catch 21. As GSN has proven over four seasons, the show rapidly finds a high rating audience.” Pop Monkey Productions is a Los Angeles-based production company that began in 2010 by U.S. television veterans Syd Vinnedge and Hugh Wright and British multiplatform producers Chuck Thomas and Simone Thurgood. The company has also agreed to represent Heatter’s new game show Hollywood Teasers. According to, Hollywood Teasers “updates Hollywood Squares and adds a new word game that challenges celebrity contestants.” 

“The Million Dollar Montage” Repost Update
As promised, I have reposted the video The Million Dollar Montage on YouTube (with much better quality might I add). Click here to check out the video on YouTube. Tell your friends about The Million Dollar Montage!

BrainSurge Returns to Nickelodeon
BrainSurge logo (Courtesy of Nickelodeon) 
Monday marked the return of Nickelodeon’s hit new game show BrainSurge. Currently in its second season, BrainSurge returns this week with all new, star-studded episodes with cast members from Big Time Rush, Victorious, iCarly, and The Troop competing against each other to win prizes for select members in the studio audience. The celebrity episodes of BrainSurge will be shown daily at 7:00pm EST after Nick’s “Webbiest Week Ever” three-hour block. Personally, I’m happy to see BrainSurge back on the air. I would have been upset if this show had met the same demise My Family’s Got Guts did, being pulled after airing for two seasons.

Former Street Smarts host Frank Nicotero
The Game of Life Comes To Life
In addition to Family Game Night  and Pictureka!, Hasbro has created a new game show to add to their lineup of shows on their network “The Hub: The Game of Life. The classic game of “twists and turns” is now being brought to life on television, including many of the main features from the board game such as the car, the wheel, and even the career choices. With Street Smarts host and former Debt contestant, Frank Nicotero as the host of the show, you can bet that the show will be even more entertaining to watch with his humor employed into the show. On this show, two families will play against each other in a series of contest, which (according to Dennis Nishi’s article on the subject) range from “flipping burgers to answering trivia”. According to the same article, although there is a physical set, much of the action on the show is enhanced with computer graphics. The car used on the set is digitally advanced down an animated board that is similar to The Game of Life game board. Some of the prizes on the show include a 3D screening room and limo rides from school to home for a month. These prizes reminded me of some of the fun-filled, kid-type prizes featured on the 1980’s game show Fun House. However, there were some elements that did not quite transfer into the TV game, such as the insurance and stocks. Nishi asked the show’s executive producer, Bob Boden, about these particular elements. Boden said that “those elements had been taken out of the more recent editions of the board game to make it easier to play and probably wouldn’t have made it into the game show.” On a quick side, I believe that the stocks could be worked into the show as a bonus cash incentive if anyone spun a team’s stock number (as in the actual gameplay), but that’s just me. There’s no word on when the show’s premiere date will be, but I will be looking forward to how this show’s format plays out. This board game to TV game crossover will either be a success like Scrabble or Win, Lose, or Draw, or a flop like the 1989 version of Pictionary or Monopoly.   

George Gray Named New TPIR Announcer
New TPIR announcer George Gray (Courtesy of CBS)
After tirelessly searching for a new announcer to fill Rich Fields’ shoes, it seems like the producer has found their new permanent announcer: George Gray. This announcement was made during the April 18, 2011 episode of The Price is Right. Gray was among one of the many guest announcers who appeared on the show for the first half of the 39th season. Other guest announcers include former Whose Line? cast members Brad Sherwood and Jeff Davis, and former Shop ‘Til You Drop host J.D. Roberto.  Gray is no stranger when it comes to game shows as you may have remembered him hosting the syndicated version of Weakest Link and has even appeared as a “comedian panelist” on GSN’s National Lampoon’s Funny Money.  “I am really excited to join The Price Is Right family.  Being only the fourth full-time announcer in 39 years is an amazing honor,” said George Gray. “As my dad always liked to say, ‘no pressure!’”(1) He will be a great addition to the show and will join the list of other permanent TPIR announcers including Johnny Olson, Rod Roddy, and Rich Fields.

NBC Casting Call Updates
As many of you game show fanatics may have known by now, NBC has developed two new game shows, Still Standing and It’s Worth What? Still Standing is a fast-paced game show (that slightly rips-offs GSN’s Russian Roulette concept) where one person has to face-off against ten other contestants one by one in a series of trivia battles. The winner stays and keeps their cash and the loser gets dropped through the drop zone they’re standing under. Eliminating all ten contestants won the center player $1,000,000. The other show It’s Worth What?, hosted be Cedric the Entertainer, is a game show which tests the contestants’ knowledge on how much they believe unique items are actually worth. Contestant with a good sense of an item’s market value could win the maximum cash prize of $1,000,000.On a quick side note, the show’s premise reminds me of Bargain Hunters hosted by Peter Tomarken and PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. If you are interested in trying out for either of these shows, click either of these links to go to NBC’s casting site for information concerning Still Standing and It’s Worth What?

More Game Show Headlines

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