Friday, August 31, 2012

Big Changes To Third Season of "Family Game Night"

Courtesy The Hub
I reported this a while back in one of my back “News In A Flash” articles, mainly concerning what is to be expected for the next season of The Hub’s Family Game Night. The two-time Parent’s Choice Award winning game show will return for a third season on September 23 at 7:00pm, after the series was initially cancelled. It would be awful to see this show go under, especially since Todd Newton won his first Daytime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Game Show Host' on Family Game Night. At any rate, the show’s format has been remodeled for the upcoming season. Changes include a new announcer, the new roster of active games played on the show, the number of families competing, the grand prize, and a new end game.

New Announcer: Replacing Burton Richardson as the announcer will be VO Buzz Weekly host, Stacey J. Aswad. Aswad is no stranger to the entertainment industry as she has worked as an on-court host at WNBA Los Angeles Sparks’ games, a dance teacher and choreographer, and a television, film and theater actress. I wish her the best of luck with Family Game Night

New Gameplay: Instead of two families of four playing throughout the entire show, multiple families made up of at least one parent and one child will be picked from the studio audience to compete in four different games. Every family who competes on the show will have a chance to play the new Community Chest round. The family team who has the correct combination to unlock the chest will advance to the new Monopoly Crazy Cash end game. The new bonus game is similar to one of Let’s Make A Deal’s commonly played games, “Movin’ On Up”. The winning family will be presented with four rows of cash card, with four on each row. They will have to pick one card from each row, beginning with the bottom row. However, as the team continues playing the end game, it will get progressively tougher as there are six Go To Jail cards within the grid of 16 -- one on the second row, two on the third row, and three on the fourth row. If a Go To Jail card is revealed at any time in the round, the bonus game ends but the family will keep the money they have earned up to that point. If the family can successfully find three cash cards and the “WIN” card in the top row, they will win a new car in addition to the cash.  

New Games: The bad news is some of newest games introduced last season (Ratuki Go-Round, Trouble Pop Quiz, Spelling Bee) and two classic favorites (Cranium, Sorry! Sliders) will go into retirement in the third season. The good news is many of the regularly rotated games from the past two seasons will be played, including Bop-It Boptagon and Simon Flash, and new versions of Sorry! will be introduced as well as another new game: Battleship. In Family Game Night’s version of Battleship: the two families will go head-to-head to locate a fleet of ships hidden in a 5x5 foot grid. Like the board game, each team’s objective will be to try to sink their opponents’ ships. Hopefully, the show’s version of the game will be more entertaining to watch and play than the actual board game.     

With all the new changes the upcoming season brings, I’m concerned about the future of this series. There is a good chance that this show might be on its way out, especially after narrowly escaping permanent cancellation. Many of the past game shows that have drastically altered their format in an attempt to regain viewers to keep the show alive have failed and were pulled off the air at the end of their season. Among the list of the aforementioned game shows are the 1986 Joe Fargo version of Break The Bank ’86, Play The Percentages, and Time Machine. With that being said, there are a few game shows that have proven otherwise, namely Millionaire’s shift from the “Money Tree” to the “Money Shuffle” format. Many avid viewers of the continuing, late-90s game show were displeased about the format change in 2010. I’m sure there are a lot of viewers to this day who still hate the game change as the series enters into its third season under the Shuffle format. So, there is a slight chance that this might work for Family Game Night. I would hate to see a great show such as Family Game Night fall into the category of failed game shows that changed its format.

If you're already feeling nostalgic for the days of the classic two-family, six-game format, The Hub will be airing a special “Best of Family Game Night” Marathon on September 21 starting at 8:00pm EST. The tribute marathon will feature the seven most memorable episodes from the second season. The marathon is in honor of the third season premiere of Family Game Night on September 23. Stay tuned!

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