Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Scuttlebutt at GSN: Updates on Upcoming GSN Original Shows

Over the past few months, GSN has been making headline news on several television and game show news sites with talks of producing new in-studio game shows and a reality series. Beat The Chefs, The American Bible Challenge, and The Pyramid are among the list of new game shows GSN is set to premiere during the waning days of summer.  I haven’t seen GSN debut this much original content at one time since April/June 2002 when GSN was formerly known as Game Show Network. This week’s article will spotlight the current status of each new GSN series. 

The Pyramid 

After being passed over for two years, Pyramid has finally found a home at GSN with the upcoming premiere of network’s newest original game show series The Pyramid. In the past few weeks, GSN and other news sites have been slowly leaking bits of information about what the newest revival of the Pyramid series has to offer from slight changes in the gameplay to a first glimpse of the show in action revealed in one of GSN’s promos. This past week, a list of celebrities to appear on the show for the first 40-episode season has been revealed by BuzzerBlog. The list of celebrity contestants include Oscar Nunez and Kate Flannery from The Office, Danny Pudi and Yvette Nicole Brown from Community, and Melissa Peterman from The Singing Bee. I like the mixture of B and C list celebrities as the previous Pyramid revival has done in 2002 through 2004. According to site, at least one pair may be seen for less than a week due to their poor performance playing the game. While this is a little unorthodox for the Pyramid series, given their history of weekly rotating the celebrity pairs, it’s better to watch celebrities who have mastered the game compete on the show and help the civilian contestants win big money, similar to George Siebert, Nipsey Russell, and Teresa Ganzel’s multiple return appearances on The (New) $25,000 and $100,000 Pyramid. In addition to the changes in the duration of the celebrities’ weekly appearance, The Pyramid has also enhanced some of the rules. Besides the new Winner’s Circle money format and the new front game bonuses, the GSN version will also feature an “Infinite” list tie-breaker round where teams will have 30 seconds to guess as many words as they can. 

Looking at the history of past Pyramid revivals with The $100,000 Pyramid with John Davidson and Pyramid with Donny Osmond each lasting for two seasons, the 2012 version should follow suit and endure at least two seasons, if not more. My only fear is that The Pyramid might be past its prime and fall into the list of failed game show revivals such as Fear Factor and the 1998 version of Match Game, and that GSN might screw up another revival as they have done in the past with the 2011 version of Lingo. Only time will tell. Until then, stay tuned for series premiere of The Pyramid on September 3 at 6:00pm on GSN. 

The American Bible Challenge Updates

Earlier this week in a press release, GSN released the roster of the 18 three-person teams who will be competing on the new Jeff Foxworthy-hosted Biblical game show. These teams will compete against each other in a nine-game, single elimination tournament. The tournament begins with three teams competing in each of the first six episodes of the first round. The winners from each episode will face each other in two semi-final games. The team who wins the final, championship round will be crowned champions of The American Bible Challenge. Each of the 18 teams competing will be playing for a charity of their choice and come from all walks of life. Here are a few teams who will be appearing on the show:

“The Power Team” from Dallas, TX hopes to overcome their competition as they are playing for The Power Team, a group that spreads the word of God through strength and martial arts skills. The team is comprised of husband and wife Jamie and Dallas Morrison, and Matt Dopson, a Power Team speaker. Jamie and Matt are currently working with The Power Team, while Dallas had to step down from her role as road manager to a stay-at-home mother to raise the kids.

“Team Reborn” hail from Los Angeles, CA and are competing to win money for The Black AIDS Institute, an organization which focuses on AIDS in the African-American community. Business owner Daryl Vinson, biology teacher Roderick Leak Sr., and motivational speaker Aaron make up the team. These longtime friends and holy hip-hop artists hope to win the tournament with their wide range of Bible knowledge. 

“Team Gospel Geezers”, natives of Charlotte, NC, will be playing for Samaritan’s Purse, a ministry led by Franklin Graham providing relief after global disasters. The team consists of retired fire captain Roger Tench, realtor Bill Henderson, and nuclear security maintenance specialist Chris Kidd. These men have been friends for more than 20 years and have had their faith tested in various ways, such as when Bill helped his community during the housing crisis by selling homes for no charge. 

For more information about each team and the charities and organizations they are representing, go to GSN’s The American Bible Challenge homepage to read each of the team’s bio. 

It’s been a while since we have seen a GSN produce a tournament-based game show since Grand Slam last aired in 2007, and this show will be sure to not disappoint. Who will emerge victorious in this Bible trivia tournament? Find out on The American Bible Challenge premiering August 23 at 8:00pm on GSN.  

Beat The Chefs 
Following the premiere of The American Bible Challenge, the new GSN culinary game show Beat The Chefs will make its series debut on August 23 at 9:00pm. The hour-long game show will pit everyday people who love to cook compete against three professional chefs as they prepare the same dish. A panel of two judges and a special celebrity guest judge will determine whose entrĂ©e is the best in each episode. Matt Rogers, a finalist on the third season of American Idol, will be hosting this show. Rogers has served as a correspondent on multiple entertainment and sports shows including Entertainment Tonight and The Best Damn Sports Show Period. The cast of chefs competing against the civilian cooks are Iron Chef America winner and co-host of Worst Cooks In America Beau MacMillian, Top Chef All-Stars finalist Antonia Lofaso, Jeff Henderson, the first African-American executive chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The two resident judges will be food and travel journalist and restaurant critic Brad A. Johnson, and contributing editor of Taste of The South magazine Christy Jordan. Each week, Johnson and Jordan will be accompanied by a guest celebrity judge including Eric Roberts from The Dark Knight, television personality Christina Ferrari, and Melissa Rycroft, a correspondent for Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight. Given GSN’s history of creating programs revolving around a particular game such as blackjack and poker, this series should last at least two seasons. Beat The Chefs is either going to have a fairly successful run like World Series of Blackjack and Extreme Dodgeball, or fall flat on its back like Ballbreakers and American Dream Derby did. We’ll see what happens on August 23. 

Family Trade
It’s been a while since GSN has reported about paving the way for producing new original programming. According to GSN Executive Vice President of Programming Amy Introcaso-Davis’s plan, the new programming will be divided into three categories: Shiny Floor Games, Real-Life Games, and Iconic Games Reinvented. We’ve have already seen an example of one of their "Iconic Game Reinvented" shows through the creation The Pyramid and one of their new Shiny Floor Games with the upcoming premiere of The American Bible Challenge. On Thursday, GSN green lit the production of their newest “Real-Life Game” series, Family Trade. The new reality series revolves around a family-owned GMC and Ford dealership in Middlebury, Vermont. G-Stone Motors was founded and is owned by Gardener Stone. At the dealership, Stone will trade you a new automobile for anything you have that he thinks he can sell, from pigs to maple syrup. Stone’s son and daughter, Todd and Darcy, have the task of reselling whatever their father has bought. The main goal of the show is to portray how people become winners in everyday situations, such as trading a shoe collection for a brand new car. Sounds too good to be true, huh? At any rate, I can honestly see this reality series lasting for only a season. With all the reality shows based on pawn shops, storage auctions, and singing sensations, Family Trade will more than likely be placed on the backburner in viewer ratings. Furthermore, GSN has yet to produce an original reality show that has lasted for more than one season, to my knowledge. Nevertheless, stay tuned for Family Trade on GSN, currently in production. 

Sources: GSN Press Releases, BuzzerBlog
***All photos courtesy of GSN. I do not take ownership of the photos.***

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