Monday, September 12, 2016

Top 10 2016 Summer Game Show Moments

Since today marks the season premiere of many syndicated game shows in US, including Millionaire spending its 15th syndicated season in Las Vegas, today's article will highlight the top 10 game show moments that have occurred from late May to early September. Some of the highlighted moments include the return of Mastermind in New Zealand, The Price Is Right's primetime specials, Millionaire Hot Seat giving away its million-dollar grand prize for the first time in the show's seven-year existence and Channel 4's Fifteen To One crowning two series champions.

#10: William Barnes Becomes First Champion of Mastermind New Zealand Revival
TVNZ's TVOne revived the infamously, intimidating quiz show Mastermind in May with host Peter Williams. Over the course of 13 episodes, tens of contestants competed against each other by answering scores of questions pertaining to their specialty subject, general knowledge and a New Zealand specialty subject for the chance to win the Mastermind New Zealand "Ovoid" glass trophy and the coveted black chair. On July 24, William Barnes, a high school teacher from Havelock North, defeated runners-up Julyan Lawry, David Barnes and Jackie Owens to become the season champion. In the Final, Barnes' speciality category was “American History In The 1960s” and his New Zealand speciality subject was Sports. Click NZ Herald to check out Barnes' winning moment. 

#9: 500 Questions In The US & UK
Created from the production house of Mark Burnett, 500 Questions returned to US airwaves on ABC on May 26 for a five-night event. The second season kicked off with a rather disappointing start as we watched Jeopardy! super-champion Ken Jennings bow out the competition early upon earning his third strike on question #4. Besides the lackluster beginning, the season had improved overall compared to the previous year. The high point of the season came towards the end with Guy Jordan answering a series-record of 241 questions, eliminating five contestants, including Raj Dhuwalia from GSN's The Chase, and winning $169,000. 

Meanwhile in the UK, ITV debuted its version of the quiz series on August 22 for four nights with host Giles Coren. Unlike the US series, the UK edition has the main contestant face 50 questions each show, each correct answer is worth £500 and there are Battle, Triple Threat (provide three answers to a question) and Lightning Round (answer 10 quick-fire questions) "traps" hidden in each show. If the main contestant gets three strikes in a row, their opponent takes over his/her spot and has a chance to complete the 50-question set. No money is won until the contestant has surpassed the 50th question. Besides the poor casting leading to high turnover rates, the glaring issue I see within the UK format of not giving a new contestant a new set of question is if a contestant works tirelessly by answering 44 questions and strikes out on the 47th, not only would this give the opponent a huge advantage of simply answering one question correctly to win the jackpot, but this would also place the new opponent at a massive disadvantage with virtually no way to stop them by their own merit. Judging by how the UK version is designed, I'm not sure why it's still called 500 Questions. At any rate, one of the bright spots of the series how well Giles Coren carries the show with his wit and humorous sarcasm. Take a look at the premiere episode in the video below.

#8: The Price Is Right Primetime Specials
May 23 marked The Price Is Right's first primetime special since 2008. In honor of Survivor, Big Brother and The Amazing Race, the CBS daytime game show dedicated the three specials to the pending premiere of the network's three veteran reality shows. Throughout the three-night event, contestants had a chance to "come on down" and compete on the show alongside special guests from the reality series for a chance to win tens of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. Jeff Probst, Julie Chen and Phil Keoghan joined host Drew Carey and the models to help present the prizes at stake. We were even treated to a unique "Pl!nko" cash configuration during the Big Brother special (as displayed in the picture collage at the beginning of this article). Check out one of the special episodes in the video below.

#7: Two £40,000 Fifteen To One Champions Are Crowned
On June 1 and August 11, Gareth Kingston and Huw Pritchard won the fifth and sixth series of Channel 4's Fifteen To One. Kingston, a marketing manager from Bedfordshire, England, banked the £40,000 grand prize by defeating his opponents, Bob Haigh and Will Howells, by only one correct answer (Will - 121, Bob - 122, Gareth - 132). Two months later, Pritchard, a civil servant from Conwy, North Wales, managed to win the series upon Ken Key's early elimination in the Final and Brian Chesney answering his third question incorrectly and eliminating himself from the round when the game was tied at 122 between Chesney and Pritchard.  

#6: Catch Phrase’s First £50,000 Winners
After airing for four years on ITV, the network's revival of Catch Phrase had finally found its first £50,000 winner a couple of months ago. On July 9, Adei Bundy won the top prize during the "Super Catch Phrase" end game by ascending the pyramid and guessing five catch phrases correctly with only one second remaining. Bundy amassed a grand total of £53,700 and a trip to the Dominican Republic. Over a month later, Andrea Victoria Wilson became the second contestant of the Catch Phrase revival to win the jackpot and, thus far, the fastest contestant to complete the round (38 seconds). Check out both contestants' incredible wins in the clips below. 

#5: A Rare Tie/$100,000 Win Combo on Wheel of Fortune
As the 34th season of Wheel begins today, let's take a brief look back at one of the interesting moments last season. On May 25, contestants Danielle Gilset and LaToya Williams faced a rare tie at the end of the speed-up round and had to play a $1,000 tie-breaking toss-up puzzle – something that had not been done since 2003. Once Williams won the tiebreaker, she advanced to the bonus round and picked up an extra $100,000 for solving "POUR YOUR HEART OUT". Check out both moments in the clip below.

#4: Metallic Melee Madness: ABC’s BattleBots & BBC’s Robot Wars
Much like last season, the 2016 BattleBots Tournament did not disappoint. Robot fighting fans were treated to a bevy of battles, raucous rumbles, unbelievable upsets and illuminating introductions from resident announcer Faruq Tauheed. When the dust settled on the September 1 two-hour season finale, the team of Ray Billings and Tombstone overpowered Bombshell in the championship battle and emerged victorious. 

Across the pond in the UK, BBC Two revived Robot Wars with hosts Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon on July 24. Forty robots entered the competitions and faced intense battles and head-to-head rounds that heavily relied on resilience, toughness and endurance. In one episode, a team could be faced with as many as five battles. At the end of the six-episode event and a highly-contested final, the team of Dave Young, Marc Dermott, Ben Bacon and their robot Apollo defeated Team Carbide and won the championship. Check out both winning moments in the clips below.

#3: Double Dare's 30th Anniversary
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nickelodeon's first and undisputedly most popular game show Double Dare, the iconic series was briefly revived at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22. The show's original host Marc Summers fronted the special event, which was live-streamed by The Splat, and fans had a chance to see former Nickelodeon stars take the physical challenges and run through the Obstacle Course. As a special bonus, Teennick's The Splat aired reruns of Double Dare and interstitial shorts that featured unique behind-the-scenes clips of the show during the week of July 25. Aired episodes included rarely televised reruns of FOX's Family Double Dare and the Family Double Dare Tournament of Champions Finals, the hour-long, series finale special which aired in 1992. Take a look at The Splat's live coverage of Double Dare at the San Diego Comic-Con on Facebook.

#2: Millionaire Hot Seat’s First Millionaire
On August 29, Edwin Daly from Mount Barker, South Australia, became the first contestant on Australia's "revolutionary" spinoff series, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Hot Seat, to win the show's million-dollar prize. Prior to Daly's win, the biggest amount that had been won by any contestant in the seven years the Nine Network show has been on the air was $541,000 on March 16, 2015. Check out the million-dollar moment in the clip below.

#1: ABC Summer Game Shows Revivals
The top game show moment of the summer is undeniably ABC's classic game show revival lineup. In addition to Celebrity Family Feud, the network debuted the latest revivals of To Tell The Truth, The $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game. I'm not going to spend a great deal of time ranting and raving about how well these revivals were produced overall as I have already done so in my reviews of each series except for Feud. Even though To Tell The Truth had an average performance during its first season in the Tuesday 10:00pm time slot, ABC's Sunday Fun & Games lineup of Celebrity Family Feud, The $100,000 Pyramid and Match Game consistently performed well in total viewership and in the Adults 18-49 key demo by ranking among the top 5 Sunday primetime programs in both categories for at least half the season. These four shows have brought us surprising stunts, shocking answers, shrewd gameplay and plenty of big money moments. Anthony Anderson, Steve Harvey, Michael Strahan and Alec Baldwin will return along with all four of their respective shows for a second season next year. Until then, check out some of the highlights from each show in the clips below and head to Hulu to watch some of the episodes you may have missed.

Honorable Mentions – Here are a few summer moments that didn't quite make the Top 10 countdown list:
- ITV's Short Summer Series: Cash Trapped & Alphabetical
- GSN's Skin Wars: Fresh Paint Series Premiere
- Six-Game Jeopardy! Champions Pranjal Vachaspati ($137,088) & Hunter Appler ($147,603)
- Eric Park Wins Six Games and $31,000 on Sports Jeopardy!

Additional Sources: Bedfordshire News, Crackle,, Facebook,, NZ Herald, TV Series Finale, YouTube

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