Thursday, August 26, 2010

OK, I Can't Wait Any Longer

I don't have all the start dates; however I do think it's time to post what I do have (six out of nine shows). Here we go:

September 13: Wheel Of Fortune
Family Feud (now taped in Florida with host Steve Harvey)
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (almost completely reformatted; I don't want to get into it at the moment, however)

September 20: Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? (with some format changes rumored)
Don't Forget The Lyrics (Five-day-a-week premiere with host Mark McGrath)

That's all I have, and it leaves The Price Is Right, Let's Make A Deal, and Cash Cab. I can only hope I can track those down soon, as well as the questions of when the final episode of Deal Or No Deal is and what CBS will show between the end of As The World Turns and the premiere of The Talk.

Only a week and four days until Labor Day - not that it looks like anything is premiering that day.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Calm Before The Storm

The good news: I should have at least more of, and hopefully all of, the start dates next week.

The bad news: I don't have anything to write about this week.

A few bits and pieces of news:
  • It's completely official: As The World Turns will be replaced by a The View-type talk show with the horrific title of The Talk. It premieres October 18. As the last episode of As The World Turns is September 17, this does raise the question of what CBS will show for four weeks...but I seriously doubt it will be anything exciting.
  • The new host of The Newlywed Game has been named as Sherri Shepherd (is The View that popular?) The new season debuts November 1 on Game Show Network.
  • Game Show Network has announced they will be reviving the short-lived primetime show 1 vs. 100. That's all they've announced. Frankly, the last thing I want is a heavily scaled down 1 vs. 100, but that's what we're getting.
  • BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a one-hour version of the memorial performance to longtime ISIHAC host Humphrey Lyttelton on August 30.

That might be it at the moment. I really hope I can find the rest of the start dates.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

At Least We're Not Getting A Year-Long Host Search...

You've probably all figured out by now that I'm pretty heavily obsessed with British radio game shows. Well, a fairly big piece of news about them has broken: Robert Robinson is retiring as host of Brain Of Britain, which he has hosted since original host Franklin Engelmann died in 1972.

This is at once inevitable and hard to believe. It's inevitable because Robert is 83 years old and in such bad health that - this is the kicker - he rarely actually appeared on the show in the past few years. He was still listed as the official host, but had handed over several full seasons to substitutes. Naturally, this is also what makes it hard to believe. I'm fairly certain that the same announcement was made at the start of the 2007 season, with Peter Snow being named the new host - but guess what? Robert returned for the 2008 season! I sort of get the feeling that Robert won't be hosting the 2010 season, but if he wanted to come back in 2011, the BBC would let him.

Who will be hosting the 2010 season? Thankfully, we're not going to have to wait over a year while a host search takes place - the BBC has already announced that the new host will be Robert's most frequent substitute, Russell Davies (no, not the the producer who developed the revival of Doctor Who - that's Russell T. Davies). Again, I'm not really sure I believe any of it.

So is this a good thing? Frankly, I've always found Brain Of Britain dull as dishwater with anyone hosting, and even if Robert actually doesn't return to the regular Brain Of Britain series, I'm guessing he'll come back for the Brain Of Brains and Top Brain specials held every few years. I won't really believe Robert is gone from this show until the day he dies.

Brain Of Britain is one of four shows that rotate in BBC Radio 4's Monday afternoon game show slot. Round Britain Quiz is currently filling that slot - by my estimate (based on the season length for each show) Brain Of Britain will return on October 25.

If you're wondering what I think you're wondering - I've found most of the start dates, but I want to wait to post about them until I have all nine shows.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let The Countdown (Ahem) Begin

Well, I'd been waiting for it for weeks...the Australian version of Countdown, titled Letters And Numbers, premiered Monday, August 2.

I've talked a lot on here about Countdown and how I think it's an amazing show that should - but never will - make its way to America. I keep saying that, yet I've never said anything about how Countdown is played beyond "it's a word game vaguely akin to Scrabble." Well, now that I'm reviewing a version of Countdown, I suppose it's finally time to explain the game.

Countdown\Letters And Numbers (I'm probably going to just keep calling it Countdown) is composed of three types of rounds - Letters rounds, Numbers rounds, and the Conundrum. The sequence of these rounds frequently differs from country to country; to give one example, the new Australian version is played in nine rounds - Letters, Letters, Numbers, Letters, Letters, Numbers, Letters, Numbers, Conundrum. In the Letters rounds, the player whose turn it is picks how many consonants and vowels will be included in the nine letters drawn; both players then have thirty seconds to find a word, and whoever gets the longer word gets a point for each letter. In the numbers rounds, the player whose turn it is picks how many big numbers (25, 50, 75, and 100) and small numbers (1 through 10) will be included in the six numbers drawn. A three-digit target number is then randomly determined, and the contestants have thirty seconds to add, subtract, multiply, and divide the six numbers drawn to reach the target number. Points are awarded based on how close you are to the target; in Britain and Australia, it's ten points for getting the target exactly, seven points for being within five, and five points for being within ten. The final round is Britain and Australia is the Conundrum, in which a nine-letter anagram is displayed and the first contestant to buzz in with the correct word gets ten points.

That's it. No prizes, no real flash, just a straightforward test of your anagram and arithmetic skills. I personally think it's great - but I also realize it just wouldn't fly in America, or probably even in Britain if it weren't a twenty-eight year institution. I suppose we'll have to see if it works in Australia. I certainly hope it does.

If I must get into the specifics of the Australian version: host Richard Morecroft annoys me a bit, but that could just be because he's explaining all the rules I already know. The set is a carbon copy of the British version - meaning it's tacky, but I won't complain. I will complain about the music, which sounds rather tinny and comes nowhere near the Countdown theme, which is nearly as iconic in Britain as the Jeopardy theme is in America.

I like this show. I like it a lot - but that doesn't change the fact that it's a cheaply produced daytime word game. Remember when American game shows started in daytime and got bigger-budget primetime versions once they were a proven success? Now, of course, it's the other way around, meaning that unless someone can devise a way for Countdown to fit the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? model, it's not coming to America.

I suppose I'll have to live with that.