Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I'm leaving town for Thanksgiving, there's no post this week.

I'll be back!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Versus 1 vs. 100

I might as well get this out there: I never really got into 1 vs. 100. It just seemed to me to be a pretty basic Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? clone (Millionaire with a bunch of other people involved!) and the vaguely worded questions just seemed gimmicky. I realize it's silly to like Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? (Millionaire with easier questions!) and not like 1 vs. 100, but there you go.

What did impress me about 1 vs. 100 (in as much as anything did) was the set - the single player facing these rows and rows of people brought to mind the Imperial Senate from Star Wars. Naturally, that was the first thing Game Show Network dropped for their new five-day-a-week version of the series.

The actual mechanics of the game haven't changed too much. A single player is competing against a group of 100 dubbed "the mob." The mob this time is prerecorded and displayed on a monitor, but does still seem to come in groups - like Bob Saget on NBC, Carrie Ann Inaba reminds everyone at the start of each game that the mob contains five MENSA members and eight professional cheerleaders. A vaguely worded question is asked, and the mob is given a few seconds to lock in their answers. The single player then can answer in his\her own time, and if that answer is correct, any mob members who got the question wrong are eliminated. Every time you eliminate ten mob members, you advance on the money ladder towards $50,000, and are given the option of quitting ("Money...or the mob?") The contestant also has two helps sponsored by Progressive Auto Insurance - Poll The Mob and Trust The Mob. it good? Well, as I said, I wasn't a major fan of 1 vs. 100 when it was on in primetime, so a scaled down version isn't going to change my opinion. They took away the one thing about the show I really liked - the set. Carrie Ann, too, looks to me like she's drank too much coffee, and while they kept the theme music from the primetime version, I always thought said music just sounded generic. If you liked 1 vs. 100 in primetime, by all means, check this out - but that wasn't me.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Charlie O'Donnell 1932 - 2010

One of the game show world's most legendary announcers has died at age 78. If you have no idea who I'm talking about...let's just say you know his voice. If you need another hint: "It's AMERICA'S GAME..."

That's right. Charlie was the announcer on Wheel Of Fortune. He wasn't the only one - at various points Jack Clark and M.G. Kelly have held the position - but I didn't know that until years later. Charlie's been doing this job for as long as I've known what Wheel Of Fortune was. I remember hearing Pat Sajak talk to "Charlie" at a very young age and having no idea who, if anyone, Charlie was.

It turned out he was quite an accomplished personality. If we stay focused on game shows, Charlie announced more than I can possibly name; if we branch out, he began his career on American Bandstand with Dick Clark and has been everything from a DJ to a local news anchor. If you can announce live events ranging from the Beatles to Pope John Paul II, you know you've got talent.
The field of game show announcer is a dying one. The sad fact is, while countless people associate game shows with phrases like "what do we have for him Johnny?" most game shows today don't have an announcer or any need for one. Thankfully, Wheel Of Fortune doesn't seem to be abandoning the idea just yet; on-air tryouts for the job are being given to both Jeopardy announcer Johnny Gilbert (what a surprise) and former The Price Is Right announcer Rich Fields (cue screams of joy from the hardcore The Price Is Right fans). I certainly hope we don't end up with an out of work comedian.

I'll have my review of the Game Show Network version of 1 vs. 100 next week.

Rest in peace Charlie,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

I've Said It Before And I'll Say It Again...

I am not a major fan of The Newlywed Game.

Oh, I realize it's an legendary game show, that Bob Eubanks is iconic, and that the "up the butt" incident probably did happen. The whole dirty laundry thing just isn't for me. As I said in January, it's only a short jump from The Newlywed Game to the horrific Three's A Crowd, the game show that purported to find out who knows a man better - his wife or his secretary?

It was every bit as scary as that makes it sound.

Game Show Network's revival of The Newlywed Game began in 2009 with new host Carnie Wilson. Before you say anything else, you should know that Bob Eubanks is far from the only person to have hosted The Newlywed Game; however, it seems that every time someone else is tried, they eventually have to bring Bob back to save the show...and sure enough, when Carnie left, guess what the rumor that went around was?

No such luck. The new host is Sherri Shepherd. Apart from that, it appears that absolutely nothing has changed from the previous season. Yes, the show is now taped in New York, but the set looks the same to me...and yes, there's a new announcer, but I can't identify him. Sherri...I suppose there are worse choices, but she comes across to me as a bit too loud and obnoxious. It doesn't really matter, however - no host could change my opinion of this show. It's not a bad game. It's not badly produced. It's just not for me. If you like this sort of thing, then watch.

I'll have my obituary of Charlie O'Donnell next week and my review of the Game Show Network version of 1 vs. 100 on November 18.