Thursday, April 28, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

OK, that was a bad joke, but The News Quiz Extra premiered on April 22 on the newly rebranded BBC Radio 4 Extra. If you read my review of The Now Show Extra...yeah, it's extended in pretty much the same way, but just in case you didn't...

First things first - both The News Quiz and The News Quiz Extra air on Fridays, but if you come in expecting an extended version of that night's News Quiz, you're out of luck. The News Quiz Extra is an extended version of the previous week's News Quiz, and is not available as a podcast (the unextended News Quiz is). Second - the extended material is completely seperate from the show that aired on BBC Radio 4. We get the half hour main show (complete with credits), then Sandi Toksvig comes back on and introduces fifteen minutes of extra material. If you listened to The Now Show Extra, you know pretty much what you're getting - clips from past shows, material from the taping that didn't make the final unextended show, backstage interviews (and like The Now Show Extra, The News Quiz Extra even has its own separate credits). The end. Nothing earth-shattering, but as a big fan of The News Quiz, I'm not complaining about getting more of it.

I am complaining about one thing, however - in case you're from another planet, tomorrow (April 29) is the royal wedding, and if there's one thing I'm looking forward to about that, it's hearing what The News Quiz and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me have to say about it. Unfortunately, both The News Quiz and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me tape on Thursdays - meaning when they tape this weekend's show, the royal wedding won't have happened yet!

Guess I'll have to wait...


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Labor Day Is Going To Be Huge...

...Labor Day 2012, that is.

I say this in response to the changing landscape of daytime television - a turnover perfectly summed up by the fact that ABC has just announced the cancellation of two legendary soap operas, All My Children (which will end in September after forty-one years) and One Life To Live (which will end in January 2012 after forty-four years). This leaves just four soap operas - General Hospital (on ABC), Days Of Our Lives (on NBC), The Young And The Restless (on CBS), and The Bold And The Beautiful (also on CBS).

Now, with those two shows gone, surely we'll get a new daytime game show in their place, right? Wrong. While the fates of game shows and soap operas may be intertwined, so are the fates of soap operas and trashy talk shows. These two shows will be replaced by two The View clones with two of the most appalling titles you could possibly imagine - The Chew (replacing All My Children) and The Revolution (replacing One Life To Live). Yes, this is from the network that already has The View.

Now, I don't give either of these shows very long to live, which is why I'm predicting a lot of new five-day-a-week game shows for September 2012. Even if The Chew and The Revolution do survive, we'll probably lose another soap opera and some of the many talk shows being launched as a response to the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show (in September, after twenty-five years). So I think Labor Day 2012 is going to be huge - but that's Labor Day 2012, and we're not even at Labor Day 2011. What will we get on Labor Day 2011? The end of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? and Don't Forget The Lyrics, and probably a few new kids game shows. Oh joy.

While we're on the topic of daytime game shows - former The Weakest Link host George Gray has been named the new permanent announcer on The Price Is Right. As Drew Carey's contract runs out in 2012, it's easy to speculate that George is being groomed to replace him, but who knows.

Only four months, two weeks, and one day until Labor Day,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Am Not Watching Love Triangle

I did watch Improv-A-Ganza, however...

Taped in Las Vegas in front of an audience that appears to be mostly drunk, the show features Drew Carey and a bunch of his comedian comrades, most of whom were on Whose Line Is It Anyway? at one point or another. Indeed, if you've seen Whose Line, you know pretty much what you're getting here. If anything differentiates this show from Whose Line, it's the fact that this show is even less of a game show than Whose Line was. There's no attempt at a scoring system, a winner, or even really a host - while the announcer (and if that was Rich Fields, he sounds pretty different than I remember) introduces Drew as the host, he spends most of his time just playing the games like everyone else. Indeed, the show really just seems to consist of these guys walking on stage and playing whatever improv game they feel like playing. Thankfully, they're funny. Could Game Show Network aim higher than this? Sure - but let's be happy with what we get. This show is funny, and that's more than I can say for a lot of the shows I've reviewed here.

Now, while Improv-A-Ganza may be much less of a game show then Whose Line was, it still qualifies for the label game show much more than BBC Radio 4's topical comedy show The Now Show, which consists mostly of stand-up comedy. Hosted by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, it's a half-hour show on BBC Radio 4, but a 45-minute extended version - The Now Show Extra - premiered on April 8 on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Forgive me for going off-topic, but as BBC Radio 4 Extra is premiering the similarly extended The News Quiz Extra on April 22, I'm going to go ahead and review both.

The first thing you need to know - both The Now Show and The Now Show Extra air on Fridays, but if you come in expecting an extended version of that night's Now Show, you're out of luck. The Now Show Extra is an extended version of the previous week's Now Show. This explains why, even though The News Quiz starts its new season tomorrow (April 15), The News Quiz Extra isn't premiering until April 22.

The second thing you need to know - the extended material is completely separate from the show that aired on BBC Radio 4. We get the main show first (complete with the credits), then Steve and Hugh come back on and introduce the host of The Now Show Extra, Laura Shavin. Laura then goes on to introduce various bits and pieces of Now Show material - routines from years past, routines from the taping that didn't make the final unextended show, backstage interviews. The Now Show Extra even has its own credits. It's nothing earth-shattering, but as a big fan of The Now Show, I'm not complaining too much. My only real complaint - The Now Show Extra is not available as a podcast, whereas the unextended Now Show is.

Bummer, huh?


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Like I Said, Poor Chuck Woolery...

A couple pieces of news this week. First, the one that gives this post its title: Lingo will return to Game Show Network on June 6 with new host Bill Engvall.

I'm taking this with a grain of salt until I see the show, but the supposed leaked rules have been posted on BuzzerBlog. According to that report, the show now keeps score in money, not points, with words worth $100 in round one, $200 in round two, and $500 in round three. In something that makes me scream "Are contestants now that stupid?", Bill gives a clue to each word before it is played. The winning team plays a bonus round for $100,000 - quite a large amount for Game Show Network, and certainly for what's supposed to be a light word game. Like I said, though, I'm taking this with a grain of salt until June 6.

Moving from Lingo to quite a different sort of show, on June 16 ABC will premiere a Wipeout clone with title: 101 Ways To Leave A Game Show. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much more to it - contestants play a quiz game, and the losers are ejected from the set in some bizarre and messy manner. The host is Jeff Sutphen off Brain Surge. I have to say, I like Wipeout just fine, but these clones are stretching the premise a bit...

Finally, on the other side of the Atlantic, BBC Radio 7 has been rebranded BBC Radio 4 Extra, and coming with the rebranding is The News Quiz Extra, a 45-minute extended version of the long-running topical comedy panel game show hosted by Sandi Toksvig (which is a half-hour show in its unextended form). It's not premiering for another few weeks, but April 8 brings the premiere of The Now Show Extra, a similarly extended version of BBC Radio 4's topical comedy show hosted by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis. It's not a game show, but I'll probably review it anyway, both as a way of predicting what The News Quiz Extra will be like and just because I like The Now Show a lot.

Between that and Improv-A-Ganza, the hardcore game show purists aren't going to like me much next week...