Thursday, May 31, 2012

Have I Got News For You

Let’s see here…
 • The revival of Figure It Out premieres on Nickelodeon on June 11. I will of course have my review on June 14.

 • I watched the premiere of the new British version of Blockbusters with host Simon Mayo. I’m not reviewing it, but yes, there was a dedication card for Bob Holness.

 • A new show called Let’s Ask America will begin a syndication test run on September 17 in seven markets (Boston, alas, is not one of them). If this goes well, the plan is to launch the show nationally in Fall 2013. There’s no word on the host, or even really what the game is.

 That’s all I’ve got. As for why I picked this post’s title…you’ll find out next week.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Need A Drink

OK, Hip Hop Squares on MTV2…

Nine rappers I had never heard of are introduced by the sort of “hip DJ announcer” shows like this always have, followed by host Peter Rosenberg, who tries to be hip but mostly comes across as a plain old robotic game show host. Every question Peter reads seems to include a sexual double entendre of some kind, from a reference to “ta-tas” (they turn out to be cars) to…I kid you not, this is a question from the premiere of Hip Hop Squares… “True or false. Most American boys between the ages of fifteen and nineteen have not had sex.”

Thank you Jungle Princess.

The game played by the two contestants is pretty much the same thing Hollywood Squares has always been. Contestant picks star, Peter reads question, star gives answer, contestant agrees or disagrees, getting it right gets your mark in the square, three in a row is worth $500. As ever, at the beginning of the second game one of the stars is revealed to the viewers as the Secret Square…no wait, it’s not the Secret Square anymore…it’s the G-Spot.

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use that joke again, by the way.

Hitting the G-Spot…

…and getting the question right is worth a $1,000 bonus that doesn’t count towards your score. When time runs out at the end of the show, each square left on the board is worth $100.
            The contestant with the most money then plays a bonus round in which he\she picks the top, middle, or bottom row of celebrities. Peter reads out a question, and each of those three celebrities gives an answer – two are false, one is true, and picking the correct answer wins $2,500.
            Now, let me make clear that I wasn’t expecting this show to be good. Sure enough, it wasn’t. I was, however, expecting this show to be an absolute train wreck in the vein of the Comedy Central revival of The Gong Show – every other word is bleeped and halfway through one of the women takes off her top.
            It wasn’t that either. It was just…bad. It failed to be hip or funny or edgy or whatever, but it also failed to be a Game Show Garbage – worthy disaster. It was just…bad and forgettable. I was expecting the Game Show Network revival of I’ve Got A Secret; what I got was more akin to…

That probably says it all.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bob Stewart 1920 - 2012

There isn’t a lot I can say about this that hasn’t already been said, but here goes…

One of the most legendary game show producers ever has died at age 91. Bob Stewart began his illustrious career in the 1950s working for the equally legendary Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, to whom he proposed he show titled “The Auctioneer”, inspired by an auction he used to watch during his lunch break. The end result premiered in 1956…The Price Is Right. Yes, this is the man who created The Price Is Right. The current American incarnation was nice enough to give him a dedication card at the end of a recent episode, although the Australian revival was more focused on Ian Turpie.

Creating The Price Is Right would have been enough to make Bob one of the most legendary game show producers ever, but he didn’t stop there, going on to create Password and To Tell The Truth for Goodson-Todman Productions before breaking off to form Bob Stewart Productions, which created such hits as Pyramid and Chain Reaction. Bob was also the father of Sande Stewart, who is a game show producer is his own right.

As someone said on a message board, it is quite sad that, when Dick Clark died, everyone wrote about him as if he had created and produced Pyramid in addition to hosting it. Wrong. That was Bob Stewart. RIP Bob. You earned it.

Next week – Hip Hop Squares!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

You Know What, Ask Me Later

“Puzzlemaster Will Shortz and Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! host Peter Sagal walk into a bar... No, it's not the start of a joke. It's the essence of Ask Me Another” – From the “About The Show” page on Ask Me Another’s official website.

Honestly, I can’t put it a whole lot better than that.

Ophira Eisenberg is joined by puzzle writers Art Chung and Noah Tarnow and house musician Jonathan Coulton for a banter-heavy public radio puzzle show. The premiere featured four games, each played by two new contestants, with the winner of each game advancing to the final round. The games aren’t too far removed from what the aforementioned Will Shortz would use for his Sunday Puzzle on Weekend Edition – things like “guess the TV show from a list of its episode titles” or “guess the breakfast cereal from a haiku about it”. Jonathan plays a song or two over the course of the show, and a celebrity guest is brought in for a round almost identical to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’s Not My Job, except rather than asking questions about a topic the celebrity supposedly knows nothing about, they ask questions about a topic the celebrity supposedly knows everything about. In the premiere, John Hodgman was asked about doomsday predictions. He apparently knows a lot about those.

At the end of the show, the winners of the different games play one final round, after which the day’s winner gets the sort of “fabulous grand prize” you’d expect of NPR – in the premiere, the winner got a Skype call with John Hodgman so the guy who plays the PC in the Apple commercials can settle a dispute for you.

Of course there isn’t really anything wrong with this – the biggest complaint I can make is that Ophira came across as pretty annoying the first time I heard the premiere (I listened to the same episode again a few days later and actually liked her a lot more that time). I was anticipating this one for a long time, however, and somehow I’m disappointed. Maybe I just need to stop writing about radio for a while – but I’m still desperately trying to figure out when the Australian TV version of The Unbelievable Truth premieres. I feel really, really silly typing that.

Speaking of Australia – I watched the premiere of the new Australian version of The Price Is Right. I’m not reviewing it, but I will report that yes, there was a nice little tribute to Ian Turpie.

Speaking of The Price Is Right – I’ll have my obituary of Bob Stewart next week.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The 24 Hour Game Show Marathon Was Really, Really Entertaining

I also missed my chance to be on it.

I listened for several hours, but lost track of the Facebook page. Upon checking said Facebook page, I found they had announced my name and asked for my Skype name – an hour earlier. After an hour or two of sitting by my computer with Skype running, I gave up and got some sleep. I also donated another $20.

I’ll review NPR’s Ask Me Another next week.

I feel terrible writing such a minimal post, but there’s no news and I’m getting tired.