Thursday, October 11, 2012


I just watched the premiere of the Australian TV version of The Unbelievable Truth...THEY GOT IT RIGHT!

After the BBC America version of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and the BBC2 version of Just A Minute both amounted to "point a camera at a taping of the radio show", I wasn't expecting much from the Channel 7 version of The Unbelievable Truth...but they did it!

The format, in and of itself, is pretty much what we're used to. Craig Reucassel plays host to four panelists. Each of those panelists takes a turn at giving a lecture of "information" on a certain topic; said lecture is completely made-up save for a small number of true facts (it's five on British radio, but here they don't give any specific number). At any point in the lecture, one of the other three panelists can buzz in if they think what they just heard is true; they get a point if they are correct and lose a point if they are wrong. After each panelist finishes his\her lecture, he\she gets a point for every truth that went unnoticed. At the end of the show, the panelist with the most points wins.

So...if the format is almost exactly the same, what makes this so great? Easy - they actually came up with a visual element to justify the show being on TV! During their lectures, the panelists use little props, have video clips to illustrate their "points", and so on. It really adds a whole new layer to the humor, of which there is plenty - Craig does a great job. That Channel 7 managed to make this work is truly unbelievable...and that's the unbelievable truth (sorry, couldn't resist).

As for The News Quiz USA...what is there to say? It's The News Quiz. Andy Borowitz plays host to four panelists. He asks questions about news stories, and those questions start the panelists off on several minutes of discussion\ranting about that story. It was very funny - I actually like Andy a lot more then I did Lewis Black - but it's probably never going to be anything more then an occasional special on BBC Radio 4 and that's really no great loss.

Finally, here's the big news in my life right now - I'm going to the live touring stage show of The Price Is Right on Tuesday and will report back on Thursday. I'll probably attempt to track down the new Canadian version of Match Game the week after that.


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