Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'll Start With The Only Piece Of News

NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me will be doing a cinecast (live broadcast into movie theaters) of one of its tapings on May 2, 2013. It's kind of sad that I've already seen Wait Wait Don't Tell Me live on tour three times at the Wang Theater in Boston, I watched the TV special on BBC America, and I'm still considering buying tickets to this five months in advance.

Now, as this is my last post of 2012, I thought I'd end the year by paying tribute to some of the game show greats we lost this year (and there are plenty of them). This is by no means an exhaustive list - I'm not about to list everyone who died this year who once appeared on Hollywood Squares, and there are probably a few more prominent game show figures I overlooked. Still, here we go, in alphabetical order:

Jacques Antoine
 Legendary producer of game shows in France who created Fort Boyard and Treasure Hunt, among countless others.
Max Bygraves 
Veteran performer who hosted Family Fortunes (the British version of Family Feud) for a few years
Dick Clark
Flat-out showbiz icon - hosting Pyramid was probably one of his lesser achievements!
Denise Darcel
Host of a few game shows in the early years of television.
Richard Dawson
Icon of American game shows, most famous as the original host of Family Feud.
Bob Holness
Icon of British game shows, most famous as the original host of Blockbusters.
Ruth Horowitz
Became the Ken Jennings of the 1960s with a long string of wins on Concentration.
Rich Jeffries
Announcer on a few game shows in the 1980s.
Kenneth Kendall
Original host of Treasure Hunt in Britain.
Dave Maynard
Hosted a local talent show in the Boston area for decades.
Jim Packard
Announcer on Whad'ya Know for decades.
Jim Paratore
Veteran TV producer who created Let's Ask America.
Bill Rafferty
Host of a few game shows in the 1980s.
Bob Stewart
Legendary producer of game shows in America who created The Price Is Right, Password, and Pyramid, among countless others; as if that wasn't enough, his son, Sande Stewart, is a game show producer in his own right.
Ian Turpie
Icon of Australian game shows, most famous for hosting The Price Is Right for years.
Mike Wallace
Hosted a few game shows in the early years of television, but later became much more famous as a newscaster.

RIP to all.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

More Of The Same

OK, the new hour-long version of Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge...

I wasn't a massive fan of the half-hour version, but still got pretty darn excited about the new expanded season. Who knows, maybe the extra time would enable them to fit in all the cool characters and great music that other versions of Fort Boyard around the world supposedly have. If nothing else, they'd be able to fit more games in.

Well, I was right about that part. They did fit more games in. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only change they made.

We have the same six teams of four kids whose team names will make any American game show fan  think of Legends Of The Hidden Temple. Each episode features two of these teams, who attempt to earn keys by participating in ten challenges (hey, that's double the half-hour version!).  Four of these challenges pit one team against the other, with the winning team earning a key, while each team also gets three challenges they play by themselves against the clock and get a key if they succeed. At the end of the show, the keys are converted into time grabbing coins in the Treasure Room - each team starts with three minutes and is deducted ten seconds for every key they fail to win. The coins grabbed are then converted...somehow...into a numerical result, and the two teams that score the most points over the season will compete in the grand final.

Now, I said it on October 20, 2011 and I'll say it again: these challenges are amazing. The amazing...kind of ends there. Yes, the Fort provides a backdrop ten times better then the same challenges would have in a studio, but, well, where are all those cool characters and all that great music? The half-hour version's Geno Segers was memorable only for his booming voice, but even that puts him above the completely forgettable Andy Akinwolere; while Laura Hamilton gets a lot more screen time here then she did in the half-hour version, said extra screen time basically reveals her to be completely forgettable as well.

I am, of course, nitpicking. This is far from a bad show and my eight-year-old self would have found it as epic as it is trying to be. For the sake of said eight-year-old self, I will hold out hope that it will reach American TV on Disney XD or any other channel. Let's not kid ourselves, though. America is probably lucky it got as much Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge as it did.

I hope there's some news next week.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'll Take It

OK, Take It All...

Howie Mandel, who I still think is a darn good host, welcomes five contestants for...well, let's be honest, it's a plain old Yankee Swap. As a result, I'm not going to go into tremendous detail; suffice to say that the first round contains five prizes, and after the Yankee Swap, the player holding the prize worth the least amount of money is eliminated. The second round has four prizes, after which the player holding the prize worth the least amount of money is eliminated; the third round has three prizes, after which the final two players advance to the inevitable Prisoner's Dilemma endgame (see, for example, Friend Or Foe).

That's...kind of it.

It's better than it sounds, is the good news. It's not great, but I was never expecting it to be. It was going to be decent or terrible. It was the former, and if this one sticks, then great - but I have no reason to expect that it will.

I'll probably attempt to track down the new season of Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge (which premiered a few days ago on CITV in Britain) next week.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Still No News

Given that I'm leaving town soon anyway and have to pack, it doesn't seem worth it to come up with something to write about right now.

Believe me, I feel terrible not even being able to post once a week, but at least I'll have something to write about next week - Take It All premieres on NBC Monday.