The first story of 2009 that I will cover
is the surprising news that CBS as of late Wednesday afternoon has
pulled Million Dollar Password from the Sunday night schedule, leaving
two episodes to be broadcast.
"Password" posted a fourth place 1.9 rating among adults 18 49 on
Sunday, even though it won its 8:00/7:00c time period among total
viewers (10.41 million). They are replacing it with an episode of "The
Mentalist" following the AFC Championship game, repeats against the
Super Bowl, the Grammys on February 8, and then Amazing Race takes the
CBS, what are you thinking? This is a dumb, boneheaded move. You have
a nuclear bomb in the burnoff special known as "Game Show in My Head"
stinking up Saturday nights...why not put it there for two episodes?
This is a continuation of a trend that purports to believe that once
you turn 50...the TV goes off. CBS has no one to blame but themselves
on this one.
And the beat goes on in the SAG Strike
News Update: Variety reports that in a message sent to SAG's 120,000
members, national exec director Doug Allen reiterated his oft stated
position that approval of the authorization won't guarantee a strike
on primetime and features. That declaration's been widely disputed
inside and outside SAG with the contention that SAG's leadership won't
compromise at the bargaining table should the authorization receive
the required 75% affirmation from those voting.
"If the SAG National Board is authorized to call a strike, we all hope
a strike will not be necessary," Allen said. "But, if the National
Board decides to call one, it will not 'shut down' the industry. Why
not? Because the national board's decision would have no effect on
work done under the Guild's other contracts."
The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers blasted back at
"The SAG statement suggesting that a SAG strike would not have a
devastating impact on our industry, in the midst of the greatest
economic turmoil since the Great Depression, simply defies reality,"
the AMPTP said. "The 100 day writers strike which resulted in the
writers receiving the same terms that the DGA achieved without a
strike cost our economy $2.5 billion. A SAG strike would cost the
working families who depend on our industry even more at a time when
everyone is already under extreme pressure by the unprecedented
national economic crisis."
Doug, a little message for you. THIS WILL NOT WORK. Don't do this.
Interesting story out of Italy this
week. According to Variety, a feisty consumer advocacy group is
claiming the Italian version of the hugely popular game show Deal or
No Deal ("Affari tuoi" hosted by Max Giusti and on the air since 2003)
is rigged and is taking legal action in an attempt to have it pulled
off the air.
According to prominent Italian consumer organization Codacons, the
local version of "Deal," which regularly reaps ratings on public
broadcaster RAI's flagship RAI 1 station, is marred by irregularities
both in the way game is played and in the contestants' selection
Codacons president Carlo Rienzi is citing "contestants with numbers
written on their hands and winners who are related to people who work
for the show." The org's website also mentions other "curious
occurrences" in the Italian version of the game, such as "too many
contestants breaking out in tears," and "the strange odds that too
often see the biggest prizes unveiled in the game's final stages," it
said. Those prizes are worth, respectively, €250,000 ($343,000) and
€500,000 ($686,000) in Italy.
Endemol and RAI are countering that both the actual "Deal or No Deal"
game process and the contestant selection criteria are "fully
legitimate" and "transparent," and are preparing to file a counter
I have seen the Italian version a few times while I was in Spain two
years ago and nothing looked out of the ordinary to me. And people cry
all the time, folks. I don't know if that is acting or rigging. The
Block Party is going to follow this one.
Next is the American Idol preview
extravaganza–Season 8 edition. American Idol 8 debuts on the 13th of
January, and it is coming off i's best season in a long while. I was
way wrong about Season 7, and when you had the Archuleta vs. Cook
battle it was something to watch. And with the removal of "Idol Gives
Back", the addition of a fourth judge of Kara DioGuardi, and you get
must watch TV.
But for those who do watch, and who haven't watched before this is the
Block Party's Guide to American Idol. This is phase 1 of the three
parts of the American Idol cycle. This is the audition cycle, where
for the next few weeks, we get to see between 40 to 50 audition
candidates per show. Here are some things to look out for:
- Look for people with talent who move on to the Hollywood round
being spotlighted. These could be the people in your top 36 (which
has been decided already or is about to be decided as we speak.) Names
have been leaked, but again we don't spoil here.
- Look for people who THINK they can sing, but can't and try to
argue their way into the next round. Fun to watch and count the
- The third and final group are the attention seekers, and
unfortunately...this is why this part of Idol succeeds as much as it
does. I can't stand it, because it drives me up a tree to see and hear
horrifically bad singers (usually in costume) who are sought out by
the producers so that they can be embarrassed on national TV (and they
usually aren't), or be made into national superstars like No Sex
Allowed Guy, or Creepy Stalker Guy, or "We Are All Brothers" Guy.. I
know people get schadenfreude over this, but my ears bleed. It's all
part of the "everyone is now famous" mantra...but I just think it's
awful. With the death of the Paula Abdul stalker, and the alleged
swing towards talent...let's hope this group is spotlighted less this
Imagine you are a red blooded American
male, and you are heading to your local gentleman's club to look at
the...um...merchandise. You pick one out and you go to the back room
for a private dance...and then you are picked to be on a quiz show!
If you think I am making this one up...it's 100% true. This is the
concept behind "Show Us Your Wits," Playboy TV's new game show. When
unsuspecting guys at a gentlemen's club slip into the back room for a
lap dance, they are surprised by the show's beautiful host, Playboy
Playmate Daphnee Duplaix, who announces that they have been chosen as
contestants on Playboy TV's newest game show.
But with "Show Us Your Wits," the surprises don't stop there. The
contestants soon find themselves struggling to answer embarrassingly
simple trivia questions when faced with the distracting activities of
some of the world's sexiest dancers. In the bonus round, contestants
get the chance to double their winnings, but only if they're able to
ignore the double distraction of two girls at once.
"Viewers may be familiar with the surprise game show contestant
concept from the Discovery Channel's 'Cash Cab,'" said Todd Schwartz,
vice president, programming, Playboy TV. "But on 'Show Us Your Wits,'
the contestants are given a very different ride."
The show debuts January 10th. Playboy has had some interesting game
show concepts over the last year. This may not be original, but if you
combine boobs, a game show and execute it well...this could be fun.
– Condolences go out to the family of Jack Quigley, who created "Words
and Music" who passed away at the age of 79.
– ABC has ordered 6 episodes of "Superstars" for celebrities to run in
– BBC America is running Season 2 of "Last Restaurant Standing"
starting January 27th.
– "Make Me A Supermodel" gets its Season 2 showing on Bravo.
– 19 Entertainment touts the success of "Superstars of Dance".
– Sanjaya Malakar is releasing a book and CD called "Dancing to the
Music in My Head" on January 20th.
– Michele Aguilar lost 110 pounds and won $250,000 on the "Biggest
Loser". She also just gained a fiancee, Micah Whitehead. On the other
side, Shanon Thomas is charged with domestic violence after allegedly
yelling at a basement tenant to turn down the television, then broke
Christmas tree lights and threw flour in his face. She claims the
tenant threw a pan at her and told her to get a pizza. And finally,
General Mills becomes a Biggest Loser sponsor.
– Bob Crowley, the most recent winner of Survivor, gets a day of his
own in South Portland, Maine.
– Drew Carey and Christopher Knight are both attending the Consumer
Electronics Show in Vegas. Carey will be doing CNET Live, while Knight
will be shilling a environmentally friendly standardization of plugs.
– American Idol needs your help in snuffing out a sweepstakes scam.
– Residential Home Health uses Chuck Woolery to host a game show in a
– Twentieth Century Fox President of TV Bob Cook talks syndie "5th
– Top Chef New York continues to make huge ratings growth.
- Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy of Dancing with the Stars
– In a move that shocked...well, no one....MTV cancels "The Money and
The Power" with 50 Cent after 6 episodes.
– American Idol contestant Gina Glocksen gets married with Jordin
Sparks as one of the bridesmaids.
Jason Block would fall into group
#4... Good singers who don't necessarily make for good television.
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org