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Afterthought - January 30

The Block Party is full effect. This week, I get to review “Game Show Hall of Fame”–“Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” which premiered on January 21 on the Game Show Network.

And before I begin, a bit of full disclosure. The producers of the show interviewed me last June. And my footage did not make the final broadcast.

The show did have a lot of promise. Honoring a show which was part of the first wave of the 21st century game show renaissance was a noble idea.

And the show did have a lot of positives to it. Having the show devote about 3/4 of the program to the daytime version was a smart move. Seeing Meredith on there, and having contests like John Castellano and others sing it’s praises was a smart move.

But there were a ton of glaring omissions. If you are focusing primarily on the daytime version, how can you NOT have at least a mention of Nancy Christy, the first female game show millionaire EVER? And if you are mentioning the ABC Show, how can you not put in footage of Kevin Olmstead, the man who won $2.18 million dollars on the show? Where were Ed Toutant, Michael Shutterly, Dan Blonsky, Joe Trela and others. Where was SUPER Millionaire? I understand this was a 42 minute program, but it felt like the primetime show, after Doug Van Gundy and John Carpenter, was treated as an afterthought.

Also, the audition process which was shown was NOT instituted at the beginning of the daytime shows’ run. It was instituted at the behest of ABC during the middle of the primetime run, after pressure groups such as the NAACP were upset that the phone game was not giving enough of a “diverse” contestant pool. This was a small reason why the program lost the momentum it had.

When they quoted Michael Davies as saying, “ABC produced 350+ episodes of prime time episodes” and then they jumped to the daytime version, I knew something was up.

So to GSN, I say...good effort, but the execution was not up to the par of the documentaries it has been producing.

And that's my final answer.

So let me follow my answer with this question...what are these people thinking?

We are into the 6th season now of American Idol. And of the (literally hundreds of thousands) we probably get to see between 20 and 30 an episode–give or take.

And I have figured out that the American Idol auditioner falls into one of the following groups:

1. A legitimately serious contender who is going there to win and impress the judges with their talent. Usually a video package is produced for them and we will get to see them in the top 24.

2. A legitimately serious contender who THINKS they are going to win, but will not go on due to lack of talent. Usually this contender is someone who begs the judges to hear them “one more time” or goes through the sob story routine about their “community” pulling for them or “the world will be worse without them” or some such nonsense. They get slapped into reality by the judges and are sent packing.

3. A legitimately non-serious contender who KNOWS they are going to win, and are so bad we can tell (and so can the judges) that they have as much chance as I do winning a UFC fight of going on. Then these people have the attitude that “the judges are wrong” or some such nonsense. We have seen on multiple occasions contestants being thrown out by security. And this is nothing new. On American Idol Rewind this past week, a contestant from SEASON 1 questioned Paula’s credibility during Hollywood week saying, “Would you have made it past this round if you were auditioning?” The question, then and now, is moot. You are up there, not them.

4. Lastly, we have the most dangerous group of them all–the attention seekers. These people a) know they aren’t going to win–or are so delusional that their lack of talent will make them a winner or b) will dress in a silly costume. Note to all the costume wearers–has any one actually made it to Hollywood in a costume? No.

So what happens when you spotlight some people such as Ian Bernardo and others? You get more of them. Now it is not all the fault of the people who audition. Fox knows that there are people who get a sick thrill out of watching these no talents make an ass of themselves on National TV. The ratings bear it out and when you have 35 million people are doing something right. And this is the first part of the holy trinity of Idol. You have the audition phase, the top 24 phase and then the top 12 phase.

On Wednesday night, I was on the phone with a few people and I was asked the question about the no-talents.... “do they know they suck?” Some do, some don’t and some don’t give a damn. I have a message that I have been preaching since day 1. We as a society have coddled too many people and have been afraid to tell people they are wrong or bad or not good enough because their self-esteem will be damaged. I have news for you. LIFE ISN’T FAIR. The world isn’t going to give you anything you want, just because you want it. I am sick and tired of this namby-pamby self-esteem gunk. To build yourself into a stronger person, you have to broken down once in a while. And these 16-27 year old wannabes not only deserve, but need a self-esteem kick in the behind. They will be better off for it in the end.

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