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Ins & Outs, Ups & Downs
February 2

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We start this week with the ins and outs of the syndicated game show world. We had a lot of news and announcements happening around the time of the NATPE (National Association of Television Program Executives) convention.


The biggest announcement out of NATPE was that we will have a new syndicated game show coming in Fall 2010. Twentieth Television will bring a new version of "Don't Forget The Lyrics" back to TV with Sugar Ray lead singer and former Extra correspondent Mark McGrath as host. And in a brilliant move, they are copying the formula that made "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" a ratings and financial success. It will be broadcast on syndicated TV, MyNetwork TV, and VH-1 in same day reruns.


Speaking of "5th Grader", it was announced that it will be coming back for a 2nd season. This was a no brainer decision for Twentieth Television as it was the one of the highest rated shows for both CMT and MyNetwork TV. Combine that with decent syndication ratings, and the renewal was a given.


"Family Feud" comes back for a 12th Season next fall. But we have a new host in comedian/radio host/sitcom star/author Steve Harvey.  O'Hurley said this in a statement: "The time has come to try something new, and while I have prized my time on Family Feud, I've decided to set a course for new adventures. This includes immediately heading into rehearsals for the U.S. touring show of Chicago, launching my new company Energy-Inc. which focuses on renewable energy solutions, debuting an original golf apparel line in the J. Peterman catalog, and visiting our troops overseas." Could this be a case of O'Hurley leaving a sinking ship? I am not sure, but Feud will not be the same without John. He was a class act and brought a sense of presence rarely seen on game shows. He will be missed.


Lastly, we must speak of Deal or No Deal. As of this writing, there is no official word of it's cancellation. But with "Lyrics" replacing "Deal" on MyNetwork TV, and Howie Mandel going to "America's Got Talent", it doesn't look good for a third syndicated season of "Deal."

I am a big fan of smart kids doing smart things, so this is going to be fun if you are going to be in Massachusetts. A new weekly show called "High School Quiz Show" will debut on March 22, 2010. According to the press release, twenty schools from eastern Massachusetts have been chosen to compete on High School Quiz Show, the competition will culminate in a statewide playoff for the championship, as four teams from WGBY’s academic game program, As Schools Match Wits, arrive in WGBH’s studios to compete with High School Quiz Show’s four top qualifying teams.


The competing high school teams and their enthusiastic supporters will gather at WGBH’s Brighton studios over the course of three days – January 30, 31 and February 6 – for 10 qualifying rounds, as a live studio audience of families, fellow students, and community members cheer on their hometown teams from the sidelines.


On May 1 and 2, the top four qualifying teams from High School Quiz Show will meet at WGBH to tape the state quarterfinals, semifinals and championship with four teams from As Schools Match Wits, the long-running series produced and broadcast by sister station WGBY in association with Westfield State College. The state finals and championship will be broadcast in June on WGBH and WGBY.

Quiz questions for the teams will correlate with the core Massachusetts high school curriculum, including literature, history, and science, together with current events, sports, entertainment, and general knowledge. High School Quiz Show is endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Teams for High School Quiz Show’s 2010 season: Amesbury High School; Boston Collegiate Charter School, Dorchester; Brighton High School; The Bromfield School, Harvard; Dighton–Rehoboth Regional High School; Everett High School; Framingham High School; Hingham High School; Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School; Lynn English High School; Methuen High School; Minuteman Career & Technical High School, Lexington; Nipmuc Regional High School, Upton; Oakmont Regional High School, Ashburnham; Randolph High School; Revere High School; Quincy High School; Shepherd Hill Regional High School, Dudley; Sturgis Charter Public School, Hyannis; and University Park Campus School, Worcester.

Two alternate schools were chosen as potential substitutes: Acton-Boxborough Regional High School; and Wachusett Regional High School.


I am a huge fan of this type of quiz format, and I can't wait to check this out.


Block Party Quick Hits Time:


--Lots of condolences to pass around. Frances Buss Buch, a pioneer of network TV and the first female TV director, has died. She was 92. She appeared on TV's first game show, "The CBS Television Quiz," as a scorekeeper. Jennifer Lyon, a contestant on Survivor Palau, has died at age 37. Lyon finished in fourth place in the reality competition's tenth season, which aired in 2005.  We have also lost James Mitchell, Pernell Roberts and Jean Simmons.


--Jellyvision sues AFLAC for copyright infringement as "You Don't Know Quack" allegedly rips off "You Don't Know Jack".


--Adam Lambert auctions off his underwear and a framed picture for Haiti relief.


--Omarion replaces Shane Starks on America's Best Dance Crew which debuted on January 28.


--Australia's version of the Biggest Loser had to edit a contestant out. Deryck James Ward, a 26 yr old communications specialist was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography and one count of using the Internet to access images of child exploitation. He competed on the show with his sister. Fremantle edited them out as if he and his sister were not on the show. Good for Fremantle.


--Matt Grant from the Bachelor has a new show called Pimp My Bride.


--Ant and Dec would do "X Factor" if asked.


--CBS renews Survivor and the Amazing Race. And the cast for Amazing Race 16 is revealed in advance of the February 14 premiere date.


--RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked will pair with "RuPaul's Drag Race" as of February 1 on Logo.


--Ultimate Recipe Showdown returns for Season 3 on the Food Network on March 14. And as predicted, Cablevision and Scripps make a deal so that their programs get back on the air as of January 21.


--Television Business International has made a list of the top 10 shows around the world. Countries included in the survey were: UK, US, Australia, Belgium (North and South separately), Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. According to the report, "Rankings were based on the number of times a show appeared in a country’s top-rated programs with shows under five minutes and duplicates excluded."


Here's the list.


1. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? / ITV (UK) / 1998 / Sony Pictures Television
2. Deal or No Deal / Nederland 2 / 2002 / Endemol
3. Wipeout / ABC (US) / 2008 / Endemol
4. Wheel of Fortune / NBC (US) / 1975 / CBS Studios International
5. Family Feud / ABC (US) / 1976 / FremantleMedia
6. Don't Forget The Lyrics / Fox (US) / 2007 / RDF Rights
7. Hole in the Wall / Fox (US) / 2008 / FremantleMedia
8. Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? / Fox (US) / 2007 / Shine Int'l./Mark Burnett Prods.
9. Jeopardy! / NBC (US) / 1964 / CBS Studios International
10. I Love My Country / RTL4 (Netherlands) / 2008 / Talpa Media


--Sometimes you have to keep your big mouth shut. According to reports, Michael Lynche (a.k.a. Big Mike) was reportedly told to pack his bags after his father revealed to his local Florida paper, The St. Petersburg Times, that Michael had made the top 24 of American Idol. That is a violation of Idol rules requiring the singers and their families to keep the Hollywood week results quiet until they’re broadcast. Oops.


--Betty White receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SAG Awards.


-- The on again/off again show The Cube is back on. It is taping a US Pilot on February 4th in England.


--Season 4 of Solitary premieres on January 29th on Fox Reality before the channel shuts on March 31st.


--ABC has scheduled "The Bachelor: Jason and Molly's Wedding", a two-hour special that will document the marriage of thirteenth-season lovebirds Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, for broadcast on Monday, March 8.


--Nickelodeon is casting for Season 2 of BrainSurge. Go to http://www.nickcontestants.com/BS_Casting/Home.html for instructions on how to do it.


--Let’s Make A Deal is finishing its first season in Los Angeles starting March 18th for five weeks.


-- We know now the project David Hasselhoff alluded to in his statement when he left AGT. He is doing a 10 episode docu-reality series for A&E, which is going to focus on his life and how is he is trying to help his daughters get into the recording industry.


--If you saw the Super Chef Battle on January 3rd on the Food Network, the vegetables that were used in the battle were not from the White House Garden. They were stunt vegetables from the NYC area.


--"Perfect 10" is now named "Minute to Win It" and will debut in March on NBC.


--"Sunday Best", the gospel themed reality competition show returns for Season 3 on BET on April 4.


--Brooke Burke will host Season 3 of "She's Got The Look" on TV Land.

The last time Jason Block went up, down, in, and out was at the Trop in Atlantic City. E-mail him at jiblock@yahoo.com.