Dancing with the Easter
This week starts off with
something that the fans of "The Price is Right" have been waiting for,
and are going to get their wish. With the official behind the scenes
book "Come On Down" by Stan Blits released last year, fans wanted to
hear Mr. Barker's side of the story. Well, in 2009, Center Street
Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group will publish Bob Barker's
autobiography which will co-written by Digby Diehl. Diehl founded the LA
Times Book Review back in 1969.
According to the
announcement from Center Street, Mr. Barker's book will include "stories
and anecdotes from his personal and public life, including his
childhood, marriage, early career and experiences" in television.
I think this book is going to be a big success when it comes out next
year. Not only was Barker a pioneer in television with "Truth or
Consequences", his tireless work in the realm of animal rights was
started way before it was cool to do so. There have been many documented
examples...such as his refusal to have fur coats on his shows, his
refusal to have General Motors cars on his shows until animal testing
was stopped, and his donation of millions of dollars of his own money
for animal rights programs on college campuses around the country.
Will it be a warts and all
story...probably not. But for Barker fans, and fans of Price...this book
will definitely be on people's must read list.
Some more Price news over the last week or two...we had the 2nd Million
Dollar Winner, which redeemed show #3, which was a big fat skunk. But we
had Michael who hits the Million with a $489 difference on his showcase.
But this past week's Million Dollar Spectacular showcase had, in my
opinion a bigger moment.
In "The World's Best Restaurant" Showcase...we had the first Foreign Car
offered in a showcase since 1993. A Jaguar XK was offered, and won. Even
though Ford does own Jaguar (as of now), you don't think American, you
think British Luxury. Very hot stuff.
And this past week, we saw the worst player in Plinko. Not only did she
not know how to play, she only got one of the four possible chips (after
completely mucking up the rules in the first part of the game) and she
won a total of $0. Unreal.
Someone who doesn't quite
get it is Julie Chen's husband...Les Moonves. He is the head of CBS and
at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit in New York on Thursday, March
13th, he called American Idol "a monster" and urged somebody to "kill
"While we're in repeats, 'American Idol' continues to be a monster",
said Moonves. "It's a phenomenon. If somebody would kill that
show, I'd really appreciate it. It's tough to compete with it."
Uh, Les. The reason why you can't kill the show is thus: a) it's a great
show b) you guys screwed up and didn't want to pay the writers quickly
enough in the writer's strike and c) why didn't you put on, say, quality
reality shows instead of, say, "Big Brother 9" with bigots, racists,
people who call mentally handicapped people 'retards' and other people
who we don't care about.
Les, methinks thou doth protest too much.
And they are going to bring back Big Brother 10 in the summer...egads!
A more dire prediction came
out of the same Media Summit by credit analyst Heather Goodchild of
Standard & Poors. She believes that an actors strike (remember I told
you about this) is about a 40-50% possibility. The contract with the
Screen Actors Guild expires June 30. She suggested that while news, talk
shows and game shows would not be affected, another work stoppage would
erode ratings further because people would go to YouTube virtual worlds
and other digital entertainment options. She also said that the
producers don't have much new programming in stock.
Hmmm...don't you think that would be an impetus for the producers to
start negotiations now...around 90 days away from another potential
shutdown? But then again, that would be good for our neck of the woods,
because there would be a lot more new game show/reality shows down the
pike...as long as they are good ones.
Just something to be aware
of come summer time, folks.
If Sony Pictures
Entertainment wasn't powerful enough with it's one-two punch of "Wheel
of Fortune" and Jeopardy!" and its recent victory in the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD
war, they now can add "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" to its roster.
2waytraffic has agreed to a $2.19 a share cash offer from Sony Pictures
to be acquired by them. That puts the value of the company at about
$276.9 Million. The four founders of 2waytraffic, who were former
members of Dutch entertainment giant Endemol, get a nice chunk of change
if they stay on until 2011, they get $46.4M extra.
But they struggled last year, as they were caught up in the UK and
European phone-participation quiz scandals.
Even with that, that is not bad for a company that bought the
Millionaire format for $200M in December 2006. And this is a huge
feather in Sony's cap.
Speaking of Wheel, they are
co-promoting with QVC...and yeah it's going to be fun...just like the
People Magazine co-promotion last fall.
QVC was part of the game show as the sponsor of QVC Shopping Spree!
Week, which began March 17. The channel was featured on the wheel with a
branded wedge. The contestant who landed on the wedge, and solved the
puzzle, earned a $5000 QVC shopping spree.
Also, contestants had a shot at a QVC-provided prize in the bonus round.
If a contestant solved the bonus puzzle, the contestant received every
item sold on QVC the day of the contestant's birthday. That bonus prize
was worth up to $10,000 in jewelry, beauty products, electronics and
other merchandise....pretty cool.
"We jumped at the chance to
work with QVC. We know that many of our viewers shop on QVC and this
gives us a unique opportunity where two brands have come together to
reach their fan base," said Wheel of Fortune executive producer Harry
Friedman in a prepared statement.
The week featured
shopping-themed puzzles and pre-recorded spots by QVC celebrity vendors
such as Marie Osmond, Carson Kressley and Joan Rivers.
Harry Friedman knows how to
tweak and co-promote with the best of them...this was fun as hell.
Can we realize now that we
have reached the bottom of the barrel with some of the concepts coming
down the pike?...Check some of these wonderful reality shows that will
grace our screens soon?
- ABC is going abroad for its next reality series as the network has
ordered a new unscripted show from the producer of "Hell's Kitchen" in
which Americans go to a foreign country to compete in challenges. The
project has been circulating the creative community under the title "Big
in Japan." The series will mix reality and game show elements as
contestants adapt to another culture while competing.
- NBC is cooking up a new entry in the increasingly crowded food-based
reality show genre. The Peacock has greenlit "The Chopping Block," a
sort of "Hell's Kitchen" meets "Top Chef" that will star noted British
chef Marco Pierre White. Last fall, White replaced Gordon Ramsay as the
host of the Brit version of the Fox hit.
"Chopping Block," is to be produced by David Barbour and Julian Cress,
will feature would-be chefs competing as couples in a bid to win their
- CBS will bow its previously announced celeb talent competition "Secret
Talents of the Stars" on April 8, announcing the premiere via a series
of promos it ran during its Monday night comedies.
Ads called the show a new "CBS special," though the net actually plans
to run seven episodes of the project, which involves contestants
squaring off against each other in a competition. Those slated to
participate include George Takei (country singing), Clint Black (standup
comedy) and Danny Bonaduce (circus acts). Skein will inherit the 10 p.m.
Tuesday slot currently occupied by "Jericho," which wraps its season
next week. Robyn Nash and Don Weiner are executive producers.
- CW -- A team including Spider-Man writer/director Sam Raimi are making
a horror-themed reality series. Knock-out competition 13 will be based
around a series of film-styled frightening challenges. The show,
previously developed under the title House of Horrors, is now going into
production for The CW.
- Comedy Central is looking for "America's Biggest Idiot." Each week,
three guys compete against one another in a series of off-the- wall
physical challenges to see who is willing to take the most punishment.
Hosted by Daniel Tosh. Created and executive produced by Jim Biederman,
Vito Viscomi and Paul Greenberg.
After all of that...all I have to say is...I am so glad the writer's
strike is over...aren't you?
One of my favorite shows is
coming to GSN...and they are promoting it in a pretty cool way.
WPT Enterprises, and its new network partner, GSN, are collaborating on
an innovative business model where networks and production companies
team up to reach fans together. The two companies - who signed a deal in
2007 to air Season VI of the World Poker Tour on GSN, premiering Monday,
March 24 at 9pm ET/PT - have taken their partnership online, aligning
their business objectives and consumer offering with the launch of a new
The new site provides a built-in call to action for viewers to find the
World Poker Tour show on GSN while featuring both brands on one website.
www.WPTonGSN.com delivers new information each week tailored to the
final table airing on GSN, taking fans beyond the 2-hour show to
experience with behind-the-scenes footage, player history, archived WPT
Live Updates, statistics, as well as unique GSN content offerings.
The site also features exclusive previews, show clips, a GSN channel
locater, airdate schedules, episode guides, announcer biographies -
including new hostess, Layla Kayleigh - and complete Season VI WPT
details. Additional content and features will become available as the
WPT season premieres on GSN.
"WPTonGSN.com is the one-stop shop for everything poker fans would want
in a website," said Jamie Roberts, Senior Vice President of Programming,
GSN. "It provides exclusive content, features, information and much more
about the new season of the WPT as it premieres on its new network home,
As someone who ABSOLUTELY LOVES the World Poker Tour...this is a must
bookmark on my computer.
This next story gives the
interactive genre a bit of hope.
PlayCafe is expanding its live game show offerings, raising funding,
opening a studio in Los Angeles, and has hired a producer with
experience at Endemol and CBS.
PlayCafe produces an interactive weeknight online game show, with a live
host reading questions, chatting with players, and commenting on the
game. It is expanding from two to four hours next week, running 5 to 9
p.m. PT. The company, which is also making an embeddable widget version
of its games, boasts an average playing session of 86 minutes, with 250
to 300 players per night. Prizes range from an iTunes song to $1000
Playcafe CEO Mark Goldenson has a pretty convincing rationale for his
venture. "When I look at the landscape of Internet content, it's mostly
passive content," he said in an interview last week. "It's great that I
can watch Lost whenever I want, but it's not interactive or social.
[Meanwhile,] the main use of live streaming has been life-streaming,
like Justin.tv or Chris Pirillo, and I just don't think that's
compelling, and I think that's borne out by the viewership."
Goldenson said 10 to 20 percent of PlayCafe visitors just watch the game
rather than playing themselves, which is interesting in and of itself,
but especially when compared to television game shows.
We'd heard elsewhere that First Round Capital had made an investment in
the company, which Goldenson confirmed, though he declined to state the
amount as he said the funding round is still open. While we think this
is a cool idea, we're surprised the company was able to raise cash with
such low user numbers. But Goldenson and his partner Dev Nag have had
success with previous startups, and also have PayPal and Google on their
Goldenson, who said the company's goal is to run games around the clock,
vouched that newly hired producer Jon Lawrence, who ran Take the Cake
and Midnight Money Madness for Endemol, will bring a "better look and
feel" to the site. Goldenson called the current set-up "authentic but
not very sophisticated."
Here's an American Idol
story that I file under "Here We Go Again." In an interview with Oprah
Winfrey, Simon Cowell says the feud with Ryan Seacrest is 100% real.
"[Ryan Seacrest] has developed this - he's like a mosquito in your
face," [Simon Cowell] told her. "It's like he's flying around, and you
want to swat him but he can't be bothered. That's my relationship now
When she asked where Seacrest was, he said: "He's on the second floor,"
Cowell sniffed. "Because he doesn't like to mix with anyone on the
Ok, here's the deal. This is a load of BS. We have seen on many
occasions that Simon, Randy, Paula and Ryan hang out and are good
friends. This is what we in the wrestling biz call cutting a heel promo.
He is the villain and is playing so.
Speaking of Idol, we have some other news. The Celebrity Mentors have
been announced this week and they are: Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Sir
Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Dolly Parton. We have the 2nd Annual
Songwriting Contest. If you remember. "This is My Now" won the contest
last year, was sung by Jordin Sparks and is on her now gold album. If
you are 18 or over, go to americanidol.com. You have until March 31.
And as far as the performances, we went to the well for the Beatles this
week. A semi-surprising Carly Smithson, and a not so surprising Amanda
Overmyer and Kristy Lee Cook...were in the bottom 3. And Amanda Overmyer
burst out on the bubble as she was eliminated and lost her shot at the
So here's the Block Party Power Chart for this week:
1. David Cook (Up 4)
2. David Archuleta (Up 4)
3. Syesha Mercado (Up 4)
4 Carly Smithson (Down 3)
5 Brooke White (Down 2)
6. Jason Castro (Up 2)
7. Michael Johns (Down 3)
8. Chikieze (Down 6)
9. Ramiele Malubay (same)
10. Kristi Lee Cook (same)
Random Newsbits time:
- John Rich becomes a judge
and mentor on the NBC show Nashville Star
- ABC - is bringing back Duel starting Aprill 4. (Yawn).
- And finally...Mark Burnett finally gets it...in an interview with the
New York Post, Burnett says that "Celebrity Apprentice" will return next
January for another go-round in New York City. "We'll do it once-a-year
like the 'American Idol' formula. A little scarcity doesn't hurt,"
Burnett said. He was against Omarosa coming back for this version, but
Trump convinced him. "Omarosa was someone I was on the fence about, but
Trump said she was gonna be great . . . and he was completely right," he
says. "She delivered and created incredible conflict. And if you haven't
got conflict, you don't have a reality show."
That was a lot for this week...and I am tired. And done. So for the
Block Party, this is Jason Block saying...don't just play fair...play to
Jason Block's secret
talent... is a secret. E-mail at