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Dancing with the Easter Bunny
March 25

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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 that show".
"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 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 own restaurant.

- 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 website,

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. 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.

" 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, GSN.

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 cash.

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 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 resumes.

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 with Ryan."

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 show."

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 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 tour.

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 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 to win.

Jason Block's secret talent... is a secret. E-mail at