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It's Now April, But Jason's No Fool
April 8

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

Speaking of April Fool's....some game shows has a little fun this past week. Jeopardy saw Alex Trebek come out with a mustache in round 1, to have it
magically disappear in Round 2. Pat Sajak on Wheel of Fortune revealed to us that he does wear a hairpiece and Vanna pulled it show a fully shaved Pat or a really damn good bald cap. And on the Price is Right, we had our first April Fool's Day showcase in almost 10 years which included a trip to Bogusylvania on OCD AIR and a transrebounder...only to have Drew reveal the real prize...a 2008 Chevy Corvette Convertible...which was not won. But it was still fun to watch and great to see the shows have some sense of humor.

Someone who was no fool this past week was Donald Trump. I said last week, that Donald Trump didn't have the stones to pick Piers Morgan over Trace Adkins. Well, in last week's final of "Celebrity Apprentice", he did just that and proved me wrong. Facts couldn't outweigh the niceness of Trace. In his final argument to Trump, Morgan said, "I won 9 out of 11 challenges, I raised more money than anyone else combined." And Trump helped out the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund with a nice check for $250,000 when he awarded the nod to Piers. But let's hold on for a second here...I think there was a little bit of shenanigans going on. Let's look back...Trace is a country music superstar and would look great as a judge on say....NBC's Nashville Star. And won't the ads for the premiere of America's Got Talent look great with "Celebrity Apprentice" winner -Piers Morgan? I think that Trump wanted this good v. evil battle...but as you know Trump and the producers consult on the decision of the "firings." But even with all that, this was the best season of the Apprentice in a long time. They went back to the basics of the game. And we shall see what the 2009 version brings. And I am looking forward to a big way. And Omarosa.

But someone who didn't like the verdict of the show was of course, Trace Adkins. As reported in the New York Post on Thursday, Adkins expressed his discontent. "With all due respect to Mr. Trump," Adkins told CNN Headline News anchor Glenn Beck this week, "I think the decision he made sent the wrong
message to young people in America." Adkins continued, "I think the message he [Trump] sent was just to make the most money, It doesn't really matter how you go about it or how you conduct yourself or who you stomp on in the process, just as long as you come out on top, you know, as far as your windfall profits. And I just, I still feel that was the wrong decision." Trace, I like you and your music...but in the business world, nice guys for the most part, finish last. Piers played the game to win. Plain and simple.

Speaking of NBC, they unveiled 65 weeks of programming schedule...of course this is subject to change. This Fall, "The Biggest Loser Families" starts at Tuesday at 8PM, Deal or No Deal will be on Wednesdays at 9PM, and Fridays at 9PM. In Winter 2009, Deal stays at Wednesdays at 9PM...but moves to 8PM on Friday. The Celebrity Apprentice will take the 10PM Thursday night slot when ER isn't there. Looking forward to summer of 2009, American Gladiators will be on Mondays at 9. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 it's America's Got Talent...and Thursdays at 9 it's Last Comic Standing...and Sunday nights at 9 it's Nashville Star.

But my favorite quote is from NBC Chairman Ben Silverman. According to TVWeek, when asked if NBC's focus on upbeat, inspirational programming was designed to cover for the volume of cheap reality shows, Mr. Silverman said, "We spend a (bleep) load on that cheap reality." Fill in the bleep.

Let's go from NBC to ABC...and it's summer time for ABC...again from our friends at TV Week. ABC's summer prime-time lineup will include the debut of eight
original reality series, including the return of both "The Bachelorette" and "The Mole." The fourth incarnation of "The Bachelorette" will feature star DeAnna
Pappas, who was rejected in the final ceremony of last season's "The Bachelor." The show will debut May 19 at 9pm. The other returning show, "The Mole," premieres May 26 at 10 p.m with Jon Kelley as host. The network will debut a slew of competition-based programs. "Wipeout," an obstacle course-based game show, is slated for June 24 at 8 p.m. It will be followed by the premiere of "I Survived a Japanese Game Show," which will track Americans as they compete in game shows in Japan, at 9 p.m. ABC's latest addition to the dance show genre will be "Dance Machine," where people compete in one-on-one dance-offs for a chance at $100,000. It's scheduled to air June 27 at 8 p.m. "High School Musical: Summer Session" welcomes musical hopefuls ages 16-22 to audition to participate in a summer music program competition for a still-undisclosed "opportunity of a lifetime." "HSM: Summer Session" premieres July 20 at 8 p.m. In "Wanna Bet," celebrities will place bets for charity based on how successfully average contestants can complete stunts and tricks. The show is scheduled to debut July 21 at 9 p.m. We shall see what Fox and CBS bring to us in the future.

I didn't cover this when it taped, but since this was broadcast in the UK on March 26, I can now talk about it. Channel 4 in the UK broadcast a blooper on daytime gameshow hit Deal or No Deal and presenter Noel Edmonds' apology for the mess-up, despite the show being pre-recorded. According to the UK Guardian, a vicar (priest) taking part in Deal or No Deal opened one of the show's sealed boxes, which are supposed to contain a card with an amount of money on it, to find that it contained only sticky black tape. There were stunned looks from the studio crowd and Edmonds, while the vicar quipped "An act of God", resulting in a few laughs. Edmonds then left the studio with members of the Endemol production staff, with the cameras still rolling, before returning shortly afterwards to explain what had happened and apologize. Tim Hincks, the chief executive of Deal or No Deal producer Endemol UK, said a decision had been taken to broadcast the blooper of the show on Channel 4 because viewers were now sophisticated enough to be shown the inner workings of a program. "Five or 10 years ago we would have re-edited [it] and covered up," added Hincks, speaking at the Changing Media Summit. "Now we have a
sophisticated audience we must show our workings." I think this was a great thing, because this is another step in the process of regaining the public trust...especially after the UK Phone scandals. Good job, channel 4 and Endemol.

We go from good job, to bad job. I watched the premiere of Bingo America and was pretty much duly unimpressed. Patrick Duffy was capable, and the buxom
blonde ball handler was good at what they did, and the show itself was just there. But a question for the people at GSN. The reason why GSN picked up this show is the interactivity, right? They were giving away $50 per correct bingo. And we know that the internet is the reason why this show was successful, right?
Then how in the blue hell can you have your web page go down during the period when they are telling you to go to it? That is just bad planning on GSN's part. Really dumb.

Here are some hopefully better interactive pieces of news for you all:

- Sony Pictures Television has introduced new mobile versions of Wheel and Jeopardy called "Wheel of Fortune Road Trip" and "Rock and Roll Jeopardy!". Also Jeopardy is teaming with Airplay so that you can play along live with Jeopardy with your PDA or cell phone. Harry Friedman is looking to make Wheel playable as well.

- Glu Mobile has signed a multi-year deal to publish games from Fremantle Media in North and Latin America including "Family Feud" and "The Price is Right."

- is going to release a competition version of "The Price is Right" this summer.

- is going to put an online game of "Don't Forget The Lyrics" on its webpage.

I told you this next story was coming. According to the Los Angeles Times, heightening fears of an actors strike this summer, one of Hollywood's two major performers unions voted Saturday to break off its 27-year joint bargaining pact with its sister, the Screen Actors Guild, leaving each to negotiate separate new
contracts with the major studios. Quoting from the article....The 11th-hour move by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is the latest thunderclap in Hollywood's winter of discontent, which has seen the television industry upended by a 100-day strike by screenwriters. It injects a new element of uncertainty in the television and movie industry by raising the possibility of an actors walkout this summer, just as some shows are returning to the air after a three-month absence and the movie industry is trying to get back on its feet. Such a strike could be a further blow to the local economy, already coping with a housing downturn and  possible recession. Hollywood's talent guilds, which represent writers, directors and actors, have pushed to center stage in this year's contract negotiations the issue of how their members are paid in the digital era. Now that directors and writers have reached new three-year contracts with the studios, the industry had hoped the actors could peacefully negotiate a new deal before their contract expires June 30.

But SAG and AFTRA, the two unions that represent actors, have been at loggerheads over a variety of issues, including each union's contract goals and jurisdictional contests over TV shows. Nonetheless, the two unions have usually been able to set aside their differences long enough to negotiate together on behalf of their members. Not this time. AFTRA's move to break off from SAG seemed to be timed for maximum effect, especially given that the two unions had unanimously approved joint proposals for a new film and prime-time television contract that were expected to be presented to the studios in the coming weeks. A rift between the two unions now could undermine SAG's leverage to wring the best possible concessions from the studios in their new contract as AFTRA, whose members work mostly in television, pursues its own agenda.

At the same time, it could embolden SAG, which has 120,000 members, to call a strike, because its negotiations would be led by the union's hard-liners. They have promised to press for higher residuals for actors from the sale of DVDs, an issue AFTRA has not embraced and one the studios insist is not even on the table. Told you this was going to be big.

In the personal interest section, congratulations are in order for "Dancing with The Stars" pro Tony Dovolani, who is expecting twins with his wife. Adding to the baby train is Marissa Jaret Winokur who is expecting a son via a surrogate. Laila Ali is also pregnant by her husband Curtis Conway. And on the sad side, condolences go out to Elliott Yamin on the loss of his mother, and to Frenchie Davis, who has gone through throat surgery to remove a vocal polyp.

One of my favorite shows on TV is back for a fourth season. On Sunday June 1, "The Next Food Network Star" is back and we have Bobby Flay as a permanent judge on the selection committee. According to PR Newswire, here are our 10 finalists:

Nipa Bhatt, 35 (Victoria,MN) Marketing manager
Jennifer Cochrane, 32
(Woonsocket, RI) Executive Chef, Geppetto's and Briggs Corner restaurants
Lisa Garza, 32 (Dallas, TX) Owner, Suze Restaurant and kitchenwear fashion designer
Adam Gertler, 30 (Philadelphia, PA) Former restaurateur, server and actor
Cory Kahaney, 45 (New York, NY) Stand-up comic and playwright
Shane Lyons, 20 (Colorado Springs, CO) Private chef
Aaron McCargo Jr.,36 (Camden, NJ) Executive Catering Chef, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Kelsey Nixon, 23 (North Ogden, UT) Freelance food writer, culinary class instructor
Kevin Roberts, 39 (San Diego, CA) Radio contributor, restaurant owner & cookbook author
Jeffrey Vaden, 43 (White Plains, NY) Caterer and former restaurateur

"Last season's show was our network's highest-rated, most-watched series ever and we look forward to keeping that bar raised and the level of competition high," said Bob Tuschman Senior Vice President, Programming and Production for Food Network.. "This season's finalists are our most skilled ever, and we put them through the toughest challenges we could devise. We guarantee viewers an incredibly compelling and entertaining series." Let's hope we don't have another Joshua Adam Garcia or Robert Irvine fiasco. I am definitely watching this show.

Pat Sajak has some strong complaints about "American Idol." In an interview with Marilyn Beck, the host of "Wheel of Fortune" blasts the Fox singing competition for its cruelty and charges that its success is not in finding winners, but in "voting people off -- making fun of them." "If they did away with the early
episodes of the show each season which feature  contestants so horrible one laughs at them -- if you took away Simon Cowell's caustic, often unkind remarks
-- you'd basically have 'Ted Mack's Amateur Hour.' 'American Idol' is offering nothing new under the sun, except for the fact it eliminates people."

"American Idol" is hardly the only show that bothers the popular game show host. He takes aim at the reality genre in general and says, "There have been shows on the air so nasty that I'm just glad they didn't succeed." And, he notes, "the term 'reality show' is in itself a misnomer. The idea that people are going to act naturally on TV -- when they know cameras and crews are recording everything they say -- is ridiculous. Let's face it, they know how they're supposed to act, and they play along. These shows may not be scripted word for word, but you can see from the way they're shot that they're anything but reality."

Pat sees little hope that things will change any time soon.

Though "Wheel of Fortune" has ranked No. 1 of all syndicated shows during each May sweeps period for the last 25 years, he says, "If I went into a network
today and pitched the show, the meeting would probably be over in 30 seconds. We're a throwback to the days when you did a show that made fun with people -- that didn't make fun of people."

Although I generally agree with Pat's thoughts...I think shows like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "The Biggest Loser" are not part of the mean-spirited part of reality. They are shows that are inspiring.

This week, the Idol Power Chart takes a bit of a break, as I was indisposed this week. Dolly Parton was the guest mentor this week and we caught up with Bo
Bice, Phil Stacey, and Bucky Covington (all around Nashville) and we have Ramiele Malubay, Kristy Lee Cook, and Brooke White in the Bottom Three and Ramiele is going home.

And Finally, I Just wanted to add that I didn't miss Steve Guttenberg, Penn Jillette and Monica Seles leaving Dancing with the Stars.
That's all for this time, this is Jason Block reminding you all...don't just play to win.

Jason Block only makes fun of people who deserve it. E-mail at for any tips.