We have a lot of news to cover...so
let’s begin with the breaking news that ABC is bringing back "Who
Wants to Be A Millionaire" this summer to primetime TV. According to
multiple sources, Regis Philbin has agreed to return as host of the
primetime revival, which—like the 1999 original—will unfold as a
two-week, 11-night event. Michael Davies of Embassy Row once again
will serve as executive producer. "Millionaire" will air Sunday
through Thursday nights at 8 p.m., starting Aug. 9. The show will
take a rest on Friday and Saturday. Its grand finale will be Sunday,
Word that ABC was considering a 10th-anniversary return of
"Millionaire" first surfaced in January. The network didn’t have a
deal in place with Mr. Philbin, however, delaying a final decision
on whether to move forward. Odds of a "Millionaire" return also grew
stronger with the success of "Slumdog Millionaire," the Indian drama
about a young contestant on the show that won this year’s Academy
Award for best picture.
ABC alternative co-chief John Saade said executives at the network,
including scheduling head Jeff Bader, have been talking about a
"Millionaire" anniversary revival "for a long time. Anyone who
remembers the original remembers how special it was. It really felt
like an event," Mr. Saade said. "It broke every conventional rule of
the time. It elevated the game show to this single-person,
I spoke of this move as a no-brainer. ABC is going to have a huge
summer, along with Wipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show. This
is going to be a nice alternative to America’s Got Talent, and if
the execution is done correctly–meaning that the phone game and
fastest finger is brought back–this could be event programming in
months to come. I think it’s time for me to call Embassy Row to help
...but before I do that let’s talk
American Idol for a moment. We are down to the final 5. In the round
of 8, we had "Songs From the Year You Were Born" and Scott
Macintyre’s brutal version of "The Search is Over" by Survivor got
him out of the competition. In the round of 7...we had "Soundtrack
Songs" with Quentin Tarantino as mentor. Matt Giraud was
eliminated...but the judges used the save and brought him back...so
for the 2nd round of 7 we had disco week. Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai
were eliminated with boring bland performances...and our final 5
are: Alison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, and the
massive favorite Adam Lambert. Next week is "Rat Pack"
week....Alison really needs to kill it this week...or she will be
Now, as for the judges save...I think the judges were a bit
premature in how they used it. They used because they had to...not
because they wanted to. Matt, as Simon accurately put it, has zero
chance of winning. I personally would have loved to have seen Matt
go this week and tell the judges where to stick it, but Lil and
Anoop’s performances were so bad that they had to go. Will it be
used next year...time will tell.
Next we have a controversy on Amazing
Race...the final four teams are sisters Jen and Kisha, mother/deaf
son team Margie and Luke, siblings Tammy and Victor and former
Cheerleaders Jaime and Cara.
But Jen and Kisha and Margie and Luke are at each other’s throats.
When they both reached two different clue boxes during the last leg
of the race in China....it got physical. Jen and Kisha called the
physicality a "bitch move" and made fun of Luke’s deafness at the
I watched this and I was incredibly disappointed...Jen and Kisha did
not have to resort to street thug tactics. Their actions reinforced
the "arrogant black female" stereotype which permeates most reality
shows. They haven’t been that way this entire season, and for them
to do that is foul play.
I do understand the heat of competition, but there are ways to
express yourself without being hateful and discriminatory. The
evidence is there and on tape...you were laughing at a deaf person.
Deal with it.
On the Celebrity Apprentice, we are
down to Joan and Melissa Rivers, Clint Black, Jesse James, Annie
Duke, and Brande Roderick.
But Donald Trump pulled a very hypocritical move on the April 5th
episode...he fired Khloe Kardashian because she had a DUI. On the
episode, Trump found out Kardashian had missed part of a previous
challenge because she had to go to a mandatory class regarding her
2007 DUI conviction. He lectured her on drinking and driving and
fired her over the DUI. "I hate people who drive under the
influence," Trump said in the boardroom as he fired Kardashian.
But in a blog post on her webpage, Kardashian spoke out against
Trump. "It wasn’t because of my work ethic, it wasn’t because I was
slacking. It was because of my DUI. I don’t think I should have been
fired for that reason alone. I just wish Mr. Trump would have
handled the situation a little differently," she wrote."I find it
weird that he can forgive and take back Tara Conner but he can’t do
the same with me?!" she said of Trump’s decision to let Conner, Miss
USA 2006, retain her crown after she engaged in underage drinking
and cocaine use.
Game. Set. Match. Trump is a big fat hypocrite. I think there was
another reason that was not aired or not disclosed. And after
watching the new feud of Annie Duke v the Rivers clan, I think Mr.
Trump is setting up another dramatic confrontation between either
Melissa v. Joan at the end...or Annie v. Joan/Melissa. This is Trump
manufacturing drama...instead of letting the business competition
Next we catch up on the doings at
Studio 33. First off, we talk about the Earth Day episode of the
Price is Right where environmentally friendly electric cars were
given out and carbon offsets were provided for the trips. We also
had recycled cell phones...and Ed Begley Jr. to preach at us. I
didn’t like it when Wheel of Fortune did it for the past two seasons
on "Going Green" week...and I didn’t like it here. I don’t need a
lecture on my game shows, thank you very much.
This past April 16th, we had the return of Bob Barker to promote his
book "Priceless Memories". He appeared in a couple of
showcases...and was his normal classy self. But did the producers
realize that they were giving away Hondas as cars? I know they are
built in Ohio, but it’s BOB BARKER. He doesn’t like foreign cars. I
think a little consideration should have been exercised.
Finally, there is one person who doesn’t think the book was really
that good. Chris Mann, an author who is shopping an unauthorized
biography of Price and Bob Barker, wrote on his website
retroality.tv about whom was left out.
Mann writes that he didn’t acknowledge Drew Carey, Jay Wolpert,
Barbara Hunter, directors Mark Breslow and Paul Alter, or any of the
models over the last 35 years. Mann trashes the book as "falling
flat" in the telling of his story and that Barker didn’t want to say
anything bad in the book because, according to an Hartford Courant
interview, "That’s not my bag, We’ll see if you can have a
successful book without throwing dirt."
Now we all knew that Barker wasn’t going to throw himself or the
show under the bus when he was going to go back to promote it. And
Mann was using his own website to try and get his book sold. Will
Mann’s scandal laden version ever get out there? I think so...but
not until Mr. Barker passes away. Because I don’t think any
publishing house will want to touch that dynamite just yet.
Time to catch up on some shows that
returned or debuted these past few weeks.
–The biggest debut is THE NEWLYWED GAME(GSN). Carnie Wilson hosts
this remake, produced by Michael Davies and Sony/Embassy Row. The
game play is mostly untouched with couples asked embarrassing
questions about their marriage. We have three couples instead of 4,
and, in the nicest twist of the show, a bonus round where the
winning Newlywed Game couple plays against Goldyweds(who were on the
original show) for a 2nd potential prize.
While the show itself is pretty good, the biggest problem is Carnie
Wilson. Or at least the way the show has been edited to present her.
When I attended the show, she was funny. Really funny. She also had
an excellent repartee with the contestants. But now, she is being
portrayed as a game show automaton. Which is a crying shame. Because
what I saw is really good. What’s being shown isn’t. GRADE: C.
–Coming back for it’s 2nd season is CATCH-21(GSN). Being renewed for
Season 2 has given the show a bigger feel...with a newer set and
studio audience. The gameplay is almost untouched from Season
1...except we add an Oreck Vacuum to the first person who gets a 21.
We also add a power chip in the bonus round, so you could have up to
4 power chips if you dominate the front game.
The problem with the show is still the same...and that’s Alfonso
Ribeiro. He’s not bad...but he just gives off the feeling he is
trying to hard to be the "wacky, zany" host. Nikki Padilla is still
smoking hot...but the show seems to me like "second verse, same as
the first." GRADE: C.
–Next, we have THE PHONE(MTV), produced by Fremantle and Justin
Timberlake. The premise: Four people get a mysterious phone call
from "The Operator" and have to team up in teams of 2 to either
solve a crime or stop an event from happening. They get clues and
have to solve puzzles/events to win up to $50,000. The final twist
is that the winning member of the team can keep the money they
won...or split it with their opponent.
There were a lot of elements I liked. As a player of alternate
reality games(ARGs), this was one of the better representations of
what an ARG is. This had very big production values, and in a
limited run of 6 episodes...you can spend the cash.
But a lot of things I didn’t. The Operator, played by Emmett J.
Scanlan, is out of central casting. He is a quick witted, smarmy,
"man in control" type...but he came off incredibly fake. And I
didn’t feel that the teams were in danger at all. The suspension of
disbelief just wasn’t there.
But overall, this is an entertaining hour of TV. I would check it
out. GRADE: B-.
Finally we have THE COUGAR(TV Land). This is Mike Fleiss’s latest
venture into dating/romance. Take a 40 yr old smoking hot divorced
mom of 4...and have 20 younger men vie for her affection. This was
typical Fleiss drivel...the contest to get into the house...the get
drunk and get to know you party...and the biggest moron stays on in
the house. The less said about this dreck...the better. GRADE: D.
The British Game Show Scandals have
claimed it’s latest victim. ITV’s Michael Grade is resigning at the
end of 2009, according to reports. ‘Michael Grade has recommended to
the board that the conclusion of the regulatory reviews will be the
right time for him to relinquish his executive responsibilities and
become non-executive chairman, as planned.’ ITV said.
Grade faced criticism over his decision not to sack anyone over a
spate of phone-in scandals in 2007 and 2008 which he inherited on
taking up the post, despite admitting if he had been chief executive
at the time of the deceit, he would have resigned. Competitions were
rigged on Ant and Dec programs Saturday Night Takeaway and Gameshow
Marathon, as well as Soapstar Superstar.
Not a surprise here...and I expect more executives to do the same.
This next item was no
surprise...according to the Los Angeles Times’s Richard Verrier:
Negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild and the major studios have
reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract for the
union's 120,000 members. Sources close to the talks say the union's
negotiating task force will be briefed today on the proposed
agreement, which is expected to be voted on by SAG's 71-member
Actors have been working without a contract for nine months as
previous attempts at negotiations with the studios collapsed. The
contract contains some minor improvements over previous offers but
is largely similar to the one studios presented to SAG nine months
The agreement was hashed out after weeks of back-channel talks
involving between SAG interim executive director David White and top
media executives, principally Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and
Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer. Talks were revived after the
union's former chief negotiator was ousted by moderates who took
control of SAG's board in elections last year.
The breakthrough came earlier this month when the sides reached a
compromise over the most contentious issue: the expiration date of a
new contract. SAG leaders insisted that their new contract run
through June 2011 so that the union could line up its next round of
negotiations with the expiring contracts of other Hollywood talent
unions. The studios, however, wanted a three-year term, which would
push SAG's contract expiration into 2012.
This will be approved...and Hollywood will breathe a MAJOR sigh of
GSN made a major announcement while I
was gone. They are doing the first GSN Game Show Awards! According
to the press release: "This will be a different kind of awards show
and the first-ever awards show dedicated exclusively to the world of
game shows," said Kelly Goode, GSN's Senior Vice President of
Programming. "The Game Show Awards will be a lighthearted, humorous
homage to the talented people who make game shows a perennial
favorite. We will also include exciting participatory elements that
offer our at-home fans and in-studio audience the chance to play a
role in the show."
As part of the event, GSN will pay tribute to three individuals who
have helped make the beloved genre a staple of popular culture:"The
Price is Right" host Bob Barker; the legendary late game show
producer Mark Goodson and "Let's Make A Deal" host Monty Hall, with
each receiving special tributes for his contributions to the game
Fans will be able to vote online at gsn.com in such categories as
Best Game Show, Best Game Show Host, Favorite Classic Game Show,
Favorite Game Show Sound Effect, Most Outrageous Game Show
Contestant, Favorite Parting Gift, Best Reality Competition Show,
Favorite Dating or Relationship Show and Favorite Celebrity Player,
Favorite Celebrity Team.
During the premiere telecast, at-home viewers will be encouraged to
go online, where they can answer award show-related trivia for the
chance to win cash and other exciting prizes. The show's studio
audience comprised of celebrities and fans who are passionate about
game shows and games will have the chance to win prizes during the
show by playing familiar games, both on stage and in the aisles.
Some of the award recipients will also be included in the game play
by being given the opportunity to relinquish their awards to play
games for more lucrative prizes.
Now...this is a huge move for GSN...because they are going back to
their roots as The Game Show Network. They are taking the ideas from
the Game Show Congress and Game Show News Net and taking it to the
next level. I am really looking forward to see how this one is
executed and how respectful they are to the genre.
If you have been under a rock for the
last two weeks...you have seen the internet sensation of Susan Boyle
from Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t...the story is this...she
is a 47yr old woman whose look left a lot to be desired. But when
she got on stage...she stunned the world with a voice that was
nothing short of incredible singing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les
But someone’s cornflakes got ruined. In an article in the New York
Post titled "Why Is No One Suspicious of Susan Boyle?" Maureen
Callahan questions the validity of the "rags-to-riches" story. From
the Article - "This isn't to suggest that Boyle herself is a hoax
(though she does seem a bit too comfortable on that stage, parrying
with Cowell, to be a complete naif). But the notion that Cowell was
unaware of Boyle's existence, let alone discordant looks and talent
level, before she ever took the stage, is flatly ridiculous."
She continues: "Most disturbing of all, perhaps, is that not since
Saturday has Susan Boyle been Susan Boyle. It's a permutation of the
Heisenberg principle: That 30 million people have heard her, seen
her, embraced her has already changed who she is. The shy churchgoer
who said that her recently deceased mother encouraged her to "take
the risk," who admitted in her audition that she has never been
kissed, who has forever lived as something of an accidental outcast
- she now seems too much of this world. "I've been for a meeting
with Sony BMG, but I can't say much about it," she said this week.
"It's early days." Susan Boyle is now one of us. And that is really
Oh please. Give me a break. Maureen needs to just kick a cat. Or
work for customer service at Dell Computers. She needs to just get
out of the way. Susan Boyle is a great story. Period.
Time for the ABC Summer Schedule:
"The Bachelorette" will assume its regular Monday, 8:00/7:00c slot
on May 25 following its special post-"Dancing With the Stars"
premiere on May 18. The Bachelorette will return Monday May 18, and
will also serve as the lead-in to sophomore series Here Come The
Newlyweds, which will return to the schedule May 25.
"Opportunity Knocks," Ashton Kutcher's short-lived game show, will
rejoin the schedule on Tuesday, May 26 at 8:00 Wednesday, May 27
will mark the return of "Wipeout" at 8:00.
"The Superstars" (June 23, 8p ET), a fresh take on an old favorite,
is based on ABC's classic "Wide World of Sports" series, "The
Superstars," which pitted athletes from all different sports against
each other to determine the best athlete in the world. Eight
celebrities are paired with eight professional male and female
athletes to compete against each other in varying sporting events.
The six-episode series will be shot entirely on location at the
Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
"I Survived A Japanese Game Show" returns for Season 2 on July 8, 9p
Finally from Endemol we have "Dating in the Dark" July 20, 10p ET is
a unique alternative series that asks the age-old question, "Is Love
Blind?" Each week, three single men and three single women, all
looking for love, will move into a house together, but be totally
sequestered from the opposite sex. While they will have no chance of
seeing each other in the light, they will have the opportunity to
date in a completely dark room. Looks will be taken out of the
equation as the men and women get to know each other and form bonds
in total darkness. After several days of dating in the darkroom, the
participants will select the one member of the opposite sex that
they want to see revealed in the light. For the first time, the
participants will see whom they've been dating, wooing, kissing,
snuggling with and forming bonds with. And after they see each other
in the light for the first time, they have to make the difficult
decision...do they stay with the person they fell for in the dark,
or leave them behind? This mess is hosted by Rossi Morreale.
Finally we have leaked plans for what
GSN has to offer. At upfront.gsn.com (which is now secured) we have
a look at what GSN wants to do. About.com's Carrie Grosvenor reports
on the plans which include:
–Reruns of Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100 will be joining the GSN
–New programming includes include Bunco, based on the classic dice
--20Q, from Endemol
--Honey Please is a hidden camera game show that challenges husbands
or wives to get their spouses to do things for them to earn cash.
--Wake Up Call, in which the cast and crew of a game show invades
someone's home early in the morning, wakes them up, and challenges
them to answer trivia questions.
--Love Roulette, a dating show.
--Instant Recall a show that challenges people to remember things
about a situation they're put in.
-- Star Treatment is a show that takes people off the streets of
L.A. to play the game, and rewards them with a makeover.
–This last one I am most intrigues about. GSN Daily News is in fact
a news program, which also offers an interactive element. Viewers
can call in and answer trivia questions to win money. I would hope
on this one we have a more serious game show news show
produced...instead of a "Soup" for Game Shows.
I do give GSN a lot of credit for throwing a lot against the wall
and seeing if it sticks. This is what Sony and GSN has to do to make
GSN a viable commodity on cable and Satellite.
–The Block Party Quick Hits include:
–ITV1 is developing a show called "The Chase."
–Family Feud’s Tournament of Champions comes back April 27th.
–VH1 renews "I Want to Work For Diddy" and "Tool Academy" for Season
2s of both shows.
–Project Runway will be on Lifetime starting August 20th.
–Food Network introduced some of the new shows for 2009-2010.
Included are Season 2 of the Next Iron Chef (October 2009)
Season 3 of Ultimate Recipe Showdown in Q2 2010 and Season 6 of The
Next Food Network Star in June 2010. Season 5's cast is introduced
for it’s debut on June 7th.
–We have finale dates! The live three-hour finale of "The Biggest
Loser: Couples" airs on Tuesday, May 12 and "The Celebrity
Apprentice" wraps up its season with a special live three-hour
episode on Sunday, May 10. Deal or No Deal also will return to the
lineup in sweeps beginning May 4. On CBS Sunday, May 10 is the
finale of Season 14 of "The Amazing Race (which was just renewed for
Season 15) On Sunday, May 17, Jeff Probst and the final jury will
help crown the winner of "Survivor Tocantins".
–ABC announces the cast of Superstars, which debuts June 23rd. The
athletes are Jennifer Capriati, Brandi Chastain, Robert Horry, Jeff
Kent, Kristi Leskinen, Lisa Leslie, Bode Miller and Terrell Owens.
The eight celebrities are David Charvet, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Dan
Cortese, Paige Hemmis, Julio Iglesias, Jr., Joanna Krupa, Ali Landry
and Estella Warren.
–Season 4 of Design Star returns July 19th on HGTV.
–In Casting news, "Crash Course" starts casting for ABC, "20Q"
starts casting for GSN. , "The Singing Bee" is casting...and it will
be returning to CMT. And syndicated 5th grader is casting as well.
–GSN and Worldwinner will team up for the Bejeweled 2 W3Games
Championship starting April 27th.
–Julie Chen is pregnant.
–In one of the most bizarre stories of the year, disgraced former
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will not be going to Costa Rica to
compete in "I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" for NBC. A judge
denied his request. Those who are rumored to be in the cast
include...Geraldo Rivera, Dog the Bounty Hunter Duane Chapman
Sanjaya Malakar, Janice Dickinson and Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt
from the Hills. AH!
–The Moment of Truth again comes back on July 29th...according to
–"Dancing With The Stars" winner Helio Castroneves is back on the
track after being acquitted of tax evasion charges. Ty Murray
injures his eye during a rehearsal, and Maksim Chmerkovskiy denies
rumors of quitting. Gilles Marini needs surgery, and Julianne Hough
claims to be quitting again.
–"She’s Got The Look" returns for an 8 episode run for Season 2 on
–Fantasia Barrino will be the subject of a VH1 reality series in
–Richard Hatch will be released on May 12 to a halfway house.
–Scott Macintyre reveals after his elimination that he had a kidney
–Price is Right is going all digital by 2010.
–America’s Next Top Model redoes the model search in New York
–The Daytime Emmys are heading to the CW.
–Top Chef Masters debuts on June 10th on Bravo.
–GSN picks up Face Value from Spain.
–Wheel is taping 4 weeks of shows in Vegas this July.
–Fox Reality is taping "Who Wants to Date Cindy Margolis" in June.
Jason Block's Moment of Truth comes when you
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