We start this catch-up edition with the Amazing Race. And we are
down to the final three, with Brent and former Miss USA contestant
Caite, the cowboys Jet and Cord, and brothers Dan & Jordan. The
problem that I have had with this season is that the final three
gives me absolutely no one to root for. Over the last few seasons,
you had a great comeback story in Victor and Tammy, Margie and Luke
Donald, and the dominant performance of Megan and Cheyne. This
season has been a comedy of errors, where teams were making mistake
after mistake. Whoever wins this $1,000,000 will be the team that
survived the mistakes that they made. And if the Caite and Brent
brain trust actually wins this, I will be incredibly upset. I really
believe that the promise of the beginning of the season has
disintegrated into a mistake fest. This has been the worst season in
at least 2 years. The Reality Show Emmy shouldn’t go to them this
Neither should it go to American Idol. At this point we are at the
final four with Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, Casey James and Crystal
Bowersox going for the title. But this season has been an absolute
borefest. There have been many problems this year. It starts with
the judging which has been stereotypical and if I heard the word
“moment” one more time I would have put a boot through my TV. It
feels like everyone on staff is going through the motions before
Simon jumps ship for the X-Factor and Ricky Minor goes on to the
Tonight Show. The liberal guiltfest of Idol Gives Back returned as
Fox and the producers exploited the poor of the US , Haiti and
Africa to steal $45M from the gullible public. The talent this year
has been milquetoast. The talent has just been THERE. No one seems
to want to win this.
On the Other Hand, Survivor has been an absolute blast to watch. At
this writing, the Heroes and Villains tribe has been merged into
Team Yin-Yang. And we have Rupert, Sandra, Danielle, Colby, Russell,
Candice, Parvati, Jerri left. The Villains are up 5-3. There have
been plays of Immunity Idols, injuries, and pure Survivor goodness.
This has been a blast to watch and the episodes are filled with
crosses and double crosses and a boatload of role-reversals. This is
what Survivor is all about. And I can’t wait to see who wins this.
Over at the ballroom, the 10th Season of Dancing with the Stars
has been beating Idol in the ratings and I can understand why...even
though I don’t watch. The final five are Nicole Scherzinger, Niecy
Nash, Evan Lysacek, Erin Andrews and Chad Ochocinco. The drama of
Jake Pavelka and Kate Gosselin has led to a fun competition.
The faux drama of Celebrity Apprentice has given way to the real
life drama of Bret Michaels’s Brain Hemorrhage and his recovery.
People.com reported that his doctor says he's "still very sick right
now," Bret Michaels is out of the hospital, in stable condition and
on the road to a full recovery.
"Mr. Michaels was indeed a lucky person, a very lucky person," Dr.
Joseph Zabramski said at a press conference Tuesday at the Barrow
Neurological Institute at St. Joseph 's Hospital in Phoenix , where
the rocker had been receiving treatment.
Michaels, 47, was discharged recently, less than two weeks after
suffering a brain hemorrhage April 21. Zabramski could not release
details of when he left the hospital or where he's receiving
additional treatment because of federal privacy laws.
"He's improving," says Zabramski. "I really expect that he will
fortunately make a 100 percent recovery. He's just one of those
lucky people – 10 to 20 percent who make a complete recovery and can
resume all of their normal activities."
As for the show, Bret Michaels, Maria Kanellis, Curtis Stone, Holly
Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne and Cyndi Lauper are left. I am more
interested in what Trump does when the Apprentice comes back with
“real” people next fall.
On the traditional game show front, I must comment on the
excellent Facebook App for Family Feud. Fremantle debuted the game
last month and according to games.com, the game has been a massive
success, having over 2.5 million plays in just the first month of
release, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing. The game saw a
big spike in April and gets nearly 800,000 plays a day now, if not
more. I play it everyday and it is a perfect example of a great game
show application. The next one scheduled for release is the Price is
Right Facebook App in June.
Speaking of the Price is Right, we have had a lot of good prizes
offered, including a right hand drive Bentley, and a 2010 Tesla for
Earth Day on the “ Green Road ”. In a recent AP interview, Drew
Carey is promoting TPIR and wants to see even more branding of the
show. “I love it. I don't think they're doing as much as they should
be doing. Business-wise, you should take advantage of every media
stream you can," he said, adding, "I want to be part of a gig that's
doing new things and trying stuff." He continues, "I look at it as
owning a house. Any homeowner can relate: You're never, ever done
with your house," Carey said. "New rug, new bathroom tile, but it's
still the same house. It's still the same game." Brand extensions
such as the coming Facebook game "are both serving the purpose of
being a profit center and having more visibility around the show,"
said Keith Hindle, CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises, the licensing
and brand extension arm of series producer FremantleMedia. The show
also relies on lower-tech means of stoking fan interest. There are
"Price"-branded slot machines in casinos and two live,
paid-admission theater shows, one in Las Vegas and another at a
Connecticut gaming resort.
Ratings for the TV show have been on the rise. Compared with last
year, it's up 10 percent in viewers and ranks among within the top
five daytime programs.
While the show and revamped Temptation and Any Number set pieces
aren’t the problem this year, it’s been Stan Blits and the
contestant coordinators. They have been picking style over substance
players. If they get that problem solved, Price will finally have
all the pieces solved.
Jeopardy’s May Sweeps event finishes this week as Jane Curtin,
Cheech Marin and Michael McKean go for $1,000,000 for their
charities in the final of the Celebrity Invitational Tournament. I
have liked the format, and it wasn’t intrusive to the main game. I
would have loved to see Neil Patrick Harris and Pat Sajak in the
finals, but they just couldn’t get the job done.
Over at GSN, we have a show that really is a lot more fun than it
should be. “Baggage” is hosted by Jerry Springer. He introduces
three people who want to date the main contestant. The three people
bring out three pieces of baggage in small medium and large cases.
In the first round, the small bags are opened. In the 2nd round, the
medium bags are opened and then matched to the three contestants. In
the 3rd round, the final two large bags are opened and the
contestant chooses the person they want to date. But the contestant
has one piece of baggage of their own, and the person can refuse the
date if the contestant’s baggage is too much for them to handle.
Jerry Springer is perfect in this role. He is so smooth and knows
when to push the buttons and when not to. Some of the baggage can be
a little explicit for a 6:30pm EST show. This show should be pushed
to late night, but I liked what I saw here. It’s a simple concept
executed very very well. My grade is B.
In my Legal Department, The Hollywood Reporter blog reports that
the nasty six-year legal battle over profits from "Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire" is about to come to a final answer.
A judge in Riverside , Calif. , has set a May 26 trial date in the
$250 million federal lawsuit brought by U.K. producer Celador
International against the Walt Disney Co., ABC, Buena Vista
Television and Valleycrest Prods. over profits from the hit game
show. Legal teams for both sides were in court this afternoon for a
three-hour final pre-trial conference, during which U.S. District
Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips set the schedule for a jury trial
anticipated to last at least three weeks.
Filed in 2004 but delayed by years of legal wrangling, the
"Millionaire" case presents a rare open-court Hollywood showdown
with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line. The witness list
includes top execs like Disney president and CEO Bob Iger, former
ABC exec Mark Pedowitz and former ABC exec-turned-"Millionaire"
producer Michael Davies. Also scheduled to testify are dealmakers
such as Ben Silverman and Greg Lipstone, who, as WMA agents, helped
put together the 1999 deal to bring "Millionaire" to the U.S.
Celador claims in the litigation that Disney-owned ABC and BVT
violated a complex deal to produce and distribute "Millionaire" in
North America by brokering sweetheart deals among themselves that
cheated Celador out of millions of dollars in profits.
Block Party Quick Hits time:
-- Larry Miller teams with the Henson Alternative crew for an adult
puppet based panel show called “Late Night Liars”. It debuts June
10th at 11PM on GSN. The panel includes Cashmere Ramada, described
as a famous "celebutante and tabloid target," and Shelley Oceans, a
brash comedian. Contestants vie for cash prizes by deciding whether
the puppets are telling true or false stories.
-- Kevin Jonas appears on “Minute to Win It” May 12.
-- “Make Me A Millionaire” gets cancelled 15 months after it’s debut
in January 2009, replacing the California Lotteries Big Spin
-- Betty White hosts SNL this weekend.
-- The Bachelorette, starring Ali Fedotowsky starts on May 24th on
-- Wayne Brady takes a RKO from Randy Orton as he hosted Monday
Night Raw on May 3rd. And he joins Neil Patrick Harris in the cast
of an LA production of Rent.
-- Ed Waller and C21 Media claim the US Syndicated Game Show Market
is in a lull.
-- Lynn Redgrave passes away.
-- “Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchio was named the nation's top chef by
the James Beard Foundation.
-- Julianne Hough is coming back to Dancing with the Stars.
-- Family Game Show comes to the Wii on May 4th.
-- Chris Harrison will be covering the National Spelling Bee on June
4th on ABC.
-- Randy Jackson signs Kimberley Locke to his new DreamMerchant21
-- ABC has greenlit "The Six" (originally titled "What? Where?
When?"). In this Russian import, six players must collaborate to
solve non-trivia logic games within 60 seconds. ABC has ordered six
episodes from Merv Griffin Entertainment.
-- Downfall is casting on May 15th in LA.
-- The Sing Off is casting for Season 2.
-- Bill Engvall (“Blue Collar TV”) and Mo Rocca (NPR’s “Wait Wait
Don’t Tell Me”) have been tapped as hosts of ABC’s “Trust Me,
I’m a Game Show Host.”
-- There will be Youtube Auditions for America ’s Got Talent.
-- CBS will broadcast the Daytime Emmys from Las Vegas on June 27th.
Jason Block's bobble-ganger says e-mail him at email@example.com.