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Back to the Grind
June 30

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

We start this podcast with the death of Ed McMahon at age 86. For those who only knew him as the sidekick of Johnny Carson for 30 years, he did have some roots in the game show world hosting games such as "WhoDunnit", "Missing Links", "Concentration", and "Snap Judgment", as well as a panelist on "Hollywood Squares", an announcer on "Who Do You Trust", and as a player on last summer's "Celebrity Family Feud".

But for the most part we do know him as the host of the talent show Star Search. That show discovered a vast amount of talent which are performing today as we speak including Britney Spears, model Bobbie Brown, Drew Carey, Dave Chappelle, Bill Engvall, Brad Garrett, Alanis Morisette, Dennis Miller, Carlos Mencia, Rosie O'Donnell, Leann Rimes, Adam Sandler, Sinbad, Justin Timberlake and more.

Speaking of Carey, he Twittered this: "I cried over Ed McMahon this morning. I started career with Star Search and Tonight Show. Ed was there for both. Hope he had peace. Wonderful man."

Let us not forget this icon in television, who also served in WWII and Korea as a pilot. May he rest in peace.

America's Got Talent Season 4 premiered this week. The most noticeable change was Nick Cannon as host. While Regis Philbin and Jerry Springer were skewing old, Nick Cannon skews young and urban. I thought some of the jokes were a little too ribald for a family show and he was trying a little too hard to be hip. But overall, Cannon did ok.


The talent so far was not amazing blow away stuff, but I did like the 100 pound waif of a woman doing dancing with her 240 pound partner, and lifting him. And while the family that got their mother out of a coma by singing was inspirational, their harmony was better than their individual singing. 

This is still must watch summer TV. I can't wait to see what they have in store next.

Drew Carey finally gets it. He has joined Twitter (TPIRHost) and a blog called "Drew From TV" at  He only started his blog on the 21st of June, but he is already causing a stir.

He disabled comments after a blog poster made a nasty comment. But Drew made this observation while taking a veiled potshot at certain internet fans:

"What bugs me the most is that it was all spill-over from a TPIR "fan" site that seems, at first glance, to be chock full of people that are metaphorically out on the street with their pants down yelling at a telephone pole. It's not, totally. But like it always happens, a few people start screaming at telephone poles and next thing you know you can't hear yourself talk. And a couple of them were treating my blog like it was nothing more than another thread on their message board, and then the one guy went over what, over there probably isn't even a line, but over here is. I'm trying to have fun here and let fans in on what's happening on the show, okay? Not moderate your arguments. Seriously. You can hate what I do, hate the show, whatever. But let's be civil and have a reasoned discussion. I won't tolerate people pooping in my pool while I'm trying to splash around with my friends and get some sun."

He continues: "I can't wait for to start up in a couple of months, btw. It will solve so many communication problems. All fans will have a home there. New fans, old fans, critical fans, everyone. And I'll be on the message boards there constantly (along with everyone else on the production staff). We'll try to answer every question, deal with every conspiracy theory, and debunk or authenticate every rumor. And finally, fans will have a place to go and get first-hand news about the show, instead of unfounded speculation that ends up not being true from a guy who claims to know a guy who knows a guy. And we'll find a way to control the telephone pole screamers so the rest of us can enjoy our cocktails and chat. Sometimes we'll agree, sometimes we'll agree to disagree. But at least we'll be able to, at long last, discuss the show reasonably and intelligently. Again, most of you are cooler than hell. I'm touched by the love I receive here. But that last dude... wow. Take it down the road, pal."

Drew finally gets it. In his now 3rd year, he is using Twitter and a blog to get the unfiltered non spin based news out there.  He blogged about the taping of the Season 38 premiere which will be shown September 21 with Craig Ferguson. He twittered pictures of the new set showing the new "Door 5" and LCD displays in Contestant's Row. 

This could be the start of a trend. With more celebrities and sports stars out there, Twitter will be used before spinmeisters can get a handle on this new media outlet.

Todd Newton, Pat Kiernan and Ryan Seacrest are out there in the Twitterverse. I would hope more join the fun.

Finally, a note on the GSN Game Show Awards which aired on June 6.  This was a major disappointment to a lot of game show fans like myself. When it was first announced, a lot of people thought that it would a serious take on the game show media. And that media would finally be taken seriously.

I hate to say I was wrong, but for the most part we were. The salutes to Monty Hall, Mark Goodson and Bob Barker were the only classy parts of the show.

The things that were wrong about the show were many.

--The pacing was imbalanced. It didn't know what it wanted to be, a game show or an awards show. And to show only 9 awards in 2 and a half hours is a big drag.

--The editing was awful. We saw Bob Barker being interviewed backstage with the award he received BEFORE HE RECEIVED IT. And don't get me started on Ross the Intern.

--The show was one big infomercial for Big Saturday Night. Once is enough, 5 commercials are too many. 20 is annoying.

--Howie Mandel's jokes were too sexual for a family awards show. Jokes about "happy endings" and names on model's behinds did not belong.

--If you are going to cast a game show, get contestants who know something about game shows. The game show segments were brutally bad.

--Finally, and most importantly if you are going to let the public vote on awards donít throw the votes away. GSN said on it's webpage: "Please note that GSN and/or its designee will make the final selection of the winner in each award category." So GSN flips off the public and makes the winners people they can get on the show rather than actual legitimate winners. That is bad form.


If the show returns in 2010, they need to tighten up the show and make it more of a serious undertaking.

Block Party Quick Hits Time:

--Rumors of Simon Cowell quitting X Factor are running rampant in the UK.

--"The Moment of Truth" gets censored in Greece.

--Season 8 of the World Poker Tour gets 12 stops.

--BBC is showing "Pointless" --a show where you need to give the least popular answer.

--Julianne Hough of Dancing with the Stars is now in the cast of the remake of "Footloose"

--The Next Food Network Star is casting for Season 6 in 2010.

--Hungary gets "Duel"

--"University Challenge" tightens its rules after the March scandal.

--Wheel casts in Boston on June 27th and 28th. And Deal or No Deal casts in New Jersey on the 27th.

--Mario Cantone hosted "Let's Make A Daily Deal" for ebay in New York from June 22-24.

--Adam Lambert is trying to make people forget an album called "On With The Show" which he recorded in 2007/2008. Hi/Fi Recordings/Wilshire Recordings released a first single called "Want" and plans to release it this summer. Oh yeah, Adam Lambert came out in a Rolling Stone Interview.

--Big News for Price is Right fans. For the first time in the show's history they are looking for contestants outside of the parking lot at Studio 33. Contestant screenings are set for June 26 in Burlington, NJ (KYW-TV Philadelphia), July 25 in Brooks, CA (KOVR-TV Sacramento), August 1 in Prior Lake, MN (WCCO-TV Minneapolis) and August 6 in Central City, CO (KCNC-TV Denver), and a date yet to be set in Hammond, IN (WBBM-TV Chicago). Additional cities will be added in the coming weeks. They will be flown to LA.

--Paula Abdul denies reports that all four judges will be back for Season 9.

--Carly Smithson hooks up with three members of the band Evanescence to form the band We Are The Fallen.

--David Hasselhoff moves to the UK for a reality series where he "embraces British culture." They have lined up country pursuits in stately homes including a traditional cockney knees-up, going down a canal on a barge, playing polo and rowing with the Oxford Blues. He will also team up with lifeguards on the Devon coast.

--In a surprise to no one, Susan Boyle has signed with Simon Cowell to record an album.

--David Archuleta's dad was caught in a massage parlor prostitution sting.

--The Science Channel premieres "You Catch it, You Keep It" on July 17.

--Lou Diamond Phillips wins "I'm A Celebrity...."

--GSN promotes 20Q on Facebook.

--1 vs. 100 is still in Beta on XBOX Live. I have played it and it is very cool.

--Carnie Wilson has a 2nd daughter Luciana Bella.

--Howie Mandel will be in the Canada Walk of Fame Sept. 12.

--Biggest Loser is looking for contestants for Season 9. Season 8 airs in the fall.

--Jeff Probst talks Survivor and notes that both Seasons 19 and 20 will be filmed back to back due to budget cuts.

--Drew Carey and the crew of Price make an appearance on Bold and the Beautiful in Mid June. He also uses his fame to help promote the Seattle FC MLS Soccer Team.

--Piers Morgan strips almost naked to promote a "Meat" flavored cologne for Burger King.

--Atlanta is the home for the CBS Show "Block Party" (C-Note: show was since retitled "There Goes the Neighborhood)

--The Colour of Money is cancelled.

--Scott Hostetler writes a book called "Winning Secrets: How to Get on a Game Show and Win"

--Betty White's movie The Proposal is #1 at the Box Office. Yes, I know, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are in it too.

--Emme Hosts "More to Love" on Fox.

--In a surprise to no one, SAG ratifies its deal, which expires in 2011 in a 78% for-22% against vote. Labor Peace for now.

--GSN makes Money List a Cash Game for

--Pat Kiernan Hosts the National Bible Quiz.

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