The World Hasn't Come To An
End... At Least Not Yet
As soon as I finished recording last
week’s podcast...my phone and IM’s exploded... "Did you hear? Did you
hear?" And of course, we have the stunning news that Roger Dobkowitz,
the 36 yr veteran of The Price is Right since its daytime inception on
September 4, 1972 was let go or fired–depending on the version of the
story. FremantleMedia, the parent company of the show wants to take the
show in a "new direction."
Let me break it down for you in the only way I know how. First off,
let’s look at it from the Dob’s perspective. He got hosed, screwed, or
whatever you call it. He was a major remnant of the Barker era, and if
you were going to go into that new direction...he had to go. What we do
know is this, according to Golden-Road.net, Kathy Greco has assumed the
role of Producer, with Stan Blits, Sue MacIntyre, and Adam Sandler
assisting for the time being with the tasks assigned to Roger. Also, the
show is scheduled to make the full transition to HD in the fall, along
with a new pricing game.
That is all we know at this time. Everything else is unconfirmed
And speaking of Golden-Road.net when the news broke the reaction they
had was, to put it mildly, a bit presumptive. They(and a lot of members
of the community on it) treated the departure of Dobkowitz and the
rumored radical changes as if a family member had died. It was the
typical overblown "The World is Over" fanboy reaction. It was the same
way when new host Drew Carey was chosen over Todd Newton to replace long
running host Bob Barker in 2007. But this time, they closed down most of
the website for a few days, depriving the casual fans their #1 fan
created source of Price News. This always happens in radio and TV when a
political commentator or disk jockey says something they don’t like. "I
will never watch or listen to you again" is the usual refrain...until
the next time.
A lot of people have still not given Drew Carey a chance because he
isn’t Bob Barker. And that is a shame, because a) they are unfairly
blaming the 15-20% ratings drop on him and b) that is being incredibly
closed minded...because he is doing a damn good job at the end of his
first complete season.
Where do we go from here? Believe it or not, I am cautiously optimistic.
I don’t believe that FremantleMedia will "radically change" TPIR to the
point where it becomes unrecognizable to the casual fan. If they do it,
it is suicidal. And I don’t think they want to strangle the golden
And as for the fan reaction...sorry, but grow up. Changes in life
happen. I am not ready to jump off the cliff yet. Until we get
LEGITIMATE, CONFIRMED CHANGES from the July 20 tapings and beyond, it is
Finally, a thank you to Mr. Dobkowitz, who I had the pleasure of
speaking to on my last trip to California. He is one of the classier
guys in this business, and I am sorry he had to go out this way...not on
his own terms. But, life goes on, people. Life goes on.
Last week, I reported to you on the
teasers that Sony has been promising for Season 26. Now, we have a
confirmation from Sony itself: For 25 years, enthusiastic contestants
shouting "big money!" have been a trademark of the Wheel of Fortune
experience. Beginning Monday, September 8, the most popular game show in
television history will give the players something really big to shout
about: the all-new Million Dollar Bonus Round.
A One Million Dollar Wedge will be in play through the first three
rounds. If a contestant lands on the wedge, solves the puzzle and makes
it to the Bonus Round without hitting bankrupt, they will have the
chance to spin the bonus wheel and could be playing for a top cash prize
of $1 million.
"Raising the stakes so dramatically could make this our richest season
ever," said Executive Producer Harry Friedman. "And our viewers can
share in the thrill of knowing that on every show, one of our
contestants could have the chance to become a millionaire. The Wheel of
Fortune Million Dollar Bonus Round promises to become the most exciting
10 seconds on television."
The ball is now is SAG’s Court now. And
this is from broadwayworld.com: The American Federation of Television
and Radio Artists (AFTRA) announced today that AFTRA members ratified a
new three-year primetime television agreement (Exhibit A of the AFTRA
Network Television Code) reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and
Television Producers (AMPTP) by a 62.4% margin.
AFTRA—the nation’s second largest performers’ union—represents more than
70,000 actors, recording artists, broadcasters, and other talent working
in the entertainment and media industries. AFTRA National President
Roberta Reardon made the following statement:
"Today’s vote reflects the ability of AFTRA members to recognize a solid
contract when they see it. Despite an unprecedented disinformation
campaign aimed at interfering with our ratification process, a majority
of members ultimately focused on what mattered—the obvious merits of a
labor agreement that contains substantial gains for every category of
performer in both traditional and new media. Clearly, this was not a
typical ratification process, and it would be disingenuous to pretend
otherwise. To those of us for whom labor solidarity is more than just a
slogan, the idea that politically-motivated leaders of one union would
use their members’ dues to attack another union is unconscionable.
Working people do not benefit when their union is under attack.
"For the sake of our members, organized labor must be united, especially
in a world of ever-increasing corporate consolidation. Given this, AFTRA
leadership is eager to focus on several important initiatives in the
months to come:
1) Building on the suggestion of our valued supporters, we will seek to
organize a summit of top actors, performers, and union leaders to engage
in a thoughtful, constructive discussion of how we can achieve unity
among performers—and ultimately, if feasible, merger of the performers’
2) Given that working men and women accomplish more when we work
together with trust and mutual respect, we will ask the leadership of
the AFL-CIO AEMI ICC unions, the DGA, WGA, and others in the labor
community to come together well in advance of the next round of contract
negotiations to explore ways of maximizing the leverage of entertainment
3) Finally, I intend to promptly review with our National elected
leadership and the Presidents of all AFTRA Locals the conditions needed
to restore trust to re-establish joint bargaining on our respective
"I sincerely appreciate the committed work of the negotiating committee,
elected leaders, the labor community, and individual activist members of
AFTRA who worked tirelessly and publicly to secure this solid contract
for television industry performers. I am especially grateful for the
support of many joint members of SAG and AFTRA—such as those in Chicago,
Florida, Houston, Nashville, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and
Seattle—who displayed courage in the face of potential retribution, by
taking a stand against disunity with the power of truth and solidarity."
Negotiations with the AMPTP over the AFTRA Primetime TV contract began
on May 7. They concluded on May 28 with a tentative agreement that was
unanimously recommended for approval by AFTRA’s 31-member negotiating
committee. The AFTRA National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved
the primetime television contract on June 7 and recommended the deal to
members, which was ratified today. The new contract is effective from
July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2011.
AFTRA contracts cover more than 70% of the programming hours on major
AFTRA primetime TV dramas and situation comedies include "Rules of
Engagement," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Flight of the Conchords," "Dante’s
Cove," "Til Death," "Reaper," "Project Gary," "Harper’s Island,"
"Roman’s Empire," and the new "90210."
The AFTRA Network Code, which was ratified by AFTRA members on April 30,
also covers actors and all on-camera and off-camera talent on all forms
of television programming: reality shows, syndicated dramas, daytime
serials, game shows, talk shows, variety and musical programs, news,
sports, and promotional announcements. Programs covered by the Code
include "American Idol," "Dancing with the Stars," "Late Show with David
Letterman," "Good Morning America," "20/20," "The View," "The Tonight
Show," "Oprah," "The Price is Right," "Deal or No Deal," "America’s Next
Top Model," "Days of Our Lives," "All My Children," "Cake," "Saturday
Night Live," "Entertainment Tonight," and "Survivor," among others.
My guess is now, SAG will HAVE to settle sooner rather than later. They
do not want to have another strike on their hands alone.
Now, the next story is close to my
heart....because I can finally announce that the reason why I was away
in May and June of this year was the fact that I taped an appearance on
this next show.
"Catch-21" is premiering July 21, 2008 on GSN. And here is more about it
from PR Newswire:
GSN announced today the premiere of "Catch-21" an original,
40-episode-series, beginning on Monday July 21st at 7:30PM E/6:30PM C.
The new television series, created by executive producer Merrill Heatter
and executive produced by Scott Sternberg, comes to GSN with fast-action
entertainment that blends pop trivia with the tension-filled excitement
of the classic card game, 21. Alfonso Ribeiro makes his game show host
debut quizzing contestants three at a time, as they compete to win
larger-than-life playing cards and try to build the closest hand to 21.
With every card they are dealt, contestants gain the power to make their
opponent's hand worse by passing their card. The popular online casual
game, "Catch-21", was created by WorldWinner and is available on GSN.com.
Harnessing the popularity of the "Catch-21" online game, the new
"Catch-21" is the latest example of a true cross-platform collaboration
for GSN. One of the top games on GSN.com, the online game challenges
players to speed through a deck of cards to make as many 21s as possible
within the time limit. Hundreds of thousands of online game players now
have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite casual game as a TV show,
while TV viewers can become contestants by logging on and competing
against other players for cash and prizes. "Catch-21" will also be
available as a free Flash game on GSN.com and AOL's Games.com, and as a
free, advertising-supported mobile game, developed in collaboration with
mobile publisher Cellufun.
"Merrill Heatter is a legend and he and Scott Sternberg Productions have
done an amazing job bringing this classic card game to life in a fun way
that engages the audience," said Jamie Roberts, Senior Vice President of
Programming, GSN. "Alfonso really embraced his first role as a game show
host and his enthusiasm and personality shine through to the
contestants, audience and viewers alike."
Veteran game show producer and four-time Emmy Award winner, Heatter
said, "The anticipation element that viewers will experience with every
turn of a card will keep the viewer at the edge of their seats and
invite them to play-along with every decision the contestants make."
Ribeiro, who's well-known for his role on the hit 90's show "Fresh
Prince of Bel-Air" and his $100,000 win on "Celebrity Duets" (donated to
charity), makes his game show host debut and said of his experience,
"Working with GSN and Merrill Heatter has been a great first
opportunity. Tune in and check it out for yourself. It's definitely a
This show is part knowledge, part nerve and part strategy, every correct
answer is a chance to add a card and build a better hand or pass the
card and "bust" the competition. Putting a twist on a classic and very
familiar game, players match wits and put victory on the line in every
round with the turn of a card and the next correct answer. In addition,
every correct answer gives a player control of the deck and the option
of "freezing" their hand to protect themselves from being "busted" later
in the round.
After three elimination rounds of exhilarating game-play, the last
player standing takes on the house for a shot at up to $25,000 cash in
the final prize round. The day's winner draws from a larger-than-life
deck and gets three concurrent chances to build 21, and the use of up to
three "power chips" (collected for each round won) to discard unwanted
cards. With the potential cash prize increasing with every hand
successfully built to 21, the jackpot is theirs if the player is able to
build all three hands to 21.
This new television series was created by executive producer Merrill
Heatter, whose credits include creating and producing "The Hollywood
Squares," "High Rollers," "Gambit" and more than 30 other television
series. Sternberg's game show credits include "Rock and Roll Jeopardy,"
two seasons of "That's The Question" for GSN, and "The Gong Show." GSN's
latest franchise endeavor deals a full deck of fun and entertainment.
Leading up to the premiere of "Catch-21", GSN will broadcast "The Making
of a Game Show: Catch-21", a 30-minute behind-the-scenes special that
will provide viewers with inside access to the show with interviews and
exclusive footage featuring Ribeiro. The behind-the-scenes special will
air on Saturday July 19th at 4:00PM E/3:00PM C and Sunday July 20th at
2:00PM E/1:00PM C and 10:00PM E/9:00PM C.
Following original runs of "Catch-21", weeknights at 7:30PM E/6:30PM C,
repeat episodes will air Tuesdays through Saturdays at 10:00PM E/9:00PM
C and Sundays at 10:00PM E/9:00PM C and 10:30PM E /9:30PM C.
Has Big Brother gotten – smart? After
last year’s Adam Jasinski debacle...they better have. This is the story
about Big Brother 10...which debuted last Sunday. From the AP: "Big
Brother 10" is returning to its roots.
The claustrophobic CBS reality show is sealing 13 actual strangers — no
ex lovers, secret twin partners or long-lost siblings this time — inside
a makeshift house on a Studio City soundstage for the chance to be the
last houseguest standing and take home the $500,000 grand prize.
"There’s somebody for everyone in this cast," executive producer Allison
Grodner recently told The Associated Press at CBS Radford Studios. "It’s
going to be interesting to see people that come from such opposite
worlds living together, which has always been a part of this show, but
this season, we really do have our most diverse group ever."
The contestants — which will include a high school teacher from
Dearborn, gay bull rider, a Hooters waitress, a professional bodybuilder
and a 75-year-old former Marine — will spend the summer competing in
challenges and evicting each other while being monitored by over 50
cameras. It’s the first time since the show’s third season that the
houseguests are all strangers.
"When approaching this season, we wanted to look at what made this spark
and last for 10 seasons," said Grodner, who’s worked on "Big Brother"
since the second season. "Every season had its unique twist. I think, in
a way, going back to basics and having the cast be all strangers is part
of the twist of ’10.’ Of course, there will be more."
In last season’s first-ever winter edition of "Big Brother," which was
quickly put into production because of the writers strike, contestants
were partnered with each other and evicted as pairs for the first four
weeks of competition. Grodner said a new "Big Brother 10" gameplay twist
would be introduced during the premiere episode on Sunday.
"It’s really a power-play," teased Grodner. "The game will actually
start before they enter the house." Dan Gheesling, 24, of Dearborn, has
been invited to the audition finals three times.
"My personality traits will play into my strategy and make this an easy
summer for me," Gheesling said.
In recent seasons, contestants have come under fire outside the house
for controversial remarks made inside the house. During the eighth
season, Amber Siyavus said that Jewish people tend to be "really
money-hungry" and "selfish." Last season’s winner Adam Jasinski was
fired by a nonprofit autism organization because he used the word
"Those types of comments are not something we want to happen," said
Grodner. "It’s a live show. It’s not censored on the Internet. These are
real people. We aren’t telling them what to say, but we’re not telling
them what not to say either. Things do happen. We, of course, can choose
what we put in the show, and we do so carefully."
This season’s contestants seem to be more aware of the repercussions of
their actions from the outset. Before meeting their competitors or
entering the house, the "Big Brother 10" cast was individually
interviewed by the AP while they were voluntarily sequestered — no
television, newspapers or telephones — from the outside world in a
Studio City hotel.
"If you make a mistake and say the wrong things, you may offend people
and be known for that forever," said Steven Daigle, a 35-year-old
geographic consultant and gay rodeo competitor from Dallas. "People make
mistakes. If I do make a mistake, I hope I can learn from it and know
that was some part of my life that I was ignorant or uneducated about."
The rooms inside the "Big Brother" house this season will be themed to
different decades. The kitchen, for example, resembles a ’50s diner
while one of the bedrooms is filled with ’70s-inspired furnishings. The
timeliness extends to this season’s crop of contestants. At 75, Gerry
MacDonald will be the oldest "Big Brother" houseguest ever. "Age does
not bother me," MacDonald told the AP. "I hope it doesn’t bother them."
Libra Thompson, a married 31-year-old human resources representative
from Spring, Texas, left behind her husband and three children —
including 4-month-old twins — to participate in "Big Brother 10." During
production, Thompson and the other "Big Brother" contestants are
prohibited from communicating with the outside world.
"It’s better for me that they’re younger," said Thompson of her
newborns. "At four months old, they’re not going to remember much. It’s
probably going to be a little bit more difficult for my 4-year-old.
However, I’m going to stay focused and remember the reason I’m here, and
that’s the cash. That will help me."
Prize money talks.
"I’m motivated because I’m a big fan of the show, but I’m more motivated
that I have a chance to win $500,000," said Angie Swindell, a
29-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Orlando, Fla. "I
just have to keep telling myself that if I start feeling all queasy
about the 24-7 thing, there’s an end to the means."
April Dowling, a 30-year-old car dealership finance manager from Higley,
Ariz., said she doesn’t think the "Big Brother" experience will be any
more difficult than the time she had to spend 15 days in a "tent city"
jail for drunk-driving charges. She also believes living in the house
may remedy some of her obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
"I have seen a therapist," said Dowling. "They tried to put me on
anti-anxiety medication, but I’m not big on prescription medication. I
just don’t like to take it. I’m actually hoping the ’Big Brother’
experience will be therapeutic. My life will not end if the green beans
aren’t behind the corn in the pantry."
Here is the full roster:
- Michelle Costa; 28; Cumberland, RI
- Steven Daigle; 35; Dallas
- April Dowling; 30; Higley, AZ
- Robert "Memphis" Garrett; 25; Los Angeles
- Dan Gheesling; 24; Dearborn, MI
- Jessie Godderz; 22; Huntington Beach, CA
- Brian Hart; 27; San Francisco
- Renny Martyn; 53; Metairie, LA
- Gerry McDonald; 75; Magnolia, TX
- Bryan Ollie; 27; Bloomington, MN
- Keesha Smith; 29; Burbank, CA
- Angie Swindell; 29; Orlando
- Libra Thompson; 31; Spring, TX
And I can’t end the week without another
shot of Tila Tequila. Ok, I could. But this one is too good to pass up.
After her tumultuous "breakup" with Kristy, she posted this poem on her
MySpace page as quoted on people.com:
Can’t wait for this drama to pass.
Oh the joy…..—- you. My —.
Live a lie.
Tell my mind.
Over soon. I can’t deny.
You will all soon see, the truth in my eyes.
Smile on my face, the loving embrace….but instead I’ll punch you in the
For a long time coming….I let you touch me….now that it’s over —–….You
better start running.
Pent up inside….telling these lies….this has gone too far…..the world
will soon die.
Robert Frost, she ain’t. And besides, she isn’t going away. According to
her blog, she has a new album and a book deal called "Hooking Up With
Tila Tequila" which she is going to be doling out advice about
relationships, sex and all that good stuff.
Let’s finish this tumultuous week with
the random newsbits:
–Condolences to the family of Eric Lieber, the producer of "Love
Connection" who died this past week. He was 71.
--Fuse is debuting a new music/dating show called "You Rock, Let’s Roll"
on July 14.
–CBS has hired a bunch of dogs to walk around New York to promote
"Greatest American Dog"...and they also have a page on dogster.com which
is billed as "Facebook for Dogs."
–Bob Barker may get his own street in Springfield, Missouri.
–Deutsche Telekom hires Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts to star
in an ad.
–Mark Burnett gets sued over alleged non-payment of Survivor profits.
–Former Deal or No Deal model Meghan Markle will be on the CW’s "Beverly
–Blind Date may come back to the UK, and Terry Wogan’s Total Recall
debuts on Channel 4.
–Sarah Silverman won’t be playing the Match Game.
–Christopher Knight breaks his arm and withdraws from Celebrity Circus.
–Strike.tv is planning to launch an online game show.
That’s all for now. For the Block Party, this is Jason Block reminding
you to take a deep breath...count to 10 and remember, don’t just play
fair...play to win!
That's Jason Block on
Catch-21. Watch it. E-mail him at