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Looking Forward to September 10th - September 4
This is Jason Block, and it's now the unofficial end of summer. Labor Day has come and gone, some kids are back in school, some kids are going back to school...and all the parents are happy! But for game show fans like myself, September 10 is a huge day for us. No less than 7 shows premiere that day..and two of them premiere for the very first time.
Let's take a look at the 5 veterans and 2 newcomers and see what they have in store.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE:  This one is making the biggest splash in syndication, as it is celebrating it's 25th year in Syndication in a huge way! First of all, in the end of September, Wheel returns to my hometown of NYC to tape three weeks of shows including "People Celebrity Week", "Best Friends Week" and "Heroes Week" which celebrates police officers, paramedics and firefighters. This of course will air during November Sweeps. We will have flashbacks, congratulatory messages from celebs and others. You will be able to send your greetings to Wheel's webpage.
We have new wedges like the "25" wedge, where people can win prizes in multiples of 25! We have the Big Money Round with the first changing wedge with values up to $25,000! We have new categories like "What Are you Doing", "What are you making?" and Fictional Families" and the road show will head to Chicago in 2008 to air in May. Plus, I would expect a lot of home viewer sweeps, including more uses of the SPIN ID. All in all, a huge year for the Wheel this year.
JEOPARDY!: Don't sleep on the sister show. We are going into syndication season number 24. Expect the good things like "Back to School Week" and the Teen Tournament, as well as the College Tournament. These signature tourneys along with the hope that another Ken Jennings or Dave Madden comes along, will keep this show rolling along.
FAMILY FEUD:  The little show that could rolls on into it's 9th season in syndication, with the 2nd Season of John O'Hurley at the helm. O'Hurley brought a great breath of fresh air, along with the new set. With the host search for The Price is Right behind him, I think O'Hurley can concentrate on making the show a continued success.
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE:  This show enters it's 6th season, coming off the show's highest ratings to date. The big question will happen at the end of this season. Will Meredith Vieira--the voice and face of the syndicated version, leave at the end of this year when her contract expires? And if she does, who will host it? Bergeron? Roker? Lane? Someone off the radar? My hope is that the powers that be will work something out with NBC so that she can do both "Today" and Millionaire. But this story will play out later on in the year or early 2008.
THAT'S THE QUESTION: Believe it or not, this moderate GSN hit comes back for season 2 with Bob Goen back again as host. Let us hope that the quality control of the show is a little better than last season, with spelling errors and question errors kept to a minimum, if none at all. GSN needs another hit in a big way and let's hope this does the job.
And now, the two newcomers:
MERV GRIFFIN'S CROSSWORDS: This is the one with the biggest hype, Merv Griffin's death last week notwithstanding. We have a show that got off the ground without a pilot and is now here. The questions that will be answered: Is Ty Treadway a good host? Is the show a good game? And will the show live up to the high expectations due to the name of Merv Griffin alone? My senses say this one will live up to the hype.
TEMPTATION: THE ALL-NEW SALE OF THE CENTURY: Of the two new shows, this one worries me. It worries me a lot. First off, I am not sure of the "Home-shopping Twist" where you can buy the items that the contestants can. And two, I am not sure if they are going to concentrate on that, or the gameplay. If they keep the gameplay, fine. If not, they are going to upset a lot of game show fans out there, myself included. I hold out hope, though.
So there you have it. 7 shows...and I hope you guys have your DVR's ready. Because this season looks like it's going to be a good one.

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