Thanks for visiting!

SS Monday SS Tuesday SS Wednesday SS Thursday SS Friday SS Weekend SS Archives Primes Lineup About Us
InSites On the Buzzer Numbers Game State of Play WLTI Block Party Video Wall Replay News Archive Contact

January 13
January 27
February 4
February 11
February 18
February 25
March 10
March 17
March 24
March 31
April 7
April 28
May 19
May 26
June 30
July 7
July 14
July 28
August 4

Opinions expressed in Block Party do not necessarily reflect those held by Game Show Newsnet as a whole.

Copyright Statement

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. Copyrighted material appearing on this site constitutes fair use, and no challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander.

Playing Catchup
September 29

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

It's been a while since I have been with you guys due to a work project, but I am back. What I am going to do is catch up on news and notes in a show by show format. No time to waste, so let's get to it.

Last Sunday, THE AMAZING RACE won its 7th consecutive Emmy for Best Reality Competition show. Also, Jeff Probst of SURVIVOR won for the 2nd year in a row as Best Reality Competition Host.

Speaking of SURVIVOR, on September 17th the show returned for its 19th Season from the island of Samoa. The granddaddy of gameplay/social experiments is back in fine form. Russell has come out right away and has decided to take on the role of villain. But as we know, it is people like last season's winner JT, who played under the radar and earned a unanimous 7-0 vote from the jury. I believe Russell is playing the game way too early and will be found out eventually. Too many "villains" do not remember that this is a balanced combination of social experimentation and physical/mental challenge. Kudos to CBS for a promotional viral video which parodied the "Dharma" films from Lost. Jeff Probst showed his sense of humor by claiming there was a secret way to avoid tribal council which was conveniently censored.

THE AMAZING RACE debuts on September 27th and if the previews indicate anything, the show isn't going to stray too far from the gameplay that won the show 7 Emmys. If that is the case, the viewers have nothing to worry about.

AMERICAN IDOL has had a very tumultuous summer. Paula Abdul quit the show, and announced her resignation via twitter. Fox announced a lineup of guest judges for the Season 9 audition process which included Mary J. Blige, Katy Perry, Victoria Beckham and others. Kara Dioguardi has resigned on as the fourth judge. But the biggest shock was the announcement that Ellen DeGeneres has signed on as the permanent third judge. The media spin on her announcement is that she is going to be the "fan's voice". I am going to take a wait and see attitude on this one. But I think it took a lot of guts for Fox to sign Ellen and overall it is going to pay off. And a big boo to Paula Abdul for making fun of Ellen by dancing down the aisle in an Ellen wig on VH1 Divas Live. Way to take the high road.

It seems that Season 6 finalist Chris Sligh has a case of the sour grapes. He recently posted on his blog an "open letter to the season 8 finalists" about how you can't be successful post-Idol unless you win.

He said, "You're not going to be're not going to be millionaires (with the exception of MAYBE Kris [Allen] and Adam [Lambert]). You are going to struggle. No one will care about you."

He continued, "You are just a game show contestant who still needs to prove why you should be here...In other words, your days of being a star are over. But that's all right-so are mine. And I'm one of the most successful for my season of Idol. I'm not a star. Chances are I never again will be."

Call the waaa-ambulance. I can count people like Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Kimberly Caldwell, Bo Bice, and a host of others who have made their careers post Idol, and none of them won. This was a major case of Sligh using his blog to get publicity for himself, nothing more.

Three Major Favorites returned to high ratings and critical acclaim. TOP CHEF's new season takes place in Las Vegas and everything about the show that worked is back in a big way. We have a lot of bold flavors, bold personalities and the setting is being used correctly. PROJECT RUNWAY's long delay in court didn't have any lasting effect as it has returned for Season 6 on Lifetime with its highest ratings ever. Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Michael Kors are back for more high fashion drama in the new location of Los Angeles. The judging has been PERFECT as everyone eliminated so far has deserved to leave. I love Tim Gunn more than ever. This is great stuff. What isn't great is the Runway spinoff MODELS OF THE RUNWAY. This series just doesn't have the same pizzazz or depth of Runway. THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER is back with Kimbo Slice and 15 other heavyweights fighting along side coaches Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Take two coaches who hate each other, add 16 young bucks, mix testosterone along with internet sensation Slice(who is fighting for UFC on December 5) and that equals ratings gold.

We had a few shows end recently. AMERICA'S GOT TALENT ended Season 4 with Susan Boyle promoting her new album. Country singer and hopefully former chicken catcher Kevin Skinner won the Las Vegas Contract and the $1 Million Dollar Prize. But this season was a very disappointing one as the judging was awful and inconsistent. More importantly Nick Cannon seemed neutered. All the positive aspects of his hosting ability seemed to be bottled back stage and what we saw was a robotic Nick Cannon who could have been replaced by anyone else.

BIG BROTHER had another crazy summer as Chima Simone got kicked off for a nasty tirade and the damaging of electronic equipment. But 22 yr old waitress Jordan Lloyd won the $500,000. Ratings for the UK version of Big Brother are so bad that it will be cancelled by Channel 4 in 2010. But the ratings for the show in the US went up. Season 12 is pretty much a guarantee for the Summer of 2010.

DANCING WITH THE STARS has returned for another season. Now the definition of "stars" gets wider and wider as each cycle pass as we have former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, MMA Fighter Chuck Liddell and others dancing for the coveted disco ball trophy. Was anyone surprised by the first week elimination of Macy Gray or Ashley Hamilton? I didn’t think so.

AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL is back for it's 13th Cycle. This time around, Tyra and the crew are looking for models under 5'7" This show should be watched by the production staff of "Models of the Runway" so they can see how this is supposed to be done.

On the game show side, WHEEL OF FORTUNE and JEOPARDY are back for new seasons. On Jeopardy, the High Definition set which debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show is now in permanent residence. We also have the Celebrity Invitational. On the third Thursday of every month, three celebrities will go at it for a shot at a minimum $50,000. The winner will advance to a final where the winning celebrity gets $1,000,000 for his/her charity. One episode of that tournament has been shown, but Andy Richter looks like a force to be reckoned with. His $68,000 win for St. Jude's Children's Hospital was very impressive.

On WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the Free Spin is gone after 26 years. We now have the Free Play wedge, which is available all rounds. If a player hits the wedge, they can call a vowel without losing money. They can also call a consonant earning $500 a letter. If they miss, they do not lose their turn. And after seeing it in action, I believe this is another tweak that works. It doesn't slow the pace of the game.

Next is THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Season 37 ended with a lot of potential. Season 38 began with a ton of new changes. Syd Vinnedge was moved up the Fremantle ladder. Mike Richards became sole executive producer. The set has been expanded and upgraded for High Definition. Contestants Row and the Showcase Podiums are now full LCD Displays. The turntable area has been expanded and it looks gorgeous. R. Brian DiPirro has added newer camera angles to make the presentation look fresh and new. The introduction copy has been changed at Drew's request from "Here's the star" to "Here's The Host".

But the Season 38 opener on September 21st didn't feel like a Season premiere. The problem was we saw the same scattershot hosting that is a trademark of the Drew Carey era. There were moments when the viewers saw that he gets it. And then there were moments when you cringed. What was up with Craig Ferguson? That was a waste of a celebrity appearance.

And during the plugs for the webpage, Drew called it the "Best Price is Right" web site ever. Was that a bit of shameless self-promotion or was it a slight jab at

This is the year where Drew HAS to step up. This HAS to be the year he makes the show his own without alienating the fanbase.

I thought it was pretty cool to see Bob Barker hosting WWE Raw (a/k/a The Price is Raw) a few weeks ago. He was promoting his book "Priceless Memories" and both Barker and the wrestlers seemed to have a blast. They took elements of Price such as Contestants row and integrated it into the WWE product in a seamless and fun manner. Both Barker and the WWE had a healthy respect for each other and it showed. This was great to watch and it looked like Barker could host Price now, even at 86 years old.

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE was very busy this summer. We had the mildly successful primetime run on ABC where yours truly along with a bunch of former Millionaire contestants visited Regis and the gang. It was nice to see the fastest finger return, but the overall consensus was that the syndicated format and Regis didn't mesh. On the last night of the run, there was incredibly compelling television as Ken Basin a 24 yr old lawyer from Los Angeles became the first person to see the Million Dollar Question and lose. He lost $475,000 on this question:

In the category--Bottoms Up!

For ordering his favorite beverages on demand, LBJ had four buttons installed in the Oval Office labeled "coffee," "tea," "Coke" and what?
A: Fresca
B: V8
C: Yoo-hoo
D: A&W

He said Yoo Hoo, and the answer was Fresca. Some people, including myself, thought he came off as arrogant and cocky. Others thought he was gutsy and brave. Either way, it was great to watch. But ABC spoiled the moment yet again by advertising it. The coolest part of the primetime 11 night run was when syndicated host Meredith Vieira came out to ask Regis a question in the hot seat for charity. It was very cool and a symbolic "passing of the torch".

Speaking of the syndicated version, Meredith said the 9 "Ring of Fire" members who didn’t get on when Ken Basin went for the million would be the first contestants on the syndicated shows 8th season premiere. That was a nice gesture. The new season brought a very desperate act called the "Tournament of 10". The tournament works like this: Through November 6th, 10 contestants will be ranked on the basis of time banked and money earned. Those 10 will compete to answer a "Million Dollar Question". They can either a) walk with the money they earned or b) answer the question. If they answer the question correctly, they are not guaranteed to receive the $1M. They can be knocked out if a higher ranked contestant answers the Million Dollar question as well. This reeks of the "Million Dollar Mission" on Deal or No Deal. It was a desperate move which didn't work on Deal, and I don’t believe it will work here.

Finally we have a new money chain on Millionaire, courtesy of BuzzerBlog:

$500 (formerly $100),
$1,000 (formerly $200),
$2,000 (formerly $300),
$3,000 (formerly $500),
$5,000 – “Safety Level” (formerly $1,000),
$7,500 (formerly $2,000),
$10,000(formerly $4,000),
$12,500 (formerly $8,000),
$15,000 (formerly $16,000),
$25,000 – “Safety Level”

Will the new money chain and the Tournament of Ten translate into increased ratings? Only time will tell.

FAMILY FEUD is back for it's 11th syndicated season. The Bullseye round returns for this season and if the family wins 5 days in a row, they win a new car. John O'Hurley is back for his 3rd Season.

DEAL OR NO DEAL is back for it's 2nd syndicated season. Howie Mandel returns and the big news is the show has moved to Connecticut. A lot of theme weeks are planned including WWE Week. Auditions for the show this past summer were incredibly well attended as thousands of people applied for the limited number of spots.

CATCH-21 and the NEWLYWED GAME are both coming back for new seasons on GSN. The Newlywed Game's Carnie Wilson will be back for Season 2. The show has relocated to Los Angeles in part due to Carnie's daughter which was born this past June. The big news is that they are casting for same-sex married couples. Also in their celebrity matches they will have couples such as Christopher Knight and Adrienne Curry, Glenn Cadrez and Brande Roderick, and George Takei and his husband Brad Altman.

On Catch-21, Alfonso Ribeiro and Nikki Padilla return for Season 3. Catch-21 also goes the celebrity route as Deal or No Deal Models, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast members and former child stars compete for charity. Will both shows let real people play as well? I hope so, because both of these shows didn't need gimmicks to boost their ratings.

Finally CASH CAB won it's 2nd consecutive award for best Game Show at the Daytime Emmys. It should be back for another season.

We have a couple of new kids on the block. ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER made its debut in syndication on September 21st and like the syndicated version of Deal or No Deal, they have taken the elements that work and stripped it down to the basics. The pacing is faster and the show works in this half hour format. The rules are this: Contestants can answer 10 questions from 1st to 5th grade and earn up to $25,000. If they miss a question, they go down to 0 dollars. They have a choice at the end to keep their cash and "Drop Out" or go and answer a question to multiply their winnings by 10. If they lose they get $2,500 in a gift card. Jeff Foxworthy as host is still very good. Class members have been pared down from 5 to 3.

The show has two problems. First, the show was not promoted at all during the summer. and the show's web presence was not up until the show debuted. Second, with a double run in syndication and episodes on CMT and MyNetwork TV there is a possibility that the show might run out of episodes too quickly.

On September 28th, BRAINSURGE debuts on Nickelodeon. This is the first game show in years for Nick, and this Japanese import should be a success combining mental and physical challenges.

The big debut happens on October 5th. An hour-long LET'S MAKE A DEAL was greenlit this past summer after a successful pilot starring Wayne Brady. The show, with Brady continuing on as host, started taping September 15 at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This is a huge risk as it is taking the place of Guiding Light, which left the air on September 18th.

Everyone was expecting it to be paired with Michael Davies's and Sony's "The $1,000,000 Pyramid" but the pilot was not picked up by CBS. Personally, I thought Davies got a raw deal.

The good thing Let's Make A Deal is that Brady is a good improv person and his skills on "Don't Forget the Lyrics" will help him navigate the show. And Monty Hall is onboard as a creative consultant, so I don’t believe he will let the show deteriorate into the 2003 Billy Bush debacle.

Block Party Quick Hits:

--Condolences go out to the families of Henry Gibson and Art Ferrante who died this past week.

--Simon Cowell is rumored to be signing a rumored $50M/season for two more years of American Idol and the contract may allow him to bring the X Factor to the US.

--MTV will present "The Ruins", the newest incarnation of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge on September 30th.

--Karina Smirnoff is the latest spokesmodel to go naked for PETA.

--Big news on the game show front: Bob Boden will be head of reality and gameshow development for Hasbro Studios and the new channel which is the combination of Hasbro/Discovery Communications. That Channel will replace Discovery Kids in the fall of 2010. I predict a ton of new game shows coming your way on that channel. And with Boden at the helm, they will be good.

--Kara Dioguardi will be on the View October 15th.

--In my legal briefs, a judge on Friday threw out a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former "The Price is Right" employee named Barbara Curling against CBS and former host Bob Barker.

--Adam Shankman is now the third permanent judge on "So You Can Think You Can Dance".

--Deal or No Deal gets a Japanese version.

--Ethan Zohn's cancer resurfaces. Get well soon, sir.

--Lakisha Jones is a new mom.

--Dancing with The Stars salutes the late Patrick Swayze.

--Betty White gets a Lifetime Achievement Award from SAG on January 23rd. She also will be on 30 Rock.

--The Singing Bee is Casting for Season 2 for a January 2010 broadcast date.

Jason Block is on the Twitter. E-mail him at