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Eat Wasabi
October 6

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

We start this week with the return of the now 7 time Emmy winner for best reality competition show, "The Amazing Race." The 15th edition of the reality stalwart returned to CBS this past Sunday. 12 teams started at the Los Angeles River and had to search through a wall of license plates to find 11 Shinagawa District Tokyo License Plates. In an Amazing Race first, married yoga teachers Eric and Lisa were eliminated at the starting gate. They couldn't find the license plate and didn't get to go along to Tokyo. I know I might be in the minority, but I loved that the game was on from moment one.

When the teams got to Tokyo, the Amazing Race gave a loving tweak to ABC's "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" by putting the teams through Sushi Roulette! Every time I heard "EAT WASABI!" I was laughing out loud. When the oversized wheel landed on a team, one member had to finish a "wasabi bomb" in 2 minutes to get their next clue which involved escorting Japanese tourists through the very congested Shibuya Crossing. Maria and Tiffany didn't escort all their tourists to the Pit Stop at Konnō Hachimangū Shrine, and came in last after leg one. Lucky for them it was a non-elimination leg. They suffered a 2 hour penalty for losing 2 Japanese tourists. While they waited, the teams went to Vietnam where they had to venture to a remote fishing village called Cai Be. While in Cai Be, the teams traveled by boat to fertilize fruit trees in deep thick cement like mud. After getting down and dirty, the terms had to herd ducks. After all of that, dating couple Garrett and Jessica were the 2nd team eliminated.

Everything that has made the show work is back including the continued high production values and editing that are hallmarks of the show. You have the likeable and non-likeable characters, including Lance and Keri who are clearly edited to be the villains.

The only quibble I have is that three of the teams are "celebrity teams". They include professional poker players Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle, Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap and her husband Brian Kleinschmidt, and Harlem Globetrotters Nate "Big Easy" Lofton and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang. Canaan Smith is a musician and wrote the country song "Runaway", which charted in March 2009. He is playing with his girlfriend Mika. I wish the casting department would find more qualified people that are "non-celebrity" teams than a 25% ratio of Celebrity Players to non-celebrity players.

But overall, the Amazing Race might just have to make room for an 8th consecutive Emmy. The show is back in a big way. And I loved every minute of it.

We have lots of Price is Right news to report: Firstly, the Price is Right Live is back at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut from October 30th to November 18th. Alan Thicke takes over host duties for the live version of the show.

Second of all, the official website of TPIR, is holding a survey through October 16th where you can vote on your favorite prizes of 2009. Those prizes will be featured in a "best of 2009" New Year's Eve show. 

Finally,'s Joel Keller published an interview on September 24th where Drew Carey reflected on certain issues related to Price:

On The Perfect Showcase bid:

--"It didn't look good. I thought it was a really dark day in the history of the show, actually. I wasn't happy at all, obviously. And I didn't, you know, they showed it in December when the audience was supposed to be the...Yeah, they showed it out of order. They showed when there was (supposed to be) our lowest audience watching, during the couple weeks before Christmas. I mean, you'd think, if they were really happy with it, they would've showed it in the fall."

On calling certain fans '"telephone pole screamers" after reading the webpage:

--Yeah. (I read the webpage) because there was a producer on the show who followed it very closely and was concerned about what they were saying, what they thought. And as far as they were concerned, those were the real fans of the show.  And the problem was, The Price Is Right had no website. And won't until a couple weeks from now. By the end of September, they promise will be up. (J-Note: It is.)  You know, this is the year 2009. And they haven't had a website. And as a matter of fact, the night before I met Barbara Bloom and (CBS entertainment president) Nina Tassler about hosting the show, I went to their website because I thought 'Oh, I'll go on their website and I'll look, so I don't look like an idiot when I show up.' Because I didn't watch Price Is Right every single day. And there was no website. I was just shocked.  And the CBS website, at the time, was horrible. It's way better now, but at the time, it was like honestly, like a Geocities page. It was really, really bad. And that's when they just had decided to revamp everything to be fair. And it's really so much better now. But at the time, it was nowhere.

And I thought 'Wow, they don't have a website.' So the thing is, if you wanted to get a message board message out, or get anything out to fans that are already on the web, and already into all this technology, there was nothing to do. And these guys from this website were into it, and they were fans, and that became kind of like the de facto official website for Price Is Right, because there wasn't anything. The show didn't have anything. And that's a really big problem, when you take your message of the show, and you farm that out to somebody else."

On The Drewcases:

--I didn't like the showcases the way they were. I never liked them. Yeah. Never liked them. And soon as I had the chance, man, I was like, 'We're getting rid of these.' I felt bad because I was making fun of the showcases in some of them, because the prizes weren't connected together. It was like a prize, and then an unrelated prize, and then a third unrelated prize that was unrelated to the other two. And I was thinking of funny ways to like link them together so it would be funny. And now, the way the showcases are, one prize is tied with the next, is tied with the next. The prizes are so good, you don't have to do anything. You just say 'Hey, look at these cool prizes.' I don't feel compelled to try to funny it up to make it more interesting.

He continues: "I liked Rich in the dunk tank. I like the models talking. There's a lot of good things, but you know, there's Rich in the dunk tank, and then I forget the three prizes, but it was because there was these three different prizes, you know what I mean? And you try to think of, 'What can we do to connect it all together? I'll put Rich in a dunk tank.' That'll be the connective tissue.

And now, we don't have (to do that). Like today we had a baseball one. It was a batting cage, an actual New York hot dog vendor cart that you could tow behind your car, and you could have in your backyard, for parties and stuff. So you had a hot dog cart, a trip to Chicago at a nice hotel, money to see baseball games, and a trip to Japan to see a Japanese ball club. So it's not a batting cage, a trip to Chicago, and a trip to Japan.

The third prize (in a showcase) always had to be a car, boat, or a trailer. That was the way it went. It was a prize, a prize, and then a car, boat, or a trailer. Unless there was three trips. So it was these great trips, and we just put them all together with this baseball theme. And we had Rachel in a batting helmet and a bat, and it was just great. There's nothing you need to add to that to try to make it funny, it's just a really cool showcase."

Those are some very interesting thoughts from Drew. He is not going to make everyone happy, but that is not his way. He is going to make the show in his own image. Let us see if this is the year he finally makes it his own. The season is only two weeks old, but so far so good when it comes to Drew.

Block Party Quick Hits:

--NBC Greenlights 8 episodes of "Perfect 10". The concept: Contestants will be faced with 10 tasks they must complete in 60 seconds. A lot of people are comparing this to the British Game Show "The Cube." which debuted on August 22nd on ITV. On The Cube, contestants have to complete 7 increasingly difficult tasks in a 3X3X3 cube to win up to 250,000 pounds. They are given 9 lives and 2 helps. The helps, which can be used only one time, are: "Simplify", which makes the game easier and "Trial Run" which gives the contestant a chance to complete the task with no penalty. Simplify can be used at any time, but Trial Run can be used after the 2nd game. Speaking of The Cube, news broke on Buzzerblog late Thursday afternoon that Fox has picked up The Cube for a US Run in 2010. The site quotes the UK website Broadcast Now where managing director Andrew O’Connor said FOX plans to keep the ITV style that the show is known for. Fox has yet to confirm or officially announce the pickup at this time.

--Hell's Kitchen is casting the NY/NJ/CT/Philadelphia Area.

--Michael Kors returns as a panelist to "Project Runway".

--Call Genie signs with Endemol to make a sweepstakes for Deal or No Deal.

--Germany joins in the 10th anniversary celebration of Millionaire.

--A new documentary "Wages of Spin", claims Dick Clark was more involved in the payola scandal of 1960 than first reported.

--CT Governor Jodi Rell tours the set of Deal or No Deal.

--Mark Burnett is now producer of "The People's Choice Awards."

--In "Bachelor" news, the new Bachelor will be announced on Dancing With the Stars on October 13th.

--Charlie Moonves is the newest member of the Moonves family, courtesy of Julie Chen.

--Richard Hatch will stay in Jail until October 16th..

Jason Block currently owes the rest of GSNN no more than two sushi dinners. E-mail him at