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Feeling Like a Million Bucks
October 20

Also available as a podcast. Click to listen!

We start this week with the sad news that legendary game show host Jack Narz, the brother of Jim Narz (a/k/a Tom Kennedy) died this week at the age of 85. He was a host of eight shows, including a syndicated version of “Concentration”, “Now You See It”, and “Beat The Clock”.
He was on a show called “Dotto” in 1958, but avoided the sting of the game show scandals. According to the Los Angeles Times, “While lined up to get tickets for a Broadway show on a Friday night in 1958, Narz was paged to the telephone. On the line was a spokesman for "Dotto" sponsor Colgate-Palmolive, who told him that CBS had determined the daytime show was rigged and that it would not air the next Monday. The version that aired nights on NBC also was pulled.
Media professor Steve Beverly also noted in the article that Narz passed a polygraph test in front of a grand jury and was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.
He was a legend in this business, and I had a chance to meet him at a recent Game Show Congress. He was a very nice man and was very happy to see the younger fans who were knowledgeable about his work.
Condolences go out to the family and friends to the Narz family.

We go from bad news to historical news. It was a pretty much open secret over the last two weeks, but on October 14, Michelle Loewenstein, a 24-year-old florist from Santa Monica, became the first $1,000,000 winner in Wheel of Fortune history.
Her solve of LEAKY FAUCET on the bonus round capped a night where she left with $1,026,080 in cash and prizes.
Now what made this night extra special to me as a game show fan was that the Million Dollar Wedge was captured on the very first spin. She had to hold on to the wedge the entire game.
She played the game as well as any Wheel player and beat the odds to become a Millionaire. It was historically a great night for a game show fan. I had a chance to interview her this week and she is a very nice young lady. The link to the interview is at

This week marks the one year anniversary of Drew Carey taking over for Bob Barker as the host of the Price is Right. So it’s time for the Block Party grade...and there will be two grades of the show and one of the host.
Now, as far as Drew Carey is concerned...there are a lot of troubling signs for him. It seems to this eye that he might be going back on his promise to keep the show in good hands. While I like the fact that he continues to bring in Rich and the Models as part of his team, the scales seem to be tipping towards it becoming “The Drew Carey Show”.
There are times when he will describe a game as “easy” or “hard.” That’s a misleading way of directing the contestant to think one way or another.

The most egregious error on Carey’s part is that he STILL doesn’t know the rules, one year on. For example, he blew the explanation of “Let ‘em Roll” by saying, “I’ll get the rules eventually.” And, more importantly, he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know the rules. It appears at times that he rolled out of bed after a long night of partying, dresses in an ill fitting suit, and does the job in a nonchalant manner. And those funny entrances during the show’s opening can be jarring. Do we really need to see Carey do Jazz Hands or walk backwards into the Barker wall?
Has he improved...yes. But is he as good as he could be? Not by a long shot. CAREY’S GRADE...C+.
The show itself has had some changes as well. Roger Dobkowitz is out, Kathy Greco is in. We have the introduction of the first win-at-home game on Price in a long time. But the most talked about change is the more free-form flow of showcases...allegedly written by and in the hands of Drew Carey. While the fanboy community (that means you is complaining that the Showcases are “horrible, terrible” etc, I like the fact that Rich, the models and such are being involved. And they are funny. Deal with it.
Price is going to be okay. I am not going to be as hard on Price as I am going to be on Drew. Grade of the show...B.

Someone who isn’t going to be okay is an unidentified man who walked into the offices of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein in San Francisco Monday and told the receptionist he had a bomb.
Why am I telling you this story?...Well here’s the hook. Witnesses told the San Francisco Chronicle that the man was angry because he had not been selected to appear on "The Price Is Right.” He was arrested after police cordoned off streets and evacuated the law firm's offices in a financial district high-rise.
Can you imagine what would have happened if he got on the show and lost?...Yipes.

DENIED! That’s what happened to Richard Hatch on Wednesday as the US Supreme Court denied to hear his appeal on his conviction for failing to pay taxes on the $1 million prize he won on the debut season of "Survivor."

According to the AP, Hatch's appeal was already denied by a federal appeals court in Boston and was among more than a thousand rejected last week by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court did not explain its reasoning. "He's disappointed with the decision," Hatch's attorney, Michael Minns, said Wednesday. "He's been worried about his family and taking care of them the entire time."
So now he can relax in prison for another year as he is scheduled to be released in October 2009. And quiet, and serve the rest of your sentence in silence.


Cool piece of news from Jeff Foxworthy. In a report from the National Ledger, Jeff Foxworthy is trying to keep the kids from becoming stage kids. "I tell the kids and their parents that it's important for the youngsters to lead normal lives."
He adds, "There's always one or two who have grandiose dreams of being television stars, but I encourage them to remain kids while they can. Let's face it, it's not normal being on television, and youngsters don't need the stress of going to auditions and having people following them around with cameras. We all know there's been a long history of kids in Hollywood who have ended up messed up."
But this quote sealed the deal for me. He relates that last season "one of the kids told a contestant, 'I can't believe you don't know that.' I stopped the cameras and said, 'We're not going to do that on this show, not going to be disrespectful.'"

Nice job, Jeff. Very good stuff.

Another cool experience I had in the past week or so was being involved (along with fellow GSNN staffer Gordon Pepper) with the 1st challenge of “Celebrity Apprentice 2". These are some of the details we can reveal as of now:

- The teams have been divided into men vs. women.

- The first charity selling challenge involved cupcakes which were made by both teams (and assisted by chefs from the Culinary Institute of New York City)
- The male team (whose name was not known) consists of the following members: Former NBA superstar and pro wrestler Dennis Rodman, Olympic Figure Skater Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, R&B Singer Brian McKnight, Country Singer Clint Black, Customizer Jesse James, Comedian Andrew "Dice" Clay, former MTV Host Tom Green, and former NFL Great Herschel Walker.
- The female team involved Khloe Kardashian, but we couldn’t find her where she said she would be. Oops.

It’s fun to live in New York City.

Random Newsbits:
- Mark Burnett and Fox team up for a game called “RouLetter”...a word based Roulette game shooting in South America.
- “Mad Men” gets a category on “Jeopardy” and it’s online component.
- 50 Cent’s MTV Apprentice clone, “The Money and The Power” debuts soon.
- More names appear to be in the running to be the host of “Countdown” including...comic actor Alexander Armstrong, “Soccer Saturday” host Jeff Stelling, Bradley Walsh, Rory Bremner and Christopher Biggins.

- ITV orders a second season of Beat The Star...and premieres Spin Star.

- The Weakest Link moves production to Glasgow Scotland.
- ABS-CBN gets fined 290,000 Philippine Dollars for violating the Republic Act 7394 or the Consumers Act of the Philippines...and plans to appeal. (The violation: The Filipino Department of Trade and Industry found that ...“the existing game mechanics and procedures implemented at the time of the subject 20 August 2007 'Wilyonaryo' episode reveals that the game show segment allowed a reasonable likelihood of error and provided the host and organizers significant latitude in controlling the outcome of the contest.")
- Deal or No Deal UK debuts a new cell phone game.
- Jeff Foxworthy is smarter than a 5th grader by opening a new restaurant.

- Endemol introduces “20Q” as a new game show format.
- Howard Schultz of “The Moment of Truth” introduces “Desperate Measures”.
- GSN Live debuts “Stump The Master” with Ken Jennings as the Master...with a nice rolling jackpot of $1,000 added per non-stumped questions.

- Beauty and the Geek may be on a new network.
- Daisy de La Hoya of Rock of Love gets “Daisy of Love” on VH1
- America’s Next Top Model gets a spinoff called “Operation Fabulous”.
- Dancing with the Stars has become a ward for the walking Misty-May Treanor withdraws after tearing her Achilles Tendon and then Derek Hough blacks out. Maybe he can be comforted by Shannon Elizabeth as they have moved in together.
- Paris Bennett of American Idol has a girl.
- Alex Trebek tapes some clues at Niagara Falls.

- BBC is spinning off “The QI Test”.
- Project Runway escapes a legal challenge from some designers claiming the idea was stolen. But their show debut on Lifetime is in limbo.

- Rock of Love: Charm School with Sharon Osbourne debuts.

- In the “They deserve each other” department...Donald Trump and Omarosa are developing a dating show together where Omarosa is going to find love.
- Mark Burnett is remaking “This Is Your Life”
- NBC is delaying “Momma’s Boys”
- ABC Renews “I survived a Japanese Game Show”.

If Jason Block had a million dollars... he'd buy you a house. And maybe furniture for your house... E-mail him at