We start this
episode by catching up on the details of what happened during
November Sweeps on your favorite shows.
First out of the
box is The Price is Right. Here at the Block Party we have been very
critical of the bad stuff that has happened at Studio 33. But when
the good stuff happens, we must praise it. And these three sweeps
related items have been VERY GOOD.
First off, the
Halloween episode was another feather in the cap of the production
team. The costumes on Drew and the models were genius. Everyone was
dressed as their favorite pricing game. Drew was hilarious as "The
Yodely Guy". The set designs were outstanding with incredible
attention to detail. The items on the Grocery Game were all items
you can use for pranks on Halloween night. They included eggs, soap,
toilet paper and shaving cream. This was another example of the evil
genius of Associate Producer Scott Robinson, who has been using that
game as his personal platform.
7000th episode celebration had lots of nice tweaks. Those tweaks
included $7,000 handed to the contestant instead of $7 in Lucky
Seven, and 7,000 mile trips in Most Expensive. In a nice tribute to
the show and its history, the second half of the show had the
playing of the first three games in order from Episode 1. They were
Any Number, Bonus Game and Double Prices. The Showcases used prizes
from 1972 and translated them nicely to prizes of 2009.
And on Veterans
Day, we had the annual salute to the Military. This was a nice theme
that started in the Bob Barker era and has been continued in the
Drew Carey era.
In the two months
of Season 38, Drew and Rich have used priceisright.com and their
personal/professional internet presences to promote the show. They
interact with the fans in ways that have been needed for a while.
Drew has been A LOT better in his hosting and everything on the show
seems relaxed and FUN. Who would think we would see cars like a 2010
Mercedes or a 2010 Nissan Cube on the show, if ever? Could this be
the start of the show coming into its own? These examples bode well
for the gang at Studio 33 and I couldn't be happier for them.
I want to revisit Let's Make A Deal. In my initial review after the
show's debut in early October, I had stated that the show was very
solid. I also noted there were some pacing and announcing issues
that had to be worked out.
Over the past two
months, I have seen the show evolve and the show has gotten better.
Jonathan Mangum's announcing has improved and he has been treating
the winning and losing prizes with equal importance. The show feels
faster in its pacing and doesn't feel like the hour drags. Wayne
Brady has grown into the role and really has a fantastic chemistry
with the contestants. I would not be shocked if he got a Daytime
Emmy nomination in 2010 for Best Game Show host. The only "weak"
point is spokesmodel Alison Fiori. She needs to be more than a "Hi
Wayne" mannequin and more of an active partner and presence in the
Even with all that, Let's Make A Deal is one of the best shows of
2009. This is appointment television.
The Amazing Race is
still great fun to watch, and this season has been no exception.
Over the past month, we have whittled the teams down to the final
three. We have Megan and Cheyne who have dominated the competition
and have won 5 legs. We have Brian and Ericka who came back from a
pretty fun Speed Bump to get into the final three. And the final
team is the arguing gay brothers Sam and Dan. The Harlem
Globetrotters, Flight Time and Big Easy were eliminated last week.
They gave up and took a 4 hour penalty after a Road Block in Prague,
Czech Republic when one of the Trotters wasn't able to unscramble
the word FRANZ.
And I have a word
for the Trotters. This is a not a social game, this is a million
dollar race. Did you honestly think that Dan was going to give Big
Easy the answer? It's a game. They have done what it takes to win
the Million Dollars. They have stolen cabs. Contrary to what Brian
thinks, you have to play dirty to win. That's the deal.
Who will win the
million in Las Vegas? I am calling the upset. Megan and Cheyne have
dominated, but there will some mistake along the way where Sam and
Dan will take advantage to win this. They may be annoying and loud,
but they have been playing the game the whole way. Brian and Ericka
have been consistent, but I don’t think they have the push or desire
to win this.
2009 has been a big year for Amazing Race. You had a bad ass deaf
contestant in Luke Donald and the production values have been
consistently high. Winning 7 Emmys haven't slowed them down one
But the Amazing
Race will have some major competition with Survivor. The Island of
Samoa has become Russell Hantz's personal playground. It has been
fun as hell to watch Russell find not one, not two, but THREE
Immunity Idols and actually use them! The first time he did it, he
got rid of Erik and his idol. He personally didn't need it. But the
2nd time he did, it was the right move and he prevented himself from
being voted out.
Russell is one of the best Survivor players of all time. He has
been playing the game since moment one. And in this week's
episode, he was the puppet master. Dave upset Shambo by not only
killing her prized chickens but criticizing how she cooked it.
Russell may have sent Shambo over the edge by changing Aiga's
plans from eliminating Dave to eliminating John. Right now, he is
in control of the game. I was one of the people who thought he was
being too aggressive early on, but that was my mistake. If he
doesn't win, he SHOULD win the audience award. He is that good.
We come back to the
states with "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire". They have just
completed the "Tournament of Ten" where Sam Murray won the million
dollar prize by being the ONLY person to go for it and answer the
question correctly. Buzzerblog reports that the ratings for the show
have gone up to a season high 2.6. This doesn't matter to me,
because this was an absolute gimmicky mess.
Only one of the 10
people went for the money. In this economic climate you are NOT
going to have people risk a guaranteed check for the POTENTIAL of a
million. That sounds like a failure to me. And we all remember what
happened to primetime Deal or No Deal after they used whatever
gimmick they could to give away the million. We had spoilers all
over the place screaming they were giving away the Million. Ratings
peaked for Deal and then they tanked. Audiences didn't care anymore,
and the show went off the air. This WILL happen for Millionaire,
whether Regis is in the host chair or not.
And to see this happen to Millionaire is very sad. The 2008-2009
season has been a season of gimmicks and hocus-pocus. True
gameplay on Millionaire is dead. And no matter what people say,
Nancy Christy is the last TRUE Million-Dollar Winner on
Millionaire, not Sam Murray.
gimmickry we have to talk about the fall of Deal or No Deal.
According to Buzzerblog, Deal or No Deal's ratings are down to a
1.1. And as a viewer, you can understand why. You have had gimmicks
like Family Reunion week, Nurses Week, and Infra-Red Week where
certain cases could be seen by the home audience.
Did ANY of those gimmicks add anything new or interesting to the
game? They didn't. You combine that with incredibly bad casting
decisions by the coordinators, and you have game play that be
could be described as either dumb or ill-conceived, It doesn’t
take a genius to see that Deal or No Deal is heading down the path
to being cancelled in 2010.
Now that catch-up
is over, let's start with some music news. Did anyone know that Adam
Lambert released his album out called "For Your Entertainment"? Adam
Lambert has been all over the TV with his publicity tour which
started with an over the top performance of the title track on the
American Music Awards. That performance included men on leashes,
male on male kissing, simulated male on male fellatio and flipping
off the audience.
That did lead to a
very nice first week sales of 225,000 of his album. But did he gain
any new buyers with that performance? It offended viewers so much
that 1,500 complaints were lodged at ABC. That led to cancellations
at Good Morning America and as of December 3, Jimmy Kimmel Live and
New Years Rockin' Eve.
ABC had a right to
cancel his future performances. While I may like Mr. Lambert as an
artist he not only pushed the envelope, he tore it to itty bitty
pieces. He was waving his freak flag. However, Mr. and Mrs. Middle
America didn't like it.
And as for this
season's winner Kris Allen, his debut CD first week's sales was the
worst for an Idol winner. He sold a paltry 80,000 copies. In that
same week, Carrie Underwood's album, "Play On" sold 83,000 copies.
And Alison Iraheta's debut album did even worse. According to Hits
Daily Double, her new CD will sell between 25,000 and 30,000 in her
You can see why
Adam outsold Kris and Alison combined. Adam presented "the bad boy
envelope pusher" image. And it got people talking. Kris and Alison
did a minimal press and radio tour. You barely knew their respective
albums were out there. While positive critical reviews of their
albums are nice, they needed to get out there and sell them. Adam
did it, Alison and Kris did not.
But the big winner in album sales is Britain's Got Talent
runner-up Susan Boyle. Her highly anticipated debut release, "I
Dreamed a Dream" sold 700,000 copies in the United States in the
first week. In a Columbia Records press release, that not only
gives her the best first week sales of 2009, but also the
best-selling album debut by a woman in the Billboard SoundScan
era. Her success was a not a surprise to me or anyone else. Expect
her to go platinum and to have a long career.
It’s holiday time and there are four game show related books that I
would like to recommend to stick in someone's stocking.
Howie Mandel just
released "Here's The Deal--Don't Touch Me". This is his
autobiographical look at his struggles with OCD and ADHD.
book, "I'm Hosting As Fast As I Can: Zen and the Art of Staying Sane
in Hollywood" is a humorous look at his career and gives us some of
his life lessons to stay normal in Hollywood.
West has taken his friendship with legendary announcer Johnny Olson
and turned it into a loving biography called "Johnny Olson: A Voice
self-proclaimed "Game Show Guru" Scott Hostetler has released his
book called "Winning Game Show Secrets from The Game Show Guru" on
his webpage at http://www.thegameshowguru.com/.
Scott has appeared
on 18 Game Shows, most recently of which was GSN's Catch 21 where he
was the first person to win $25,000 in the bonus round without using
a power chip. If you are even thinking of auditioning for a game
show, this is the book for you. There are quizzes and funny
anecdotes about his appearances.
Any of these books
would make a great gift for the game show fan in your life.
A part of my game show life died since I spoke to you last. Ken Ober
passed away suddenly at the age of 52. If you are an 80's baby like
me, you know him from the classic MTV Game Show "Remote Control".
This show which debuted in 1987 was the first non-music related show
ever to debut on MTV. It tested participants on their knowledge of
television, music-video and pop-culture trivia. It also provided a
launching pad for the careers of comedians Adam Sandler and Colin
Quinn. Ober ran the program like his own basement party. He
gleefully teased players who gave wrong answers.
And because it was
the first of it's kind, MTV gave the show room to breathe and grow.
It was raw and there was nothing like it on that channel. After the
show ended, he later hosted shows like "Smush" and "Make Me Laugh".
Most recently, Ober also was a producer on "Mind of Mencia” and “The
New Adventures of Old Christine.”
commented to MTV:
"Kenny Ober was and always will be the quickest wit in the
room. He was fall-down funny from the moment he was born -- a smart,
fast and hilarious human being who made many of us, including
myself, laugh until we cried. As the star and host of 'Remote
Control,' he was a welcoming ringmaster who helped to kick-start the
careers of numerous talents including Adam Sandler, Colin Quinn and
myself. He will be remembered always by each of his friends not only
for his massive talent but for his true, deep and enduring
Ober was a
massively underrated host who should have been a bigger star than he
was. This is a tragedy and hopefully in death he will get the
recognition he so richly deserves. He will be missed.
Block Party Quick
--In a huge deal,
Comcast will be a 51% owner of NBC Universal, and GE will retain the
remaining 49%. It was announced earlier this week that GE would buy
back the 20% stake owned by Vivendi SA, which is estimated at $5.8
billion. Comcast will pay $6.5 billion in cash and $7.5 billion in
assets including the Comcast-owned cable TV networks. The value of
the NBC Universal owned businesses - the NBC and Telemundo broadcast
networks, several cable networks, Universal Studios, the Universal
Studios theme park, and local television stations - is set at $30
--Kevin Pollak has
been tapped to host "Our Little Genius" on Fox. The concept from the
Fox Press Release: Little geniuses must answer increasingly
difficult questions as they work their way up to win their family
hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, there is one catch: the
little genius' parents can stop the game at any time and choose to
walk away with the winnings for their family. To help them make
informed decisions during the game, these moms and dads of average
intelligence may check in with a panel of leading adult experts
ranging from Ivy League professors to renowned doctors to
award-winning scientists to see how they performed when answering
the same questions.
"Genius" premieres Wednesday, Jan. 13 following "American
Idol", and makes its time period premiere Tuesday, Jan. 19
--American Idol 9
debuts January 12.
returns to ABC on January 8th.
--Launch My Line
debuts on Bravo and Shear Genius comes back on February 3.
--A new season of
"Last Restaurant Standing" debuts on BBC America on January 5. Also
one of the boldest shows of 2008 made it's stateside debut this past
week. "Britain's Missing Top Model" took 8 disabled models and had
them compete for a Marie Claire magazine shoot. BBC has some serious
cojones for bringing it over here. Check it out.
Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls has been added as the third and
final judge on NBC's upcoming acappella singing competition series,
"The Sing-Off". Scherzinger joins previously announced judges Ben
Folds of Ben Folds Five and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men.
--Get Well wishes
go out to my man, Regis Philbin. He just underwent hip replacement
surgery and will be off for about 4-6 weeks. This happened as his
2nd stint as syndicated rules Millionaire host were moved up to
capitalize on the small ratings bump from the Tournament of 10. They
were supposed to be shown in the spring. The hospital room also
includes Carrie Ann Inaba who went under the knife to relieve spinal
Real", a reality series about the life of American Idol 3rd Season
winner Fantasia Burrino will debut on VH-1 on January 11.
--ABC will debut
"Thin Ice" a skating competition program on Friday March 19, and
Sunday March 21.
swirling that the American X-Factor will be located in Las Vegas.
winners over November Sweeps included Donny Osmond who won Dancing
With the Stars. This was incredibly predictable. The 5'7" and under
America's Next Top Model winner was Nicole Fox. The Next Iron Chef
is Jose Garces. And Irina Shabayeva was the winner of Season 6 of
will jump right into Season 7 on January 14th.
Thanksgiving, A New York Times article challenges the extreme weight
loss measures used on "The Biggest Loser." The franchise has
expanded to Asia.
gets a second season on VH1
--Mike Sexton is
tapped to host "Shuffle Up and Deal"
--Alex Trebek tapes
some clues in Detroit.
Gladiators: The Movie is in pre-production.
--1 v.100 is now in
its second season on XBOX Live.
--The Singing Bee
will return on January 15th for Season 2 on CMT.
--Dance Your Ass
Off is auditioning for Season 2.
--In an interview,
Wayne Brady comments on his hosting gig on Deal. “I didn’t think I
was going to be on a game show after ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics’, but
‘Let’s Make a Deal’ seemed like a lot of fun. I get to give away
money, see people dress up, and improvise right in the middle of a
screaming audience of happy people. What more can you ask for?”
Brady also saw this as a chance to host a historic game show. “The
only reason I signed on is because you know it’s not everyday that
you become a member of an institution, and that’s what 'Let’s Make a
Deal' is and has been for years,” Brady stated. “To step into Monty
Hall’s shoes; it was an honor to be asked.”
--GSN Radio's last
broadcast was November 13th. This was a terrible loss for the game
show community. Not only was this the best thing that GSN has put
out in the last 2 years, they showed a lot of contempt for their
listeners by telling them the show was being cancelled less than 24
hours before their final broadcast. This was a terrible disservice
to the fans and to Marianne Curan and Bob Goen, who deserved a lot
--Party Gaming buys WPT for $12.3Million Dollars.
--Finally, Representative Barney Frank has a hearing
on December 3rd to discuss HR 2267 – the Internet Gambling
Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. This would
establish a federal regulatory and enforcement framework under which
Internet gambling operators could obtain licenses authorizing them
to accept bets and wagers from individuals in the United States. The
legislation comes in response to the enactment of Unlawful Internet
Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which restricted the use of the
payments system for Americans who gamble online. In addition,
Chairman Frank announced today he is introducing separate
legislation to delay the implementation of regulations pursuant to
the 2006-passed UIGEA, which are set to go into effect December 1,
2009. The regulations were completed by the Bush Administration at
the last minute, and the legislation will stop Federal regulators
from enforcing the UIGEA until Congress has had a chance to decide
Coming Soon... Jason Block: The Movie. E-mail him at
email@example.com with script