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2007: A Look Back - Part 1
December 11

2007 was a very interesting year for game shows and the reality genre. And as the year winds to a close, it's time for the Block Party to look back on the year that was. Without any further delay, these were my Top 10 stories of 2007:

10. Reality gets too real -- In the Spring of 2007, Endemol made worldwide headlines with "The Big Donor Show", a game show which was supposed to have three potential recipients of a new kidney compete to win the heart and mind of the donor. Turns out, the show was a hoax and was used to protest the archaic transplant laws of Holland. In early December, a production company has stated they will make a show in which contestants will marry illegal aliens for their residency. Two cases in which "reality" television may have bitten a bit more they can chew. As I stated earlier this year, I wish these production companies would stop trying to be "shocking" and actually go through with what they want to do, instead of backing away and stating their intended goal.

9. The Summer of Suck (2007 Edition) -- This summer's crop of original shows had more bombs in it than a munitions factory. "On The Lot" and "Pirate Master" were shows with huge pedigrees (Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg with Burnett), and were ratings disasters. Why? Unoriginality reigned supreme on both shows. America's Got Talent was not as good in Season 2. Most shows, minus a few notable exceptions, did nothing worth mentioning over the summer.

8. In Memoriam -- The game show world lost many giants in 2007 including Merv Griffin, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers, Roger King and others. The game show world is a sadder presence without them here on Earth, but their legacy will live on in the shows they appeared on and produced.

7. The new kids on the block have growing pains -- In September 2007, we had the debut the first new syndicated game shows in forever. "Temptation: The New Sale of The Century" was roundly skewered by the game show community as not worthy of the Sale name, and the average of a 0.5 rating proves that the show will not make a season 2. However, "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" is about to hit the 1.0 mark as ratings are rising. It is a moderate hit, and will make a season 2 I believe. But my high hopes for both shows have been tempered by the reality that the execution of both has not been the best the fans were hoping for. Especially in the case of Sale where it has been a disaster from moment one. Temptation is my biggest disappointment this year.

6. Grand Slam hits it out of the park --  One of the things not wrong with the summer was Grand Slam, a game show fan's wet dream. Sixteen of the greatest contestants going head to head, mano a mano, in a clash of the titans. Ken Jennings won, but not before going through the best of the best including Ogi Ogas (a surprise finalist), David Legler, Thom McKee, John Carpenter, Brad Rutter, Nancy Christy, Ed Toutant, Phyllis Harris, Frank Spangenberg and others. Seeing the tapings live was killer, and watching it at home was even better. Mr. Davies, please make a season 2. And invite Jerome Vered, Bob Harris, Chuck Forrest, Dan Avila, and others. And yeah, I would like a shot at it too!

But we have 5 stories to go that were even bigger in my opinion. Find out what my #1 story of 2007 was(and it may surprise a few of you) time on the Block Party.

Jason Block should have double consideration for his work on Millionaire. E-mail him at