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2007: A Look Back - Part 2
December 18

Last column I recapped the 10th to 6th biggest stories of 2007. This time, we have #5 to Number 1. And I will tell you right away...#1 is going to be a big surprise. Here we go:

5. American Idol 6/Sanjaya Strikes Back:

Coming off the rating success of Idol 5, expectations were high for season 6. Season 6 was not as successful for many reasons...shall we count the ways?
--We first have a two time loser in Ian Bernardo crashing the auditions in New York,
--Antonella Barba's pictures of her doing things a girl shouldn't be doing online show up,
--Sanjaya Malakar becomes the target of ridicule and love(hello Ashley Perl), with even Howard Stern asking people to vote for Sanjaya. Didn't work, however.
--Idol Gives Back, a love fest which showcased a lot of talent for a worthy cause, but in the end...did it mean much?
--And with all that, Jordin Sparks wins and debuts to the lowest debut in Idol Winner history.

As for the Idol Franchise as a whole, Kelly Clarkson had a well publicized "feud" with Clive Davis, Jessica Sierra gets arrested....again. Paula Abdul had a bad reality show, and Simon is well...Simon.

On a good note for the Idol franchise, Carrie Underwood wins a lot more awards, Daughtry is the highest seller of 2007, Fantasia does the Color Purple and Jennifer Hudson wins the supporting actress Oscar for Dreamgirls.

They are hyping Idol 7 as "The Best Ever." We shall see. Idol 6 was horrible.

4. Tell Me Lies...Tell Me Sweet Little Lies.

Lying is never good. Especially when you are a reality show contestant. A contestant who blew his chance at becoming a star. Joshua Adam Garcia, a/k/a JAG was about to win the 3rd edition of "The Next Food Network Star". But articles in the Army Times and the Marine Times showed that both his military service and his culinary credentials had come into question. He had reached the finals of the show(which was taped months in advance), to only find out that the Food Network asked him to confirm or deny the story. He couldn't and "resigned" for the good of the show, eventually allowing Amy Finley to become "The Gourmet Next Door." And in the finale, he basically was persona non grata. This was a case of a guy who had the personality and the potential for greatness, but thought he could he get away with lying. Kudos to Food Network for making sure that the product was bigger than one contestant.

3. Careying on with Tradition.

This was THE big story in Game Shows for 2007, bar none. We all knew that Bob Barker was retiring in late 2006, but 2007 saw the search for the new host hit high gear. Game show fans were really really worried when names like George Hamilton, Doug Davidson, Mario Lopez, Dave Price, and Rosie O'Donnell(who in her words wanted to "Gay Up" TPIR) were bandied about along with the stalwarts of John O' Hurley, Todd Newton, Mark Walberg and others. Even after his final show of June 15, Bob said that he would stay on if they asked him to. But one YouTube video later and the rest is history. We will never know if it was leaked, or Michael Davies put it up there himself, but the pilot episode of "Power of 10" was on the net and Drew Carey showed that "Whose Line was it Anyway" wasn't a fluke. Les Moonves saw it and threw his name out there. When his name was thrown into the mix, he was the only one who was saying the right things about the show. The day the video came out Gordon Pepper said to me, "Mark it down, he's your new host." A few calls and negotiations later, and the announcement that shocked the world was made on the David Letterman show. In October of 2007, not only was there a new host, but a new set was debuted. New music, and a new attitude as well. The Halloween episode proved without a shadow of a doubt that the fun level has been amped up a notch in Studio 33. And, maybe....just maybe...a few naysayers like myself have been eating a bit of Cleveland Crow. Drew Carey is just starting to make the show his own. We have a lot of great things to look forward to.


This story is probably #1 in everyone else's book but mine, for reasons I will explain in a minute. But this story rocked the entertainment world. We were covering this story months before it became a full fledged work stoppage on October 31. The WGA and AMPTP are fighting tooth and nail over rights over internet and new media broadcasts. What that does for our neck of the woods is that we see more and more reality shows are in the forefront. Game shows for now are not affected, but if the strike(as expected) will last into the Spring...dont be surprised to see shows like Wheel and Jeopardy go into reruns. And with the Directors Guild and Actors Guild planning to strike in June of 2008, this story will not go away.

And now, for my biggest story of 2007:

1. British Game Show Scandal rocks the interactive quiz world.

Everyone stop throwing tomatoes at the screen. Here is why. This was THE BIGGEST breach of trust from a game show perspective since the days of Herb Stempel and the Game Show Scandals of the 1950's. Independent investigations showed that many companies including ITV, BBC and others willingly faked winners in interactive quizzes while people were still paying to try and get in. What this did was basically blow the revenue stream out of the water. Revenue for these types of shows went down 40-50%.Fines were issued that totaled nearly $40M US. One company called this type of quizzing "Dead". And since the revenue stream died overseas, the ripple effect was felt here as Playmania/100 Winners/Quiznation started to give out fewer and fewer prizes and eventually lead to it's cancellation in October of 2007. Will the interactive quiz make a comeback in 2008? After this scandal, I don't think so.

That's my look back at 2007. Next week...a look forward into 2008.

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