2007: A Look Back - Part 2
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
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
--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
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
They are hyping Idol 7 as "The Best Ever." We shall see. Idol 6 was
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.
Block should have double consideration for his work on
Millionaire. E-mail him at