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2008: A Look Forward
December 25

Ho! Ho! Ho! This is Jason Block, and the Block Party looked back at 2007 over the last couple of weeks. This week, we see whatís in the Crystal Ball for 2008. I was wrong about a lot, which I admit...but if anyone had Drew Carey in the Bob Barker Pool in December 2006...I have a bridge to sell you.

So I am going to do this a little differently. I am going to go show by show instead of just scattershot. Here we go:

WHEEL OF FORTUNE: This season has been another monster year for Wheel, celebrating itís 25th Anniversary in New York, and going to Chicago in 2008. The tweaks have been minor, but have worked. The only thing that could derail itís progress is a prolonged writerís strike. Then we could see repeats.

JEOPARDY!: The classic quizzer had a bit of a setback with the mild heart attack of Alex Trebek in late December. He should be back to work without a problem, but donít be surprised if we start to hear retirement rumors out of Sony Studios. And, if that happens, nothing would shock me LESS to hear the name Jeff Probst as the number one contender to take over Alexís job. He was VERY good on Rock and Roll Jeopardy and seems to be the logical heir to the throne. He is young, a name, and has experience.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: Drewís growing pains are still evident, as he is still growing into the role of host. But with the new energy and new attitude coming into effect....watch for some of the "pipe dreams" Drew said come true. In 2008, we will see TPIR tape on the road in Cleveland and/or New York for a week of shows. And it will be a massive success. Demand for Tickets will be off the charts for those shows.

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE: The big news in 2007 was consistency. The 2006-2007 saw itís highest ratings to date...and Meredith stays in the host chair for another 3 years. With the 1000th show and well placed Theme Weeks, I see nothing but good things for this one. 

CROSSWORDS/TEMPTATION: I predicted both shows would be hits in 2007, and I was wrong about one...way wrong. Temptation is going to get a lot of worst show awards for good reason...and will not get a season 2. Crosswords will...but if they donít get the rules down in a consistent matter, ramp down the difficulty a notch, and make it more accessible, Season 3 is not looking good.

DEAL OR NO DEAL: Mark this down now...Deal will be the big hit of the Fall 2008 syndie season class. With a faster pace, lower jackpot( and hopefully less gimmickry) this will make the show as good as it should be...for the primetime version....they need to quicken the pace and lessen the gimmickry.

GSN: I am lumping the network in here, because there were a lot of shows that did well for them this year. We had Grand Slam, which was amazing and if there isnít a season 2 it will be a travesty. Without Prejudice was the best show no one watched this year. Thatís the Question got a new set and better consistency. However GSNís interactive division took a major hit with the cancellation of their interactive quizzes during the British Quiz Show Scandal. GSN still needs to do what they have been doing...throwing all the shows they can up against the wall and seeing what sticks, because more game shows from them is a good thing.

FAMILY FEUD: KISS is what the show is doing...keeping it simple with a classy host in John OíHurley and keeping the format the same. I see another season from the show that just keeps on rolling.

CASH CAB: The Ben Bailey cult hit will keep on rolling through New York this year. I see nothing but good things coming from there as well.

POWER OF 10: Returning on January 2, this show will continue to do well for CBS and Mr. Carey. But we want to see returning champions please.

SINGING BEE/DONíT FORGET THE LYRICS: Both shows are good. Singing Bee is better, but Lyrics does better in the ratings(for the most part). These shows will survive, but when the strike is over...they will go back to the summer slots.

WORLD SERIES OF POP CULTURE: Season 2 was a breakout year for Pat Kiernan as Michael Davies let him lose and showed that he can actually host and be funny and charming as well. Will the Twisted Misters retain their title for 2008? It will be fun to watch, although they need to lighten up on the naughty questions.

And now for the Reality side of my Crystal Ball:

AMERICAN IDOL: Everyone knows that Season 6 was not as good as everyone has expected. I am going out on a limb here...7 will be worse. The ratings will go down, because people honestly are tired of this formatĖbecause we have jumped the shark as to style over talent. I am sorry, but this is the beginning of the end of this venerable franchise. 2 years tops for this one.

THE AMAZING RACE/SURVIVOR: Last year, I called for the cancellation of both shows because they were showing signs of age. Shows how much I knew. AR12 has been nothing short of brilliant...because they are adding new twists to make the game fresh. Survivor has been chugging along as well this year, and Survivor 16's "Fans v. Favorites" theme intrigues me very much.

AMERICAíS GOT TALENT: A lot of things went wrong with Season 2...new host, new judges and Davidís drunken video didnít help. The fact we had no real amazing talent didn't help. More of the same for Season 3...and we shall see if the ratings hold.

BIG BROTHER: We had more feeds, an Anti-Semite, and people we didnít care about. More of the same here in the first spring season of this show...and unfortunately, more people will care than should.

NASHVILLE STAR: Angela Hacker was the winner last year, and we will probably see her this year as well. But this show will do well because this is the class copy in a bunch of wannabe Idol clones. The twist here is the songwriting, and that makes the difference.

THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR/TOP CHEF: Goes to show you that there is room for two high quality food shows. NFNS4 will have high ratings, and they will put this yearís JAG controversy behind them. Top Chef will be one of Bravoís highest rated shows and continue to shine...

PROJECT RUNWAY:...along with this show which is the crown jewel of Bravoís reality competition show.

AMERICAíS NEXT TOP MODEL: Tyra + hot girls + the CW= another good year for this reality show classic.

BIGGEST LOSER: The couples idea is a nice twist, and I think it will continue the ratings success.

Now, as to the strike. I believe that the strike will last for a long time and:

a) the talk show hosts who are already feeling the heat will be getting protested. Watch for a few videos of writers busting in and disrupting tape.

b) we will see game shows start to show reruns like Wheel and J! Starting in March/April.

c) None of the new reality/game shows that are coming out in Jan/Feb. will stick. "Celebrity Apprentice", "Nothing But The Truth", "American Gladiators" and others are summer shows that are being put on now, because there is nothing on. "Million Dollar Password" will bomb as well.

Thatís my look at 2008. A happy and healthy 2008 to all of you!

Jason Block should have double consideration for his work on Millionaire. E-mail him at jb.regis@verizon.net.