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I'm Travis Eberle, and I've Got a Secret - May 3

Panel shows just don't do it for me. I'll sit through "To Tell the Truth" because it has an interesting game element, but shows like "What's My Line," "The Name's the Same" and others are completely uninteresting.

That's why I'm so pleased at the way "I've Got a Secret" has turned out. The show manages to walk the tightrope between being modern and up-to-date but at the same time staying true to what made the format so popular back in the early days of television.

For those who have not seen GSN's newest entry, a contestant comes on-stage and whispers their secret to host Bil Dwyer (Ultimate Fan League, Dirty Rotten Cheater). The panel of four has roughly 40 seconds or so each to ask yes-or-no questions to try to get to the secret. If the panel guesses the secret, the central subject wins a dinner out at Beverly Hills. If the secret is unguessed, $1,000 cash is added. Some of the secrets have included a guy who could kick himself in the head, and a pair of twins who were both married to another pair of twins.

Everything on the show works: the panel manages to be funny, ask interesting questions, and not step on each other's toes all at the same time. That's tough, especially in an adversarial game such as this. The group manages to play the game for keeps, but they also know that it's all really for fun.

Enough praise in the world cannot be given to host Bil Dwyer. Sure, he's dressed in those awful outfits that should have stayed in the back of the closet, but his hosting skills are top-notch. He keeps the game rolling as he should, and knows his place, in the background. If this doesn't secure him in the realm of Great Hosts, something's wrong.

If you're of the age that would remember Garry Moore or Steve Allen hosting the original, you won't be disappointed. Sure, they're going for a younger, hip audience, and who can blame them. But the fundamentals are there, and the final product is worthy of your time. If you aren't old enough to remember the first-run, it's probably not enough for you to run out and add GSN to your cable package, but if you have it already, watch the show at 8:30. It's a fun half-hour.

Travis Eberle also has a secret. Send your yes-or-no questions to traviseberle@gmail.com.

 

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