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An Unfinished List... - November 8

As it turns out, the biggest game show sensation to come from England since Millionaire? and Weakest Link has aired exactly one episode, and already it has been cancelled. I've seen reasons for the cancellation ranging from "If people had watched the World Series this year, they would have seen the ads for Rich List and watched it," to the fact that it's an overblown concept that is more suited for daytime than primetime.

I'm certainly going to lean toward the latter. It is true that this year's baseball championship drew some of the poorest ratings for the contest in years; it doesn't help that Rich List is not compelling television.

As a board game aficionado, I have dozens and dozens of games, and most game shows can be boiled down to concepts that we've seen before in a board game. In this case, it is a single round from the game Ultimate Outburst. Teams bid on how many of the ten items they can name in sixty seconds until one team challenges the other to prove it. It works because the bidding goes fast and furious, and the naming of items only lasts a minute.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in Rich List is the pacing. Instead of giving their bid and then plotting strategy while their "soundproof pod" is turned off, we have teams trying to figure out what they can bid by naming items on the list before we even get to that stage. So what could have been a great dramatic moment on par with Bid-a-Note is flushed away when it could have been great. Second is the list building itself. After the bid is determined, we have the team deciding whether an answer will indeed make the list. And that takes up more time.

Both problems would be solved and the show would be that much more exciting if teams were put on a shot clock of some sort; ten seconds to bid or challenge, and a certain amount of time to complete the list.

This would have been a neat show to fit in with the other daytime programs on the big three networks back in the 1980s, but with an overdeveloped format and poor pacing, even $250,000 per show and "no limit to what you can win" just won't make it anymore.

Travis Eberle can be reached at


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