How Much Is Enough?
In honor of GSN's newest game show, we're going to play a little round of "How
Much Is Enough?" First, we need four players. On one side, John Q. Producer, a
producer from the AMPTP. On the other side, Joe Writer, a writer from the WGA.
At the third podium, Dee Rector. Finally, we have... an actor. Any actor. Name
one. And playing Corbin Bernsen... Me. Well, having matching haircuts helps.
So let's go ahead and put $1 billion on the money clocks. You know the rules. So
let's start the clock at zero...
And while we're waiting, let's fast-track some summer productions... and throw
in some midseason shows that weren't good enough for fall... and let's look at
every reality idea that comes across our table... and greenlight them.
Okay, the clock is stopped at $1 billion. That means that someone has locked
themselves in before that amount. Players... let's see how you did.
We'll start with the producer. You are very confident that you've made something
with the director over there. Let's see what the two of you came up with...
"For a one-hour prime-time drama, $600 for 26 weeks of streaming or $1,200 for a
year's worth of streaming."
Sounds like you two have been playing the most cautious.
Now let's go to the writer and the actor. Let's see how you did... Wait a
second, you haven't pushed your button. I know the writer thought about pushing,
but didn't because he doesn't want to think about playing to the same strategy
as the director. Which makes sense. And the actor... well, the actor hasn't had
a good second to think about it. But whatever happens, he'll continue to support
the writer. And as a result, the game, much like the game it's modeled after,
doesn't really go anywhere.
Sounds strange, we know, but if you think about it, this is worst-case scenario.
The best case, of course, is the speedy and just resolution of all of the causes
of this billion-dollar shortfall in Hollywood. Of course, that's not going to
happen, especially with the WGA agreeing informally to retract animation and
reality clauses. But let's go deeper than that.
In the DGA's acceptance of a new deal, we NARROWLY avoid a complete shutdown
come summertime. There's just the writers and the actors to deal with. But think
about this. No matter what happens in the coming months, the buck will
eventually stop with the producers. Why? The instances with "America's Next Top
Model" and "Temptation" last year proved that the world isn't going to stop
without WGA talent, although in the case of the latter, we all wish it would.
Now throw the actors into the mix. All of the big three will continue to honor
their brethren and, as a result, you have something akin to collusion, price
fixing, and extortion. The directors realized this, and came to the conclusion
that they needed a fair day's pay for a fair day's work. Hence, the deal. I hope
that everyone's suddenly looking at it and taking the position of "Prepare for
the worst, hope for the best, expect something in between."
But then there is the case of the WGA. Writers, on the other hand, strike me as
the kind that a) believe that they should have fries with their proverbial
cheeseburger, and b) that the world ends with them. They want, and have wanted,
more than what the AMPTP have deemed as fair for hammering out script after
script. Not only that, they want to increase their rank to include those that
work on reality and games, and why? Because it's a numbers game. The more WGA
support they have, the better their case, and the more stacked their hand.
But in the long run, they are no more important than any of the engineers, sound
people or lighting units that you see at the end of any production. We haven't
heard anything from them lately, have we?
What am I getting at here? Simple. When you live in a world where you have
"Celebrity Circus" to look forward to, you know you've made your point rather
clearly. Come back to the bargaining table and hammer something out. It's time
for the fun and games to stop (not the fun and games we're accustomed to, mind
you). This isn't funny anymore.
Game Show Alphabet
Believe it or not, this isn't a tough letter to assign a game to. You have "TV
Land's Ultimate Fan Search", which gave us champs in Malcolm Bondon and Paul
"the King" Goebel... You have "The Ultimate Fighter", which continues to lead
the charge in the mainstreaming of MMA... You have "Ultimate Fan League", which
turned sports trivia into a spectator sport, and all the way back in 1952, you
have "Up to Paar", which gave us one of Jack Paar's first outings as a game show
So which one do we highlight here? Unfortunately, the only one I could find a
Wikipedia page for...
"The Ultimate Fighter":
25 Days That Rocked the Game Show World - Day 6
One of the most popular game show hosts to come out of the 1980s was Peter
Tomarken. He hosted such gems as "Hitman" and "Wipeout", but in the end, he was
best known as the face that subdued the Whammy from 1983 to 1986 on "Press Your
Aside from being a popular host, he was also a philanthropist and a good
Samaritan. In fact, on March 12, 2006 he was preparing his plane to fly out to
pick up a patient for medical treatment.
The next day... he was gone forever.
March 13, 2006 - The Death of Peter Tomarken
Peter, his wife Kathleen, and an unidentified third passenger, were making a
flight for Angel Flight West on a volunteer mission when he reported plane
trouble. He decided to turn back toward the airport when the Beechcraft airplane
crashed offshore in Santa Monica Bay. Both Peter and Kathleen died at the scene.
The third passenger was missing and presumed dead.
Tributes poured from all over the game show world, as well as from Angel Flight
West, where Peter had volunteered his services since the August prior.
"He was a guy who didn't need to do this, but he had a pilot's license and an
airplane to contribute, to use his station in life to tangibly help people," a
spokesman for Angel Flight said. "It's devastating."
Bob Eubanks, a fellow host, admired that he could adapt himself to any format,
be it the happy-go-lucky whimsy of "Wipeout" or the high-stakes formula of
"Press Your Luck". "Peter was one of the most underrated game show hosts in
As good a host as he is, he was even better a person, and in the end, he died
doing what he loved: serving others.
Chico Alexander will always show love to the Whammy. E-mail him with some ideas at email@example.com.