Karma Is a Funny Thing
It's often been said that if you do right in the
world, it will appear that you've done nothing at all. Okay, so I got that from
an episode of "Futurama", but follow me here.
I am a practicing Buddhist, and as such, I
believe that the world operates on a barter system of karma, a constant shift of
cause to effect. The universe has a funny way of self-righting the mistakes of
Consider the following four stories, all
happening within days or weeks of each other.
- My friend Chad Mosher said it best: it's sad
that we're talking about rigging a game show in 2010. Mark Burnett's "this is
how you make a game show in the new millennium" way of doing things is reaping
bitter fruit. It hasn't been a secret for a while that Burnett, possibly in a
move to protect his own career, decided to pull "Our Little Genius" before a
single episode aired. Now the feds are involved. It's a sticky point of
argument... Does the FCC hold jurisdiction over a show that did not air?
According to Section 508 of the Telecommunications Act of 1936, the story behind
the alleged rigging and supplying of answers doesn't exist, at least legally,
due to the fact that it didn't air. Will this save his company and Fox millions
in fines? Most definitely. Will it save his reputation? Probably not. So far,
nothing has come of it, but don't be surprised if more scrutiny is held to both
the industry and to Mark Burnett, who at this writing has two big hit games on
the schedule with a third coming.
- A week after the discovery of a contract that
rendered Chris Golightly an "American Idol" ineligible, Golightly won't live up
to his name and go lightly. I'll make this as plain as possible, so as to spare
you all the gut-wrenching details of his press conferences/unofficial auditions.
A contract was produced. You KNEW you had a contract, and didn't make sure that
you got out of it before going on "Idol", a requisite if you're even going to
THINK about auditioning in front of the toughest room in America. You got
caught. Anything more is just desperate attention grabbing on your part. And if
you're counting on AI to call you if they want you, I have news for you, buddy.
The real world doesn't work that way, especially as far as this show is
concerned. Face it. It's over. Give up.
- A quick look at The Futon Critic shows that
GSN's "Hidden Agenda" had a good two or three episodes left to air before its
cancellation (in practice if not in fact). Then GSN decided to yank it from the
schedule and replace it with a similar, albeit not, series, "Instant Recall",
with Wink Martindale, which is either a brilliant casting maneuver for a
brilliant premise or an obvious bone to the game show world. Take your side and
adjust your expectations accordingly. Personally, I'm going to give the Winker a
shot, because, and this is a BIG point to the show... we KNOW him. We've been
through this 19 times before. And from the looks of it, either he's going to
have a fantastic time doing this show, or GSN is paying him a boatload of money
to do so. Either way, both GSN neophytes and hardened game show fan veterans
will at least give this a tune-in, just to see what all of the hubbub is about,
which is more than what can be said to the footnote that was "Hidden Agenda".
But really, the selling point is Wink with only a
scarce mention of the game he is to host, so again, cum grano salis,
adjust your expectations accordingly. The point is: familiarity breeds contempt
and perhaps ratings, both of which GSN could use right about now.
- Drew Carey and Wayne Brady both have cause to
celebrate, as both are due to celebrate some very important milestones in their
respective shows. "Let's Make a Deal" will pass the 100-episode mark, while one
week later, "The Price Is Right" will celebrate Drew's 500th episode on March
10. While Drew's handling of "The Price Is Right" has been a point of contention
almost to the point of comedy, you can't help but wonder why it's doing as well
as it is, better than it was in the 400 or so episodes that preceded this
season. And we can all point out bits and pieces that only librarians of the
subject would have knowledge of, but the proof is in the numbers, and the
numbers are siding with Drew, Mike, and the other fine folks at 33.
As for Wayne, Jonathan, Tiffany, and Alison (PS:
get better soon!), the end result of the revival of the daytime network game
show is nothing short of spectacular. There have been some audiences, myself
included, that would have given this show a fair-to-middling chance of
succeeding 13 weeks let alone 100 episodes. But it's been a consistent player
every day, bringing something new to the party without letting go of what got
them there in the first place, and now it's being well-rewarded for such a task.
Sure it has about half of the audience of "TPIR", but its audience grew from
year-to-year over the less-attractive, more-expensive-to-produce "Guiding
Light." This is what happens when you have a good product and a good way of
In short, misfortune invites misfortune from 1000
miles. Fortune invites fortune from 10,000 miles. Just another day in the life
of the universe.
Game Show Alphabet Redux
Not much in the way of "N" shows. I should know.
I went through the Tome twice.
I arrived ultimately at "Now You See It", which I
thought was new and amazing when it aired at 2:30p on the CBS affiliate in
Tucson (I was 9 at the time and living in Arizona). Turned out it was actually a
redo of a 70s game hosted by Jack Narz. Didn't know it at the time, but in its
simplicity, I found what I think most good game shows have: competition, drama,
action, and strategy. This was one of the most underrated games of the last 40
years of game shows.
I guess you could say I was a weird kid.
"Now You See It":
25 Days That Rocked the Game Show World: Day 25
And so we've reached the end of my
no-particular-order countdown with a day that not only rocked the game show
world, but changed the world as we know it forever.
DAY 25: September 11, 2001 -
Angel Juarbe, who had won "Murder in a Small Town
X", was a New York City firefighter who got the call to head to the World Trade
Center. Charles Burlingame, who was a contestant on "Greed", was a pilot of one
of the damned flights that headed to the same location. Both made the ultimate
"Big Brother", which was still going on at the
time, put the game on hold to apprise the remaining contestants of the events
that had transpired.
The premiere seasons of "The Amazing Race" and
"Lost" (the game show) were deferred while wall-to-wall news coverage was the
new norm of the day.
A planned chase game on ABC, "The Hunter", was
put on indefinite hiatus, as it didn't make sense for contestants to chase after
game-created fugitives when real fugitives were to be brought to justice.
The "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions was shot
in an empty studio.
Shows airing at the time such as "The Weakest
Link", "Family Feud", "Card Sharks", and "The Price Is Right" all ran special
episodes saluting America's heroes.
Even "Survivor", which had premiered the year
prior, was starting to show images in its reunion shows that echoed American
Even our own Gordon Pepper worked literally
footsteps from what would become hallowed ground.
Once in a lifetime an event would come to put fun
and games on hold while our collective conscience reordered our priorities.
Every so often we need to remember that what we do here, in our little
collective, pales in comparison to the world at large. It's a great interest to
have, our game shows, but we need to remember that they are just that, interest.
Our lives, our loved ones, and those we hold most dear should take precedent
over all else. And as tragic an event as 9/11 was, it served as a grim reminder
of that - to live out each day as if it were our last, to give love to strangers
as we would give love to family, and to remember that even in the darkest of
times, the sun will never fail to rise on a new day.
And fun and games did return.
And now that that's over...
I want to know about the days that rocked YOUR
world. It could be a moment that you met your idol. It could be a moment that
changed your life in some way. It could be your ultimate moment of triumph.
Whatever it is, I want to know about it. Send them over to my e-mail address (or
find me on Twitter @chairmanchico), and the best ones will be featured in a
future InSites column.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Chico Alexander apparently is also a funny
thing. E-mail him more funny things at