Everything Old Is New Again
I guess it
all started with an e-mail that I got the other day from reader Chuck Sutton...
read the article on 1975 game shows. Amazing number.
“However, if you count the six original games that aired on GSN in 2007, 2007
also had 24.
“Temptation, Crosswords, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire, Family Feud, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Don't Forget
the Lyrics!, Power of Ten, The Price Is Right, Set for Life, National Bingo
Night, Duel, Deal or No Deal, 1 vs.100, Identity, The Singing Bee, The
Adrenaline Project (If Almost Anything Goes counts so does this), Playmania,
Chain Reaction, That's The Question, Camouflage, Grand Slam, Lingo”
That is 24
game shows in 2007... I don’t know myself if that was an impetus for the stars
aligning, but it seems that ever since then, there have been an influx of new
ideas for both primetime and cable that are, to say the least, old.
there’s the new celebrity edition of “Family Feud” that NBC will launch in July
with Al Roker, a person who hasn’t hosted a game show for some 10 years.
Alongside that, new editions of long-dormant reality fixtures “The Bachelorette”
and “The Mole” on ABC.
January, we have the resurgence of “American Gladiators”, which spawned a second
season after Ben Silverman was adamant that the show be remade.
there’s “Trade Up”, which isn’t an old idea, but it’s a new take on an old idea
that worked... “Deal or No Deal”... which itself was a spin on “Let’s Make a
Deal”. The Canadian Francophone series was recently optioned for the US.
Is Right’s” Million Dollar Spectaculars continue to perform very well for CBS,
who recently renewed it for another four segments. Not to mention Drew Carey’s
first year winding up, injecting a much needed dose of irreverence and
everyman-cool to a classic format and making it relevant for the 21st Century.
there’s GSN’s “Bingo America”, which rose from the ashes of “National Bingo
Night” on ABC. A second series of the show was passed over for “Duel” (Note to
ABC: How’s that working out for you?), but the Bingodrome lives on the Network
there are the DVDs of the classics, from “What’s My Line?” to “Match Game” to
“The Price Is Right”.
we’re on “Match Game,” let’s bring up that deal Fremantle made with TBS. The
firm is hell-bent on proving that the game can work in the here-and-now, and
TBS, putting its money where Fremantle’s mouth is, is willing to risk a pilot on
there’s “Wipe Out”, the obstacle course series waiting to take on many a Ninja
Warrior fan. To all those going out for it... good luck. Bring a cup.
it, the new thinking in the American game show is... old. The older, the better.
But why? For the answer, we go to Ben Silverman, whose unit oversaw the do-overs
of “Gladiators”, “Battlestar Galactica”, “Bionic Woman”, and “Knightrider.”
playing to nostalgia."
back to a song by Baz Luhrmann, “Advice is like nostalgia; dispensing it is like
wishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts,
and recycling it for more than its worth.”
were to boil the answer down to a cliché, it would just be that, like fine win,
a good idea doesn’t go away; it just gets better over time. Wink Martindale, in
talking about Barry White, actually made a point similar to this one, that
something that good doesn’t die, it just gets put on a shelf for a while,
waiting for the right time for a rediscovery.
Here, in a
new renaissance spawned by the continuing success of shows like “Deal”,
“American Idol”, and “Dancing with the Stars”, producers and networks are
beginning, in what may seem the biggest collective copout (or the biggest
collective epiphany) in the history of television, to embrace the rich game show
heritage for ready programming.
ironically isn’t a new idea itself. “Idol” begat “Star Search’s” rebirth in
2003. “Millionaire” ushered in the return of “Twenty One” in 2000. “Wheel of
Fortune” begat one of the most successful do-overs in history, “Jeopardy!” in
to the cyclical nature of the game shoe business. The moment someone says “The
game show as we know it is dead,” here comes another idea to bring about
something new... or old, depending on what the television mindset of the day is.
So if you
don’t like something on TV that everyone else does, then take it from someone
who’s experienced North Carolina
weather for the last 16 years. Stick around for a couple of years, and it’ll
change into something a little more bearable.
Show Alphabet Redux
going to B. And in the spirit of the way out there, we’re going global for this
one, as the UK
gave us “Bullseye.” The show was trivia meets darts. Answer questions, win money
based on how well a darter’s throw does. And of course, who could forget Bully,
the show’s bullish mascot.
English viewers in the 80s, this was appointment television, right up there with
“Countdown” and “15 to 1”. In its prime, it was watched by around 15 million
viewers on Sunday evenings, where it was shown from 1982 to early 1993.
one-off as part of “Ant & Dec’s Gameshow Marathon”, it was revived for Challenge
answer to GSN), where it continues to air today.
That Rocked the Game Show World: Day 15
the women hosting the game in an earlier day. Now, thinking about Al Roker gets
me to think about another person whose name doesn’t garner such familiarity, but
whose prestige paved the way for someone like Al Roker to take the reigns of the
1975 - Musical Chairs Launches with Adam Wade, the first African American host
concept was simple. It was sort of a meld of “Split Second” and “Name That
Tune”. That lasted some 26 weeks on CBS. The host was simple as well. Adam Wade
gained fame in the 1960s with his hit song “Ruby”. Put the two together, and add
some of the day’s hottest musical acts, and a landmark achievement was made.
some of our better emcees are men and women of color: Michael Carrington on
“Think Fast”, the late Nipsey Russell on “Your Number’s Up”, Spencer Christian
on “Triple Threat”, Tyra Banks on “America’s Next Top Model”, and Wayne Brady on
“Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”, a sort of one-person version of “Musical Chairs”…
and we’ve come full circle.
read more about the show here:
Chico Alexander is a 74-year-old trapped in a 28-year-old’s body. E-mail him
firstname.lastname@example.org, you little whippersnappers.