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The Greatest Stories Never Told... This Year
December 25

Well, the year's winding down, and if you're like me, you've had enough roast and red velvet cake to last until August. And it seems like nothing's going on worth devoting a column about. It is, after all, the last two weeks of December, which many a journalist take off for the holidays (leaving the hard-working folk like myself with nothing to write on. Thanks guys. No... really).

So with help from fellow elves Gordon and Jason, I give you ten stories that didn't make the news this year... because they didn't happen. It would be pretty interesting if they did, but oh well.

10) After losing in the grand final of "Grand Slam" to game show ubertitan Ken Jennings, "Millionaire" legend in the making Ogi Ogas immediately called a press conference to blame his poor performance on his "special friend" Jessica Simpson, who was present in the audience. The two have since split, but sources close to both camps have said that the two could rekindle their relationship over "a plate of ribs at her new boyfriend's famous rib restaurant."

9) A round of auditions for the next season of "So You Think You Can Dance" took a somewhat disturbing turn when judge Mary Murphy, in a state of euphoric awe over the performance of the robot by a "professional mannequin model who was actually trying out for a spot on 'Temptation'", let out a shriek with so much force and vigor that she spontaneously combusted. Engineers were able to piece her together in time for the next day's auditions.

8) Annoyed at the prospect of possibly losing a match in Celebrity Jeopardy! after boasting that he could do Alex Trebek's job (and has), Jeff Probst writes for his Final Jeopardy! response, "What is 'Suck it Trebek'?"

7) A contestant on the Power of 10, who got up to the $10 million question and missed, was so angry at his loss that when comforted by host Drew Carey, he said "Yeah, whatever. Tough talk for a guy who thinks he's the host of the Price is Right." None too pleased, Drew threw him a right cross, saying "I am the host of the Price is Right."

6) After dodging cancellation again by absorbing the heart of the time period vortex at Sundays at 8, "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan regenerated into someone that looks like David Tennant. His first destination as new host: "Barcelona". The city, not the planet.

5) Citing big numbers for "The Surreal Life", "Flavor of Love", and "I Love New York", VH1 greenlights 53 more spinoffs of "Flavor of Love" from creators Mark Cronin and Cris Abrego to feature former VH1 celebrity D-listers. First up, a dating show from "Celebrity Fit Club" castoff Dustin "El Screecho" Diamond. 

4) The repercussions of the European Phone-in Scandals hit home when a visibly annoyed Jonathan (the Playmania game board operator) left one message 46 minutes into the show, where he said, "I'm tired of Angelle. I'm tired of Jessica. I'm tired of making $6 an hour. I quit this bitch."

3) Desperate to give away a million dollars before its pop culture longevity runs dry (too late), "Deal or No Deal" has resorted to the ultimate gimmick: two cases. One has a million dollars. The other, a giant hammer. Pick the giant hammer and you get hit over the head with it.

2) During a live broadcast of "Big Brother", Julie Chen seemed to contract a computer virus, forcing her to repeat "But first" ad nauseum. She later lost her head due to said virus, but the show continues with one of several clone bots that CBS keeps under Television City just for such an occasion.

And the number one story of 2007 that failed to make the headlines... because it didn't happen... is...

Drumroll, please...

1) Facing allegations that "American Idol" was becoming the most overhyped, overrated show ever devised for television, and was starting to go south because of its reliance on the show rather than the talent, head judge Simon Cowell finally admitted, "I am not a legitimate judge of musical talent. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

Game Show Alphabet

Going to "R" now, and we have a favorite of confused children of the '80s such as myself. It was MTV's first game show. It made Ken Ober into one of the underrated gems of the industry (just look at "Smush"), and launched the comedy careers of Kari Wuhrer, Colin Quinn, Denis Leary, and Adam "the Stud Boy" Sandler.

Oh, and it helped that there was a wall of fame and a catchy theme song...

"Kenny wasn't like the other kids... (Remote Control)
TV mattered, nothing else did... (Remote Control)
Girls said yes, but he said no... (Remote Control)
Now he's got his own game show! (Remote Control)"

The show aired for five seasons on MTV from 1987 to 1990 and in syndication in 1989.

Remote Control:

25 Days That Rocked the Game Show World: Day 3

Sticking with the 1980s, a couple of networks, CBN and USA most notably, decided with the increasing popularity of quiz shows in the daytime, that reruns combined with new fare would be a good idea. And indeed, it was. At least it kept Press Your Luck in the public conscience long after it was cancelled in 1986.

So it was only a matter of time before the medium got its own forum on the TV dial...

December 1, 1994: Pushing Play on GSN 

At first, the network only concentrated on shows from its own library (including acquisitions from Barris, Stewart, and Barry-Enright) and leased access to the Goodson-Todman library. Then came its own roster of home-grown originals, some utilizing nothing more than a green-screen and a dream.

Thirteen years later, it broadened its focus to more casino gaming and reality shows from CBS ("The Amazing Race"), Disney-ABC ("Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"), and NBC Universal ("The Weakest Link" and "Dog Eat Dog"). It was the first outlet for live interactive quiz television with "Playmania".

Of course, such a run has had its share of speed bumps (the Dark Period.... the ill-fated GSN at 10 approach... Playmania in its last couple of months), but what network hasn't? Gotta take the good with the bad, and honestly, were it not for GSN, we wouldn't have such favorites as "Lingo" or "Chain Reaction" be remade into entries for our generation. And for that, the network for games is to be lauded.

Chico Alexander apologizes profusely to Brett Friedlander of the Fayetteville Observer. E-mail him at