The Greatest Stories Never Told...
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
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...
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
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.
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
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