A few weeks ago, I ran a column on bringing back games
and asked people to submit suggestions. Thanks to you
guys, I received a bunch of them. Lets look at some of
the more intriguing ones and look at their viability.
This first one comes from James Dinan -
College Bowl -- Ken Jennings' success on Jeopardy, along
with the gameplay of such former quizbowlers as Dr.
Kevin Olmstead, David Goodman, Brian Weikle and Mark
Dawson, shows that a revival of this Allen Ludden/Robert
Earle-hosted game is a possibility. Especially if
Richard Reid (who currently runs CB) can get Jennings
involved as a host, producer and/or head writer and
However, the College Bowl format has soured in the
hearts and minds of many current and former quiz
players, who dismiss the CBI style of play as
anachronistic. And Mr. Reid (along with his late father)
has tried to get the format back on the air for years
without any luck.
Perhaps National Academic Quiz Tournaments (whose "board
members" include the likes of Jennings and Olmstead) can
use that to its advantage and launch a game of their own
on the air. Many members of the NAQT "board" fit the
demographic that networks and advertisers love, and most
current quizzers seem to prefer NAQT style over CBI
Where will it air? I could see ABC, CBS or NBC putting
the show on Saturday nights at 8pm. Not a great time
slot given current network philosophies, but given
proper promotion, such a show could do surprisingly
Who would host? How about Ben Stein or Todd Newton (who
I think could pull it off)?
Thanks for the suggestion, James. I actually think that
the show would work, as there are many statitch it to
any of the 'Big Six'. Where do I think it should go? The
new ESPN college station would be a nice first, or FOX
College Sports. Both groups have already started to look
into airing debate competitions, and this would be a
perfect companion piece for it.
Staying in sports, James and a number of other people
have suggested that due to the new ESPN game show
schedule appearing, a revival of one of their favorites
should be in order - 2 Minute Drill. I am not
necessarily sure that it would do very well. The format,
rapid fire questions in 2 minutes, is good, but the
target demographic area is clearly smaller than what
ESPN wants to go after. With the exception of Stump the
Schwab, all of ESPN's entertainment ideas is targeted
towards non hard-core sports fans. I'd Do Anything =
Sports + Fear Factor. Teammates = Sports + Newlywed
Game. Battle of the Grid Iron Stars = Sports a la
Olympics/Battle of the Network Stars/Superstars. Bowling
Night = Bowling + Celebrities (Though their ability is
right on par to most of the celebrities on Celebrity
Pool, sans Joe Rogan). If 2 Minute Drill does come back,
the format is going to have to be changed so that it
addresses that concern of not attracting enough people.
Here are some of the other shows suggested, in no
Strike it Rich - I admittedly wasn't too thrilled with
this show to begin with, as it was a trivia show with a
twist of trying to get across 2 rows of video screens.
It was a cute show, but I don't know how much mileage it
would get now, when everyone is looking for a more
Catch Phrase - This show, which I thought was a little
ahead of it's time, could be successfully revived.
Contestants tried to guess a phrase that was pictured on
a video wall and then got a piece of a puzzle for
another phrase, a la Classic Concentration. If you put a
crack team of people behind the video wall, then this
show has a chance of doing well as a revival for GSN.
Classic Concentration - Here's another revival that has
GSN written all over it. Imagine how many fans you can
bring back to the network if you revive this one. Place
up eight $5,000+ prizes up there instead of cars, and
you have a nice show. As for regular prizes - you got a
boat-load for FremantleMedia's Whammy run without
breaking the bank. I'm sure you can do the same here.
Joker's Wild - We're talking the old Jack Barry version
and let's forget about the pitiful TTD 90. The 1 thing
that TTD 90 did have right, though - the pace of play
has to be sped up. If you can tweak the speed of the
game play and maybe add a viable working twist or 2,
then you could have a winner.
Tic Tac Dough - I could take the Joker's Wild comments
and use them here. Format - good, but slow. If you sped
up the game play (maybe giving either player a chance to
answer every question, except in a situation when they
have to block), then this show could also work,
somewhere. One more caveat here: Whammies can rap.
Thanks for all of the suggestions. If you guys send in
more, then we'll revisit this column again sometime in
When I do the Chaos
Theory columns for Friday, they are always set up to
predict who would be in trouble. The columns have done
spectacularly well for isolating the people that would
be at the bottom, but it seems like every week that one
singer would go out of their way to give such a last
place effort that they would put themselves past the
people predicted (who indeed find themselves in the
bottom 2) and get eliminated.
Let's look at the past 3 weeks. It should not have been
Nikko's turn to go, but he was so lackluster that he
dropped under the person that everyone thought would be
leaving - Scott. Two weeks ago, Scott could have gone
again, but Nadia sang a song so out of left field, she
'outperformed' him, if you will, and got the gate. This
past week, everyone thought that Scott and Anthony would
be in the bottom two - and they were - but Anwar's song
selection was so hideous that he left well before he
By the way, a note on that -
1. Don't pick a song if it has a memorable selection of
notes that you aren't
going to sing, and ...
2. Definitely don't pick the song if the back-up singer
has the potential
(and in this case did) to do a better job on the song
than you do.
So every week, the Chaos Theory is right, BUT someone
always sings badly enough to not make it a complete
cycle. What is going to happen this week? Let's first
look at the genres left...
Rock/Country - 2 (Bo, Carrie)
Pop - 2 (Constantine, Anthony)
R&B - 2 (Scott, Vonzell)
Hmmm. Not much there to go by this week, so lets analyze
the performers past, present and future.
Anwar - As always, we start with the person eliminated
first, to see what their effect on the competition is. I
think he is one of the best singers to come in 7th, but
you may have been done in by 2 things: 1. You didn't fix
the 'do bad on the low notes and then save yourself with
a high note' effort, and 2. Even more damning, a number
of people have thought that you could have been dogging
it and thinking that you can skate into the Final 4. You
probably could in past AI's, but not in this one, as you
are shown the door. Once again, the 'Favorite' will not
win the competition, which adds another reason to why
people love this show - you never know who is going to
Now let's see who is in trouble and who isn't, though at
this stage of the competition, everyone could be
in trouble, so we'll do it this way...
Constantine Maroulis -
Why you are safe - So Bo Bice, your dichotomy opponent,
outsang you to the point that he could beat you all the
way from here to Singapore and back, and not only were
you not out, you didn't even fall in the bottom three.
You showed me that you are the person to beat in this
competition and you have successfully migrated your fan
base in both Pop and Rock. If you can eliminate Bo, then
you can move straight to the finals.
Why you are in trouble - As long as Bo is around, and as
long as he outperforms you, you are vulnerable to
falling into the bottom three. You need to go back to
rock, get more fans there, and eliminate him once and
Why you are out - If there's a Madonna week, you select
Edgar's version of 'Like a Virgin.' Well, you're
probably safe, even if you do that.
Vonzell Solomon -
Why you are safe - There's only 1 female left besides
you, and the only other R&B singer (Scott) has been
struggling to stay in the competition. Go directly to
the Final Four. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200...
Why you are in trouble - ...unless you and Carrie play
role-reversal. I'm sure that you must be grumbling that
Carrie can mangle the words and get away with it. She
has a huge fan base. Based on you being in the bottom
three previously, you don't have that luxury to put up a
Why you are out - You put up such a horrific performance
that the R&B voters all swarm to Scott, but based on the
departure of Anwar this past week, it will be VERY hard
to not collect at least enough votes from Anwar to not
Carrie Underwood -
Why you are safe - Your fan base is huge. You have now
mangled three straight songs and have gotten away with
it unscathed. You have done the right thing and moved
into pop to get more of a fan base. If you can do a pop
song CORRECTLY, then you could move into the finals with
Why you are in trouble - The audience is tired of you
mangling up the words and Bo and Constantine knock you
out of the park.
Why you are out - You either sing so horrifically that
your fans desert you, or you do something REALLY
dumb, like shave your head, rip up pictures of the new
pope on the air and call yourself Carrie O' Connor.
Bo Bice -
Why you are safe - You sang the snot out of the
"Vehicle". You're a great rock singer, but you still
haven't found that song that you can cross-over genres
Why you are in trouble - With the competition dwindling
down to 6, you need to find that song - soon. You are
better than most of the people left, but your trip to
the bottom three last week shows us that your fan base
isn't as strong as Carrie or Constantine - and they are
the threats that can eliminate you.
Why you are out - You either fail badly on a non-rock
song, you sing uninspired, or people get tired of your
"I am just doing this for kicks and I don't want this as
badly as other people do" attitude.
Scott Savol -
Why you are safe - Though you probably don't read this
column, you did yourself a huge favor by changing
your attitude and had a funny story about your mom. It
didn't rescue you from the bottom 3, but it probably did
save you from being eliminated. You need to continue
that, because I am sure that you are going to get votes
from Anwar's dismissal.
Why you are in trouble - With Anthony improving his
game, you have no margin for error. You've been very
spotty, and one more spotty song probably eliminates
you. You also have to keep up the happy persona, because
it takes time for you to change that image.
Why you are out - Anthony outsings you, no one else
sucks, or the "I am an angry big man" persona
Anthony Fedorov -
Why you are safe - You have been improving steadily from
week to week, and the new look has certainly helped.
Your fan base is very loyal, as without them, you would
have been gone by now.
Why you are in trouble - That fan base still only got
you as far as the bottom three last week. What also
doesn't help you - the only people left are the
hard-hitters with the big core voters, Bo sang lights
out and Scott is more likely to get a boost from the
departing Anwar's votes than you are.
Why you are out - Scott out sings you and no one else
falls on their face to let you escape elimination again.
So my thoughts are that BARRING A SINGING DISASTER, Bo,
Scott and Anthony all return to the bottom three, and
the loser of Scott Vs. Anthony (probably Anthony) goes
home. That being said, there has always been someone
else that has been the singing disaster, and next week,
we'll see who henceforth leaves.
Gordon Pepper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.