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Hot Texting Mess - August 10

The past month in the call-in game world has been tumultuous, to say the least. Most people were all in love with the Quiznation format a couple of months ago, as people played a variety of games for two hours. The peak of the fandom hit when Playmania introduced '100 Winners' into the fold. That was then. Now, 100 Winners has been sacked (probably permanently), while the current format of Quiznation is one or two small games that takes around 10 minutes each, then a game that has a ridiculous number of potentially correct answers (and no winners) lasting well over an hour just to get money into GSN's coffers, and then a final throw-in game for the last 10 minutes just to show the audience that they still want to give away money. This, of course, has been proven contrary for the past 80 or so minutes beforehand, when we play a ridiculously long game for a relatively short payout.

If that's not bad enough, we're now getting to the point that the money isn't even being given away fairly. Back on July 21, Shandi Finnessey inadvertently said that the answer to a game called was not 'Snarl'. Sure enough, at the end of the night, the answer was indeed 'snarl'. Oops. There hasn't been any resolution to what happened, but there should have been - the game should have been stopped immediately, as Shandi revealed what the answer was.

Take The Cake had that same problem, but dealt with it differently. This week, in a complete the phrase game, there were five answers that completed the phrase 'Home _____'. Now these, according to Joe Clair, were two-word phrases. The first contestant comes up and guesses 'Home Boy', which was deemed incorrect. Later on, one of the guesses was 'Home Body', which was deemed correct as Joe Clair revealed the answer...which was Home Boy. Oops.

However, at least Joe and the producers did the correct thing, which was announcing that the person who called in with 'Home Boy' (apparently they have records of this) will ALSO be awarded the same amount of money. Joe continues by saying that Take The Cake plays fair and doesn't play like other call-in shows, clearly making a veiled reference to Playmania.

Does this mean that I think that Take The Cake is a good show? Hardly. The other answers to 'Home ______' included 'Homer' and 'Homey'. Now I don't remember exactly when 'R' and 'Y' were words, but apparently they are in the eyes of the Endemol dictionary. Now keep in mind that this was the same Endemol Dictionary that in Midnight Madness gave us the 'famous' phrases 'Pot To Piss In' and 'Moon-ing' - which would accurately describe what I would like to do to both of these shows.

Listen folks, if you can't run a text in and win show correctly, don't air it. The structure is terrible, the payout is measly, and it you're looking to only generate revenue from the text-ins (especially when you are forced to accept free entries), you are asking for disaster. Do I have a way to fix it? Of course I do, and we'll be getting into it on a later column. Right now, though, just text the letter 'C' to these shows, the 'C' standing for Crap.

But of course, it's never crappy to learn more about TPIR pricing games.

Push Over - Align the blocks so that the last digit ends in either 0 or 5 - especially 50 or 95.

Race Game - Forget about the prizes. The whole idea is a logic game, where you switch the price tags around until you get all 4 prices right. 45 second is plenty of time to make 4 or 5 changes as long as you just concentrate on where you are putting the tags instead of listening to the audience.

Range Game - The price usually ends in 95. The best way to allocate the Range finder is to cover two sets of 95's, increasing your chances to win by 50%.

Gordon Pepper doesn't of yet accept text message, but you can still E-mail him at


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