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History - August 11

Gordon: This is Gordon Pepper, and welcome to a very special State of Play this week. We are joined today by Jason Block, Don Harpwood, Travis Schario and James Dinan. Good morning, gentlemen.
Everyone: Good Morning.
Gordon: As you all know, today featured a terrorism plot foiled thanks to the British government.
Jason: Amen to that.
Gordon: This week's State of Play will take a look at this event and will see what effect, if any, this will have on the game show world. If this happened a month ago, while Jason and myself were still in L.A., then we would have had to extend our flight plans.
Jason: Wow.
Gordon: But let's look at the people that it affects now. We all see that it would have a very quick effect on the short term almost immediately. For example, it's going to hamper the travel plans of Mr. Dinan. please explain to us why this is the case.
James: Well, I am flying to LA on Saturday morning to tape *1 vs. 100*. My tape date is Sunday.
Gordon: I'm going to guess that you are going to get up a lot earlier than originally planned?
James: I've already been warned by the airport to arrive three hours ahead of my planned flight time. Thankfully, I won't have much to bring (just one change of clothes, night clothes and toiletries which will go straight to the airline), but I'll still have to deal with travelers who will have toss out various liquids and such I typically go to the airport 3 hours before a flight
anyway...have done so since 9/ I'm not that worried. My wife is driving me to the airport, though, and she may not be thrilled with the earlier time :)
Gordon: You're not the only person that has to change plans. Travis Schario has a new job as Price is Right Interm. The problem here - he is currently in Ohio. Are you going to go cross-country to get to work?
Travis: I have to, if I want to get to work on time. I'm considering changing it to a bus trip instead.
Jason: A lot of people who we know are going to LA this weekend....David Legler, Tim Sternberg, Nancy Christy, Kevin Olmstead I believe.
James: Yes...they will have the same problems as well.
Gordon: Yes, and they are all going to be affected. Now I doubt that this would keep away these stalwarts from playing. Would this deter regular contestants from flying out to audition or be on a show?
Jason: Probably.
Don: If I was heading out somewhere to try out for a show, I'd still go. But I'm sure I'd still be affected.
James: I think if you are truly committed to doing a game or reality show and you have to fly to New York or LA, you are going to go. But this is going to affect shows where traveling is an important cog to the game, such as Amazing Race.
Gordon: Lets go back to Travis Schario, who is thinking about traveling cross-country instead of flying. Is this an option anyone here would do?
Don: Seems like something I wouldn't mind doing.
James: Probably not...unless someone was with me to share in the driving
Jason: I have never done it...but in this case, I might.
Gordon: I've always wanted to see the country. It could be fun
Jason: As long as we get sat radio or more CDs :)
Gordon: Tons of CDs. Let's look at shows which could be affected by this. The obvious one here is Amazing Race.
James: For a show already on the bubble, this is not good for its long-term future.
Gordon: Should the ratings slide from the move to Sunday nights, could CBS shut it down and use this incident as the reason?
James: I don't think CBS will use that as the reason, as the show is going to struggle as is against football, Extreme Makeover and the Simpsons.
Jason: Amazing Race is on its last legs.
James: Also, the show is simply running out of gas...same teams, same adventures, etc.
Don: I wouldn't be surprised either way if this next season wound up being its last.
Gordon: Could this also affect audition shows? I doubt it would affect shows such as American Idol, but could the lower budgeted shows be scaled back a little?
James: Probably not
Jason: I don't think so. You might see more local people for each show, though.
Gordon: Do you see any other shows that could be affected negatively?
James: Treasure Hunters, but it's probably been canned.
Gordon: So this could spell the end of the globetrotting game shows?
Jason: It could. I mean they don't want deaths on their shows.
James: As a game/reality genre, it could As a lifestyle genre (eg. Rachael Ray's shows on Food Network), no.
Jason: Right. There also could be less travel prizes on regular shows for a little while.
Gordon: Travis, Do you think TPIR may cut down on the trip offerings?
Travis: Temporarily, perhaps.
James: They've done so in the past...I remember them scrapping trips to the Middle East when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Don: Short-term, I could see it happening.
Jason: I don't think they offer trips to Egypt anymore.
Travis: They don't.
Gordon: Could this affect trips to London?
Jason: Sure.
Travis: Yes.
James: Yes
Don: Yeah.
Gordon: Let's look at another sort of show that could be in trouble...Starface. The grand prizes there are trips, which are easy to furnish because many areas will just give them out for free. The money is not to be made on the trip, but on spending the money on the area. Could this spell trouble for those sort of shows that are using trips as incentives to be a contestant?
James: I think as long as they keep the trips limited to the Caribbean (as they appear to be doing), I don't see a problem
Jason: Depends on where you go. If they keep it to Mexico, Vegas, Florida et al. It will be ok.
James: Starface can simply not offer trips to Europe
Travis: Right.
Gordon: I don't think the budget is big enough for 1 trip to Europe, but that's another story to begin with. One trend that was noticed after September 11th: the ratings for escapism shows - and game shows - got a huge boost just because people wanted to escape from seeing the events of the news. Should this particular story have legs and continue, could we be seeing the same thing here?
Jason: We could. Remember this is a big anniversary. Five years since 09/11. The film United 93 did well. So will World Trade Center.
James: I think some of the fresher game/variety shows could have some ratings life...shows like Deal or No Deal, for instance.
Don: It could certainly happen.
Travis: I agree.
Gordon: Will there be a larger than usual spike for the overnight ratings of America's Got Talent?
James: No...for one thing, you have NFL preseason football, and people needing their pigskin rush will go there.
Travis: Preemptions will have free reign on network TV tonight, depending on the updates.
Gordon: Could there be a larger than usual spike for football as well?
James: It will be (1) CSI, (2) Football, (3) Talent in the ratings. Hall of Fame did surprisingly well, ratings wise...finished third overall during the week. However, by the time Talent comes on, you start having the scrubs play, so NFL will be a strong second. Talent hasn't been that impressive on Thursday (IMO, NBC should have gone head-to-head with BB, not CSI, with the results), and it should be the same tonight.
Gordon: That seems to cover everything. Final thoughts?
Travis: Does anyone know Criss Angel's number? Maybe he can just levitate me to Los Angeles. That's safe, right?
Jason: That I hope everyone stays safe and to remember that the TSA people are doing their job.
Gordon: Yep, though it sounds like we curse you out (and sometimes we do), we appreciate the work that you do.
Jason: And thank you to the agencies who are trying to keep us safe on both sides of the pond.
Travis: Here, here.
James: Agreed
Gordon: Thanks again to Jason, James, Don and Travis.
Jason: Thank you.
James: Thank you for this panel, Gordon
Don: *Nods*
Gordon: This is Gordon Pepper, wishing you all a pleasant Game Over - and please stay safe.

E-mail Gordon at


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