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Summer Fix
Gordon Pepper

This past Tuesday, CBS gave us the swan songs of Big Brother and Rock Star. Although both shows look like they are getting renewed (Rock Star much less than Big Brother, but the late rating growth at the end means that it probably will get renewed), both shows had issues that need to be addressed in order to be better for next summer. Hence, I give you my list of 5 fixes for each show.

Show #1 - Big Brother

1. Summer of wha? Okay, we had one big secret at the beginning of the summer, which was all figured out in around three days. Then...nothing. I thought it was Summer of SecretSSSSSS (plural). If you're going to have a theme, make it better than just one thing at the beginning. At least DNA had some twists to it.

2. Twists! Speaking of twists...there were none. You had a new big house - the least you could have done was to give them more to do. Hide an exemption or two in the house. The PB&J exemption was cool - but nothing happened to it. You could have had Janelle trade it in for exemption or use it as a tool. Hide a secret room or give them clues to goodies in the house - because none of that happened.

3. Audience Participation - We got to vote a house guest in and send someone out of the house for a mini-vacation. Whoopie. Give the audience a chance to be interactive on a weekly basis and let them be in a position to not only help the hamsters, but punish them as well - like which ones deserve to spend a week with nothing but PB&J, etc.

4. The guests - the problem with bringing in friends, lovers, etc. of the group is that while the people who you cast may be dynamic and fun, the people they bring in may not. They got away with it in the EX-Factor, but too much whining costs them here. Rule of Thumb - with 14 people competing for $500,000, you're always going to have conflict - you don't need to artificially create it by bringing in people with the personality of an eggplant.

5. The guests, part 2 - Sure, people want to bash Julie, but it doesn't help her when the people that she's talking to aren't listening to her and are jumping on the lines that she should be saying. What also doesn't help - the contestants telling America to (bleep) themselves - that can't possibly help ratings. When you get the new set of guests, you need to give them a primer on how to deal - and not deal - with the TV and Julie.

Show #2 - Rock Star

1. Let's start with the main culprits here - INXS. There was nothing wrong with them, per se, but there was nothing in their personality that made me want to watch. I understand that Burnett figured that this is a nice gesture to help his Australian buddies, and I know that INXS are world-wide, but to start a series, you want to get a global group whose roots are in the U.S. Van Halen (or any group that needs a singer that doesn't have the stench of capitalizing over someone's death) would have been a great choice, and quite frankly, they will need someone like that for there to be a season 3.

2. Dave Navarro - I like Dave as a person. I think he is a great poker player. On this show, he was as convincing as cardboard. In this case, I can't blame just him - the material that the writers of the show gave him made it very hard for us to believe him. At times, it felt like less of a rock show and more of American Idol's 95 pound weakling nephew.

3. Brooke Burke - I love to look at her. She sounded as brick-like as Dave did. I assume that they had the same writers, which let her down like they let Dave down. They let her down, too.

4. The Format - I thought the talent was excellent, and I liked the performances. I understand what they wanted to do with the Monday show, but not only is it not necessary, but they used the Monday shows to painted the eventual winner (JD) as the villain. Oops. That isn't exactly going to set album sales in the U.S. on fire.

5. The winner - If anyone saw The Cut (besides Jason Block and the man in the back wearing Chris's clothing line), Chris may not have been the best person to win the show, but he was an admitted Hilfiger Idol and it was easy to see that he would be much easier to control than the opinionated and chance-taking Princess. Let's use this same theory on Rock Star - Marty arguably has the most amount of talent, and yet when it came to selecting the winner, INXS selected the person who may not have been the most talented, but was the biggest lap dog and fanboy. It's possible that they may not have had a choice - last week, there was a nasty rumor that came out that Marty was only doing the show to promote his own band - but the last time I checked, the show was about who was the most talented and right singer for INXS, not who can be the biggest fanboy. It was evident that Hilfiger didn't follow that rule, and once viewers realized this, they shut him off. I don't know if the decision will affect the next series, but it can't be good.

Summing it up for Big Brother - the people in the house need more charisma and the people behind the house have to give the contestants more things to do to draw out that charisma. Summing it up for Rock Star - get us a band that more Americans will care about, get us some better writers (or give Navarro and Burke presentational lessons), and while you need to keep the quality of the singers the same, you need to give everyone equal time and make them look good - lest the evil one find a way to win.

And that would end the Summer Tool Time. Hopefully, the winter shows won't need as much fixing, since it gets really cold outside in December - and usually in the winter, the network executives are just as cold.

Gordon Pepper *grunt grunt grunt*. *grunt grunt grunt* gordon@gameshownewsnet.com. *grunt*.

 

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