Chico: AD 2004... It was the year that saw the rise of Trump, the fall of
H2, and the somewhere-in-between of On the Cover. We've seen the Biggest Losers,
the biggest winners... okay, so one biggest winner, head shots, lucky shots,
and shots below the belt. Survivor turned 4. GSN turned 10. The Price is Right
turned 33. It was the best of years... It was the worst of years... And now...
from somewhere in America... the WLTI 2004 Year in Review... is ON!
Ryan: Bring it!
Joe: Happy Holidays to all!
Gordon: That was Chico Alexander. This is Gordon Pepper. They are Joe Van
Ginkel, Ryan Vickers and Mike Klauss.
Chico: How you doing on this Christmas night, everybody. I'm Chico
Alexander, alongside the usual suspects...
Gordon: I think we're more unusual than usual.
Ryan: I concur.
Chico: Can't argue with that.
Chico: Over the next few pages, you're going to see what made 2004 both a
good and a bad year to be a fan.
Gordon: We have 20 Questions and we'll be Pushing of Flushing with our VERY
special guest...Eddie Timanus!
Chico: But first we start.. at the beginning. January 1. Kurt Nilsen Wins
World Idol... and no one cares.
Gordon: I care - someone got on my screen and sung some weird rendition of
U2. How irritating.
Ryan: Ah... the middle earth hobbit with U2 stylings.
Ryan: My guy finishes middle of the pack. So be it.
Chico: And ours... a favorite to win... comes in second.
Gordon: The first showing of a musical global Anti-American bias - while the
ratings dictate that we will never see a World Idol 2.
Chico: I still don't care, truth be told.
Gordon: neither did anyone else, apparently.
Ryan: We'd be much better off seeing Eurovision I think.
Chico: Going a few weeks later, as we try again with American Idol 3... and
the vocal stylings... of William Hung.
Ryan: I BANGED! I BANGED! My head against the wall.
Chico: Can someone end the joke already?
Gordon: You realize that William Hung had more air time on GSN than the
actual winner, Fantasia Barrino?
Chico: That, in and of itself, is scary.
Ryan: Yeah but that's not really GSN's service now is it?
Joe: No kidding.
Chico: As the placement for Star Search proved.
Ryan: Because at 9AM I really need to find a good dancer (sarcasm).
Gordon: Speaking of bad singing, we got plenty of it with SUPERSTAR USA!
Chico: Luckily, we never heard from Jamie Foss since.
Joe: I cared about Superstar USA even LESS than cared about World Idol.
Chico: Gah! Is that even possible?
Ryan: MuchMusic ran it into the ground up here. Poor, poor Mario.
Gordon: and with that, we had a string of 'fake' game shows, like My Big Fat
Obnoxious Fiance, Joe Schmo 2, My Big Fat Obnoxious (fill in the blank) and
Joe Millionaire 2.
Joe: Joe Schmo 2 was hilarious. One of the coolest things I've seen in
Ryan: I still contend that Joe Schmo had a good premise!
Gordon: So-so premise, Horrific Execution. Bad Ratings.
Chico: I liked Joe Schmo 2... I thought it was interesting what they were
going to do with Ingrid?
Joe: In fact that's what I liked best. Instead of covering it up, they
brought her in on it.
Ryan: Yes - good strategy by the producers.
Chico: She was probably smarter than 90% of anyone you see on reality TV.
Gordon: We had a few shows premiere in January that wound up being huge
ratings grabbers. The first one....You're Fired.
Chico: Ah, the Apprentice....America needed a new icon, and game shows
needed a new catch phrase.
Joe: Donald Trump is cool. The Apprentice sucks.
Gordon: Debuted in January, when it got trounced by Idol on Wednesdays. Then
they moved it to Thursdays and it became a hit
Joe: And the stores needed a reissue of Trump: the Game.
Ryan: The best part of that had to be Omarosa getting hit on the head with
the plaster and then milking it - still.
Joe: I still have my original edition of the Trump game.
Chico: Any difference between the old and the new?
Joe: Packaging, I think.
Chico: Just that? I would imagine, yeah. Probably became interested again
once people started playing it in the loft.
Joe: Lots of Apprentice references in the new game, I'd say.
Gordon: Another show that premiered in the early part of 2004 that made it
through the year - Dream Job.
Mike: It's a cushy gig if you can get it, especially for 6 digits a year.
Chico: Made Mike Hall the new face os ESPN....news. Kind shortchanged him a
bit, don't you think?
Gordon: No - they said a job, he got a job on ESPN as a sportscaster. If you
are a die hard into your craft, you would kill for a job like that - and he'll
be learning while on ESPNews.
Mike: But he has had little face time since he won the gig. I saw him once
after winning. One time. And then vamoose, gone.
Chico: Speaking of which...On the Cover... After two years in development
hell over at NBC, Pax finally gets it... and yanks it after two airings.
Gordon: Into development hell - and then it comes back, and we get a champion
in the form of Tim Hsieh that wins.... NOTHING!
Mike: It was good as is, except the scoring format, with 10 point
multiples, was....empty. Everybody loves big numbers. Hence, let's jack up the
scoring 10-fold and make everything in hundreds. Would you rather see scores of
70-30-10 or 700-300-100? If you said the former, you're probably a hockey or
Gordon: If it's points and not money, why would it matter?
Joe: Or a Sale of the Century fan.
Chico: Doesn't make any difference to me.
Mike: People like big numbers.
Chico: Probably a psychological thing.
Gordon: Well, in SOTC, the money, especially in the first workings of the
show were very important. But On The Cover had company...lets get to some of the turkeys of the
early part of 2004. Todd TV!
Chico: Does that even count as a competition?
Gordon: Sure - interactive, people determine what Todd does, and then at the
end, Todd's performance in doing the tasks determine (via the audience) if he
keeps everything he's won.
Mike: So he was essentially the viewing public's robot. I don't know if
I'd call it a competition, per se.
Gordon: But no one else was interested, since it flopped. Next up -
Chico: "It was good on paper, I sware!"
Joe: Horrid. Can we please kill Evan Marriott?
Mike: Evan Marriott's been cashing in on that 15 mins. of fame a little too
Ryan: I didn't have GSN at the time and I can't say that I'm sorry...
Gordon: Chico will love the next one...The One That Got Away!
Chico: NEXT! That's all I have to say.
Mike: That's all you have to say about the one that got away?
Chico: Yep. NEXT!
Gordon: So the guy trying to pick out his past loves didn't appeal to you?
Mike: If I tried picking out my past loves, I'd probably beat the producer
over the head with a 2x4.
Gordon: Forever Eden!
Ryan: Yes please... nice concept, but once you Foxify it...
Gordon: The show that was supposed to last forever and lasted....2 months.
Chico: And obviously it didn't work if producers thought that this had to
Gordon: People liked Paradise Hotel - but it had people that you actually
cared about and could have a personality without being drunk.
Chico: How about talking about something that people like?
Gordon: We dd have hits in the first part of the year - America's Next Top
Model 2 - which spawned the recently concluded ANTM3.
Mike: (Tyra, call me.)
Chico: How about you, Vick?
Ryan: Yes, I'll take Tyra... sorry, what?
Mike: Over my dead body you'll take her!
Ryan: I challenge you to a duel!
Chico: Okay, getting back into the swing... Who saw Super Millionaire?
Mike: I saw it. I enjoyed it.
Joe: WHOO SUPER MILLIONAIRE!
Ryan: I liked Super Millionaire... save I got dizzy spells when we went
into the NEXT DIMENSION!
Chico: Care to elaborate, Mike?
Mike: I liked the two new lifelines. Unfortunately, the questions were so
ridiculously tough at that tier that they weren't useful that often.
Joe: Yeah. That was really sucked.
Mike: 3 Wise Men--great idea but did it ever help anybody?
Gordon: When Jason and I were there for the first episode, the 3 wise men
helped Todd Kim win $500,000.
Mike: Double Dip--great if you know the answer is one or the other.
Chico: Not arcane for Bobbo.
Gordon: Robert 'Bobbo' Essig used it successfully to win one million dollars.
Ryan: But do you notice that when the show was originally starting the
questions were ridiculously hard? We had one person see the $1M questions in the
first series, for example.
Mike: I could only imagine how the 14th and 15th questions were.
Chico: He's having the Best Year Ev... oh crap. Can't use that, can't I?
Mike: He's had a darn good 12 month period in history the greatest 12 month
period in history, even! And Todd Kim was on Jeopardy. He had to forfeit that
money, but anybody would give up $2000 to win 250 times that.
Gordon: Kim gambled wisely. Speaking of gambling, Also at the first half of
2004 - the progression of gambling games.
Mike: Deal us in, folks.
Ryan: Celeb Blackjack is the bomb!
Mike: Hey Joe! Gordon mentioned our forte!
Chico: It's the new mania.
Gordon: Celebrity Blackjack spawned a sequel, World Series of Blackjack will
be getting a sequel, World Poker Tour's new season in March had the highest
ratings ever, and Celebrity Poker Showdown and the World Series of Poker hit nice
Mike: Why does it work? It's a game with drama, and it's great to see how
the players' brains work. It's the best unscripted drama on TV. Could you handle a large bluff
for your tournament survival?
Gordon: Real bluffing. Real money. Can't be more drama-filled.
Joe: Definitely. Infinitely more interesting than stab each other in the
Chico: It's like college ball... only with cards.
Mike: It's real reality.
Mike: No scripts, no producer interaction.
Chico: It's the thinking man's reality show.
Mike: It's great TV, if you look beyond the 2 cards everybody gets.
Gordon: Gambling was a genre that worked. Let's get to another genre that hit
ratings - the country genre. Nashville Star 2 hit the ratings and gets Nashville
Star 3 in March. Cowboy U 2 also did well and we just
Cowboy U Moloka'i.
Chico: Nashville Star set out to create a star... It did that... twice. In
that, it succeeded, but I don't care for it.
Mike: So they have a better track record than that show with that pompous
Gordon: I like Nashville Star - my parents love it. They feel that the
performers on that show are clearly much more polished than in Idol.
Chico: We finished Cowboy U, and I have to say... How can you tell that a
show isn't working? Give them a monkey and send them to Hawaii.
Gordon: This year was also the year of resurgences.
Chico: Survivor All-Stars began with 18, and ended with a proposal.
Ryan: While it was nice from a "reunion" point of view, it didn't work as
well game wise I think. These people know each other.
Chico: I have to agree. As fun as it was to watch, it wasn't a game. It was
Gordon: I agree with you on the Party Favors. As Jeff Probst says, the game
works MUCH better when you don't know each other. How ironic is that the
Survival Proposal will last longer than the Bachelorette Proposal - and most of
proposals on the other romance shows?
Chico: That speaks volumes.
Joe: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Survivor Sucks. But I do
hope that the marriage lasts.
Mike: But look what Boston Rob got in that proposal. He's the ultimate
Chico: Got Amber.... and her million... Talk about a hard choice. One
million... or a hot chick..
Mike: You can always buy love. Take the cash. :-P
Gordon: Speaking of which...For Love or Money, which once again gets the good
ratings for NBC during the Summer.
Chico: Or at least find it on television...If I see another lame twist, I
Gordon: 2005 could be the year of the screamer
Ryan: Yes sir.
Mike: Screamer, as in people running away from their TV sets, screaming?
Chico: Yep, that's it
Mike: The sooner some of these stupid reality shows get killed off, the
Ryan: Well they'll live for ever on Reality central, now won't we?
Joe: Yeah right.
Gordon: We also had shows that may have seen their end in the Spring. Beg
Borrow Deal 2 got shifted to midnight - and never came back.
Chico: Thus giving 12 midnight the moniker of "Where ESPN Game Shows Go
Ryan: Did Trivial Pursuit end up there?
Gordon: Trivial Pursuit never got out of the test week.
Mike: But I think that's already gone to the game show morgue.
Ryan: Back to Blind Date for Roger then, eh?
Chico: It probably would've worked had it run longer.
Gordon: It wouldn't have worked ever - Trivial Pursuit was awful and I'm
glad the audience agreed with me. Also going to the morgue - the house building
game show. House of Dreams, House Rules, The Complex and The Mansion all tanked.
Chico: Quadruple bleh.
Mike: The Mansion touches home with me. I went to school with one of the
contestants from The Mansion.
Gordon: Which one?
Mike: I had to root for Elvis Sverko. I was in Geometry with him in 9th
grade! Elvis graduated a year ahead of me. We were friends in my 9th grade geometry class. He was a hilarious guy then. I could only imagine how funny and
unpredictable he is now.
Gordon: Elvis 's strategy - try to be as unlikable as humanly possible,
while realizing that it's the audience that votes at the end. Good move, Elvis.
Mike: Trust me, Elvis isn't how he appeared on TV. He is a very cool, very
Gordon: He was funny....and obnoxious, which won't win any popularity
contests. The guy who did win it, Dan, was also funny, but also was helpful to
everyone else, while Elvis purposely didn't do tasks.
Mike: Unfortunately, the camera shows Elvis as unlikable. What can he do?
Chico: Become a slave to editing... like everyone else :)
Gordon: Well, by not doing what he was told to, by going with the guys
partying instead or working on the mansion and by putting up three day work
the camera doesn't have to do much for editing purposes.
Mike: Maybe it's good Elvis left the mansion.
Gordon: Elvis...has left....the Mansion.
Chico: At least he's better than some of the Complex folk. Seems like Fox
was going more for freaks and less for renovation. And it shows.
Mike: Freud couldn't tell you how many complexes those people had.
Gordon: If you are going to be on a game show where the audience decides who
wins, you better take the obnoxious part of you and stick it in a box, don't
open it for 8 weeks and kiss some major ass. That goes for both the Mansion
AND the Complex.
Chico: How was it a hit in Australia is beyond me.
Mike: FOX, the last resort for the reality shows USA opted not to pick
Chico: Just someone explain where the appeal lies.
Mike: I think you got your answer--there is none
Chico: Okay... on that note, I believe it's time for a break... and would
you believe we still have half a year to go?
Mike: Can we condense that in a few hours?
Chico: We're trying for 40 minutes TOPS.
Gordon: We have the Summer and the Winter - and then 2005. We'll try to do
some condensing when we come back.
Mike: I better use the fast-fast-fast forward then.
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