Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hit the road with baggage

As the ads are blaring and the official press release is saying, GSN's new season of Baggage on the Road debuts January 7.

Even with Jerry cracking (sort of) wise, it's always been hard to dislike this goofball dating game. The suitcase reveal gimmick, swiped from Deal or No Deal, adds to the fun and frivolity. Now Jerry and crew have taken the show to college campuses, including UConn. A funny story from the Hartford Courant recounts how UConn undergrads Annalise Lenihan and Brian Eilers made a dinner date.

As the story accurately notes, Baggage on the Road is "pretty tame" compared to that other show with Jerry. No fisticuffs, screaming, or burly security guys. The show does have some groaner gags from Jerry, but you gotta take the bitter with the sweet.

There are plenty of pictures of one of the show's tapings in Connecticut, including crew and audience. In case you're wondering, the girl in the screenshot is Michelle Hahn, another UConn undergrad. No word on who she picked for her date. You'll just have to watch, starting January 7.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ratings: more season highs

The big three syndie game shows all racked up season highs for the week of November 10-16. The weather gets colder, the days get shorter, the numbers get higher. Except for our two bottom-dwellers. TV News Check lists the household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 7.4 - up a couple ticks to a season high
Jeopardy 7.0 - up three ticks to its own high
Family Feud 6.4 - up five ticks as Steve rebounds from a bad week to another high
Millionaire 1.9 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.2 - flat, does this show ever change?

Again, Millionaire slipped through the viewer number cracks. Neither TV News Check nor TV by the Numbers gave the figure for Terry. But I've got the rest of the viewer averages: Wheel of Fortune 12.2M to top all syndies and reach its usual twelve mill perch for winter, Jeopardy 11.1M, Family Feud 9.5M, Celebrity Name Game 1.8M. That number is the best yet for Craig, I believe.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Something gets renewed

With a couple of syndie game shows struggling, it's nice to report at least one renewal. Even if it's only online.

Money Where Your Mouth Is, the guy-knowledge show hosted by Jay Mohr, returns for a second season on Hulu. The show is nothing special, but it's far from the worst thing on the web. Mohr quizzes three male contestants on things guys should know. In the second season the show will also quiz guys on things they shouldn't know, in a segment called "girl knowledge." I'm just reading the story, folks.

I've never been a particular fan of Mohr, but he restrains himself pretty well in the few Money eps I've seen. There's plenty of eye candy to distract the guys in the audience from Jay, anyway. The show apparently pleased Hulu with big numbers in the male 25-44 demo.

Soup behemoth Campbell is Money's main sponsor, and there's plenty of soupy product placement on the show. A small price to pay for another season.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Time moves on

It's the weekend and new episodes have been accumulating on the YouTube What's My Line channel. They're from 1965 as the show was winding down its original CBS run. And they tell how time strolls along.

The first contestant on the May 16, 1965 ep, a pretty blonde named Pat McGee, had a job demonstrating a newfangled thing called a skateboard. In a bit of panel brilliance, Arlene Francis guessed her before a card was flipped. Except Arlene thought the contraption was called a "skating board" or some such.

John Daly mentioned that "Miss" McGee - those were the days - appeared on that week's Life magazine cover. This was back when Life was a magazine, and it was printed on dead trees. A contraption called the Internet, unimaginable in 1965, verifies that she indeed graced the cover.

The mystery guest was Liza Minnelli, looking like a teenager. She was a teenager, in fact, and just starting her career. She was quickly guessed, and Bennett Cerf even felt compelled to mention that her mother was Judy Garland. This was a while ago, after all.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wow, Pat and Vanna are still on?

Rummaging through the game show board at Sitcoms Online, I came across a thread about Vanna White's new boyfriend. He's "talk dark and handsome," and Vanna is just so happy.

Well, that's nice. But what's really weird about the thread is that a couple posters express amazement that Wheel of Fortune is still around, and that Pat and Vanna are still doing the show. I posted an entry a while ago about how most folks don't care about our little genre, and that's okay. But these are people posting on a game show board! One clued-in comment...

"Wow Wheel of Fortune is still on TV and it's been on since 1975. I didn't know that. My grandmother used to watch it often...Pat Sajak and Vanna White are still on Wheel of Fortune? Wow that's amazing."

Several other posters on the thread assure this person that, yes, Wheel is still going strong and Pat and Vanna show no signs of retiring. Maybe this person also posts on baseball boards about how amazing it is that there are ninety feet between bases.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Arthur who? Julia who?

For the last few decades Jeopardy has been advertising the clash between Arthur Chu and Julia Collins in the Tournament of Champions. So naturally they both lost. Quiet guy Ben Ingram took home the quarter mill instead.

The two-day final turned on two clues. Ben was the only guy to nail a very tough American history puzzler in Final Jeopardy on the first day, which gave him a big lead. Then Arthur goofed a gimme Daily Double (he's never heard of "global village"??) on the second day to really set himself back.

But things could still have turned around on the second day's Final Jeopardy. The players got a brutal Shakespeare clue which became a triple stumper. Ben's lead stood up and he won it all.

Ben played politician in his comments during the final. He thanked his fellow champions for being such great people, etc. Mr. Ingram is a lot better in the p.r. department than one of his opponents.

UPDATE: has a thread with some notable postmortems on the tournament. Arthur's video is not to be missed.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Word of mouth

You stumble across the weirdest things on game show sites. The board formerly known as Matt Ottinger's chews over (appropriate term) this anecdote about contestants' mouths on game shows...

"One very bizarre (and rather scary) story that [British game show host Bob Monkhouse] recounted was that of an American game show host he had met, who apparently refused to read anything about or meet his contestants before the show. Monkhouse asked him what he did if the contestants were getting cocky or talking too much and the American host said that he used the 'mouth tear.' When asked what that was, he explained that he'd put his thumb into the contestant's mouth and grab hold of his/her cheek, but the camera angles were such that it appeared that he was simply putting a friendly hand on the contestant's shoulder rather than grabbing hold of his/her mouth."

The board seems to think the story is pure fiction, and it looks physically impossible to do something like that without the camera catching it. Not to mention that a lot of contestants would have blabbed about such an obnoxious technique.

But if any host might have tried something like it, the board agrees that Richard Dawson is The One. The kissing bandit did have an attraction for mouths on his show. But it's hard to imagine even Dawson trying something so outlandish.