Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Outer space

Haven't seen Wink Martindale for a while, but he's now achieved a bit of commercial fame. A KFC commercial, to be exact.

Wink passes in a blink (sorry for the rhyme) so you have to be awake. The commercial itself is kind of sappy, a parody of JFK's "we're going to the moon" announcement from the '60s. The video has earned a lot of dislikes on YouTube and many less than glowing comments. "Dumbest f---ing advertising ever" is a typically elegant remark.

At least one alert commenter notes Wink's brief presence, so it's nice that some people out there remember him. The Winkster is well into his eighties now, and the last show he hosted was GSN's very forgettable Instant Recall in 2010. He did make a cameo appearance on The Chase in 2014, and that currently stands as his last recorded brush with our little genre.

Wink has his own YouTube channel, though it hasn't been updated for a while. There are some interesting game show oldies scattered among other videos.

Monday, April 24, 2017

More kids

Naman Shah looks like the ultimate nerd kid.

This is not a criticism, not at all. Naman just won twenty grand on Millionaire's kids week, so nerdiness literally pays off. The linked story details how Naman is the complete smart child package, right down to the impressive SAT scores. (Just for completeness, the story gives the scores on both the old and new scoring systems.)

Naman is also a member of every smart kid organization in the country, and has the predictably proud parents. His father served as his plus one lifeline on Millionaire, and helped on a question about parathogenesis. Which is something we should all know about, right?

Kids are all the rage in game shows lately, as I blogged a while back. But if our little genre gives a bit of fame and fortune to smart youngsters, that's not so terrible.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hostess with the mostest

A faux tweet noted that YouTube person SSSniperWolf will host an online game show called Clickbait for pay site Fullscreen. The teaser video in the linked story makes Clickbait look like the usual cheap, silly online game show. Which doesn't mean it will be bad, just silly and cheap. Much like me, in fact.

Turns out that the host might be more intriguing than the show. Video game maven SSSniperWolf (the SS stands for "super sexy," not the Nazi secret police) has a checkered past, to put it in very mildly checkered terms. She's gone through a name change, bouts with the law, gazillions of booty-shaking YouTube videos, and at least one bad boy lover. All this heavy traffic, plus a most pleasant appearance, has earned her millions and millions of YouTube subscribers.

It's also garnered her some highly catty criticism, especially from her fellow female gamers. This take-no-prisoners video trashes her every which way, for people who like their polemics scalding hot. There's a quote about no such thing as bad publicity, so Fullscreen probably appreciates such efforts.

Good luck with the show, Lia. Or Alia. Or Wolfie or whatever.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Math wizard

Found an odd video series on YouTube called the Math Missus.

Her real name is Sarah Smellie - honest, that's her name - and she does little math thingies for the great YouTube unwashed. The linked video goes though a couple of math (and physics) problems related to The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal.

The LMAD segment is just another rehash of the Monty Hall problem, and I've had enough of those. But the TPiR bit is more enjoyable. Sarah sets up a small version of the Plinko board and drops a bunch of ping pong balls down the center chute. This turns out to be the best way to win the ten grand, but also the best way to win $0. Moral of the story: high reward involves high risk.

Sarah doesn't mention another thing about her experiment because the math would get too involved. But the resulting distribution of the ping pong balls in the various slots looks alarmingly like a Gaussian normal distribution curve. Sure, the small sample size knocks the curve a little off-center. But all you Gauss fans - and I know you're out there - will get a small smile.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Another chapter closes

One by one the leading figures in the game show rigging scandals are dying. Another sad note: Albert Freedman, producer of Twenty One, has died at age 95.

Freedman sort of admitted to the rigging on the show and got a second-degree perjury conviction for his pains. (He served no time, of course, like all the other people involved in the scandals.) He was never overly repentant. A statement from his family says Freedman always thought that the scandal was a "witch hunt" concocted by politicos and newspapers.

You can blame lots of things on politicians and the news media, but neither forced Freedman and friends to rig game shows. Blacklisted from TV, Freedman found another job with Bob Guccione of Penthouse, of all people.

Hank Azaria played Freedman in Quiz Show, the sometimes accurate 1994 movie about the scandals. He is survived by no fewer than ten grandchildren. R.I.P.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


A faux tweet noted that Comedy Central will try a stateside version of the Brit format Taskmaster.

It's pretty much a comedic Beat the Clock, with funny (we hope) people trying funny (we hope) stunts. There's some YouTube debris from the British original if you want to get a taste of the hopeful funniness. The host will be Reggie Watts of the electrified hair and James Corden's late night show.

An honestly funny note from the linked story: the show will have nine, count 'em, nine executive producers, plus three more Executives in Charge of Production - an august title, no doubt - from Comedy Central. That makes twelve poobahs bossing around the underlings. I never knew that silly little stunts required so much high-powered supervision.

No debut date yet. Maybe the twelve showrunners haven't agreed on one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Two guys on game shows

A couple interviews with game show hosts - one current, one future - cropped up in Google News.

We'll take the current guy first. Ben Gleib has now run GSN's Idiotest through a couple hundred eps. That's more than most people (including me) would have predicted. He tells Inquisitr: "Somehow, in the midst of an intellectually challenging brain teasing show, I get to go nuts and use it as a comedic playground. I love it." He also likes the contestants to be nervous, because it makes for good TV. He ensures they get more nervous with large doses of host sarcasm.

One cautionary note. Ben says he wants to host a late night talk show. Just what we need, another yakfest. Don't do it, Ben.

Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx sounds like a party guy in his interview with Billboard about Fox's upcoming Beat Shazam. He does not talk about making the contestants nervous, though he doesn't mind dancing in the audience. He also thinks he could beat the music app that inspired the show.

He then name drops a game show host he admires: "Richie Dawson." Richie?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Highlarity on the game show Interwebs

The game show Interwebs are always good for some laughs, especially the unintentional ones.

An older-is-better poster on Game Show Paradise yelped that GSN had just acquired Toddlers and Tiaras. I confess I had never even heard of the show, which ran on TLC (not my fave network). Wikipedia tells me it was a reality show about child beauty pageants. Obviously, those pageants are ultra-controversial after JonBenet.

The thread was soon ringing with denunciations of GSN for this crime against humanity. A sane poster finally stepped in and pointed out that GSN was just running a promo for its new Emogenius game show, which included a question about the old show on TLC. There's no evidence anywhere that GSN is actually acquiring Toddlers and Tiaras itself.

Of course, GSN's real crime in the view of Game Show Paradise and similar boards is that it runs game shows with less than three decades of dust on them. That's why the boards are so willing to believe any nonsense about the network. In fact, GSN hasn't run any kind of reality show for quite a while now. The network even emphasized a return to traditional gamers in its upfront. Recent acquisitions like Cash Cab show the trend.

But don't confuse the older-is-better crowd with facts. The GSP thread got even more highlarious when an admin briefly locked it because of  "the bulls--t." (She spelled out the word but I've got stricter rules.)

Except the b.s. wasn't the idiotic rumor about GSN. The supposed bovine excrement was my polite - honest! - reply to a couple slams on me about other subjects in the thread. (She deleted my entire reply, by the way.) Note to that admin: check other posters for the real b.s. on your board.

UPDATE: I sent the admin a private note that I wouldn't bother her with any more posts on Game Show Paradise.

UNRELATED UPDATE ABOUT ANOTHER GAME SHOW OUTLET: Buzzr is now running a couple hours of infomercials each day. Expect the ads to expand. Fremantle wants to make some money off the oldies diginet.

Ratings: syndies blah out

It was mostly a week of small dips for syndie game shows, though there was one (sadly irrelevant) gainer. TV News Check has the bland household ratings for the week of April 3-9...

Family Feud 6.4 - flat
Wheel of Fortune 6.1 - down a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.9 - also down a couple ticks, ever notice how the soulmates tend to move in tandem?
Millionaire 1.6 - down a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - up a tick in the only plus for the week, as if it matters any more

Douglas Pucci posts prime time GSN ratings now and then. Total viewers and 18-49 ratings for last Friday April 14...

Family Feud (Harvey) 8:00 PM 389 0.05
Family Feud (Harvey) 8:30 PM 481 0.06
Family Feud (Harvey) 9:00 PM 436 0.07
Family Feud (Harvey) 9:30 PM 428 0.07
Family Feud (Harvey) 10:00 PM 337 0.06
Family Feud (Harvey) 10:30 PM 365 0.06

Even after all these years, Steve averaged 406K viewers and a decent (for GSN) 0.06 18-49 rating. Now all the whiners on the game show Interwebs know why Harvey Feud gets so many runs on the network.

Overall, GSN got 396K/265K viewers prime time/total day for April 10-16. The network ranked 38th and 36th in the windows. Usual numbers for recent weeks.

One more bit of GSN news. Cash Cab did fine in prime time on Saturday April 15. About as well as Harvey Feud in the same 10:00 PM time slot the night before. Ben got 340K viewers and a 0.07 18-49 rating. The cab rolls on.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Football prediction

The Boston media - and the sports media in general - are having fun with a contestant's prediction on Wheel of Fortune.

The real solution to the pictured puzzle is "Patriots win their fifth Super Bowl." But the contestant said "sixth" instead. Which had people (including Pat Sajak) wondering if  he knew something about the future of the big game.

I don't follow football, so I wouldn't have had the foggiest on how many Super Bowls that team in Boston has won. I can see that the "s" had already been picked, so I might have landed on "fifth" by process of elimination.

Off topic, but while I'm on the Boston sports media, I'm very, very tired of their glorification of hometown "hero" and steroid user David Ortiz. If he gets into the Hall of Fame - as the Boston scribes ardently wish - Bonds and Clemens better get in there, too. Of course, after Ivan Rodriguez's induction this year, there's no longer any justification for the anti-steroids hysteria at the HOF.

Back to game shows: when I first glanced at the puzzle in the screenshot, I had a fleeting thought that the initial word was "idiots." Maybe I've got Idiotest on the brain.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Once more with Carmen

A faux tweet linked to one of the gazillion stories about Gina Rodriguez voicing the storied title character in Netflix's new animated version of Carmen Sandiego.

Too bad, but this looks like Nick's reboot of Legends of the Hidden Temple. A game show will come back as something other than a game show. Netflix's show seems like just another cartoon, with some Geography 101 tossed in to impress the children's TV groups.

Rueful confession: I was never a big fan of the old PBS game show, anyway. Lynne Thigpen was afflicted with Overacting Syndrome, and the educational TV load loomed way too heavy for my frivolous taste. Even the legendarily catchy theme song left me less than spellbound.

But it was still a game show, and it's mildly irritating to see a non-game version instead of a genuine revival. But maybe we've got enough classic game show rewinds for now.