Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A word from our stars

A long time ago in a GSN far, far away, there was a Thanksgiving stunt with failed game show pilots. Turkeys, you might call them.

Nowadays, the oldies subchannel Buzzr is trotting out the gobblers. One of them is the 1983 pilot for Star Words. This was a simple word association game, where a civvie and a celeb tried to come up with the same word associated with a pair of terms.

Usually they failed, which was only the start of the problems with the pilot. In fact, the bonus round got easier because the game was reversed. Host Nipsey Russell gave the associated word to the civvie and the celeb, who then had to pick the pair of terms from a list of ten. I honestly enjoyed the bonus round, which bumped up the pace considerably and at least had some correct guesses. Maybe they just should have played the bonus round for a half-hour and forgotten about the glacial front game.

But there were other issues. One of them was Nipsey, who was okay in small doses as a celeb contestant on shows like Match Game, but wore on my eyes and ears as the host of this pilot. The voice, the grin, the doggerel...it was too much for an entire half-hour. And there weren't many chances for laughs, though Charles Nelson Reilly tried his darnedest.

A couple other game show sites have trashed this failed pilot, and I can't really disagree with the verdict. Somewhere in the bonus round a viable game show might have been lurking. But the pilot overall was a dud.

6 comments:

  1. And guess who ended up being the daytime hit CBS picked: Press Your Luck.

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    1. PYL did last longer than this turkey would have. But Press Your Luck wasn't exactly a runaway success. It only endured for three years on CBS. I'll admit that the reruns (and the fanbase) have lasted a lot longer (wink).

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    2. I think Press Your Luck would have lasted about as long as Child's Play did, had it not been for Michael Larson. And I agree, Press Your Luck was 100 times better than this trainwreck. It's probably good that this pilot never evolved into a regular series.

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  3. In 1985, Nipsey hosted a game show called "Your Number's Up" that aired on NBC. It lasted about three months before it got canceled. Nipsey was a great comedian and did fine as a game show panelist, but hosting a game show just didn't suit him well. I watched the "Star Words" pilot on Buzzr and I agree that this show was quite a trainwreck

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    1. Had it been sold...same story. PYL was a different approach to its gameplay & fan base in reruns.

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