Game shows used to flood the dial of my TV back in the 1980s and '90s. And that was when my TV could only pick up eight channels, three depending on the weather.
Back then, almost everything from daytime fare to the occasional prime time bit of airtime starred game show hosts. Their purpose on television was solely to wear smart suits, make sure their teeth reached the optimum level of whiteness and keep the game moving but entertaining.
Now that game shows are making a slow but steady return to television, it seems the traditional role of "host" has turned away from the traditional "game" emcee like Chuck Woolery, Wink Martindale, Bob Barker and Art Fleming and more towards lively hosting personalities from other walks of entertainment life like Drew Carey, Wayne Brady, Howie Mandel and Guy Fieri. Does this mean that the role of the traditional TV game show has gone to that great big "Curtain No. 2" in the sky?
(S01E11) While Cleveland and the boys down at the bar were trying to come up with the next great invention, Roberta was learning a lesson in what it's like to not be gorgeous. And who better to teach her the lesson than Jane Lynch. With Glee on hiatus until sometime in 2147 -- at least it feels that long -- I'll take what Lynch I can get. And she was great here as a bitter teacher ... wait, that sounds familiar.
I think she was woefully under-utilized, though, as the storyline involving her never really achieved any resolution. More specifically, it started as a storyline for Roberta, became a storyline for both Roberta and Cleveland, Jr. and yet it was really only Jr. who got a somewhat satisfying conclusion. Of course, I'm probably just bitter that Lynch didn't show up again.
Since the first quiz shows of the late 1940s, through the infamous scandals of the 1950s, up until the present day of huge cash prizes, game-show hosting has been an amazing long-term gig for the people -- almost always men -- who get the job. Who, then, are the 10 greatest game-show hosts in history? Check out our after the jump.
The show itself is supposed to "put a twist" on classic game shows like Jeopardy and ... The Newlywed Game. I'm sorry, but The Newlywed Game? What in the hell are we dealing with here? The person who dreamed this up must have been chasing the dragon when they thought it was a good idea to compare their cat show to a program in which seemingly every question involved the phrase, "making whoopie."
Americans are utterly obsessed with celebrities ... particularly their lives away from the limelight. Numerous television "news" programs and magazines highlight stars doing normal things that many of us would do on a daily basis. So, it was only logical that reality series have been built around some of these personalities to highlight their time away from the camera.
Yet it didn't work out as was intended. Rather than showing that these personalities were normal people, they showed the viewers how messed up they, and their families, really were. In some of the earlier Celebreality programs, they even showed unknown weaknesses that fans never knew existed. Despite all of this, viewers have been tuning into these shows each and every week to watch ... just like they would if video of different train wrecks were aired each week.
This fan base has given many of these stars a second, third, or fourth chance at success -- even if their boat sailed a long time ago. Such is the case during the Reality Revolution, where even the most famous can receive fifteen more minutes of fame.
Here's a question I got that should be easy for all you game show fans...
Jamie writes, "Can you help me figure out the name of a game show that I watched about 20 years ago? It was like a board with words on it and you had to win to get to pick the covers off the board and it would like reveal for instance a needle + N + (then a pile of hay) with the answer to the puzzle would be a needle in the haystack!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!!!"
Well, I am hardly a game show expert but that sounds like Concentration to me. Although if you watched it twenty years ago then you were probably watching the relaunched version called Classic Concentration hosted by Alex Trebek.
On Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, GSN will run two different Griffin marathons, from 10am to 3pm. The shows included in the marathons will include a Chuck Woolery-hosted episode of Wheel Of Fortune and the first episode that featured Vanna White. We'll also see the first NYC-based episode of Wheel (not sure why this is so special, but I guess I'll wait and see) and a Jeopardy Masters Tournament of Champions. On Sunday night we'll see a 1960 episode of Play Your Hunch, a game show Griffin hosted, and then at 3:30am we'll see a To Tell The Truth episode that Griffin guest hosted.
That's a lot better than their tribute to Kitty Carlisle earlier this year, when they ran her game show appearances in the wee hours of the morning and that was it.
I've been wondering if this show was even still in production. Every time I turn it on it seems to be an episode that I've already seen, or even if I haven't seen it, it's an episode from a year or two ago. But now GSN has announced that the Chuck Woolery-hosted spelling game show will be back for a sixth season. Shandi Finnessey will be back as his co-host, typing away at the computer and starting each game, and there will be four special episodes where online champions face off against TV champions.
OK, so this game isn't exactly Jeopardy. It might not even be Wheel Of Fortune, but I enjoy it. And as I've said here before, I like it when Shandi says "Lingo balls."
The new season starts on April 2.
If you're like me, you go through these phases where you get obsessed with a certain TV show. Maybe it's because you've never seen it before, maybe you haven't seen it in years, or maybe it's summer and you're looking for good things to watch. Below are five shows that I currently cannot get enough of, and why.
1. Lingo (GSN). Like Joel and Rich, I'm a game show geek. And while I watched this one here and there a few years ago, I've been watching it every single night lately. It's not a great show, but I like the simplicity of it, and Chuck Woolery is a quirky host. I still don't get the co-host though (Stacey a couple of years ago, now it's Shandi). Oh, she's hot and friendly, but what exactly is her job? She sits in front with a keyboard and controls the board? I doubt it. Many times you'll see her say something like "let's start with an N..." and she'll press a key, but the letter has already shown up on the board! So what exactly is her purpose? At least Vanna actually turns letters.
I do like the way Shandi says "Lingo balls" though.
Lately I've been seeing Chuck in ads that sell real estate in various locales: one in Arkansas and one in New Mexico. The commercials are similar to the ones Erik Estrada does. You know the sales pitch: "Come to Jerkwater Springs! The weather here is great! It's growing by leaps and bounds! And you can buy a lot for only fifty grand!" Then the celebrity offers a free weekend for two in order to entice you to come down and hear the pitch in person. It's all very cheesy, and borderline suspicious.
But at some point, you look up and realize that these people have been around for a long time, much longer than you ever thought their careers would have lasted, whether they were talented or not. Here are five people that fit that profile perfectly:
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