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October 9, 2015


Jeopardy! champion Bob Harris gives a lowly blogger some advice

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 27th 2009 2:04PM
Every apprentice who aims to journey on a quest fraught with peril and self-realization must seek someone with experience in facing it. He must consult with a man who not only has walked that road many times before, but has beaten it into submission until he emerged triumphant.

Hercules had to consult the Delphi Oracle if he wanted to avenge his family's death.

Rocky had to learn to trust Mickey if he wanted to defeat Apollo Creed.

Luke Skywalker had to find Yoda if he wanted to become a Jedi.

So if I wanted to achieve victory over the daunting behemoth of knowledge that is the Jeopardy! contestant test, I, too, would have to find an equally experienced and successful "Yoda" from the game show shire.

In short, Ken Jennings wasn't available but the Mace Windu of the Jeopardy! Council was.

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Changes to Millionaire: New lifelines, funky music ... and a clock?

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 8th 2008 3:41PM
New MillionaireAnyone who's read TV Squad for any period of time knows that we have a bunch of game show fans here. OK, maybe it's just me and Bob. But we've been watching game shows for years and know what works and what doesn't. A challenging premise that allows the viewer to play along? That works. Picking numbered cases at random? That doesn't (at least not after the first five episodes, anyway).

So, when I heard about the changes that were coming to the syndicated Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, I wanted to reserve judgment until I saw them. Now that Meredith Vieira's smiling face has graced my TV for the seventh season opener, I can say that I like most of the changes ... except for one. The new graphics and music are fine, the new lifelines make more sense (more on those in a second). But now there's a clock.

Yeah, you heard me; the show that once let contestants take as much time as they wanted to answer very tough questions now adds the pressure of a time limit. And that's not a good thing.

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The View welcomes back Meredith Vieira

by Brett Love, posted Sep 15th 2007 3:03PM

Meredith VieiraMark your calendars kids, or not, Meredith Vieira is heading back to The View, for one day anyway, on October 8th. She'll be there to promote her Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game show and a DVD game that is coming out based on the show. I always seem to forget that she even does that because, man, I just don't get the attraction to Millionaire. It's just so dang slow. How that show made it while Beat The Geeks disappeared just boggles me.

Anyway, I suspect it will be all warm and fuzzy with a lot of palms getting sore as the whole group pats each other on the back for all the wonderfulness they are all putting out in the world, or something like that. An entirely different vibe than what we would get if this headline was Rosie returning to the view. Or even Star Jones, for that matter.

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Watch out, Regis! Japanese TV host is world's busiest

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 28th 2006 2:31PM
Mino MontaThose folks at Guinness keep track of a lot of stuff, don't they? They're so busy keeping track of all these obscure world records, it's almost a miracle that they have time to brew all those millions of gallons of that wonderful beer of theirs (mmm... beer...).

(Actually, I don't think the beer company owns the records company anymore. Still love that beer. Mmm... beer...)

Anyway, recently, the Guinness World Records folks honored Japanese TV personality Norio Minorikawa, better known as Mino Monta -- as the record holder for most live hours on TV in one week. According to the organization's web site, Mino Monta puts in 21 hours and 42 minutes of live television per week, including the hosting job on the Japanese version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He also hosts 11 other live shows, ranging from a wildlife show to a health and fitness show.

Mino Monta averages 3 hours of TV per day, seven days a week. Regis Philbin and Don Francisco are slackers compared to this guy.

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Celebrity hosts to sub for Vieira on Millionaire

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 18th 2006 2:42PM
Meredith VieiraMaybe all that blogging is starting to tire Meredith Vieira out. The New York Daily News is reporting that the syndicated version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire will be using celebrity hosts to fill in for Vieira, who is pulling double duty with Millionaire and the Today show. "They're just filling in for a couple of days," a show spokeswoman tells reporter Richard Huff.

When the spokeswoman says "a few days," she means a few days of production; because up to five episodes can be taped a day, that means the guest hosts might host in one-week blocks. No real word on who the celebrities are or when their episodes will air. Judging by Vieira's taping schedule, in which the entire season will be completed by December, those weeks could air anywhere.

Think Regis might show up? I wouldn't mind seeing him in his old chair for a week.

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Who wants to watch a documentary about a Millionaire?

by Bob Sassone, posted May 29th 2006 2:33PM
Regis PhilbinA production company is making a documentary about the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but they can't do it alone! They're looking for stories and anecdotes about the show. If you have them, send them in. I'm going to assume that they mean stories and anecdotes from former contestants only. I mean, I don't think they want stories that start with "I was watching Millionaire one night, and I dropped this whole plate of nachos on the sofa! My wife was furious!"

The story also says that the "contract will expire in a few days." Does anyone know what that means? Do they mean the contract for Millionaire or the contract to make a documentary about Millionaire?

[via TV Tattle]

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Daytime Millionaire: Harder questions or dumber contestants?

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 17th 2006 4:04PM
Millionaire logoSince I've been working from home more often, I've been catching more episodes of the daytime Millionaire, hosted by future Today anchor Meredith Vieira. One thing I've noticed about the show is that contestants don't seem to get past the $25,000 level (the equivalent of the old nighttime version's $32,000 level) very often. In fact, there seem to be a whole lot of contestants that look at the $25k question, scratch their heads, and go "I'll just walk away and take the $16,000, Meredith."

WTF? During the nighttime Millionaire, contestants routinely blew past the $32k question and only started to have trouble afterwards. Many walked away with a six-figure prize. But in the daytime version, that is a rare occurrence. In fact, many walk away with as little as $1,000.

I could chalk it up to the producers creating harder questions due to a lower prize budget or simply because they produce more shows and want to spread out the big payouts. But some of these contestants... I'm not so sure about them. One today had to ask the audience on a $1,000 question asking about a book retailer that was founded in the 1920's. The answer was "The Book-of-the-Month Club." The other choices? "The Book-of-the-Day Club," "The Book-of-the-Week Club," and "The Book-of-the-Year Club." Whew. Really tough choice there.

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Hugh Downs and Walter Cronkite -- Quizmasters

by Richard Keller, posted Apr 15th 2006 9:01AM

Hugh Downs -- Sidekick, Today show host, game show hostLast week, dear brother Joel (really, he's my brother, except I'm prettier) asked you, the beautiful TV Squad readers, if Meredith Vieira could be taken seriously as both the host of both Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Today. Some of you said there was no problem with Vieira's credibility; others said it should be one or the other.

Well, folks, lovely Meredith is not the first person to do double-duty as both a game show host and a news personality. As Joel stated in his post, Joe Garagiola hosted and was a panelist on a number of game shows while on Today. However, he is a recent example. Truth be known, during the early days of television news people regularly double-dipped between one format and another without a complaint.


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