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April 1, 2000

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A Friday to Remember

       
       Whoa! What a Friday of headlines!!! In some aspects, when you look at how NBC has "murdered" Twenty-One, one has the idea if a network does not have a Millionaire on its schedule, it does not know how to handle quiz shows.
       Then, wham-o....Herb Stempel is finally welcomed back as a contestant. And my idol, Tom Kennedy, agrees to come out of retirement for a remake of one of the greatest quizzes of all time..
       After our unofficial We Want Herb campaign last fall, we were very quickly told NBC, Twenty-One, virtually no game show wanted any part of him because of his past connection to the quiz scandals.
       In my opinion, the Peacock Network----which has just given us a textbook example of how to kill a show because some "suit" apparently wanted Twenty-One to die----missed a golden opportunity to earn massive mainline publicity by eschewing Stempel.
       Every major newspaper in the country would have written about Herb getting a chance at redemption and about the courage of NBC to offer him a shot. That's been the story of Twenty-One---missed opportunities. Those tote bags would have been great merchandise vehicles. None of them, no T-shirts, no logo pins----nothing with Twenty-One was ready to market to the public. Including Herb Stempel.
       The news on page one of Dick Clark Productions and Fox being willing to take that chance is one instance of Rupert Murdoch's people gambling on something which will work. Stempel will gain them more ink than Curtis Warren's million-dollar victory and hair.
       Then, consider something which came out of nowhere----CBS picking up Split Second, a show I have said for months was tailor-made for the prime time era because it has all the elements in place with only a small amount of prize tweaking necessary for the '00s.
       I had virtually given up on Tom Kennedy offering himself to return to the quiz show wars. My conversations with Tom convinced me he was solidly happy in retirement, except for an occasional news interview as he did with CNN early in the year.
       Nothing has me any more on fire than to see this man in arguably his second or third-greatest game ever returning with a new version. Just like Regis, he will prove the seniors have plenty to offer to broadcasting----if only they're given the opportunity.
       All I ask is for patience----from the networks. And patience from you readers with me. Because, as much as I would love to tell you these things are accurate and true, if you believe them, you are a total....
APRIL FOOL!!!!


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