Week of Jan. 3-9, 2000
CNN Reminisces with Hosts on Newsstand
Cable News Network's CNN Newsstand will focus on quiz shows in an upcoming segment likely to feature several classic emcees.
An air date is set for Jan. 11. Among the hosts featured: Bob Barker, Monty Hall and Tom Kennedy. Game show author/agent Fred Wostbrock is expected to join the discussion.
In a related note, The Learning Channel will produce a documentary next year on the quiz scandals of the 1950s. The special will be the first to focus on the riggings since PBS' The American Experience in 1992.
What's #1?: All-Time Top 40 Themes
Despite its editor/publisher publicly vowing to eschew all hoopla over Y2K, The Game Show Convention Center offers the first of its four all-century picks with TGSCC's countdown of the Top 40 Game Show Themes of the Century.
Certain to stir debate among readers, the countdown spans the launch of the network prime time era in 1946 through the current season. One hint: themes from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Greed did not make the list.
Top 40 Themes Countdown
Pax/GSN to Share Hollywood Showdown
Sande Stewart Productions has inked a deal for Hollywood Showdown, which will debut on PAX Jan. 24.
E! Television's Todd Newton is the host. Ten contestants play a show biz trivia game for a chance at big money from the game's "box office." PAX and Game Show Network will share a window with the series. PAX is expected to become a game show laboratory testing ground for new minority owner NBC. The show's GSN run will start Jan. 31.
PAX will also add 130 new episodes of Supermarket Sweep. Al Howard is executive producer.
Absolute Cobblers Headed for U.S. Pie
Are any original American ideas left for game shows? Not if the British have their way.
Absolute Cobblers, a British expression for ''that's totally ridiculous,'' is the latest import. Flextech and Allen Entertainment co-produce the show, featuring a host and four celebrities debating the validity of a Ripley's Believe It Or Not-type statement.
After the panel round, audience members make guesses for prizes. Bob Cohen is executive producer.
Millionaire CD Rolls to Top in Sales
Capitalizing on the success of its parent TV series, the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire CD from JellyVision and Disney Interactive will end the holiday season as the top-selling home computer game, according to industry figures.
USA Today has given the CD *** of a possible four-star rating. The predominant criticism of the computer version is its limitation to 200 questions per disk and the failure to ask "is that your final answer?" on early questions in the game.
All-New 3's a Crowd Becomes GSN's Top Show
All New 3's a Crowd is not only Game Show Network's highest-rated original series of all time, its most recent episodes lead the entire web.
Crowd scored a 1.1 last week to edge Family Feud (0.9). Feud peaked at a 1.4 Nov. 28. Inquizition is averaging 0.8.
TTTT Pilot Draws Mixed Reviews
Reaction is mixed among audience members present for the taping of the pilot of Pearson TV's revival of To Tell the Truth.
Six games were taped of the John O'Hurley-hosted show. Three will be edited into a half-hour pilot.
TGSCC has had contact with two people in attendance. One said, "The times they are a-changin.' Bud, Garry, Bill and Peggy were rolling in their graves." Reason? Among the segments: a man who had breast implants to win a $100,000 bet; a Playboy internet centerfold; prosthetics for a neutered male dog; and a nude male butler.
O'Hurley's work was both praised and rapped. Said another in attendance: "He does a good job and carries the format well." The opposite view: "A cardboard Garry Moore cutout could have done the hosting duties almost as well. After six games (O'Hurley) never developed any rapport with the panel."
Another criticism was no experienced panelist among Meshach Taylor, Paula Poundstone, Richard Karn and Verdana. Announcer Eric Boardman welcomed '50s-era Truth announcer Bern Bennett.
Truth is targeted for a fall 2000 debut in syndication. An audience poll adds a fifth vote, a la the late 1960s, with the top jackpot $5,000 for stumping the entire panel and audience.
Tauber: 50% Originals on GSN by 2003
By 2003, half of Game Show Network's lineup should be originals. That's the prediction from senior programmer Jake Tauber.
GSN president Mike Fleming credits Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Greed as generating new interest among cable operators in the network.
According to USA Today, GSN turned profitable in the fourth quarter after posting an estimated $100 million in losses.
Wolpert May Produce Pearson's Winner Take All
Jay Wolpert, original producer of the Bob Barker Price Is Right and the unsuccessful 1994-95 Doug Davidson version, is in talks to helm Pearson TV's Winner Take All.
WTA is based on a British game. Pearson executives said earlier the company is targeting a network sale for the game.
Golder, Davies Team to Develop Mastermind
If one megahit game is good for ABC, why not two?
To no one's surprise, the network is turning again to WWTBAMguru Michael Davies to develop Mastermind. Game show veteran Andrew Golder will join him.
Based on the classic mental game, Mastermind has had varying formats in Eastern Europe. ABC wants to try the game next summer.
Pearson Pilots So You Think You're Funny
Pearson TV is piloting a comedy game show but not committing to a syndication rollout.
So You Think You're Funny pits competing comedians in a variation on Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The show is a co-production between Bud Friedman Entertainment and Team Entertainment. The pilot is being taped at The Improv in Las Vegas.
Merv Signs Deal to Co-Produce New Game
Merv Griffin tells USA Today he is developing a new, unspecified game show.
In Jeannie Williams' column, Griffin said he was partnering with TV Guide for the show. Griffin said the show is "based on an idea I've had in my head for about two years."
Rayburn's Final TV Appearance on A&E Next Year
The late Gene Rayburn's final television appearance will be in early 2000 on Arts & Entertainment Network's Biography.
Rayburn will be interviewed when A&E presents the life story of game show producer Mark Goodson.
Rayburn, who died last week at the age of 82, is not included in the Dec. 6-10 week of game show legends on Biography.
Tribute to Gene Rayburn
First Date Planned By New Line TV
New Line Television is prepping yet another variation on the Dating Game franchise.
First Date will give teenagers an opportunity to pick from among three sweethearts for a first night out. The twist: they'll have to work with or against their parents to win the date of their choices.
Newcomer Jeff Wadlow is hosting the pilot. David Greenfield produces and Steve Grant directs.
Linkletter Launches Legends Section
A three-page profile of game show legend Art Linkletter launches The Game Show Convention Center's new Legends of the Games section.
Linkletter was interviewed by Steve Beverly in the first of a series of Legends closeups. Linkletter covers his 66 years in broadcasting, zeroing in on his years as host of People Are Funny and the games he incorporated into his long-running Art Linkletter's House Party.
The Legends page will have a permanent link in the upper left corner of TGSCC mainpage. The Linkletter profile is at Art Linkletter.
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This Week in Game Show History
50 Years Ago This Week....
Mike Douglas sings "Red Sails in the Sunset" on Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge
45 Years Ago....
People Are Funny is clicking as NBC's most successful new game.
40 Years Ago....
Ben Alexander of Dragnet debuts as host of ABC's About Faces. A young Tom Kennedy is the announcer.
35 Years Ago....
Second anniversary week of NBC's The Match Game.
30 Years Ago....
Debut week for Art James and The Who, What or Where Game.
25 Years Ago....
Virtual unknown Chuck Woolery debuts at 10:30 a.m. on NBC with Wheel of Fortune. Other premieres: Art James with Blank Check and Bob Eubanks with Fishman-Freer's Diamond Head Game.
20 Years Ago....
Geoff Edwards launches Barry & Enright's Play the Percentages.
15 Years Ago....
Jim Perry debuts with a short-lived syndication nighttime run of Sale of the Century.
10 Years Ago....
Only seven games remain on network daytime television.
5 Years Ago....
ESPN premieres sports-oriented game Sports on Tap.
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