GAMESHOW MARATHON Mess
Normally CBS has great programming instincts, partially because of the brilliant programming instincts of Les Moonves and others at CBS over the last few years. This has made CBS the nation's number one network, despite appealing to a slightly older demographic group than the other leading networks. By all appearances a new primetime gameshow entitled, GAMESHOW MARATHON, looked to be the CBS answer to the wildly successful NBC primeime gameshow program, DEAL OR NO DEAL, but GAMESHOW MARATHON has managed to fail on every possible level and simply become an embarrassing and bad summer TV show replacement series.
While DEAL OR NO DEAL works on many levels by the surprising effective role as comic Howie Mandel as host, 26 models who are like 26 "Vanna Whites", and carefully screened contestants who are interesting and life story scenarios and family members carefully choregraphed to provide some real audience empathy and human interest to the show not seen since the days of THIS YOUR LIFE, GAMESHOW MARATHON is simply a complete letdown and mess by comparison. Last night's episode made an especially weak and lame intro to one of the best and most grity CSI episodes of last seaon.
The first night of the competition, the audience was filled with B-list celebrities who looked like they would be playing for charity. Many in Hollywood are very kind hearted towards earthquake and flood relief, or helping the disadvantaged, and the audience was simply filled with recognizable celebrities. But soon it became clear the game was rigged where only a small group that included B-list celebrities such as former SNL member, Tim Meadows, Lance Bass, Leslie Neilsen, and others would be playing the games every night for the next few nights for charity or for a lucky home viewer who could enter a sweepstakes throught their cell phone for 95 cents a call. The first night one audience celebrity, Adam Carolla, was seen talking to a woman next to him and walked out during the filming for some reason. By night two, all but the five prearranged celebrities were gone. But it turns out that Adam Carolla and some other celebrities will be brought back later in the series to play other classic gameshows, which change each night.
And unlike the surprisingly effective Howie Mandel of DEAL OR NO DEAL, finds no equal whatsoever in Ricki Lake, who manages to underwelm and underplay every possible moment of gameshow drama, where every game has no interest or drama whatsoever. Unlike Bob Barker, Monty Hall, Bill Cullen, or any other gameshow great, Ricki Lake simply fails to carry along a gameshow with any effectiveness compared to her past popular long running talkshow. Bill Cullen, by the way was a very effective gameshow host despite a lifelong battle with polio.
In the U.K., GAMESHOW MARATHON is a hit. But this U.S. version lacks the audience involvement of DEAL OR NO DEAL, the effective hosting, the carefully selected group of B-list celebrities provides no drama, and the miserable show simply fails on every possible level. GAMESHOW MARATHON had a real opportunity to be a major summer hit and each episode become a "must see" event like DEAL OR NO DEAL, but in it's current form it is simply a huge failure. A greatly revamped version in which the celebrites are chosen at random, or members of an audience and TV viewers can both win prizes could work. But Ricki Lake must go as host. She simply is not effective at all in summer replacement mess.