The latest shows offered by GSN…

26 08 2012

…really don’t appeal to me.

Last week, GSN debuted two brand new shows: Beat the Chefs and The American Bible Challenge.

I already see interesting cooking competitions on Food Network, so I don’t need to see another one with Beat the Chefs, and as many of you know, I’m not a very religious person, so The American Bible Challenge holds no interest for me.

However, one upcoming show that I’m really looking forward to is GSN’s version of The Pyramid: its take on the classic Pyramid game show format that has been very successful in the 70s and 80s. From the promos I’ve seen so far, it looks like they’ve put the set together right. It’s modern, of course, but reminiscent of the earlier versions of the show (unlike the very dark-looking remake of Pyramid, hosted by Donny Osmond, a few years ago).

That said, I do wish they’d update the lineup at GSN, so that it isn’t running various versions of Family Feud seemingly all the time (almost to the point of calling GSN the “Family Feud” network).

I had a look at the schedule, and on three nights of the week, if they’re not running eps of Beat the Chefs or The American Bible Challenge, it’s an all-evening block of episodes of Family Feud, with either Richard Karn, John O’Hurley, or current FF host Steve Harvey. Plus, GSN runs an hour of Harvey’s version twice every day: once in the afternoon, and once just before the late-night block, which also has an episode each of Karn and O’Hurley. There is just too much¬†Family Feud on GSN. Don’t get me wrong: I like¬†Family Feud (I’m not a fan of Harvey’s version, though. I realize that Harvey’s version is newer, and has been well received by the viewers – I just don’t like the version). I just don’t want it to be on as much as it has been for some time.

There are other shows that were just taken off the air, like Jim Perry’s version of Card Sharks, and a variety of other shows that have aired in the past. Why can’t GSN pull them out for another run? Even some of the more-recently-produced shows, like Chain Reaction (which does get some air time) or Russian Roulette, both GSN-produced shows, could help with the schedule.

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Notes about game show hosts…

9 05 2012

Some time ago, in this blog, I wrote about the current version of The Price Is Right, and how I like the current host and announcer: Drew Carey and George Gray, respectively.

A friend of mine and I recently chatted about game shows, and we agreed that, in general, the better hosts of recent game shows are, or have been at one time, stand-up comics. This is true of The Price Is Right, as both Carey and Gray spent time on the stand-up circuit.

The reason, to me, that comics make good hosts and announcers is because they know how to engage the audience, and get them interested in the game.

There are some hosts who fit that category for me. One is Bill Engvall, who had spent six years as part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and is the host of the currently-running season of Lingo. He’s very good at talking with the players and keeping them interested on the game.

A couple of others come to mind, and though they were never on the stand-up circuit, they do have backgrounds in comedy acting, and that has helped them engage the contestants and audience. I’m referring to former Family Feud hosts Richard Karn of Home Improvement fame, and John O’Hurley, who is best known for the repeating role he had on Seinfeld, and also his appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Both Karn’s and O’Hurley’s versions of Family Feud are currently airing on GSN, and they are fun to watch.

On the other side of the coin, the first host of the latest version of Family Feud, Louie Anderson, and the new current host of the show, Steve Harvey, just don’t work for me. With Anderson, I never liked him much, so it’s not surprising that I didn’t like him on FF, but I was a bit surprised that I do not like Harvey’s work that much. Harvey was a stand -up comedian at one point, and has been in comedy for years after that, but I don’t like seeing him as FF host.

I did like the previous versions of FF, such as the Ray Combs version that ran in the late 80s/early 90s. Again, Combs had a background of stage comedy, which helped him to work with the players and the audience.

But to me, the original host of Family Feud continues to be my favourite. Richard Dawson, like all the other FF hosts, has a comedy background. A regular in the 1960s series Hogan’s Heroes, he spent the early 70s being a regular in comedy classics Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Dawson was also a regular panelist in the early years of Match Game before being given his own show: Family Feud. Now, Richard knew how to engage the players and the audience, and the way he controlled the flow of the show helped make Family Feud one of the all-time game show favourites.