TV & Showbiz

And The Winner Is…

…the game show junkie!

Tonight at 8:00pm. GSN is offering The 2009 Game Show Awards.  The special, hosted by Deal or No Deal’s Howie Mandel, will honor current and classic game shows, and there are special lifetime achievement awards for three legends of the genre.

Bob Barker, who hosted The Price is Right for 35 years before retiring two years ago, will receive the Legend Award.

Monty Hall, who hosted and co-produced the classic Let’s Make a Deal over a span of four decades, will receive the Icon Award.  Hall, who dealt with goofy contestants in even goofier costumes, will be presented the award by his longtime ‘LMAD’ model Carol Merrill.

The third honor, the Innovator Award, goes to someone who lives up to that title.  Mark Goodson, the man who, with his longtime partner Bill Todman, practically defined the game show genre during television’s early days.  Goodson sold his first game show, Pop the Question, to a San Francisco radio station in 1939.  Goodson and Todman sold their first television game, Winner Take All, in 1948, and as best as I can tell, there hasn’t been a single year since that a show either produced or created by Goodson hasn’t been on the air somewhere.

Among the categories being awarded are Favorite Classic Game Show, Best Announcer, Favorite Prize, and Favorite Celebrity Player.  Here’s the full menu of awards to be presented.

The other thing making this awards show unique is that the studio audience will have the chance to play quick games for prizes.

Well, hey, it’s to honor game shows, after all!  Why not?

Here’s a complete list of the nominees. Some categories are a little bit of a stretch in my opinion, but then I’m not the one producing the show, so it’s not up to me.

But just for fun, I thought I’d list my picks for the winners.  Don’t place any bets on these:  they’re not necessarily who I think will win, but who I think should.

Here we go:

BEST GAME SHOW: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
You’re in shock, now, right? I didn’t pick The Price is Right. But the syndicated version of ‘Millionaire’ made some minor changes that actually will wind up incorporated into ABC’s prime time relaunch. Anyway, ‘Price’ is in sort of a ‘rebuilding’ phase at the moment.

BEST GAME SHOW HOST: Meredith Vieira, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
You didn’t think I’d pick Drew, did you?

The last time I watched this show, they were in Australia. You tell me how long ago that was. But the game still makes itself new enough that people still want to tune in. Gotta give ’em credit for that.

Gene Rayburn loved Charles Nelson Reilly’s take on working that show: “This isn’t a job, it’s a social engagement.” And it played that way on the air. Add that ultra-70’s waka-waka guitar theme and the chinzy orange set with all the shag carpeting, and nothing says “classic” better.

I absolutely hate dating and relationship shows. I hate this one, too, but I hate it just a little less than I hate the others.

FAVORITE CELEBRITY PLAYER: Neil Patrick Harris, Million Dollar Password
He actually made his appearance a lot of fun to watch, and that takes some doing for a celebrity sometimes.

FAVORITE CELEBRITY TEAM: The Brady Kids, Trivial Pursuit: America Plays
I’m not a fan of celebrity players: they’re generally a sign that the show is trying to pull itself out of the ratings toilet before it’s too late. But in this case, the show is hosted by Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady, so this was nice casting.

BEST ANNOUNCER: Charlie O’Donnell, Wheel of Fortune
I wouldn’t mind seeing this one go to Johnny Gilbert of Jeopardy. Both have been at it for a long time and still sound great. There’s no one else on the list that I can see winning.

FAVORITE GAME SHOW MODELS: The Price is Right Models
Finally the models are being worked back into the show, rather than just being used as props, as they were when Barker’s legal trouble started.

This one is, pardon the pun, a no-brainer. Anyone who wins six-digits on that show, then returns to win the Tournament of Champions is entirely too smart.

FAVORITE GAME SHOW CATCH PHRASE: “Come on down!” The Price is Right
Everyone knows that one, and Johnny Olson made it a household name.

I know “Plinko” will get the nod, with the possibility that “Cliff Hangers” might steal it because of that campy yodeling, but ‘Punch’ is my favorite.

FAVORITE GAME SHOW SOUND EFFECT: “Losing Horns,” The Price is Right
Really, those five notes on that tuba express so much, even if not used on a game show.

MOST OUTRAGEOUS GAME SHOW CONTESTANT: Contestant wins, goes berserk, and lifts up host, Treasure Hunt
If the clip I’m thinking of is the right one, this was funny…she even fainted for a moment when the reality of the big cash jackpot win hit her. And it was kind of nice to see host Geoff Edwards get thrown around after all he put his contestants through on that silly Chuck Barris show.

FUNNIEST GAME SHOW MOMENT: Contestant has a wardrobe malfunction, The Price is Right
“She came on down and they came on out on CBS,” as Barker loves to note.

FAVORITE GAME SHOW THEME SONG: Match Game, but only the Rayburn version. The Price is Right’s theme is a very close second.

Easier to pay taxes on without having to sell anything.

FAVORITE PARTING GIFT: Home version of the game.
This was a tough one to choose. I’d normally pick Rice-A-Roni, but then what better to remind a loser of his bad luck than giving him a version of the game he lost to take home and play for the rest of his life? Sometimes life can be so cruel.

When I was in college, I actually approached the makers of that game about producing a TV version for our cable station. It was all non-profit, so I offered them the tapes and the right to take the format we came up with and use it themselves if they ever wanted to. They declined, saying they were already working on their own version to hit the airwaves soon. That was in 1990. It only took them twelve years to get their version on the air. Soon, indeed.

I pick this one only because it’s the only one on the list I’ve actually heard of.

I’ve never played an interactive DVD version of a game show, but it seems to me the best one would be one where the game wouldn’t be affected if a player got a question he’d been asked before. At least with a show like ‘DOND,’ it’s based on chance.

I’ll update the winners once I have them.  I can’t watch on my own, since my stupid cable operator decided to move GSN to a higher tier.  So when I find out who won what, I’ll post them here.  It might be interesting to see how accurate my picks actually were.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.