Saturday, August 15, 2009

And If We Start Giving Away $1,000,000 Panel, We'll Ask You About It On Wait Wait Don't Tell Me...

In addition to the Rifftrax show, I bought tickets this month to another cultural event - a live taping of National Public Radio's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me (a roadshow, not in Chicago) in October. I've liked Wait Wait Don't Tell Me for a while, and I'm not the only one - the show sold out a theater of more than 3,600 seats in days, if not hours. I was smart enough to buy tickets the moment they went on sale.

I've liked Wait Wait Don't Tell Me for a while, but would it work on television? CBS shot a TV pilot in October 2008; it has yet to be approved. I think it would work if the network didn't ruin it...but let's face it, a TV network would ruin it. Want proof? In March 2009, the news broke that NBC was considering a TV version of the British TV topical panel game show Have I Got News For You. The article contained the following sentence: "NBC declined comment on its plans for 'News,' but it seems likely the network will make some changes to the show’s format in order to make it fit with the big 'event' feel seen in most primetime reality shows."

Um...these aren't reality shows. As much as I love them, they're barely even game shows. Even more so than Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price Is Right, and Password (all of which were forced to institute $1,000,000 jackpots in recent years), these are not shows designed to give away $1,000,000. If you've seen (or in Wait Wait Don't Tell Me's case, heard) them, you know what I mean. They have comedian panelists, not contestants; while both shows do have points and declare one of the panelists the winner at the end of each episode, the game is largely designed to set the panelists off on comedic rants about the week's news. Wait Wait Don't Tell Me at least has phone in contestants, but they get asked three questions at the most. The prize for getting two right? Announcer Carl Kasell's voice on your answering machine. Even Whad'ya Know? was better.

I actually hope we get at least one of these shows, just so we can see how on Earth the network puts this together; and if we get both, which one ends up winning. Let me put it this way - if one gives out $1,000,000, the other will certainly have to.

One final note - you'll have to wait until Monday for the results from tomorrow's Millionaire. As the reason why has nothing to do with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, I'll make it a separate post.


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