Game shows have been a staple of television programming for over half a century. Back in the day – for you youngsters, that would be in the 1950s – they were all the rage to the point that the networks were rigging them for enhanced profits. These days, game shows are still viewed but have lost their cachet to a certain extent. Now it is mostly luck that wins. A sad state of affairs, in our opinion. Nevertheless, they are still a staple of daytime TV. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
Wheel of Fortune – Pat Sajak and Vanna White have hosted this incredibly popular show since 1982. An impressive run – especially if you consider their minimal talents. He reads cue cards while she walks by and turns the lighted letters. Even more amazing is the depth of knowledge required by the contestants. Holy cow, they must master the alphabet to play! This show is the epitome of sheer boredom by any standard.
Family Feud – This particular show was a phenomenal hit when hosted by the charismatic – and utterly kissable! – Richard Dawson. It was a pleasure to spend a half hour with his wit and charm. Steve Harvey is no slouch, but the double entendres foisted upon him in the questions have relegated this show to secondary status. Also, the survey answers rely on the responses from the "average person in the street," and they are obviously not that bright, as some of the answers are completely ridiculous.
The Price is Right – Bob Barker, the nonpareil host of television game shows, was finally replaced by Drew Carey and with dreadful consequences. Well, it had to happen. After all, Mr. Barker has been dead for … wait, no he's not – he is still kicking at 92. While we recognize that Mr. Carey is a very talented comedian, he is just "phoning in" his performance on the revamped game show. In short, the new show is a tired retread that basks in the original's earlier glory.
Let's Make a Deal – In a similar vein, Wayne Brady – can anyone say, we need an African-American game show host – was brought in to reinvigorate one of the most exciting game shows ever devised. Not for nothing, pundits no less than Marilyn vos Savant and William Buckley have debated the show's merits and strategy. Still, the show suffered a loss when Monty Hall left the program. Mr. Brady is a credible host but one that still leaves us wanting more.
Jeopardy – This game show arrives on an almost completely different level from the others. It essentially eliminates luck and depends on the contestants having more than just a passing acquaintance with knowledge. Not to be too high and mighty, but this show is the one that is truly a game of skill and not just one that mostly depends on luck to determine the winner. Kudos to Art Fleming for establishing the show but Alex Trebek gets the lion's share of the credit for its success by making it a television icon. Go Canada!!