Sunday, April 1, 2007

Nurse the Hate: Hate Game Shows

So it’s three thirty in the morning, and my basset hound is waking me up, panting, and generally flipping out because a thunder storm is rumbling off in the distance. He gets very upset at the lightning flashes, making it impossible for me to sleep. For some reason my groggy advice of “Go to sleep…” doesn’t seem to do the trick for him, and his persistence pays off. I’m awake.

I go downstairs with him, hit the lights on and turn on the TV. This effectively eliminates the lightning flashes for him, and he drops off to a dead sleep in about 45 seconds. Unfortunately, I’m wide awake surfing through my 700 channels on Direct TV and not finding anything of interest. It seems incomprehensible that I cannot find anything interesting to watch with this many options, but there it is. What is it I’m looking for? Why have the television networks failed to deliver the high quality, exciting programming I seek at 345am?

There must be reruns of 10 different game shows where Rubes of all kind play a game designed to be compelling to an eight year old. “OK Larry…You can get to the bonus round if you think that the Prize-a-tron is in one of the 12 suitcases. But remember, there are still 11 Whammies out there in those 12 suitcases. Do you want to take the $50,000 you’ve already won, or risk it all for the Prize-a-tron?”

“Well Jack, I’m going to go for it! Despite the fact I need $35,000 to save my mother’s home from foreclosure, I’m feeling lucky! I definitely want to win that big screen TV from the Prize-a-tron!”

The crowd goes wild as he goes for it, and then lets out a groan when his 8% chance fails to materialize. “Ohhhhhhh….What a tough break! Well, thanks for playing, and here’s a new poncho from Burlington Coat Factory. Maybe you can give it to your Mom to face those wet Seattle nights. It’s all from Burlington Coat Factory, Looking Good For Less!”

It must have been about 430am when it hit me. The problem with those shows is that they don’t go ALL THE WAY. Here’s my concept for a new show, “Love or Money”. Contestants will have the chance to win untold riches on the show. They will play a simple high low game with balls coming out of a tumbler numbered 1-100. There are also balls with a heart on them mixed into the balls in play. Example: The first ball is a 10, and the contestant chooses “Higher”. When the next ball is revealed to be a 74, the contestant wins a cash prize. “Hey! That sounds like any other game show!” Not so fast…here’s the twist.

A loved one of the contestant has been taken captive by the staff of “Love or Money” and is being held in an undisclosed location. If the heart ball is chosen, a closed circuit feed shows the loved one being held captive by thugs in ski masks (who are called something like “The Baddies” to dumb down the sheer horror of it). “Well Larry…Looks like you got The Heart! We still have a $500,000 bonus ball in play, and you have already amassed $75,000 in prize money. You’re sitting on a 35 right now. If you make the correct guess if the next ball is higher or lower, you’ll double your money for $150,000!!! (Crowd screams in delight) But remember, if you’re wrong, The Baddies will cut off your wife’s ear with a straight razor. What’s it going to be Larry? Love??? Or Moneyyyyy????? (Crowd goes wild yelling “Money!” or “Love”!)

“Well Jack, the money I won already would pay for our daughter’s college, but I really have my eye on a new bass boat too. If I lose, I can probably keep going and win enough to cover an operation for my wife’s ear, but she looks pretty scared on the monitor there… I’m so confused….(Crowd continues to scream “Love!/Money!”) Can I use one of my lifelines?”

“Larry is going to use one of his lifelines! Larry, who would you like to call? Your mother, or your sister in law? As this is a round two lifeline, you’ll only get 15 seconds of conversation.”

“Jack, I’ll call Melinda, my wife’s sister! She’s got a great head on her shoulders!”

“Hello? This is Jack Tarkington from “Love or Money”! We’ve got your Brother in law Larry on the phone looking for some advice!”

“Sweet Jesus Larry!!! They’re going to cut off her ear! For the love of God…”

“Melinda…take it easy. I think the next one is going to be lower. I can feel it. I think we should go for it. Just think about how great it’ll be this summer for you and Roy to be out on the lake on that new bass boat.”

“Larry…Please!!! (click)”

We could knock out a 25 rating on this show, and make American Idol a distant memory. Does it push the envelope? Of course it does. But when you’re talking about $500,000 per :30 on a Network basis, this thing is a virtual printing press of American Greenbacks. I will be receiving offers for my show concept on a blind submission basis similar to the Japanese baseball player draft. Any interested parties need to send a check to PO Box 771101 Lakewood OH 44107 for the opportunity to negotiate for the rights to this show (and the half dozen others I’d like to get into development). I look forward to your submission.


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