Game Shows: Give ‘Em The Bonus

The reason I’m writing this is the part of the shows that tick me off. No one wins the bonus round anymore!

Early in the afternoon when I wake up I turn on the TV. My first stop is the area between 59 and 63 where the news lives. Squeezed in between CNN, Fox, MSNBC and the rest are the HD/digital versions of local station: 59-1 and 61-1. So, as I’m tuning for news I also catch less lofty programming.

There are a few game shows on at the time. I’d by lying if I said they hadn’t received significant viewing from me.

I remember Family Feud from its original incarnation. That was before Richard Dawson seemed smarmy. Now it’s hosted by John O’Hurley&#185– J. Peterman from Seinfeld.

I also see the daytime version of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” hosted by Jeff Foxworthy.

Foxworthy is the nearly perfect game show host. O’Hurley is OK.

The reason I’m writing this is one part of both shows ticks me off. No one wins the bonus round! Back in the ‘good old days’ they did all the time.

On Feud it’s easy to control the bonus by choosing questions that don’t have a single overwhelmingly favorite answers. When Richard Dawson blurted, “Survey says,” it was usually followed by a number in the 20s or 30s. That’s significant when you have to average twenty per answer to win. Now O’Hurley reveals number in the single digits and teens.

By the time the second bonus player walks on stage you already know the outcome. I don’t remember the last time I actually saw someone win.

On “Fifth Grader” the bonus round multiplies the contestants winnings by a factor of ten. Get it wrong and you walk home empty handed. Through the entire show Foxworthy touts the potential winnings. Early on that number is $250,000.

Truth is nearly every day the contestant “drops out of school” instead of taking the risk. When the bonus round is played it’s played by someone with little to lose (meaning little to win). I have never seen anyone win $25,000 much less $250,000! I would guess the average is under $10,000.

Maybe you’re not supposed to see these shows on a regular basis? As someone who does I am irked at the bonus round’s empty promise! It really is upsetting to me.

I know, times have changed. Finances are different. Budgets are held back. These are syndicated shows playing to much smaller audiences.

I’d rather see a smaller amount that gets hit than know O’Hurley and Foxworthy are teasing numbers that have little basis in reality.

Correct me if I’m wrong. The idea of a game show is to not piss off your audience? Fail!

&#185 – Family Feud has had many hosts. Originally it was Richard Dawson then Ray Combs. He was followed by Louie Anderson, Richard Karn and John O’Hurley. Steve Harvey hosts for the 2010-2011 season.

5 thoughts on “Game Shows: Give ‘Em The Bonus”

  1. Geoff what do you think of wheel of fortune? Myself I don’t think that it is
    fair if a person wins a round it then it should go on to the next person. This way everyone will have a chance of winning.

  2. Hey Geoff!

    “5th Grader” actually had two $250,000 winners this season. The show is not $1 Million worthy, and this format shows it fits the game beautifully. In the new season, reports are that during the main game, there will be NO 5th grade questions; it will be only be asked as the Bonus question.

    And, starting in September, “Family Feud” will now be hosted by Steve Harvey. So far, people are saying he’s been do a great job.

    I understand where you are coming from, Geoff. Games should have a winnable bonus round, but if people start winning the bonus round day-and-day again, it’s going to get old quickly. Imagine when “Millionaire” first came out in 1999, and there was a jackpot winner each week. The game will lose its appeal.

    I am a fan of the genre, especially the business side of things. I do admit there are ups and downs here and there, and that every game isn’t perfect.

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