The Fall Breakdown Part 1
Originally posted: October 2, 2009

As we all know that the new seasons of Wheel, Jeopardy, Family Feud, and others have debuted. So, I would like to give you my thoughts and a grade for the shows.
Family Feud: This season, they went back to the past and reinstated the Bullseye round from the latter days of the Ray Combs version. Some people were groaning about the addition, but I enjoyed how they did it. It only lasted 2 1/2 minutes while Combs Bullseye usually lasted 4-5 minutes. Plus, the Single/Double/Triple/Sudden Death format works with the new version. Another addition is that if any family wins 5 games in a row, they win a brand new car. A neat addition, that adds more drama to the show. John O'Hurley's hosting is really fun to watch, plus he looks likes he's having a really good time up there, unlike Anderson's last season and isn't faking it like Richard Karn did in his last season. I really enjoy watching Family Feud and this season makes it much more enjoyable to me. I hope this makes it to Season 12.

Grade: B+

Deal or No Deal: It's pretty much same story, new season with this show. And to be honest, that's the best thing. I honestly enjoy what they are doing in their new digs in Connecticut. Plus, we get a new contestant pool to tap into. Sure some contestants are loud and obnoxious like last year, but they are balanced out by some normal contestants who are just happy to be there. Howie's hosting is on par with last season, and that's still a good thing. Here's hoping to a long run for Howie & Crew.

Grade: A-

Millionaire: This gets my vote for worst show of the new season so far. I say that because they added this Tournament of Ten that they promote "Will produce a Million Dollar Winner". To me, that really reeks of Primetime Deal's Million Dollar Mission. That in itself is a really bad idea. They also changed the money tree after the first week. Again, it's change for the sake of change, which is a bad thing on any show. The new money tree is as follows (Ones in Yellow indicate the milestones): $500/$1k/$2k/$3k/$5k/$7.5k/$10k/$12.5k/$15k/$25k/$50k/$100k/$250k/$500k/Million It's a bad chain. The clock is still there and the only reason that's there is to speed up production, which is a lame excuse. I would much rather see no clock on screen and if any contestant takes more than 2 minutes on the first 5 and 5 minutes on the second 5, then call a clock on them. And now, Meredith Viera. Honestly, she sounds like she's given up. Either she's too tired from doing a daily show in the Today Show, or just burned out from not having a $1,000,000 winner in 7 years; she sounds, looks and probably is bored. My prediction: Millionaire is cancelled in 2011 when the contract runs out. It's way past it's sell by date and needs to go away before it gets even worse than what it already is. 

Grade: D+

Wheel of Fortune: Another case of same story, new season. Except for one thing, they took out the Free Spin and inserted Free Play in its place. If you hit on Free Play, every letter you call out is $500 X the amount of letters up there. If none are up there, you get to keep spinning, which is fine by me. I'd much rather have the shiny green disc in my possession than the bright Free Play space. Either way, it's still Wheel, and that's always a good thing. Pat and Vanna still have that chemistry, and I see 27 more years of happiness for the Wheel crew. May Wheel never die.

Grade: A

Jeopardy: Same case with Deal and Wheel: Same Story, New Season. The only things that have changed is the set, which looks absolutely beautiful. Most people saw this set when they had the Tournament of Champions last season in Las Vegas. One change that has happened is that every third Thursday is a special Celebrity Tournament edition where the winner gets $1,000,000 for their charity. I just find the placement of the episode weird, but aside from that, I don't mind. It's a cool change of pace. Plus, it's always fun to see Andy Richter run the score up on Wolf Blitzer.

Grade: A

The Price Is Right: Season 38 rolls in with some cosmetic changes in "Home Base" which looks amazing, plus they changed the one bid displays with LED Displays, which look good. They changed the Showcase podiums from what they were for a long time to something that looks like the Strike It Lucky logo from Britain. Either way, Drew has gotten better at hosting, and the show is still as good as it ever was. 

Grade: B

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader: From the ashes of the Primetime version arises the new syndicated version and to my surprise it's actually decent. The format has changed, and for the better. The payouts go as follows: 1st Grade = $500, 2nd Grade = $1,000, 3rd Grade = $2,500, 4th Grade = $3,500 and 5th Grade = $5,000. A correct answer puts that money into the bank, a wrong answer means your bank goes back to zero and you have to build again. If you have some money left after all 10 questions are asked, then you get a chance to answer the Bonus Question. If right, you win 10 x your money, if you miss it, then you go back to zero. It's an ok format, but the risk of losing all of your money is kind of lame. I'd rather have the contestant lose half their winnings or have the opportunity to bank some money after answering 4 or 5 questions right, so at least they have something at risk. Jeff Foxworthy is good as host, as he was in the primetime version. The problem with this version for me is that all the contestants seem to come out of central casting, and that falls on the producer's shoulders in Mark Burnett. While some of the contestants are fine, some of them are really annoying. It's a good way to spend 30 minutes, but it's honestly not a program that I'd watch on a daily basis.  

Grade: C+