Review: The Whole 19 Yards
Originally posted: May 15, 2010

Text by: Cyndi Seidelman

In 2009, CBS decided to try out a pilot for a new quiz/stunt game called The Whole 19 Yards. While it got some good press, ultimately it went nowhere and was quickly scuttled in favor of another run of Big Brother. While that may seem stupid, it actually proved to be the right decision as ratings for that summer run went up by a few percent than last years run. Not to be deterred, the creators went over to England to sell their format. And lo and behold it is now airing on ITV 1.

The host for the show is Vernon Kay. Is it just me or does he and the duo of Ant & Dec seem to be hosting every single new primetime game show out there? Either way, I don't know what people see in either one of these people. I think he's a smidge on the annoying side than being a good host. I remember him over here in the US hosting the import show, Hit Me Baby One More Time, and he was annoying there. So, at least he didn't care to change. The Hostess is Caroline Flack. Her role is pretty much setting up and announcing the challenges and describing them. This is what irks me sometimes on most UK game shows nowadays. Instead of having the host, who's presumably being paid quite well, they have some nameless female either describing the games being played or reading the questions that any capable host should be reading. I honestly hope this practice changes in the future.

Now, the object for this game is interesting to say the least. The host reads a question and then once the contestants have to run through some 19 yard construct in order to hit their buzzer. But while they run, the audience at home is treated to a THIRD HOST! His name is Grant Hugill and he gives running commentary on the action. I mean, just because it worked on Gladiators doesn't mean you can do it on any show. Some shows call for that, like Gladiators or Supermarket Sweep, but not this type of show. If the contestant gets the question right, then they get a rest and the others have to do it all again. The last one left is eliminated. This process is repeated until there's only 1 left and they play the bonus game.

The bonus game is somewhat simple. The contestant is asked a question akin to Sale of the Century's Fame Game. After the first clue, the buzzer moves away and the contestant, once he knows the answer has to run to the buzzer, hit it and give the right answer. A correct answer gives the contestant 5,000 Pounds. The next answer being 10,000 Pounds, third worth 20,000 Pounds, fourth being 50,000 Pounds and the 5th and last question is 100,000 pounds. If the contestant lets the buzzer go The Whole 19 Yards, then the game is over and the contestant leaves with nothing. If the contestant gets a question wrong, then the game is over and they fall back to the amount they got last.

Now back to the simple question. Is this a good show? Honestly, no. Is it a bad show? No. It's probably the most mediocre show I've seen. It pretty much takes every single stereotype in the current genre and mashes them all up together: Host that was on every single primetime show that wasn't hosted by either Philip Schofield, Ant & Dec, or Chris Tarrant; Female that adds nothing to the presentation of the show; Commentator that is more annoying than good; and finally the biggest annoyance: The audience who claps after every single thing. I mean, Vernon Kay can say he passed gas and the audience would cheer like it was the second coming of The Beatles. It's hopefully a one and done series and let's just hope that it goes away and doesn't come here to the states.

Grade: C-

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