Give The Pyramid A Chance
Originally posted: July 21, 2012

By Jim Williams

It's official. After several years and several failed attempts for various broadcast and cable networks, "The Pyramid" has been given the green light by GSN. While I can't wait to see how the powers that be have treated the venerable format, there are certain folks on the internet who have already offered up perceptions of doom and gloom. This commentary is geared towards those individuals, so please pay attention. All I ask of those narrow minded folks is that they give "The Pyramid" a chance.

From various sources that reported on the show's pilot earlier this summer, the show will play like classic "Pyramid" with a rewarding twist. The 6 words in 20 seconds format from Donny Osmond's run has reverted back to the tried and true 7 words in 30 seconds. And the rewarding twist? Each team starts with a Winner's Circle bank of $10,000. Each time a team scores 7 out of 7 with a category, an additional $5,000 goes into the bank and the contestant wins $500 in bonus money. The winning contestant, therefore, could play for $25,000 in each Winner's Circle. Truthfully, I really like the idea of rewarding good game play in the front game. "Pyramid" has always been a game with built-in drama and adding extra incentives to play well will only heighten the drama. While most people have no major problems with the game as described above, there are those who have a problem with the man who will be behind the podium emceeing the proceedings.

The man who is the host of "The Pyramid" is Mike Richards. Reality show fans will know him as the host of "Beauty and the Geek". Game show fans know him primarily as the executive producer of "Let's Make a Deal" and "The Price is Right". His work on the latter program has drawn criticism from some in the online game show community. When hearing the news that Richards would be tapped to host "The Pyramid" there were certain critics that lauded the move with the belief that he would be unable to continue his executive producing duties on "Price". These critics are what I'd like to call "dense". GSN has ordered 40 or so episodes of "The Pyramid" which amounts to a handful of days worth of taping sessions. If Dick Clark could run his production company, host "Bandstand" and "Bloopers" and still find time to record 10 episodes of "Pyramid" in a day, I think Mr. Richards can manage all of his responsibilities. And speaking of the late great Mr. Clark, Mike Richards got his start in the business working for Dick Clark Productions, so I'd like to think he's learned some of the tricks of the trade from the master. Let me put it to you this way...would you rather have John Davidson back as host? How about Donny Osmond? If you said "no" to both questions, then just give Mike Richards a chance. Maybe he'll be fine, and maybe he won't be. Credit though should be given by the producers for not picking a big name celebrity to host "The Pyramid". Would you really want to see Patrick Duffy behind the podium for "Pyramid"? Didn't think so. There are more important things to have valid concern for with "The Pyramid" like say judging and casting.

Arguably the biggest complaint with "Donnymid" a decade ago was the insane judging in the Winner's Circle end game. On all prior versions, if a contestant at least said the keyword of the subject being described to them, they got credit for that subject and moved on. On "Donnymid", more often than not, you had to phrase things damn close to what the monitor actually said to get credit. Of course, having to be so precise didn't always matter when you have Z list celebrity partners who don't know or don't care enough to know how to play the game. The powers that be seemingly went for "names" over "names who can play games" when casting celebrities for "Pyramid" from 2002-2004, and that lent itself to less than stellar game play and a less compelling half hour program. Hopefully, Embassy Row, Sony & GSN will put their heads together and get quality judging and quality celebrity casting.

Michael Davies and the gang at Embassy Row should be commended for their, seemingly, never ending efforts to bring "Pyramid" back to television. This has all the makings of being GSN's most anticipated original ever. I just hope that the critics and naysayers give the show a fair chance. You may not hear a cuckoo or see a "Mystery 7". There may be monitors instead of trilons. Heck, we may not hear an updated version of "Tuning Up" as the show's theme. As long as the game play, celebrities, and judging harkens back to the "Pyramid" game we knew and loved in the 1970s & 1980s, then the cosmetic differences will easily be forgotten. I have wanted the show to come back for years, and you probably have too. And now, it's back...just give it a chance.

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