New Sale of the Century
Lots of love? Prizes that only women want? Rossi Morreale? Rolonda Watts
announcing? NO SALE!
Syndication: (September 2007 -
I'm an 80s kid. So when I
got home from school, I parked my butt in front of the TV and I watched
one of the best game shows, not only for its time, but the world over in
Sale of the Century. Back then, the show had everything that made
game shows great. A fantastic host in Jim Perry, a beautiful
hostess in both Lee Menning and Summer Bartholomew (Sally Julian was too
out there for my tastes), excellent announcers in Jay Stewart and Don
Morrow, a bright and rich gold set, and thousands of dollars and cash
and prizes at the ready to be dolled out to smart contestants.
It's original run lasted 6 1/4
years, and lasted about that long in USA Reruns, alongside its sister
show, Scrabble. It's fondly remembered by the game show fanbase as
one of the best game shows out there. So, the buzz was huge that
Fremantle decided to bring it back in 2007. There was high hopes
for this show and everybody hoped it would be a huge hit. Maybe
the show would start a new trend of revivals in syndication.
Unfortunately, what we got was the quintessential example on how NOT to
revive a game show.
So, for all the Game Show
Garbage fans out there, I present to you Temptation: The New Sale of
Where shall we start when
talking about this disaster? How about Rossi Morreale. His
first appearance on TV, as far as I recall was on G4's Sweat alongside
pro soccer player Cobi Jones. They would break down what was going
on in the vast world of sports games, namely Madden, MLB 2k3 among
others. He also was ranked a few times in People's yearly Sexiest
Man Alive list. Unfortunately, all of the sex appeal that he had
according to people couldn't save his hide when it came to hosting a
game show. Not only was he mainly a big teleprompter reader, he
also looked, felt and was practically very uncomfortable up there.
Another thing that irked me about him was that he really didn't seem to
care about the show. But then again, that falls on the producers,
who were reported to have done Marathon sessions of tapings, upwards of
to 12-14 shows a day because they wanted to beat the fast approaching
writers strike that was happening in mid-november.
I don't talk much about the
announcers for the show, since they normally range from mediocre to
excellent, but in this case, I gotta mention Rolanda Watts. Her
announcing style could be best described as that annoying hair stylist
that talks a lot without saying mainly anything. Not only that,
she's part of Oprah's Inner Circle, so whenever I hear of one of them
falling hard, always gets me in good spirits. But Rolanda on this
show always said the prizes that, "You know you deserve the quality and
performance" or "Girl, it's all about the Gucci, Prada, you name it!"
Stuff like that made most viewers cringe.
So, Bad hosting: Check, Bad
Announcing: Check, now. Let's talk Format.
The format of the show was so
haphazardly put together that it isn't funny. You'll see that it
rips off no less than 5 other game shows. The show starts off with
a speed round of questions, ripping off The Challengers usual start off
point. The contestants start off with $20 Dollars....Wait, I'm
sorry, there's no actual cash on this show. It's Temptation
Dollars, which are non-transferrable outside of the soundstage they were
on. So, already we're on the cheap. The speed round lasts
for 30 seconds of straightforward questions. 5 Temptation Dollars
for a right answer, 5 off for a wrong answer. The person in the
lead after the speed round gets to buy an Instant Bargain, which instead
of a few dings, which sounded good, is now just the last 3 notes of the
theme song, making it cheaper than having another sound effect.
The prizes themselves, were
aimed towards the girl side of the spectrum. Mainly they were
handbags, chocolates, dayspa trips, makeup. Not to mention, we get
to hear Rolonda and her banshee voice talking about "I Feel Pretty about
this makeup!" And the already afformentioned Deserving of quality.
Another thing is that all of the the Instant Bargains had to have names
or some annoying banner down below saying what they are. It also
doesn't help that they over-price the bargain price by about 10
Temptation dollars at the start of the game. Also, you have Rossi
reading taglines on his little card, making his hosting more
disingenuous than before.
IN the old days, Jim Perry would
end instant bargains by his siren call of "GOING ONCE, GOING
TWIIIICEEEEEEEE!!!! NO SALE!!!" Rossi, doesn't even do that.
For more cheap effects, you get
this pathetic countdown clock. It just doesn't have the same oomph
and feel that Jim Perry's line does. After this, we have Ripoff
moment #2...The Fame Game.
Now, the old Fame Game would
have Jim reading a small bio about a person, place or thing in the third
person The first person that would buzz in with the right answer
gets a pick at the fame game board. What happens in this version?
They rip off Wheel Of Fortune's
Toss-up Puzzles with letters appearing on the board while Rossi blandly
reads off facts. The first person to solve the puzzle wins 15
temptation dollars. Ugh, I don't want to continue anymore. I
need a commercial break.
DAMNIT! Apparently, since
they couldn't be arsed to make money with a real game show, they rip off
Every single home shopping game show from 1987 by selling prizes that
would be featured on the show on their website called As Seen On
Temptation or by simply calling a pathetic toll-free number. Yeah,
they annoyed us with that on Bargain Hunters, Home Shopping Game and
Shoppers Casino...well everything about that show was annoying, but
nevertheless, they have it here.
It doesn't get any better when
the next round is a big ripoff of another 80s classic in Wipeout.
It rips off their Challenge round with 12 possible answers. But
instead of 8 right answers and 4 wrong ones. 9 are the real thing
and 3 are what they call Knock-offs, just to add to the feminization of
the show about fake fashions or jewelry, that sort of thing. Each
answer is worth a varying amount of money based on how obscure the
answer is. While it's not bad, it's not really that good either.
Definitely not an original idea here.
We get another Instant Bargain
and more Rossi patheticness, then it's time for another speed round.
Now we're ripping off Dis or Dat
from You Don't Know Jack. Still same speed round rules apply.
Rossi reads off a person, place or thing, and then they have to choose
Dis or Dat, or one of the two answers that are shown. I sense a
pattern here. But same as the first speed round, 5 up for a right
answer, 5 down for a wrong one. Then we get to Instant Cash.
Well, Instant Cash in the old
days has 3 boxes, two boxes have $100, the other box has $1,000 to start
and it goes up by $1,000 each day until it's hit. It cost the amount of
the leaders lead to go for it, but more often than not it was a risk
people were willing to take, especially when the jackpot reached above
$8,000 or so. I think the maximum it was at before someone hit it was
$16,000 and it was hit a couple times at that amount.
Now I know what you're asking,
how cheaply did they mess this one up.
VERY! Rossi brings out 3
wallets that look like they were dug out from the archives of Jackpot!
2 of the wallets, in different collors, whether they be White, Red or
Brown, have $100. The other one has their jackpot which starts,
not at $1,000 but only $500 and goes up by $500 each time it's missed,
until it hits a maximum of $5,000. I mean, that makes no sense.
You want people to go for it, so it creates the urgency of seeing
someone win big off of it. Capping it at $5,000 makes it seem like
it's no big deal. And the way the amount is shown in the wallets
is nothing short of cheap as well. It's like they took a piece of
paper, cut it out and had $100 or whatever in red ink. That just
Then to add to the laziness, we
have another speed round but this time it's 10 for a right answer and
-10 for a wrong answer. Then the person in the lead wins, and
brings her, or in the super-rare case, his winnings to shopper's
paradise. What Irks me more is that the departing contestants get
nothing except "Lots Of Love" from Rossi. Speaking of cheap, he
seems like the type of guy that woos you, but instead just takes you to
Denny's. Anyways, now to Shoppers Paradise.
Now, let's see how they do
So far so good, it's like the
shopping format. X amount of Temptation Dollars buys Y. Like
$92 buys a $2,000 TV.
Whereas the car is worth
$850-935 or something like that, depending on the car. Or in
certain cases, a big Round The World Trip. Now, although math
sometimes fails me, average winning score on Temptation was around
80-100. So, they needed to figure out a way to boost the score.
Enter Wipeout Ripoff 2.0: Super
Knockoff. It's played like the original Knockoff, except 6 answers
are right, 6 are wrong. The winner picks one answer at a time, if
they are right, they get the amount behind the correct answer.
Then they are asked if they want to stop or not because if one answer is
wrong, then they lose all the money they earned off the Super Knock-off
Then the question is asked, do
you stay to earn more towards the car or another prize that you fancy,
or do you want to take the prize that you have enough for....or in the
case they don't have enough for the lowest, Rossi offers a Croton Watch,
which is around $1,000 or so. This wouldn't be so bad....if they
didn't place another damned cap on things. Yes, on a show like
this, there shouldn't be any caps, but for here, because they are cheap,
there is a 5-day limit for as long as a contestant can stay and rack up
temptation dollars. It's like they wanted to do something, but
decided in the end to put in all of these caps to not allow contestants
to win any big prizes. I mean, people tuned in to Sale of the
Century to see people risk their money in the hopes to win everything
plus the cash jackpot....which Temptation didn't have. Instead,
the grand prize was a car. Again, that just screams cheap.
Thus, with over half the
potential viewing audience alienated from seeing this show, the
Temptation wasn't even worth mentioning and was promptly cancelled after
1 cheap season on the air.
Where do I even begin? If
you want to revive Sale of the Century, at least do it half-way right.
Either have a big wad of cash at the end, make it a hard quizzer, or at
least have half-way decent instant bargains, like stuff that isn't
specifically aimed to one gender 95% of the time. I mean, if
you're going to revive Sale, at least have a host who can host worth a
damn. Rossi can't host anything proper unless he's reading off of
a teleprompter and that's it. I mean, he did Can You Duet? and
that was ok for what it was. Rolonda Watts sounded like she was
faking it like Meg Ryan was faking an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally and
making that chick who announced Peer Pressure sound like Jay Stewart.
This was a huge disappointment to many viewers and a gigantic kick in
the testes to the game show fanbase out there. I really wanted to
see this be done right, and instead it just added to the stigmata that
goes with Fremantle and Game Shows, with that nickname Dismantle.
Let's just hope that this show doesn't return at all, in any form.