ITV1 (February - April 2009)
Whether game show fans like it or not, Deal or No Deal is the biggest game show franchise since Millionaire. Having lots of incarnations in several countries with various format tweaks, it has made Endemol, especially its creator Richard De Rijk billions of dollars. Starting in 2000 in the Netherlands, it has reached worldwide status in 2006 with Australia having a long run, and still does currently and NBC not managing to screw up their version (At least not until the Million Dollar Missions started). In the UK, the show has helped give Channel 4's lethargic mid-afternoon lineup some life. Noel Edmonds had the right amount of timing and pure hosting skills to make it a worthwhile watch. Also, the show hardly got into the sob stories that the US markets just loved to exploit to a T. So, with the massive success that the "Dream Factory" has had on Channel 4 in the past 8 years, there have been a lot of imitators to Deal or No Deal's throne, with not a one even making a dent. So, with all of the imitators and outright clones out there, there was one that was hyped up with a fantastic looking set, a masterful host, and became one of the biggest bombs in UK Game Show history.
It could only be The Colour of Money.
It really boggles the mind on why a great host in Chris Tarrant got stuck hosting this. Oddly enough, he wasn't even the first choice. Apparently, Mark-Durden Smith was set to host, but instead turned it down and so they had to give Chris Tarrant something to do since they axed Millionaire at this time. While Chris Tarrant was great on Millionaire and even Lose a Million and Man O Man, he clearly looked like he was tired and didn't want to do this pile. He is flanked by a model in Millie Clode who is a presenter for Sky Sports. Aside from giving us the average amount of money needed per machine to reach a goal, she did nothing for the show. We also have a big booming voice-over guy as well for teasers during the show, making this show about as brainless as most FOX big money game shows.
Now, the game play, and this will be quick. A contestant with a sob story has to pick from 20 cash machines and withdraw money to reach a certain set amount, otherwise they leave with nothing. It's boring. That's the short of it.
Here's the long form version. A contestant is given an amount to shoot for from one of three smaller cash machines, at least over 50,000 quid. Then, out of the 20 Cash Machines, all labeled by color (See, that's why it's called The Colour Of Money...yeah the title sucks too.) the contestant has to choose one of them at a time and withdraw as much money from the machine as they can until the Cash Machine runs out and they don't score anything. This pattern repeats 10 times until they A. get the target amount needed, thus winning said amount or B. they use up 10 machines without getting the target, thus they go away with nothing. And that's basically the game. There isn't any form of strategy or skill that is needed for this game, it's all just dumb luck. Not only that, the game gets rather tedious really quick.
Also to add to the tediousness is the contestants and the overused American Big Money game show cliché of the help section. And much like Deal or No Deal in the United States, they do nothing more than to add pointless drama and annoy the viewers. The one time where they were somewhat entertaining was on the first episode where the elder helper said that since both of them were fishermen, they should select Salmon since that would get the contestants the money. Then the contestant rejects it and selects another color and gets zapped. The winning color....Salmon. Aside from that, they were generally useless. Actually, they were always useless. Why? Because the game was just plain old dumb luck.
And that's basically the entire show. A really boring and tiring affair that would have been better off as a cheaper 30 minute program where nobody would have minded that much and would be yet another quickly forgotten show that ITV would try in daytime to find something that would stick. Oh wait...that's right. This show was originally slated to be a daytime show with the stakes cheapened and being a half hour long. But then, ITV needed something to fill the gap between Harry Hill's TV Burp and Ant and Dec. They got greedy and stretched what would have been a passable 30 minute show into a drawn out hour long show with no worth to it whatsoever. ITV had 10 episodes shot, but only aired 7 with three not being aired due to them pulling the show in favor of Planet's Funniest Animals because the show lost 75% of the lead in's ratings in TV Burp. My goodness, ITV was as bad as FOX. Either way, it was terrible, overproduced, overhyped and now overstayed its welcome.
As a little foreboding to June, be sure to check back in next week where we start the last ever edition of Kids Month with our first UK contribution. We apologize for taking too long with the updates. Real life has gotten the best of everyone on the site and the rough patches of April and May are now behind us.
May the summer be fantastic for everyone.