#155 - Second Guessers
Lather, Rinse, Repeat: The Game Show Pilot

 

Unsold Pilot (1969)
Text by: Robert Seidelman

Bob Stewart is one of the best game show minds in existence.  He came up with such formats as Password, The Price Is Right, Pyramid, Jackpot, Chain Reaction and a host of others. All of these shows had long runs in some form or fashion, with The Price Is Right getting ready to enter its 42nd season in September.  On the flipside, Bob Stewart is also responsible for a lot of failures such as the Shoot For The Stars/Double Talk format, which never got any traction and neither version lasted longer than 6 months, the building a question word by word gimmick never succeeded in any show it was in (the original Chain Reaction, it's GSN revival and GO!) and a couple others I'm forgetting.  One type of format he tried out twice in the late 60s was the correctly predicting the pre-taped scenario format.  Neither of these shows made it to air, save for the off GSN marathon about failed pilots or on As Seen On Presents.  The first one we talked about was Monday Night Quarterback, a painfully boring show where teams of celebrities & football players had to guess the results of plays from previous NFL games.  The one we will be discussing this time around involves passersby being asked questions by a roving reporter and having a celebrity guess the result and an actual contestant guess if the guess is right or wrong.  I present to you Second Guessers.

Jack Carter was at the helm for this show.  To be fair to Jack Carter, hosting a game show with his style of comedy would never be a good fit, much like Sandy Barron would have never been a good fit with Hollywood Squares.  The way he hosted the show gave credence to that notion.  He was never comfortable with the stilted conversations he had with celebrity Brenda Vaccaro in this pilot and most of the jokes he had fell kinda flat.  But then again, this is an example of taking someone out of their element and putting them where they don't really belong or want to belong.  The same could be said with Jerry Kramer with the Monday Night Quarterback pilot.  jack Carter can't be blamed here for this show.

The format is this.  Jack asks Brenda Vaccaro a question such as "We sent our roving reporter Jack Clark (we'll get to him in a second) out to the Seaquarium in Miami and he asked 5 married women if they would forgive their husband if he was unfaithful."  It is Brenda's job to find out if the majority would or wouldn't.  Then a contestant picked out of the audience would be asked if Brenda's choice was right or wrong.  This is kinda getting into an Inception style of answering the question. 

Then we get the answer to the question with Jack Clark being the roving reporter to Jack Carter's anchorman.  I brought up miscasting with the Monday Night Quarterback pilot induction, and this is another example of this.  Jack Clark should have been the host and not the roving reporter and another person should have been the roving reporter.  Clark has a lot of talent as an emcee, which has been proven on several other failed pilots and on a long run with Crosswits.  During these bits, Clark gets the answers from the party of five and wind up with our majority answer.  If the contestant guesses correctly if the celebrity was right or wrong with this situation, then the contestant would win a prize.

After that, the game restarts and we get the same format of question, answer from celebrity, contestant guesses whether the celebrity is right or wrong, and then answer from the tape with the roving reporter getting the answers.  While the gameplay isn't as head-bangingly boring as Monday Night Quarterback, it's up there.  I doubt Brenda or Jack Carter were too happy being up there having to guess whether the five people would have a majority on some really inane topic.  When it comes down too it, that's the biggest problem with the show.  Watching a contestant guess whether a celebrity would accurately guess if the majority of a group of five will say one thing is not entertaining at all.  It would have made an interesting round or something for another show, but this doesn't stand on its own as a good program at all.

And that's simply it for Second Guessers.  It's a dull, repetitive show that has no value whatsoever. 

In two weeks, we give our final induction of the 2012-2013 TV season and we have a real doozy of an unsold pilot for you this time.

The 1981 Unsold Dollar A Second pilot produced by Chuck Barris.  This one will be fun.