#172: Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich
Ohio State Lottery (October 2006 - September 2007)
While the California State Lottery's Big Spin was one of the most respected lottery game shows out there, another one that was just as respected as being well produced and just overall fun to watch was Cash Explosion. Most famously hosted by Paul Tapie and Sharron Bicknell, the game was a simple one, but it was well produced and enjoyable for the 19 years it was on in its first run. In 2006, the brain trust at the Ohio State Lottery saw that the ratings were sagging a bit for the long-running show and so were ticket sales. So, the decision was made to cancel the long running show and have a new show in its place. And what we got may be the worst lottery game show in the genre's existence in terms of production, execution and damage it did to an economy and the education to Ohio's children. Ok, not exactly that third part, but since the Ohio Lottery's profits do go to fun the public school systems after all, you get my drift. I present to you the awfulness that was Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich
The first thing I want to bring up is the opening and the theme song to the show. My goodness, was this one of the most annoying themes post Costco Shop Til You Drop's theme. The opening to the show features this cheaply done animation that looks like it was rejected from a Johnny Test episode. And if you've seen Johnny Test and that show's animation style, you know how much of an insult that is. But to put on my Todd In The Shadows hoodie for a second, let's break down these lyrics.
"Bought my lucky ticket, it's time to go.
So your niche is to play the lottery until you get onto a game show and hopefully win money? It's a really lame attempt at trying to get people interested in a game show or even the scratchers. Not only that, you don't have any other skills you could be doing? These lyrics are tired and hack-tastic written by the same people who think Katy Perry lyrics are deep. It also doesn't help that the Frank Sinatra wannabe singing the theme makes me want to listen to Katy Perry.
After that abomination, we get to another abomination in David McCreary as host. To start, I already mentioned in the Jack Gallagher induction that I don't like boring, stale hosts who don't show any emotion and are just there to pick up a check. But I'd rather have the Jack Gallagher's of the world than one David McCreary. He is so excited about the show and hyper than he just exudes the fakeness that it makes you want to flip over to YouTube to watch a best of Paint Drying 10 hour compilation just to wash the taste out of my mouth. I don't know how he got the job instead of letting either Michael Duda or Sharon Bicknell, the previous hosts of Cash Explosion, host it, but I'm either thinking he's got embarrassing photos of Mike Abouserhal, then Executive Director of the Ohio Lottery Commission, and blackmailed him to hosting or is actually his bottom bitch. Either way, he's hyper to the point of wretchedness and from the episodes that I've seen of this show, he doesn't improve. He's the same hyperness to the point of being robotic and not caring. People complained about Patrick Wayne's fake excitedness when he went You Win, myself included. But Patrick Wayne looks like Pat Finn compared to David McCreary. Officially, it's a horserace between David McCreary and Jeff Maxwell as The Worst Host of all time.
The set deserves another mention in its cheapness and horribleness. It's five podiums with some tacky scoring readout, with three lights that turn either green or red, and we'll get to why later, and tacked onto it two big, ugly monitors with all the potential money that can be won. It makes the studio looked very cramped, and it is. with all the set pieces, it looks like the audience pit takes up most of the set. Another major complain: Who's bright idea was it to hand out the audience the safe/risk placards? It's a gigantic distraction and makes the production seem even more amateur and terrible.
Now to the game play. 5 teams of three are randomly put together in an attempt to win the most money and move on to the next round. The teams are shown two tables. One called Safe, which has twenty amounts ranging from $2,000-4,000 in the first two rounds and up to $6,000 in Round 3 and the other table is Risk where there are 0's on the table, but all the (Max Bygraves Impression) Big Money! (/impression) is on the risk table. The max amounts on the Risk table are $10,000 in round 1, $20,000 in round 2 and $30,000 in round 3. Also on the board are Extended Play symbols where if they are it, those that qualified to be on the show via a $2 Extended Play ticket instead of the usual $1 ticket got a bonus of $500, later on $750. Once a team is randomly selected, they have three seconds to vote whether they would play it safe that round or Risk it for the higher amounts, and whatever amount the majority votes on, they get. This is absolutely brainless, and that's saying something for the lottery game show genre. It's teammates mashing a button to light up a red or green light to indicate if they are going to play safe and risk it. Another thing that I really don't like is that the $30,000 always shows up in the game, and since everyone usually goes Risk in round 3 and the team that gets that, will win the game, leaving the other teams left to play round 3 out in the cold. Unlike Cash Explosion, where the Car or $25,000 was randomly put up on the board and was hardly hit, this showed up every game. The team with the most money won the game. This is all repeated one more time with 5 more teams to get the six that move on to the Playoff Round.
Another thing that really bugged me about the presentation about this was after the first few episodes, they cut out the first round of game play, so they can get the entire show in on time without making a bunch of edits that make the game even more unwatchable than before. This also brings up another pet peeve of mine. Why edit out any parts of the game that actually have bearing to the game? It makes the people watching upset and think they have missed part of the show. They pulled this type of thing on our version of Set For Life where they edited out the Play-in Game and we never knew how the person playing the game got to play the main game. it's pathetic at best and at worst infuriating.
The Championship Game is another convoluted mess too. All six winners from the Semifinal game...Wait, let's back track. If anything was going to be called the Semifinal game it's this. The first game should be the Play-off round, this round the Semifinal round and the final round the Championship Game. You know you're in trouble when the people making this show can't even figure out how to name your rounds right.
Ok, Mid-Rant Rant over. The Championship Game has the six contestants picking from one of six envelopes. Inside the Envelopes is $5,000, four Bye cards and 1 Winning card that moves the champion to the game. Contestant 1 has to pick from one of the 6 cards, contestant 2 can either take one of the remaining five from McCreary, or take Contestant 1's card and Contestant 1 has to take from one of the remaining 5 cards in the deck. This process repeats until all 6 cards are claimed. After all of that, the person who has the $5,000 card is revealed. They have the option to keep the $5,000 and leave the game, or take another player's card. After all of this, three players with Bye cards go bye-bye and the other two have the option to either swap cards or keep the one that they have. The person with the winning card gets $10,000 and moves on to the Play-off game. Confused? So am I. If there were ever a need to play a simple elimination style game much like Aces High on Big Spin, this is it. The game itself just feels like a jumbled mess and I also despise this round because it reminds me of Take It All's front game. It also doesn't help that McCreary didn't even know himself what was going on sometimes.
The final round is at least a simple format and easy to understand. Thank god. The winner of the Championship Game plays off against the defending champion in another luck game. Inside a cylinder are 10 balls. 7 are Red, 2 are White, 1 is Green. The champion and the winner of the Championship Game take turns picking out a ball from the cylinder. If the contestant picks a red ball, the game continues. If a white ball is pulled, they become the new champion and wins $50,000. If the green ball is pulled, they win $50,000 + the Extended Play jackpot, which starts at $0 and goes up by $5,000 each time an Extended Play contestant won the game and by $2,500 each time the $5,000 card is traded away. Why not just double it? That would have been simple. The Extended Play jackpot is horrifically put together and is just as confusing as the previous round. And that ruins whatever good this round has.
Apparently, the Ohio populous was not happy with this show whatsoever. Sales for the Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich scratchers were worse than the old Cash Explosion ones, and waves of hate mail flooded the lottery commission wanting Cash Explosion back. Negative reviews and really low ratings for the new show forced the commission to de-commission Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich and bring back Cash Explosion. That's the good news. The bad news: David McCreary is still on board. I've seen recent eps of Cash Explosion, and he's still awful.
Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich is the worst lottery game show of all time and up there in the Worst Game Shows Of All Time list, right up there with Shopper's Casino and Who's Your Daddy. Nothing about the show is appealing and it's a perfect example on how to take what was and still is a successful show, and replace it with something that is pure garbage. At least the powers that be learned that you can't replace something that works with something that is blinged out and crap.
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