Million Dollar Password on CBS

Million Dollar Password on CBS. I used to watch this game show as much as possible growing up, or at least I did whenever I was home in the morning and not in school. The latest version premiered Sunday night with Regis Philbin as host and Rachel Ray and Neil Patrick Harris as the celebrity guest players for the first of six summer episodes. After reading several reviews of the show, some positive and others not so much so, I’d say I am most in agreement with Joel Keller of tvsquad.com: it’s tough to please old fans of game shows and attract new fans as well. The head-to-head part of the show is much more similar to Pyramid than to Password as “civilian” contestants try to get as many words as possible in thirty seconds with each celebrity, once giving clues and once receiving, for a total of four rounds. The contestant with the most right answers moves on to the bonus round. Thirty seconds is not much time and no one got more than four words correct in a round in sixteen tries. Words are not shared as in the earlier versions and so teams cannot “steal” from their opponents, a strategic aspect I am sorry to see eliminated. The bonus round consists of a series of ninety second trials in which five words must be correctly solved. With each successive trial, the prize gets bigger, but the words get harder. Here, ninety seconds is plenty of time, but contestants are allowed only three clues per word, so choosing good clues is vital to winning. At this point it would be easy to make a clever inside joke and describe the flashing lights, tight close ups and loud music that are staples of modern game show production as a FIASCO I could do without, but seriously the biggest problem I noticed was noise from the studio audience itself. Several times, applause following a successful word made it difficult for players to hear the next clue, something necessary in a game of communication. However, the heart of the game, finding good words to use as clues for your partner, remains the same, and therefore, viewers at home can play along quite easily.

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