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The Wheel is off air again

June 28th, 2008 at 03:58am

It lasted two weeks longer than I expected, but that’s made up for by it being axed effective immediately.

Channel Nine’s awful attempt to revamp Wheel Of Fortune by sticking the words “Million Dollar” in front of its name, having the tackiest set and version of the wheel that the show has seen in decades, and finding the worst possible host for the show, has finally met its fate.

I caught glimpses of the first show, forced myself to sit through the entire second show and attempted to watch it again in the second week to see if it had improved at all, and the result was my personal bewilderment that:
1. Somebody at Channel Nine actually thought that it was a good idea
2. Fremantle Media, who own the rights to Wheel Of Fortune in this country, allowed the format to be degraded and tarnished in such an awful manner.

Even though Channel Nine wanted a show to compete with Deal Or No Deal and give their news a better ratings lead-in, they shouldn’t have so blatantly targeted the show at a young adult audience. Wheel Of Fortune has never been a show aimed at a young adult audience, the key demographic is older, and if done properly it will attract others as well. Part of the key to this is the host, Rob Elliott was very good at it, so was John Burgess, the same thing applies to Andrew O’Keefe on Deal Or No Deal…they know how to host a game show and to interact with the guests in (at least what appears to be) a natural manner.

It also helps if you actually have a set which doesn’t look like you brought in the team from (the now defunct game show) Changing Rooms to decorate it, and having a wheel which lights up was just plain odd. Speaking of the wheel, why Nine had to revert to having the wedges cling to the pegs is beyond me as it made it noticeably difficult for the contestants to remove special wedges, and made the whole thing look rather cheap and nasty. I don’t know for sure, but it looked like Seven’s wheel had magnetic wedges as they weren’t connected to the pegs and were much easier to remove.

Also, and I doubt this affected the ratings at all, why was the wheel flat? Seven worked out many years ago that the wheel is easier to work with from a camera perspective if it’s tilted…it looks better on the set too as you can look across at the contestants and read the wheel at the same time.

Personally, I think Nine would have been better off with a more experienced host, a different timeslot (probably 7pm, much like Sale Of The Century/Temptation), and a less deranged production team. Originally the show was (apparently) promised to John Burgess (click here to hear Burgo’s version of events, as told on 3MP Breakfast, March 25 2008), he probably would have made a good host reprising his former role, or perhaps Bert Newton who is still on Nine’s books.

Sadly, Nine botched the show badly, and now after a less dramatic failure with Larry Emdur and Laura Csortan on Seven in 2006, Tim Campbell and Kelly Landry will be known as the hosts who finally managed to consign Wheel Of Fortune to Australia’s “Do not touch with a ten foot barge poll, lest you face the wrath of the ratings” television show bin. Wheel may return somewhere, at some stage, but after this disaster, you can be guaranteed that no television executive will be brave enough to go near it for many years to come.


Entry Filed under: TV/Radio/Media

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  • 1. padders  |  June 28th, 2008 at 11:56 am

    G’day Samuel,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I can’t stand this show, but, to be fair, I have a strong aversion to game shows generally. The part of the new WOF that really grated with me is right at the opening, when the announcer, with one of the worst voice over voices on television at the moment, opens with “we’re looking for a phrase.” I dutifully respond with “I’m looking for the remote control !”

    Bring back Blankety Blanks, I say – now THAT was real entertainment, and thankfully some episodes are on You Tube to remind us of what a TV game show should be like.

  • 2. Andrew  |  June 29th, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Now with two failed gameshows on his resume, hopefully Tim Campbell will disappear from our television screens for a while.

  • 3. Samuel  |  June 29th, 2008 at 4:33 am

    I have mixed feelings about game shows, there are some that I love, and the rest I seem to hate. The “reality” genre certainly hasn’t helped the cause of the game show.

    I liked Wheel Of Fortune in the Rob Elliott era, but it would be impossible to recreate that environment so I doubt that I’ll ever get the chance to be a wheel fan again. I’m estimating that it will be ten years until a TV exec tries to rejuvenate that show, they’ll either do well off the back of a lengthy break, or they’ll kill it for good.

    I also liked The Price Is Right before they tried to milk an entire hour out of it. Sale Of The Century prior to the recent Temptation incarnation was good, I didn’t really like the fact that they minimised the trivia component of a quiz show as much as possible for Temptation.

    Deal Or No Deal I can put up with, but it’s the same darn show every single day and it’s too predictable due to the editing process if you’re watching the clock.

    I haven’t seen much of Blankety Blanks, but I liked what I saw. I’ll have to check it out on YouTube.

    The one game show that I’ve really managed to enjoy lately is airing 6:30pm weekdays on ABC2. It’s Scrapheap Challenge, a British reality gameshow from a couple years ago where two teams have to make some contraption out of junkyard scraps in order to complete some task. I try to watch it a couple times per week, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much if I watched it every night.

    I have to admit that I was a tad annoyed when Bert’s Family Feud was axed. I liked Family Feud when I was in preschool and I liked Bert’s version of it. I suppose it’s a bit like the previous show though, I only watched it once or twice a week so I didn’t get bored of it.

    Andrew, we can only hope…I wasn’t going to write it because I thought I was being a bit harsh, but the only gameshow Tim Campbell is even remotely qualified to host is a mock version of a gameshow on a comedy skit show. I could have been certain he was trying to imitate the skit show variety of overly awful sterotypical gameshow hosts. Sadly, he needs a lot of practice to even qualify for that role.

  • 4. Tony  |  July 6th, 2008 at 2:45 am

    I find as time goes on I’m losing more and more interest in television.
    I find tv boring, offensive and catering to the lowest minds in the country, you can tell tv has been taken over by young people by the lack of morals and manners.


June 2008

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