The game show genre has existed in the United States since 1938. Since then, they have become staples in American households. What more exciting way to bring a family together than to sit in the living room trying to solve the latest puzzle on Wheel of Fortune? With shows like Wheel, Jeopardy!, and The Price is Right running continuously for decades and classics like Let’s Make A Deal and Pyramid being revived with new spins, the game show genre has also welcomed some totally new shows to its ranks over the past few years.
In October 2010, the new cable network The Hub premiered a new show called Hasbro Family Game Night. Hosted by veteran personality Todd Newton, the show pits two families against each other as they compete in challenges inspired by several classic Hasbro games such as Operation, Monopoly, Guess Who?, Cranium, and Yahtzee. The show, now in its third season, has been incredibly successful, winning a 2012 CINE Eagle Award as well as winning Todd Newton his first Emmy in 2012 for Outstanding Daytime Game Show Host.
Another new show that recently premiered is Baggage, which airs on the Game Show Network. Hosted by the one and only Jerry Springer, the game show presents a contestant with three possible suitors. The catch is each suitor brings with them three suitcases of different sizes, their small, medium, and big pieces of baggage, or embarrassing facts about themselves or their pasts. As the half-hour episode progresses, the bags are revealed one-by-one, round-by-round, with the contestant making eliminations until he or she chooses one final person to date. Once the person has been chosen, the tables turn. The single contestant must then reveal a piece of his or her baggage, and it is up to the contestant that was chosen to accept that baggage or not. Although Baggage is definitely not as family-appropriate as, say, Wheel of Fortune, it is an excellent guilty pleasure and is sure to provide several laughs. From the sometimes disturbing fact that people have actually done these ridiculous things to Jerry Springer’s corny one-liners, Baggage is entertainment for older audiences at its best.
The most recent new show, The American Bible Challenge premiered in September 2012. The first game show of its kind, The American BIble CHallenge, hosted by legendary comedian Jeff Foxworthy, challenges three teams to a competition of Bible knowledge. The most groundbreaking aspect of the show is that the teams do not win money for themselves but for charities. The game is played in five rounds. The first round involves a series of questions about a particular Bible story. The second round brings some quirky creativity to the mix with a mock “Faithbook” page of a Bible character or a scenario involving “CSI: Holy Land.” Teams are asked questions based on the Biblical person or crime. Round three is a speed round of questions involving each team member but one, who was set aside as the “best player” who will participate in round four. Round four is called the “Chosen Three” and involves only the three players set aside from round three. The two teams with the most points after this round advance to the finals with the third-place team going home. Round five is deemed the “Final Revelation.” After 10 minutes of intense Bible study about a given category, the teams are asked to answer as many questions as possible about the topic. Whichever team answers the most questions wins $20,000 for their charity.
Although many facets of it have changed with the times, the game show genre is still alive and well. From a more classic style seen in Family Game Night to the slight raunchiness of Baggage, modern game shows, like their predecessors, offer something for every type of viewer.