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  • 7 New Shows In Development for GSN
    Friday, July 15, 2005
    Finally, I get to break a GSN story before Alex does!

    In a press release sent out by GSN on Friday, GSN announced that they have stepped up development slates for potential originals in 2006. Seven new shows are in development, and two of those have already had pilots ordered. Senior Vice President of Programming for GSN, Ian Valentine, had this to say about the ramp-up in production:
    We're deepening our commitment to casino game programming while broadening our development slate to include new hybrid genres that merge games with psychological thrillers and stunt shows. We remain the home of America's greatest game shows, from classics to remakes to other originals, and everything is interactive.
    Buzzer had a chance to sit down with Valentine and discuss the various games. The full interview will be in the next Buzzer podcast, but his comments can also be found here.

    One show that had a pilot ordered is Annie Duke Takes On The World, featuring poker's best femme, Annie Duke. It is described as a "hybrid poker series." The game initially features 4 amateurs playing against each other, all while Annie Duke critiques their play. At the end, the winner of the show will compete one-on-one against Annie Duke for a chance at a cash prize, "no less than $10,000." When asked if the show will portray Duke as mean-spirited, Valentine said, "I don't think this is a show that's mean spirited in the way she talks to people. She will, in a sense, and I will certainly not say that this is a teaching show, but she will certainly give viewers and the players an opportunity to learn how to play poker from a poker pro."

    The other show that had a pilot ordered is a remake of the ever-popular panel show, I've Got a Secret. The twist to this show is that the entire panel is gay. A host has not been announced, and the panel cannot be revealed, but the gay twist is at the least intrieguing, but will most likely be controversial. "I think there's a sensibility that has emerged -- Queer Eye for the Straight Guy being a classic example of that." There will be a female presense on the panel. "I think that it is a hook, but once you start watching the show, you'll appreciate the panelists on their own without being concerned about what their sexuality is."

    24 Hours in Vegas is a new reality show that will put contestants in the Sin City to work menial jobs: bus boy, valet, dancer. They will use their earnings to play casino games to win more money. At the end of 24 hours, whoever has the most money wins. It doesn't seem like there is going to be a continuity in the show, so the question was posed: Is that too much to focus on, even for an hour show? "I think the key of this show is... It is possible to lose track of time in those cities, and suddenly you realize that you've been up for 36 or 48 hours... This is an attempt to put contestants in that place where sleep is for sissies and you need to keep going and sort of documenting that intensity of both play and work."

    Chokers is a weekly documentary series that focuses on the chokes in life: who fell apart at the worst possible moment. The idea brings up thoughts like Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series, but companies, teams, and individuals are all fair game in this series. The show will go behind the scenes "in the courtroom, the boardroom, and the locker room" to find out where exactly the goat was released. GSN's history with documentaries is hit and miss. The hit would be Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal, which garnered GSN's highest ratings to date, while Video Game Invasion, a well-produced documentary about video games, failed to make an impact. When asked about how a documentary series currently fits in GSN's lineup, Valentine said this: "The issue with the past work that we've done is that the Video Game Invasion, while a marvelous documentary, just did not speak to GSN's core viewers. And it's not a matter of whether or not they're games or not games, but are they subjects which our core viewers, or the demographic we wish to appeal to, which is people 25-54, will find interesting."

    What's your worst nightmare? Mine is running out of ketchup and barbeque sauce at a cookout. GSN's hoping that other people's nightmares are far more terrifying to watch. Your Worst Nightmare is one of those "stick-people-in-a-haunted-building" kind of shows, not unlike World's Scariest Places from Fox Family or Fear from MTV (which makes me wonder if they should've have spelled it 'Ph33r' or something trendy like that, but I digress). GSN's adding a twist of competition to it, putting two people in a haunted place and rewarding the first one to come out, hopefully alive. The hope with GSN is that it is successful outside of the Halloween season, with the need to be scared silly running year-long. No locations have been specifically named, although your humble reporter dropped the name of Byberry Mansion here in Philadelphia. Now reading that the place is filled with asbestos, they're probably not going to film here. But hey, you never know.

    Phil Hellmuth, the essential crybaby of the poker circuit, has signed on with producer R. J. Cutler to come up with an origial idea in terms of poker games, which I essentialy looked over before I gave it a chance. The basis of this new show is to teach amateurs the fundamentals of poker by utilizing physical (yes, physical) and mental challenges. Hellmuth will be teaching his young padawans how to play poker by not playing poker. "The show is not per se a straight poker show. The show was not pitched by R. J. and Phil as a poker show. If you look at poker, there is a variety of skills that are involved in the play of the game." He goes on to demonstrate skills like reading bluffs, courage to bet big, and the assessment of risk involved in a play of poker. The show will physicalize the skills of poker to help the players strengthen themselves. Courage might be involved in a physical stunt, or assessing risk might involve a choice of mental or physical challenges. It's shaping into something that will be a strong format, and will be interesting to watch. It is a fresh look at the poker genre.

    The final game, which I did not get to speak with Valentine with, is a show called Wet, which is being pitched as a competition featuring contestants waging water-based battles against other humans as well as dolphins. Contestants will perform in head-to-bottlenose challenges, games and obstacle courses. Top marine trainers will ensure the safety of the landlubbing and seafaring competitors. I didn't get information about it, but hey, who doesn't love dolphins?

    Of course, none of these are final and some may be going into revisions as the pilots get shot and tweaked, but overall, they look good, and we'll be eager to report on more information as it comes along.
    posted by Cory Anotado * Permalink 
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