Show Discussion: Family Fortunes

By | September 20, 2020

Sundays, 8pm,
ITV

It’s back, and this time it has normal, natural un-media trained everyday families competing for big cash prizes by guessing how 100 people responded to survey questions and trying to avoid the dreaded er-errrs.

The big twist this time round is that it’s being hosted by popular Italian chef Gino d’Acampo so we’re bound to get hysterical misunderstandings peppered throughout. Doubtless this will be a more overtly comic take on the show, similar to how Steve Harvey took the show from zero to hero during his run. Will we be seeing lots of penis related answers?

Also it’s been filmed under COVID, as you can see the buzzers are quite far away from each other, and the families will have been in their own bubbles anyway.

Also GREAT news for FF fans, Single Money returns!!!!!!

Are you especially bothered about Family Fortunes coming back, and is it any good? Let us know in the comments.

Together we’ll break these chains of love

By | September 18, 2020

We wrote about our possible misgivings with the upcoming US Weakest Link last week – basically it looks very pretty, Jane Lynch ought to be excellent, but they’ve added gameplay elements that look like they solve some issues but may have opened up several more, then Buzzerblog posted this:

Urgh. We have an early round with a chain that basically encourages banking after each question (great TV!) and a slightly later round that’s, frankly, slow as anything to get going. We always thought the US chain sucked and this isn’t doing anything to allay our fears.

Weakest Link UK always had a similar issue, in that in having so many players they have to bulk out the chain in such a way that by step four, your rate of change is increasing but your return on investment makes it less worthwhile not to bank. However, by accident or design, the chains held to a standard, four questions in a row = 20% of the target. Everything up to that point is always worth the gamble, 20% feels like a decent chunk (even if in reality it’s £200). As a game, the chain made much more sense starting with seven players as they eventually experimented with (2%, 4%, 10%, 20%, 40%, 70%, 100%) but as an elimination game it’s more of an entertaining journey with nine.

You can argue that these US chains make it much more worthwhile to go for it. And you’re right. Except have you considered how likely that is? Let us consider that if the probably of getting a question right is 90% – that’s easier than Tipping Point – then the probability of getting eight questions in a row correct, assuming nobody banks, is 43%. If you up the difficulty to 80% chance (consider the sort of Pointless questions which get around 80), that drops to 17%. More likely the difficulty will be around 70% or lower, and the chance of getting eight in a row here is 6%. So more likely than not, very little gets banked and we’re actually in not much better a position than the original show where of the million dollars on offer people took home about $30,000. Except now it looks more generous, but the prize pot probably ends up at being about a dime. Now the show has to work really hard not to be seen as a waste of time.

This is of course all theory but we won’t have to wait long to see how it all shakes down in practice.

Smiles everyone, smiles!

By | September 15, 2020

Last night I found myself watching Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island, a horror reimagining of the late seventies show. It manages to be a really fun idea that somehow manages to fail at being compelling (or even that horrific, by Blumhouse standards) for the entirety of its 110 minute runtime.

Anyway, I went down the rabbit hole afterwards and Youtube pretty much immediately shoved this in my face: an episode of the original featuring two TV gameshow hosts (of the ever popular The Great Game and I Bet A Million!) competing over a woman and trying to avoid the Door of Death. Bob Barclay is played by Gene Rayburn of Match Game fame. It’s quite good fun, even if the moral is a bit obvious.

I’m pretty sure there was a Fantasy Island careful-what-you-wish-for style reality show being floated around at some point.

In other news, sounds like ITV want more Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow. Fingers crossed for Epic Blockbusters!!!!

WeakUSt Link

By | September 9, 2020

As we know, the US are bringing back Weakest Link in the US with Jane Lynch (good choice, we’re still waiting for a Robert Rinder led UK one) at the end of the month. Buzzerblog has been printing all sorts of rumours on Twitter, let’s HAVE SOME OPINIONS.

  • The money chain’s going to change throughout the show.

Be of no doubt, the original US money chain was rubbish, starting at 1/125th of the top prize (as opposed to pretty much all our versions starting at 1/50th). On average, a UK episode gives away around 30% of its max prize, in the US, more like 5%. The majority of the game is played on those first four rungs of the ladder, so the question is is there going to be enough money in those rungs to feel worthwhile? Even in the age of Deal or No Deal, a £200 bank on Weakest Link felt like a big wodge. We don’t know what the top prize of the new WL is going to be, but it’s been suggested the final round is going to be worth $500k. It seems pretty unlikely to me that with a million dollar top prize we’ll be looking at $250k-300k for the winner, so it will probably still feel disappointing.

  • Contestants can strategize before votes

This might be quite interesting. Will they have to do it in public or will there be some sort of behind closed doors element? The vote is still presumably going to be public. Is it just going to be people begging for their lives or will there be opportunity to do something more interesting?

  • Immunity going to the Strongest Link

Of all the changes everyone wants this was it, unfortunately I also think everyone is wrong. Weakest Link was probably the first show to pitch itself in the space between “fair” and “just” – probably the defining formatting point of the 2000s. If someone steamrollers their way through the game – great. Is that entertaining? Not especially, and if you know you’re going to lose why try especially hard? You’ll end up winning a small bank. And if we’re left with a final three, let’s say a 9/10 player, a 7/10 player and a 6/10 player – goodbye 7/10 player – 9/10 player enjoy your money, no real point playing the final, nothing surprising is likely to happen. Again, is that entertaining? Does it create other problems whilst solving one?

From a technical perspective Weakest Link has many flaws, but it works as a show because people like lots of questions, the accumulation mechanic, amusing putdowns and frequently tragic and heroic outcomes, and in trying to make a better, more “just” game are you going to lose some of that?

Maybe they’ve managed to cast groups of broadly similar ability. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.