Thursday, April 9, 2015

What Might've Been: All-Star Blitz (1985)

After Hollywood Squares ended its initial run in 1981, producer Merrill Heatter tweaked the basic concept, and came up with two different shows for two different networks. Down the line, we'll look at Battlestars, which was the first of those "tweaks", but for now, we'll focus on the second of those variants, All-Star Blitz.

Blitz ran from April-December 1985 on ABC, with original Squares emcee Peter Marshall as host and co-producer. The celebrity panel was cut from 9 on Squares, and 6 on Battlestars, to 4, with a video board above the panel, hence announcer John Harlan proclaiming this to be "the game that's right over their heads".

As with the other two shows, contestants had to agree or disagree with the celebrities' answers, though there were fewer bluffs. So, you might ask, what caused this to fail? Well, Squares' 1st Marshall-less comeback had come and gone, and was still fresh in some people's minds, and, for another thing, Blitz was slotted opposite Price is Right. Enough said.

Following is a sample episode with panelists Rich Little, Abby Dalton (Falcon Crest), Martha Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King), & Ed Begley, Jr. (St. Elsewhere):

ABC was stuck between a rock and a hard place. They ended Family Feud's 1st run 2 months after Blitz began, and after six months of declining ratings, pulled the plug on Blitz, which, I think, was Peter Marshall's last project with Merrill Heatter. No way would ABC break up their soap opera block, but maybe they could've.

Rating: A-.

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