Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Might've Been: Play The Percentages (1980)

The wasteland of failed game shows isn't restricted to network television, not by any stretch. Some syndicated series have bombed, too, and spectacularly at that.

Jack Barry & Dan Enright were packaging game shows for syndication on a virtually exclusive basis after CBS cut Tic Tac Dough and The Joker's Wild in the late 70's. In January 1980, Barry & Enright introduced Play The Percentages, which lasted 8 1/2 months and almost as many formats. If you wonder why it failed so badly, it's largely because the producers were impatient, hoping that the show would work.

Originally, two married couples played against each other. Two months later, that idea was scrapped, and individual contestants were matched. In other words, it quickly morphed into just another Barry-Enright game, like Joker or Dough. Geoff Edwards, perhaps still best remembered for Jackpot in the mid-70's for Bob Stewart & NBC, and helming Chuck Barris' revival of Treasure Hunt, also in syndication, was the host.

Let's take a look at a sample episode.

They tried to avoid the cookie cutter approach, but that eventually was what they went to to save the show, and it failed.

Rating: B.

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