Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Classic Reborn: Extreme Gong (1998)

10 years after the first revival, Sony brought back The Gong Show, but with a new name, a new format, and a new host.

Extreme Gong was developed for Sony-owned Game Show Network (GSN),  but lasted exactly 1 calendar year (October 1998-99). So, then, why did this Gong fail? Because it was too different from its forebears.

The celebrity panel of judges was excised in favor of viewers using a 900 phone line to cast votes. Don't know how well that fared, since I didn't have GSN at the time, and wouldn't for another decade. Anyway, comic George Gray landed one of his first host gigs, cranking it up to 11 1/2. As this sample video shows, eliminating the elements that made the original Gong a cult classic turned out to be a big mistake.

A few years later, and before Sony sold Comedy Central an even shorter-lived Gong (previously reviewed), the studio tried to posit a revival for the WB. No sale. Now, 9 years after Dave Attell's attempt at reviving the franchise failed, The Gong Show is back, this time on ABC, with the relaunch tomorrow night. We'll have a review of it this weekend.

No rating for Extreme Gong.

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