Tuesday, November 17, 2020

What Might've Been: Wordplay (1986)

 Scotti Brothers Records' TV division might be best known for two series in the 80's. The  more successful of the two was America's Top 10, a TV spin-off of American Top 40, which enjoyed a healthy run into the early 90's, even after host/co-executive producer Casey Kasem had left the radio series and Billboard in the late 80's.

The other was the short-lived NBC game, Wordplay, in which contestants were asked to discern a definition of a word based on three options given by a celebrity panel.

The series had the distinction of succeeding Search For Tomorrow, which NBC acquired from CBS via packager Procter & Gamble a few years earlier, at 12:30 (ET). Tom Kennedy was the host for most of the 8 1/2 month run, with actor Jamie Farr (ex-AfterM*A*S*H, The Gong Show) subbing for a week. Pitted against ABC's Loving and CBS' The Young & The Restless, Wordplay was in trouble almost from the get-go, despite being a fun slice of visual comfort food at lunch hour.

This sample features Sally Struthers (ex-All in The Family) and impressionist Fred Travalena (ex-Anything For Money), who pulls out a vintage Daffy Duck mimic...

Fremantle Media owns the series now, and has toyed with the idea of airing reruns on Buzzr, but seemingly keeps backing away. Hmmm.

Rating: A.

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