What's the only show on TV this summer that can beat the clock and turn back time? Survey says: Gameshow Marathon!
NBC's five-week tournament (the latest entry airs tonight at 8 pm/ET) features a gaggle of celebrities competing in faithful restagings of seven classic shows: Let's Make a Deal, Card Sharks, Beat the Clock, Match Game, The Price Is Right, Press Your Luck and Family Feud. In the style of Dancing with the Stars, contestants continue facing off until only one game-show champion is left standing.
The contenders are spoofmeister general Leslie Nielsen, comedic actress Kathy Najimy (Sister Act), perpetually upbeat former Trading Spaces host Paige Davis, Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows, 'N Sync singer Lance Bass, and actress and ex-Playmate Brande Roderick (who is Q&A'd here).
The host for all seven shows is Ricki Lake, who regularly arranges an at-home game night for her friends. She also spends many an evening with her 9-year-old son, Milo, exhorting and commiserating about Deal or No Deal contestants.
You'd think that her love of the games along with 11 seasons hosting her own talk show would make it easy for Lake to become the next Monty Hall or Wink Martindale. But the transition was tougher than she thought.
"I have new respect for those [old hosts]," she says with a laugh. "They definitely had a lot of mannerisms that I tried to pick up on. Especially Let's Make a Deal. Everything is about trading and buying. It's not, 'Do you want to give up what you have in the box?' Instead, it's, 'Do you want to trade it in?' I cracked up my friends practicing the lingo."
Executive producer Stuart Krasnow hopes Marathon's audience is equally entertained. "Game shows are a great escape for people," Krasnow says. "They give families a chance to sit together and play along. And with things not quite right in the world, they'll keep making a comeback."
Sounds like a good deal.