We've seen a lot of great game show moments from 2000-2009, and it's nearly impossible to remember and round up all of them. Rather than compiling more "best of" lists, I thought it would be fun to gather favorite memories from game show personalities. These folks all have a different perspective on the world of game shows, from those of us who write about the genre to those who have the honor of hosting or announcing them. Remember that these aren't necessarily the biggest or most groundbreaking events; they're simply favorites. Without further ado, here are some of the favorite game show moments of the decade, from some familiar faces.
Pat Kiernan, host, World Series of Pop Culture, Studio 7; questioner, Grand Slam
If I was selecting my favorite game show moment of the decade purely based on media buzz, I'd probably end up choosing the Ken Jennings wins on Jeopardy. Or maybe the story of Bob Barker's great run on The Price is Right. Or possibly the intense, Oscar-worthy moments of Slumdog Millionaire.
But instead, I really am selecting my favorite game show moment. And despite the personal bias, I think it ranks right up there with the best of the decade.
In 2007, Michael Davies and the Embassy Row Productions team asked me to host the battle between game show champions known as Grand Slam. Of all the game shows I've done it was, admittedly, the least watched. But to a game show enthusiast it was can't miss TV.
The appeal of Grand Slam came partly from the fast-paced format – but mostly from the diversity of the contestant list. Yes, Ken Jennings was the "name" that everybody in America knew. But to the savvy game show fan we had a who's who of recent champions. Tic Tac Dough's Tom McKee. Millionaire's Ed Toutant and Kevin Olmstead. Jeopardy's Brad Rutter and Frank Spangenberg. Phyllis Harris, who's appeared on more game shows than I could count. And nine others with classic game show stories of their own.
There was a great energy throughout the production. These contestants weren't new to the idea of being on TV, so the entire week felt a bit like a class reunion. I wish I'd been allowed to spend more time with them before they competed, but as the "Questioner" my access to the contestants was limited. I kept hearing these great second-hand stories about the memories that were being shared in the contestant lounge. (After production wrapped I got to hear a few of those stories for myself when I was finally allowed to speak to the contestants.)
My role as the Questioner was the toughest thing I've done as a broadcaster. Rapid fire questions -- with the fairness of the game tied to my speed and accuracy. (And for practical purposes I was the judge during game play.)
So what was the single memorable moment in this 16-player tournament? That’s easy. The first round of the final match-up between Ken Jennings and Ogi Ogas. It was breathtakingly fast and two minutes of brilliant television. (Catch this must-see game show moment in this YouTube clip.)
Pat Kiernan currently anchors the popular morning news program at NY1 News in New York City, and he shares his favorite headlines on PatsPapers.com.
Rich Fields, announcer, The Price is Right
My favorite moment was on season 36 of The Price is Right, when I said to the contestant, "You're going to play Plinko... for a chance at $50 thousand dollars!" and she peed her pants right then and there.
Visit Rich Fields at RichFields.tv.
Randy West, announcer, The Newlywed Game, Supermarket Sweep, The Price is Right, and many others
The number-one most memorable moment of the past decade of game shows has to be Bob Barker's 80th birthday daytime episode of The Price is Right. Yes, in my opinion, the daytime show more so than the prime time Million Dollar Spectacular that marked Bob's birthday. I was thrilled to be announcing on both of those landmark episodes. Here are a few reasons why I think it is worthy of carrying the honor of "most memorable."
A 50 year run for any performer is rare, and 35 years with one show is completely unprecedented. At age 80, Bob was at his very best that afternoon... excited, enthused, and fun to work with. The adoration from the audience was overwhelming, even from the moment I started the pre-show warm-up, and the entire crew was fully aware that we were working on a special program. It was quite a milestone.
While the prizes and glitz were in higher gear for the prime-time 80th birthday celebration, I believe that the daytime episode was more memorable because it featured Bob in his more "natural habitat," the way we'll best remember him, in the traditional format of The Price is Right. He "owned" that stage, relished the well-deserved adoration from the audience, and was so much quicker in mind, body and spirit than the 80 years he was celebrating.
I treasure the memory of working with such a legendary broadcaster who was always very kind to me on the set. Bob also shared some wonderful, previously untold stories of his on-air partner and friend of so many years, Johnny Olson, which made terrific additions to the new book, "Johnny Olson: A Voice in Time." You can see the opening to this special TPIR episode on YouTube.
Randy West is the author of "Johnny Olson: A Voice in Time," which you can order directly from his website at TVRandyWest.com - and check out the rest of the site too while you're there!
Todd Newton, host, Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck, Hollywood Showdown
My most memorable game show moment, both as a host and a fan, was when Peter Tomarken joined me on the set of Whammy! to host a question round.
Peter was a true gentleman, a good friend and one of the most recognized hosts of our genre. It was an honor to share the small screen with him... if only once.
Visit Todd Newton at his official website, ToddNewtonOnline.com.