The Bottom Line
- 'The Money List' is the best game show I've seen, on network or cable channels, in a long time.
- '20Q' is a fun offering that allows lots of play-along-at-home potential.
- Audience members and viewers at home can win cash and prizes.
- The in-house games are poorly thought out, and painful to watch.
- The hosts have very tenuous connections to the genre.
- Skits and live games break the momentum of the actual game shows.
- Ross Mathews, who I normally enjoy, really needs to stop yelling.
- Big Saturday Night airs for three hours every Saturday, from 8-11pm Eastern, on GSN.
- Two new game shows, The Money List and 20Q, comprise two hours of programming.
- The rest of the block is filled with live bits that include special guests, in-house games, and skits.
- Viewers at home can call in to play live games, and audience members get to play in-studio games.
- The live portions are hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, Ross Mathews, and Charissa Thompson.
Guide Review - GSN Big Saturday Night - Great New Games, The Rest Needs Work
GSN went out on a limb with their new Big Saturday Night programming. With two brand new game shows and an extra hour of live games, skits, and guest stars, it was a risk that they had hoped would pay off with new viewers and lots of excitement.
While I love the concept of Big Saturday Night, the execution has fallen flat. This is disappointing, since we know that GSN is very capable of hosting great live programming, as evidenced with GSN Live. So where have they gone wrong here?
The host, Keegan-Michael Key, is a funny man. The problem here is that he doesn't seem to know much about game shows themselves, and at times his performance feels forced, like he's trying to channel too much excitement for what's actually happening. Ross Mathews, one of the co-hosts, is and always has been over the top. He tends to yell and present everything with a perma-smile. Charissa Thompson is more even-keeled, but she fails to make much of an impression.
Even with these hosts, however, there are deeper problems. Many people have expressed that they don't find the skits funny, but I don't have much of a problem with those. I've laughed at them more than a few times. What tends to irk me is the setup for the in-house games.
These games, in which contestants both in studio and at home can play for cash and prizes, are, at best, shoddy and hastily thrown together. Sure, it's great to let people at home compete to win things, but to pay an audience member thousands of dollars for playing with magnetic letters just seems awkward. Plus, these interstitial bits really throw off the continuity of the new game shows themselves.
These new games, The Money List and 20Q, are definitely worth watching, and the highlights of Big Saturday Night. Catch them when they repeat during the week, however, and avoid all of the extra programming.