• Identity is a game of snap judgments. Here's one: It stinks.
Genre: Game show
Host: Penn Jillette
Hobbled by its host, format and that tired old money tree, Identity is out in three quick strikes. NBC gave it the kind of full-week December launch that worked so well for Deal or no Deal, and the show may be back if the ratings are deemed acceptable. Based on the first batch of shows, the network's resources would be better spent elsewhere. In Identity, a contestant faces a dozen individuals who must be linked to various identities — alligator wrestler, crime scene investigator, jockey, streetwalker, etc. — to win the top prize of $500,000. I expected this game to have some questioning element in the vein of What's My Line? or any number of the old panel shows, but it's merely a matter of selecting based on the available visual cues, which isn't much beyond the way a person is dressed or carries herself. I imagine the producers thought the mental game of deduction would be entertaining, but it's about as exciting as watching a couple of kids playing the board game Guess Who, of which Identity reminds me. Not bored yet? Consider that the game relies on the passé money tree and lifelines (a free miss, consult the experts, and narrow it down to three) progression that has been over since the first couple of post-Millionaire wannabes. As for Penn Jillette, his voice makes me think of a professional wrestler, and his emceeing could use a touch of magic.