Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Six thoughts on Power of 10

CBS catches mo' money syndrome on its new game show (Wednesdays at 7 p.m. following this week's two-fer debut). Some opinions on the first two episodes:

• Basic premise: Contestants guess the answer to questions such as, "What percentage of Americans color coordinate their underwear?" After a best-of-five elimination between two contestants, one faces a stack of five questions (let's not work too hard to be set for life, eh?) with a progressively decreasing window of error to earn the top prize of $10 million.

• I read an entertainment magazine review of this show that accused it of ripping off Family Feud, but people who know game shows know that Card Sharks, with its often provocative "we asked 100 people" questions, is the number one answer to the question of what show the creators have cribbed from — that is, apart from Millionaire (no coincidence that Michael Davies is involved). Drew Carey to contestant: "You're three steps away now from $10 million." Me: Rushing to bathroom to projectile vomit.

• Like Card Sharks, Power of 10 relies on the intrigue of its questions to ensnare viewers (and with next to nothing of substance going on — contestants need only five to eight correct educated or wild guesses to earn a stake in CBS — it certainly needs something to stir intrigue). Typical questions: What percentage of American women have changed a flat tire? What percentage of Americans said school children should be required to learn Spanish? What percentage of Americans don't wear underwear? (It appears underwear is a recurring motif.)

• The sliding percentage scale graphic is kind of cool for 15 minutes or so, and the set, another dark Millionaire/Deal or no Deal clone, is every bit as tired as that godforsaken answer-a-question-and-move-up-the-money-tree style.

• Host Drew Carey is a saving grace; without him, this show could have been completely DOA. With a competent and smooth delivery aided by his capable wit, it's easy to see why CBS came calling for Carey to host the last surviving network daytime game show, The Price Is Right.

• On the whole, Power of 10 is a passable time killer, but an hour of it is 50 percent too much. Verdict: &&

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