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Opinion: Game show comeback

Evoking the joy of Christmas in July may do nothing to reduce the numbers on the time and temperature signs that inform the masses. Retail establishments, game shows and others are among those whose marketing departments favor the notion of a winter holiday in warm weather. While December 25 has an important spiritual aspect to it, most Christmas in July celebrations tend to be about consumerism through retail therapy.

A weeknight edition of a popular television game show is promoting a Secret Santa program.

The contestants’ prizes are matched and awarded to a home viewer. These are based on what I assume is a random draw of people who have enrolled in its free online fan club. Upon enrollment, new members are assigned what they call a viewers’ Spin ID number.

Each evening at the conclusion of the half-hour game show, the cash and prizes won on-air by the three contestants are also awarded to three members of the fan club. So far, my fan club number has not been announced. I didn’t win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes this year either.

The summer lineup of television replacement shows this summer includes more game shows than have been in production for many years. Revival of classic shows such as Match Game, To Tell the Truth and College Bowl have joined the prime-time lineup of the major networks.

The celebrity hosts of these game show reboots are men and women who are famous in the entertainment industry. The resurgence of game shows and reboots of classic sitcoms and dramatic programs makes me wonder if variety shows can be far behind.

The annual awards shows are the closest things to professional variety shows on the air. Since the days of early television broadcasts, variety shows featuring skits and musical performances have filled the hours of programming.

In the days before the Internet changed home entertainment, variety shows helped bolster the careers of up-and-coming musicians and even helped established stars increase their popularity.

Programs like the Jack Benny Show and The Ed Sullivan Show introduced comedians, musicians and even puppet shows to a wider audience.

Can anyone forget the night in 1964 when the four lads from Liverpool, England played to teems of screaming fans on the Sullivan show? When the Beatles came to America, they were part of what became known, rather tongue-in-cheek, as the British Invasion. These were followed by other acts, fashion and slang from England.

Variety shows have been replaced by reality shows when undiscovered singers, songwriters, dancers and others compete for their dream of a place in show business.

I don’t spend a lot of time watching America’s Got Talent or Dancing with the Stars. I have never followed or voted for any contestant on American Idol or any of the other talent shows on TV.

I admit a fondness for trivia game shows. I am still mourning the death of Alex Trebek the long-running host of Jeopardy. The guest hosts that have taken to the podium this season have done their best to fill Trebek’s shoes. The first few weeks I could still hear his voice, as they said his words and the answers to each night’s questions. As time has progressed his voice grows fainter in my minds-ear and I continue to mourn his passing.

We have lost a lot of good people in the last year. Between the pandemic and other maladies, the beginnings of this era’s roaring 20s have included pain and sorrow.

Life is a gift and it is fleeting. Ask anyone who has held the hand of a dying friend. Take care of yourself and those around you. It is important to discover joy in whatever small doses one can find it. Be it in a good book, a refreshing shower at the end of the day or time spent with loved ones. We must count our blessings every day. Each day try to make the world around you a little better than you found it

After a couple of days of respite, the heat is forecasted to return next week before it promises to cool off a bit. It is amazing how bearable 98 and 99 degrees can feel after a few days of 107 and 108.

Long days and pleasant nights and have a blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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