Category: Television

GAME SHOW REVIEW: The Wall

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post includes information about a television program that some readers of this blog post may have not watched yet. Additionally, information about the television program that is the subject of this blog post is based on an aired pilot episode of the series; information about the format of future episodes of the series may differ from the format of the aired pilot episode. Furthermore, the pilot episode may have not aired on all NBC affiliates in the United States, although the NBC affiliate in my area of the country (WAND-TV) did air the pilot episode.


Some game show ideas are bad. Some game show ideas are good, but not well executed. Then there’s game show ideas that are rip-offs of other game shows or elements of other game shows.

NBC’s latest attempt at a primetime game show is called The Wall, which aired its pilot episode last night, with the series premiere proper scheduled for next month. The show gets its name from a giant wall with pegs on it that is designed to allow an object to drop between the pegs into one of multiple slots. I think I remember this concept from another game show…

The central part of the game is not much more than a blatant ripoff of Plinko, a longtime pricing game that appears frequently on the CBS game show The Price is Right (TPiR). However, there are some key differences between The Wall and Plinko…whereas Plinko’s only major secondary element is a small-item pricing segment, The Wall has multiple and completely different secondary elements, including trivia questions and an isolation chamber.

The Wall is played by a couple working as a team, and the game has four rounds (although the fourth round is effectively an extension of each the first three rounds):

  • The first round involves either member of the couple having to hit a button corresponding to one of two possible answers to a trivia question. If they guess correctly before the first of three balls falls into any slot at the bottom of the wall, the total cash amount associated with each slot with a ball in it is added to the couple’s bank. If they guess incorrectly or fail to lock in an answer before the first of three balls falls into any slot at the bottom of the wall, the total cash amount associated with each slot without a ball in it is removed from the couple’s bank. If the couple has a positive amount of money in the bank, the couple goes on to the second round. If the couple were to have a negative amount of money in the bank after the first round, the game ends and the couple wins nothing.
  • The second and third rounds play in a similar manner with a few differences. One of the members of the couple go to an isolation chamber and are responsible for answering multiple-choice trivia questions with three (second round) or four (third round possible answers, while the other contestant is responsible for making decisions about what slot at the top of the wall to drop red (two + one for each incorrect trivia answer in second round, four + one for each incorrect trivia answer in third round) or green (two + one for each correct trivia answer in second round, four + one for each correct trivia answer in third round) balls from. The two (second round) and four (third round) automatic red balls must be dropped from the same slots at the top of the wall as the automatic green balls were dropped from at the start of the round in question. Additionally, the contestant not in the isolation chamber has the option of playing two balls from the same slot of the top of the wall on the second trivia question of the second and third rounds, as well as the option of playing three balls from the same slot of the top of the wall on the third trivia question of the second and third rounds; the decision must be made prior to the trivia question being asked to the contestant in the isolation chamber. Wherever a red ball lands results in money being removed from the couple’s bank, and wherever a green ball lands results in money being added to the couple’s bank. However, if a red ball lands in a slot worth more money than what is in the couple’s bank, the couple’s bank goes to $0, not to a negative dollar amount (this happened once on the aired pilot episode, at the end of the second round). The second-from-the-right slot at the bottom of the wall is valued at $250,000 (second round) and at $1,000,000 (third round)
  • The fourth round does not involve the use of the wall, but, instead, involves a decision that the contestant in the isolation chamber must make involving a contract. A contract is offered to the contestant in the isolation chamber, and the contestant in the isolation chamber has the option of either signing the contract or ripping the contract up. The contestant in the isolation chamber is not told how many questions he/she answered correctly in the second and third rounds, nor is the contestant in the isolation chamber told how much money is in the bank after the third round. If the contract is signed, the couple wins the amount of money in the bank after the first round, plus $20,000 for each correctly-answered trivia question in the second and third rounds. If the contract is ripped up, the couple wins the amount of money in the bank after the third round, if there is any money in the bank after the third round.

Unfortunately, there are several major cracks in the The Wall:

  • As I mentioned earlier, the centerpiece of the game is a blatant ripoff of Plinko from TPiR. I’m not an attorney, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if FremantleMedia (the company that produces TPiR for CBS) were to sue NBC and the producers of The Wall (which include host Chris Hardwick and professional basketball player LeBron James, among others).
  • The show appeared to lack a traditional game show announcer; as a result, Hardwick announced himself as the host at the start of the show (normally, game show hosts are introduced at the start of an episode by an off-camera announcer), however, the crowd cheering Hardwick’s entrance drowned out Hardwick introducing himself to the television audience.
  • The trivia questions are very easy for a show where it is possible for a couple to win $12,000,000 in cash.
  • It would be possible for a couple to answer every single trivia question correctly and win absolutely nothing, and it would also be possible for a couple to win nearly a million dollars with as few as two correct trivia answers (one in the first round, and one in the third round).

Now, there have been far worse game shows that have aired on American television (such as this one) than The Wall, but it looks like NBC might be tearing down The Wall sooner than later.

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Candidate for Mayor of Houston, Texas once used racist N-word on national television

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This blog post includes a web video, which was not produced by the author, featuring a clip of an individual using racist profanity on national television. The author of this blog post strongly disapproves of the use of racial epithets.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: This blog post uses some professional wrestling terminology; a glossary of professional wrestling terminology can be found here.


Houston, Texas’s next mayoral election is in 2019, but that hasn’t stopped Booker Huffman, who is best known for his work under the stage name Booker T in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) professional wrestling, from entering the race.

Huffman is well-known for an infamous use of a racial epithet on national pay-per-view television. During the 1999 WCW pay-per-view event Spring Stampede, Huffman was cutting a promo about a four corners match between Huffman and his real-life brother Lash “Stevie Ray” Huffman, as well as Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea and Lawrence “Lex Luger” Pfohl. Booker presumably intended to call Hogan, who is white, a “sucka”, a word that was part of Booker’s on-screen character; however, Booker said something a lot more racist instead. You can view a clip of the promo in question and a shoot interview of Huffman explaining what happened here:

I’m not endorsing a candidate in the 2019 Houston, Texas mayoral race, although I figured that I take the opportunity to mention one of the worst professional wrestling promo botches of all time.

(TRIGGER WARNING) Donald Trump reportedly walked in on undressed beauty pageant contestants

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a description of sexual harassment by an individual who is now a major-party nominee for the office of President of the United States. Reader discretion is advised.


On the heels (no pun intended) of the Donald Trump Access Hollywood scandal, in which Trump bragged on tape about grabbing women by their genitalia without their consent, another major scandal involving inappropriate behavior by Trump has hit the headlines. This time, KCBS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, is reporting on their website that Trump had walked in on undressed beauty pageant contestants who were competing in the then-Trump-owned Miss USA pageant and forced them to, as a former Miss Arizona put it, “go fawn all over him” while wearing little or no clothing:

As Miss Arizona, Tasha Dixon, then 18, competed in the Miss USA pageant, which was owned by Donald Trump for 19 years, along with the Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants.

“Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half naked changing into our bikinis,” Dixon recalled. “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”

She said she and her fellow contestants were put in an awkward position when “the owner come waltzing in when we were naked or half naked in a very physically vulnerable position and then to have the pressure of the people that worked for him telling us to go fawn all over him, go walk up to him, talk to him, get his attention.”

I firmly believe that Tasha Dixon is telling the truth. In particular, two reasons convince me that Dixon is being fully honest:

  • The CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, KCBS-TV, which is owned by the CBS television network as an owned-and-operated affiliate (unlike most CBS affiliates, which are owned by a different company than the CBS network itself), is running a report about this on their website.
  • There’s a 2005 recording of a Trump appearance on The Howard Stern Show, then a radio show syndicated to over-the-air radio stations, of Trump himself bragging about walking in on beauty pageant contestants in the dressing room.

Regarding the 2005 Trump recording, here’s a transcript of it, courtesy of KCBS-TV:

Trump: “I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I’m inspecting it. You know I’m inspecting it. I want to make sure everything is good.”
Stern: “You’re like a doctor.”
Trump: “Is everyone OK? You know they’re standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

It’s clear to me that Trump walked in on female contestants in his beauty pageant while they were partially and/or fully naked. That kind of behavior is extremely inappropriate, and someone who engages in that kind of behavior does not belong in any kind of public office, especially the highest public office in the entire country.

(TRIGGER WARNING) Donald Trump videotaped making pro-sexual assault comments in 2005

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a description of part of a lewd conversation and information about a presidential candidate bragging about sexual assault. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


David Fahrenthold (link is to Twitter page) of The Washington Post has done some great investigative work on Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Until earlier today, Fahrenthold has focused primarily on Donald Trump’s corrupt uses of his personal foundation.

However, Fahrenthold has now turned his attention to something that Trump did that was even more sinister than the corrupt dealings of the Trump Foundation.

Fahrenthold got his hands on a 2005 tape of Trump having a conversation with then-Access Hollywood host (now co-host of NBC’s Today show) Billy Bush, in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. Here is just a small sample of the lewd conversation:

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.

“Grab them by the (female genitalia),” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

Trump actually used a five-letter word beginning with the letter “p”, not “female genitalia”, in the actual conversation.

That conversation is a textbook example of how pervasive rape culture is in America. Donald Trump, in a videotaped conversation with a member of the media, bragged about sexual assault on camera and bragged about how famous people, such as himself, can get away with it. The truth of the matter is that no person in this country is above the law’s commands, and that kissing another person, grabbing another person’s genitals, sexual intercourse with another person, etc., without the other person’s consent is sexual assault, which is a criminal offense in every U.S. jurisdiction. Billy Bush is just as guilty of aiding and abetting rape culture as Trump is, because he goaded Trump into making degrading comments about women. NBC should fire him immediately from his current job.

I don’t have a wife, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, or a niece, but, if I had a wife, a girlfriend, sister(s), daughter(s), or niece(s), I would not let them anywhere near Donald Trump.

UNCONFIRMED REPORT: Marla Maples may have released Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post includes a description of a female individual as an “actor”. The word “actor” is used in a gender-neutral context on this website, although most people use the term “actress” to describe a female actor.


In 2016, the 1990’s have officially come full circle thanks to a recent New York Times report on Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns.

Trump declared a nearly $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns. In the mid-1990’s, Trump’s business record included the failure of Trump Airlines and the mismanagement of three Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos. The kind of loss that Trump declared was a net operating loss, and it could have legally allowed Trump to pay zero income taxes from three years prior to the declaration of the loss (1992) to 15 years after the declaration of the loss (2010). In that time frame, Trump earned tens of thousands of dollars per episode of The Apprentice that he hosted, and he also earned roughly $45 million for being the top executive of a publicly-traded company created by Trump to assume ownership of his Atlantic City properties. It’s also worth noting that ordinary investors in Trump’s publicly-traded company had the value of their shares decline to a measly 17¢ from $35.50, many contractors were not paid for work on Trump’s properties, and casino bondholders lost money.

However, as fellow progressive blogger Chris “Capper” Liebenthal likes to say, there’s more…there’s always more!

Jon Lovett, who lists himself as a presidential speechwriter on his Twitter page, has claimed that actor and television personality Marla Maples, who was Trump’s wife at the time the tax return was filed (Trump and Maples divorced in 1999), released Trump’s tax returns:

While this is an unconfirmed report, what is an indisputable fact is that the tax return was a tax return jointly filed by Trump and Maples as a married couple, something that federal law and IRS rules have long permitted. It is possible, but not confirmed, that Maples may have released the tax return to the public.

51% of Democrats foolishly trust the pro-Trump corporate media

Despite the corporate media trying to rig the presidential election for Republican nominee Donald Trump by giving Trump a huge amount of free air time, a narrow majority of Democrats trust the corporate media, per a recent Gallup poll:

To put that another way, 51% of Democrats are nearly as moronic as Trump is.

Did a CBS News reporter post false information about Hillary on Twitter?

Yesterday afternoon, Hannah Chanpong, a reporter for CBS News who has been assigned to cover the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign for the network, posted a tweet, which has since been deleted by Chanpong, tweeted that “sources inside (the Clinton campaign)” were claiming that there were “worries” that Hillary may “drop out” of the presidential race. A screengrab of the now-deleted tweet from Chanpong is available here:

Whether one is a small-time blogger who doesn’t hide his or her political ideology from anyone or a journalist for a major news organization who tries to report the news and be as non-biased as possible, one thing is a constant: one is expected to be honest. It appears to me that, more than likely, A) either Chanpong was pulling “sources” out of her rear end or B) somebody within the Clinton campaign was not being honest towards Chanpong. I’m inclined to believe that the correct answer is more likely to be A) than B), but I’m not going to give a definitive answer.

I’ve never personally known Hillary, in fact, I’ve never met Hillary in person. However, Hillary has been in the national public eye for nearly my entire lifetime, and I have never known Hillary to be the kind of person to simply abandon something, whether it be a political campaign or anything else. Hillary would never, ever dedicate herself to something, only to turn around and abandon everything for no real reason.

At the very least, CBS should launch some kind of internal investigation to determine whether or not Hannah Chanpong was using her Twitter page to simply spread rumors. If she was simply spreading a rumor (which, at this time, can’t be substantiated either way), then that’s something that would be expected of a third-grader on an elementary school playground, not someone who works for a major news organization.

Hillary goes for campaign ad gold during the Olympics

While the Olympics are supposed to be an apolitical sporting event, the truth of the matter is that politics has often been at the forefront of the Olympics. While political campaigning isn’t an Olympic sport (and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be, since politics is not an athletic competition), Hillary Clinton is running a lot of television ads during American television coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Most of the Hillary ads that I’ve seen during Olympic coverage have been on either NBC or NBCSN (although I’ve seen Hillary ads on CNBC as well during the Olympics), and Hillary’s ads have aired during commercial breaks of Olympic programming blocks without any real regard to what sports are being aired during the programming blocks in question. I’ve seen Hillary ads during Olympic programming blocks at many different times of day and have included swimming, gymnastics, rugby, fencing, cycling, water polo, diving, table tennis, golf, and beach volleyball, just to name a few sports. Some sports, such as track & field and golf, are scheduled for later in the Games. All of the national political ad buys have been from the official Hillary campaign committee; I have yet to see an ad from a pro-Hillary/anti-Trump political action committee (PAC), the Donald Trump presidential campaign, or a pro-Trump/anti-Hillary political action committee.

Most of the ads that Hillary is running during the Olympics are aimed at blue-collar progressives. The positive ad that Hillary most frequently uses is an ad detailing her plan to reign in greed on Wall Street. The negative ad that Hillary most frequently uses is an ad featuring a clip from the David Letterman-era CBS Late Show attacking Trump over the Trump line of clothing being manufactured in foreign countries where workers earn, on average, much lower wages than workers in the United States.

In addition to the national Hillary ad buys, my local NBC affiliate (WAND-TV) has aired pro-Tammy Duckworth (from Duckworth’s official campaign committee) and anti-Tammy Duckworth (from a Republican political action committee of some kind) ads, but those ad buys were sold by the local affiliate because Duckworth is running for U.S. Senate here in Illinois. Duckworth’s ads air mainly, but not exclusively, in the NBC primetime Olympic programming block on my local NBC affiliate.

The first Olympic broadcast on U.S. television lasted only 28 minutes

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: This blog post contains a video that is in the public domain due to said video being an official work of the United States federal government.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: For the purposes of this blog post, “Games of the Olympiad” refer to the Summer Olympics.


Starting Wednesday, August 3 at 9:30 A.M. CDT (10:30 A.M. EDT), NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air a round-robin stage women’s soccer match between Sweden and South Africa in the women’s soccer tournament at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. NBCSN’s broadcast of the first event of this year’s Olympics kicks off a whopping 6,755 hours of combined television and internet livestream coverage (schedule here) across several broadcast and cable/satellite networks that are part of the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal media conglomerate and the NBC Olympics website. Since Rio is only two hours ahead of U.S. Central Daylight Time during the month of August (due to Rio being south of the equator, Rio observes daylight savings time from mid-October to mid-February, not in August), much, but not all, of NBC’s Olympic coverage in 2016 will air live. NBC Olympic television coverage will air in English on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Bravo, Golf Channel, NBC Olympic 4K, NBC Olympic Soccer Channel, and NBC Olympic Basketball Channel, and in Spanish on Univision and NBC Universo.

However, NBCUniversal’s extensive coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics pales in comparison to the minimal U.S. television coverage that the 1952 Summer Olympics received. However, what little television coverage that American viewers saw of the Helsinki Olympics of 1952 was, to my knowledge, the very first time the Olympics was broadcast on American television in any form.

The first time the Olympic Games were broadcast on American television was a 28 minute broadcast (not counting any commercials that may have aired on the television broadcast) of a documentary about the Games of the XV Olympiad in Helsinki, Finland in 1952, which officially opened on July 19, 1952 and officially closed on August 3 of the same year. Back then, there was no high-definition coverage, there was no digital television coverage, there was no color television coverage, there was no live coverage of the Games, there was no Spanish-language coverage, there was no coverage of Olympic events during the Games, and there wasn’t even television coverage of the Games during the year in which they were held! Instead, American television viewers saw a documentary, produced by the U.S. Army as part of the television documentary series The Big Picture, circa early 1954 (exact air date is lost to time, although the episode in question was the fifth episode following a Christmas-themed episode dated 1953), approximately one and a half years after the closing ceremony of the Helsinki Olympics! The production was a black-and-white documentary, with English-language narration provided by members of the U.S. Army Signal Corps (USASC), of highlights of the Helsinki Olympics. The highlights focused mainly on members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were competing for Team USA in the Helsinki Olympics.

According to Central Illinois television historian and WCCU-TV weather anchor Doug Quick, The Big Picture was aired across the ABC network, although some broadcast stations that either were affiliated with other networks or were independent broadcast stations aired the program as a syndicated program as well. It’s not clear which stations, or even how many stations, aired episode TV-250 of The Big Picture, which is the episode containing the documentary about the Helsinki Olympics.

You can watch the full documentary of the Games of the XV Olympiad here:

Donald Trump acts like an arrogant fool on Feherty

It’s not an everyday thing for Golf Channel to air political programming, but they recently aired an interview of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The interview was conducted by former professional golfer and Golf Channel/NBC on-course golf announcer David Feherty (last name pronounced FAIR-et-ee) for the interview show Feherty.

I watched the interview so you didn’t have to, and let’s just say that, if one were to judge someone by how they act around people that they like (Feherty wore Trump socks  while interviewing Trump), let’s just say that Trump is an arrogant fool, because that’s how he acted around Feherty.

When Trump was asked by Feherty how his presidential bid was doing, Trump touted favorable poll numbers and claimed that he hadn’t spent any money on his campaign yet (in reality, he’s spent nearly $62 million on his campaign so far). When Trump was asked by Feherty whether or not he thought of himself as an asshole, Trump touted favorable poll numbers. When Feherty listed a number of adjectives that me and other critics of Trump use on a regular basis to criticize him, Trump responded by saying, “but other than that, they like me.” Trump even went as far as to call his real estate properties “presidential”.

Oh, and Trump made a shockingly offensive statement during the interview. Trump said that racial profiling was “necessary”. Racial profiling is, in the 21st century, very common in America, and it contributes to racial tensions in America in a big way. Racism and racial profiling is never necessary, and it is always inappropriate.

Even when he’s around people that he likes, Donald Trump is an arrogant fool who only cares about himself and his ego.