It’s funny how TV game-show formats translate internationally.
F’rinstance, “Family Feud” originated, then bombed in the U.S. But in the U.K. the softer “Family Fortunes” ran for years, thanks to the ridiculous answers given by contestants – “Name something red.” “My car.” “If it’s up there, I’ll give you the money myself.” Whilst back Stateside, a celeb version has returned – hosted by Steve Harvey.
The show was tried here in Thailand, softened even further to “Family Game.” It was crap.
And Chuck Barris’ “The Newlywed Game” – a raunchy show in America – featured pensioners in the U.K., ran in the afternoon and the sexiest question was, “Which side of the bed do you sleep on?”
“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” began in the U.K. and was a massive hit world-wide, but varies dramatically, country to country. In the States, Regis Philbin asked easier questions (Americans like to see winners).
Meanwhile, the Portuguese (I was on holiday there) managed to extract ALL sense of exitement from the franchise by slowing the game, with lots of chat twixt host (a handsome chap, but someone ELSE should have dressed him and done his hair) and contestant.
And the contestants were so DUMB. Example: “Blah, blah (I don’t speak Portuguese) blah Agatha Christie blah blah? a. Hercule Poirot (obviously) b. Sherlock Holmes, c. Mr. (sic) Watson, d. Zorro. The bloke didn’t know. His “phone-a-friend” didn’t know. He took a 50/50 and guessed the wrong one. I nearly wet myself laughing.
This was only a second round question, but had he REACHED the top, a million Escudos was only about £3,000 ($5,000) – hardly retirement money, even in Portugal.
Here in Thailand, a million Baht is a little more – around sixteen grand Sterling ($25,000) – which with prices around one-fifth of Western, equates to around a hundred grand in the West. A princely sum.
However, the Thai production company were too tight to pay Celador for the format, music and graphics, so “Millennium Millionaire” was a knock-off.
Unlike “The Weakest Link” which Thailand DID buy (Auntie probably wanted less money) installing their version of The Queen Of Mean. But the Thais – a very polite race – didn’t GET it and it didn’t last long.
When it premiered, they ran a promo which had shots of ALL the Bitches In Black, all around the World. And a SCARIER bunch of women you could not imagine. They looked like the Goth Chapter of Hell’s Grannies.
Most were getting on (a couple even looked like Annie) but the Thai one was young. In fact she looked a lot like a lady in Pimlico I once paid £50 for some disciplinary instruction. But that’s another story…