Friday, August 03, 2012

GSK's First-Half Review of 2012

As 2012 began in the GS world, Dave Leach wound up being a six-time "Jeopardy!" champion immediately after he had ended Jason Keller's reign. Also, "The Price is Right" held its first-ever Celebrity Week w/ its featured star each day spinning The Big Wheel once to add up to $10K to their final charity winnings. Quite a few good to great contestant moments occurred that week- Alexis Stapp & Snoop Dogg conquered Check-Out for a $29.5K '62 Lincoln Continental Convertible (Monday), Jessica Griffiths & Jenny McCarthy winning a Dodge Challenger in That's Too Much (Tues.) and 1/2 Off & Gas Money both being won w/ Neil Patrick Harris' help (Wed.). But only Stephanie Johnson ended the week in style by becoming the third-highest daytime "Price" winner w/ an $82K+ Double Showcase Win that was preceded by her winning $21K ($10K of which came on Pay the Rent), for a grand total of $104,346! However, the results show of "So You Think You Can Dance" was cancelled in the middle of that week.

The sudden winnings surge on "Price" didn't immediately stop after Stephanie's monster day- the following Mon., GM was won again, that time for a $23,700 Toyota Camry, the second-most expensive car won on that Pricing Game. On Tues., Temptation was won for the first time in nearly five years (a Ford Focus HB was at stake), but the winning died down a bit since that episode ended in a Double Overbid. Thurs. saw Triple Play lost on the last automobile for the first time since early in Season 39, as well as Dan McShane losing his fifth "J!" game- that also ended an incredible run of "J!" champs. The 13th of the month was lucky for both KIA PG winners (Money Game & 10 Chances), w/ Kathleen Martin (who won the Forte EX Koup) winning her Showcase. Also that week, after not giving away a single car in the first aired week of the yr., "Let's Make a Deal" came one win short of a PERFECT BIG DEAL WEEK; it was also of note that Samantha Stewart appeared on both "Deal" & "Who's Still Standing?".

The week of 1/16-1/22, unfortunately, was mostly a DISASTER- only Gentle & Vision Winter on "Wipeout" hit the $50K mark that week and that wasn't even a guarantee, as they were the only team to complete The Cold-Hearted Snake for the first half of that amount; also, "Wheel of Fortune" had its first BR SHUTOUT of the yr. (on 1/4, there was the first $100K loss of '12). Additionally, both the 1/20 & 1/23 episodes of "Price" ended in the first literal back-to-back aired DOBs since midway in Drew Carey's first season & the donkey semen stunt episode of "Fear factor" was pulled, which lead to the downfall of the "Fear" revival.

Things got back on track a day before my birthday- both "Price" car PGs were won & Brenda Denney won her Showcase (in addition to the Master Key prize package that included a MINI Cooper & a tour of the set of "The Young & The Restless") & $53K in stuff, plus Precious Haynes won $62K+ on "Wheel", including a $15K KIA Soul & $35K in the BR after solving a bonus puzzle that started w/ her own first name (PRECIOUS CARGO)! To wrap up that week, Michael Woodard won The Hub's "MAJORS & minors".

As Jan. '12 wound down, Travis Schario was seen on the aired finale of U.S. "Who's Still Standing?" but got dropped as a Stranger right away & Jan. 31st was again kind to a Texas professor on "Price", as Angela Dickson made a ricochet Hole in ONE to win a Toyota Tacoma & then won her two-trip Showcase rather easily to finish w/ $51K+. The first day of Feb. was a mixed bag for "Price"- while Line 'em Up was played perfectly, there was a four-chip shutout on Pl!nko & a Showcase trip to the Calgary Stampede was offered that Bob Barker didn't approve of; "Jeopardy!" also began its four weeks of tournament play on the College Championship & the Teachers' Tournament. Feb. 2 had Christina's lucky day on "Deal" when she gave up $12K+ that she won off of the Strike a Match board to successfully claim a BMW 128i in the BD. Feb. 6-10 was Military Spouses Week on "Wheel" & three KIA Souls were won that week (one of them, Melissa Templeton, also won the Ford Explorer in the BR to become the first solo two-car winner in nine yrs.), although there was a $100K on Tues. Also on 2/8, two days after former "J!" College Champ Pam Mueller got her $100K Q wrong, Jeremy Blais left w/ $250K on his only "Millionaire" episode. The day after, all three cars offered on "Price" were won (plus $26K was hit on The Big Wheel), resulting in the first Switcheroo win in almost a couple yrs. & yet another C-O car win. The Changs ended that week by being the first "Family Feud" car winners of the yr. & Car Pong was beaten on "Deal" for the first time.

The day before Valentine's Day, there was the first Bonus Game sweep for a car in exactly five yrs. & The Craigs nearly made a miraculous bonus puzzle solve while being two spaces off the $1M "Wheel" envelope. Monica Thieu was this yr.'s "J!" College Champ & there was a double-car win on "Price" 2/16 for the third straight season, this time by Virginian Brandy Hubbard. The 17th had a retro Camaro won on Hi-Lo, marking the first time any kind of automobile was won on that PG in recent memory. On President's Day, Ali had enough courage to forfeit the KIA Forte LX that she won at the top of an episode & then claim the BD (which included a Nissan Versa Sedan); 2/21 was a lucky day for Cathy on her birthday "Feud" episode, as The Lees won the car. Furthermore, former "Millionaire" player Shane Demmitt won the "Baseball" IQ title on 2/23. Unfortunately for "TPiR", President's Day Week started the longest car PG winless drought in their history & only a RAM 1500 in a Showcase at the end of a Firefighters episode saved them from giving away no car at all that week (that same day, a $92,589 Corvette Z06 was not reached on Golden Road). The second "J!" Teachers' Tournament was won by Patrick Quinn & Paul Qui finished off his record-breaking "Top Chef Texas" run on Leap Day w/ his ninth non-Quickfire Challenge win to win him the title.

When it was 3/5, Ashley Hollier won nearly $71K on "Wheel", including the KIA Soul & $30K from a bonus puzzle she solved despite not getting any extra help even w/ her Wild Card. The "Price" car game drought was finally ended at 22 games on 3/6 thanks to Spelling Bee, even though only three cards were earned in playing (the last one was one of the two CAR cards). Next, Larry Smith won exactly $71K in cash & trip on "WoF". But there was almost the first-ever $1M loss on "Wheel" when Cheryl Bloom blew her bonus puzzle despite most of it being revealed; her Bonus Wheel spin was one wedge off the super big one.

The week of Mar. 12th was Big Money Week on "Wheel", w/ $65K, $75K & $85K envelopes on the BW for at least that week only. Sadly, the $100K was lost on both that Tues. & Fri. (the latter maingame was ugly, as well). It was also bad news for William on the 3/19 episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race", when that drag queen was DQed for inappropriate visits to that contestant's hotel room & lying about the program's premise. Also being tossed from a show was Jermaine Jones of "American Idol" on 3/14 for his past criminal record.

Mondo Guerra was revealed to be the winner of "project RUNWAY: All-Stars" on the 22nd; as for "The Challenge: Battle of the Exes", Johnny & Camila split the $150K top prize on the 28th. The CBS version of "Deal" celebrated 500 episodes on the 26th by starting a two-week stretch w/ the $50K Super Deal. No one won it that first week, but two at least reached that stage, one of whom was Blanca on 3/30, giving up a Versa for the $25K+ Tahoe Q4 boat before declining the Emerald envelope for the SD, which had the big money.

If she had gone all the way, she would've been the "LMaD" winnings world record holder instead of Jorge, who won a $73,515 SD on April 2nd w/ the Sapphire envelope, having his favorite color of blue (the same day when the University of Kentucky won the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship); it's also of note that Any Number was won on "Price" w/ the fifth through last number choices for only the second time in this century (the first time involved a $16,045 Dodge Dakota in 2000). On the week of Apr. 9-13, "Price" partnered w/ Publishers' Clearing House to institute a one-week growing Pl!nko center slot jackpot for the last dropped chip only that started at $20K & grew each time it wasn't hit. It was won right away by Summer Johnson (for a total of $21.5K, but she lost her Showcase), but that was the only time it was won- at the end of the week, following his $0 win, Stephen Schwartz won his Showcase that included a Volkswagen GTI 2-Door & was also awarded a $25K consolation check to go home w/ almost $60K.

The week of Apr. 16-20 was arguably the WORST WEEK THIS YR. TO DATE- not a single player broke the $50K mark despite "Millionaire" holding another Double Your Money Week, there was another "Price" Car PG Shutout, "Wheel" was skunked for the second time this yr., there was that mutiny episode of "The Biggest Loser: No Excuses", Discovery's "Ca$h Cab" was cancelled & Dick Clark's death. 

Things got significantly better on the 25th, when Pocket Change helped end the aired car game drought, David Shannon cleaning up to the tune of $78K+ on "Wheel" & the debut recap of "Total Blackout", which quickly got at least 500 views on this blog & got the first Google "+1" rating that I know of in GSK history. Exactly three months after my 26th birthday (4/26), "Deal" officially hit 500 aired episodes on CBS, Cover Up was finally won in four turns (the last one by default) & Sharon Adams became the first $100K "Wheel" winner of Season 29 after eight losses up to that point w/ the same puzzle that resulted in the same outcome almost six yrs. ago in Denver (BACK IN A FLASH).

At the end of Apr., on the same night Sharon Needles won "RuPaul's Drag Race", Emily Eichelberger came up w/ BIRD FOOD in Portland, OR to become the second & final $100K "Wheel" winner of S29, which also made her the season's top winner w/ $111,200, but if she had not gotten greedy early on in that maingame that caused her to lose the MDW, she would've been the GS' second millionaire. On the first day of May, Marine Corps wife Jaimie Taylor won almost $50K on "Price", including his & her automobiles (the one for him was an All-American Chevy Colorado Work Truck), and Jeremy Britt took advantage of the second chance he gained the previous week on "The Biggest Loser" to win the $250K top prize; also, Chris Cheng became the fourth "Top Shot" & earned a Bass Pro Shops contract. 5/2 had Bess Skellenger win over $54K+ on "TPiR", including $11K from TBW & a Jeep Wrangler Showcase. On Sat. 5/5, Drew & Derek split $100K & each won a Ford Escape Titanium after winning the Ford-sponsored "Escape Routes" hosted by former U.S. "Temptation" host Rossi Morreale. But that same weekend (on a Sun.), Army couple Dave & Rachel Brown set the new all-time "The Amazing Race" single-season win record of eight & won the million!

"Price" chose a wonderful episode on 5/7 to display a small tribute message to Bob Stewart at the end, because Robert Preuss became their third-biggest male daytime winner w/ $86,760, including a TTM win for a Hyundai Sonata w/ the eighth spot, $26K on TBW & a Showcase that included a BMW 128i! Jermaine Paul was declared the second U.S. winner of "The Voice" on 5/8. The "Price" Showcase winner on 5/10, LFaT David Briner won nearly $50K & that included a Toyota Tacoma from Grocery Game, of all PGs.

May 11th was, IMO, the BEST ALL-AROUND GS DAY OF THE YR. so far- the latest BD winless streak was snapped on "LMaD" w/ a VW Beetle, all three cars were won on the '12 Mother's Day edition of "Price" (the two that Patricia & Emilee Gross won in their $76K+ appearance were a Ford Escape & a Lexus IS 250C), The De Jeuseses came all the way back to win the car in Sudden Death, which had to be a first for "Feud", "FIGURE IT OUT" was solved as a "Wheel" bonus puzzle for $40K & Elyse Mancuso broke the two-day "J!" tourney final record on the last night of the Teen Tournament at DAR Constitution Hall w/ $79,600! Kim Spradlin ended this special week by winning $1.1M on "Survivor: One World".

May 14-20 was up & down on all accounts. On the up side, Chad Heffelfinger won $72K+ on the Wed. edition of "Wheel" College Week, Arsenio Hall was named the next "Celebrity Apprentice" & Kara Laricks won the biggest guaranteed prize in reality TV history, a $6M+ contract, after being named the first-ever "Fashion Star"! But both major downsides on Tues. were there being no big winner on the Salute to Law Enforcement episode of "Price" (it ended in a DOB- first since 2/2) & Zach Barron had the biggest "Wheel" BR collapse in a long, long time when he solved MAGIC WAND a second too late even w/ all five of his letter choices up there; instead of missing out on the $100K the last time that puzzle was used, he didn't win a Toyota prius. To close out May '12 Sweeps, Donald Driver & Peta Murgatroyd won the 14th cycle of U.S. "Dancing with the Stars", Phillip Phillips became an "American Idol", we learned that "American Ninja Warrior" is as popular as "Wipeout" on this site, "Hollywood Squares" returned to TV as "Hip Hop Squares" & "Price" fell one Any Number win short of an official Perfect Show on 5/24.

To celebrate Memorial Day, Donna Brunson & Joya Stearman unofficially became the biggest team winners in "Price" history at $94,486 (because the $50K bonus was for their high school; More or Less was swept for the first time all season long by another team, as well) on an episode where every PG was played for a car & Joel Pool became the most recent six-time "J!" champ; he was defeated the very next night & left w/ $117,800. While June began w/ Michael "Maverick" Chiesa winning the first FX finale of "The Ultimate Fighter", NO traditional GS contestant won at least $14K on 6/1. Also that weekend, "Are You Normal, America?" premiered (which has since become this yr.'s "Hole in the Wall") & Richard Dawson's death.

"Price" unofficially had its first PS since Valentine's Day '10 on Wedding Shower '12 (6/4), The Eylers finished w/ $71K (6/7) on "Wheel's" Newlyweds Week after a semi-miraculous $45K solve of FAMOUS AUTHOR by Jonathan & that Fri.., Double Cross debuted as a "Price" PG. The Elektrolytes won "America's Best Dance Crew" on the week of 6/11-6/17 where "Wheel" also concluded its 29th syndicated season, "Deal" officially ended S3 & "Figure It Out" returned to TV w/ new host Jeff Sutphen. On 6/18, "The Game Show Guru" Scott Hostetler added $44,049 in prizes to his lifetime GS winnings courtesy of "Price", but David Menchaca let his sixth "J!" win slip away on 6/21 when he wagered too much on a FJ! TS, allowing Margaret Swanson to win the title w/ only $3,999. Late on 6/19, "Repo Games" had all three of its aired games won, something that never happened on "Cab". And finally, TNT's "The Great Escape" starring Rich Eisen debuted on 6/24 w/ a weekly grand prize of $100K, which is huge for cable TV.

Coming up in the second half of this yr.- "The Pyramid" finally comes back, "Wheel" celebrates 30 syndicated yrs., GSN seriously gets back into original programming for the first time in a while, the "Feud" goes HD & we find out if Obama will remain our U.S. President.
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