A quick update, and a word or two from a great ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ…

Jeopardy_Season_31_titlecardHello all,

Just a quick update today. Firstly, I’m sorry to announce that I’m running ever so slightly late with my EXCLUSIVE interview with current Australian Family Feud Executive Producer Pam Barnes, so please bear with me. The interview (which was really great, by the way!) has been recorded, transcribed, and is just about ready to go. I’ll be posting the first part of it right here on Tuesday November 18th, with the remaining instalments to follow over the next few Tuesdays. So be sure to check back here for all of that!

And after that, I’ll be pleased to post another EXCLUSIVE – my interview with 26-year-old Million Dollar Minute champion Alex Dusek.

So all that’s in store in the next few weeks right here on www.howtowingameshows.com.

That’s about it for today’s brief post, but I didn’t want to finish up without giving you at least some game show information (even if it does happen to be second hand)…

And this comes from Jeopardy! champ / aficionado / total-and-utter-expert Keith Williams, from his brilliant Final Wager website. It’s a very comprehensive interview he did with 20-game Jeopardy! champ Julia Collins. There’s a lot of good info here; Keith asks Julia about her big splurge after winning 20 games and nearly $400,000 (which is at 2:22), why she took wild guesses at certain clues (which is at 15:42), and a whole lot more besides. 

You can watch the full interview (which runs for 24 and a half minutes) right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGdElwPsqLI

And if you’re not familiar with Keith’s Final Wager blog,which is all about Game Theory (and not just how it relates to Jeopardy!)… it is completely unmissable, and you can find it right here: http://thefinalwager.co/

That’s it for now. I’ll be back on Tuesday, with Part I of my EXCLUSIVE interview with multi-award winning game show producer Pam Barnes.

Until Tuesday, then!

Game Show News update

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And now it’s time for one of our all-too-occasional brief Game Show News Updates…

First up, our old friend – and Jeopardy! champion – Arthur Chu is still feeling the effects of the unpopularity of his run on the show. If you’ll recall, Arthur shot to fame (or should that be infamy?) earlier this year when he won over $300,000 in a Jeopardy! winning streak, that lasted for 11 episodes. Earlier this month, he wrote an article for The Huffington Post, which you can read here. In the article, Arthur discusses his time on the show, the feedback / fallout, and reflects on who he is, why he did what he did, and how he thinks and feels about the whole experience, what happened next, and what’s happening now. It’s an interesting read, and also an very revealing examination of ‘nerd culture’ – who nerds are, and why they (/we) do the things they (/we) do. Really well worth a read!

Now this is a new one; a TV game show played and shot on board commercial aeroplanes. The Game Plane is a new idea from producers Alpine Labs. It’s an in-flight game show that’s part general knowledge quiz, part dexterity game, part game of chance, and it’s hosted by Antiques Roadshow‘s Mark L Walberg. The first series of 40 episodes has just been completed, on board flights run by US domestic carrier Allegiant Air. Prizes included cash and luxury resort vacations. There’s no word yet on a second series, but if you’d like to be a contestant, you can find out more here.

And finally in this week’s short bulletin…. Just for fun, a look at ten board games that were adapted to become TV game shows. The AV Club looks at these bold experiments in media-hopping. From Boggle to Yahtzee, from Trivial Pursuit to Monopoly... These adaptations must all have sounded like a good idea at the time.

To someone.

At some stage…

Next week, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be posting the first part of the latest EXCLUSIVE interview that I’ve managed to score for www.howtowingameshows.com. Russell Cheek is an accomplished actor, writer, director, teacher, facilitator and motivator, but he’s also one of Australia’s greatest quiz show champions. In 1993, Russell blitzed through 8 consecutive nights on Sale of The Century, going through to win “The Lot” – a swag of incredible prizes and a huge cash jackpot. I was thrilled when Russell agreed to chat to me about his experience, and offer some tips and hints as to how he did it. Part I of our discussion will be here on www.howtowingameshows.com nexct week, but in the meantime, you can see what Russell’s been up to lately here, at his website (www.russellcheek.com.au).

Until next week, then!

Thank you and goodnight, Arthur Chu.

arthur-chu-jeopardy-facebookArthur Chu’s controversial Jeopardy! winning streak has ended.

Arthur came in third on Wednesday’s episode with zero dollars, ending his 11-game winning streak, and going home with a total of $297,200 in winnings.

During his time on the show, Arthur attracted a lot of criticism for his Forrest-bouncing, buzzer-banging, Trebeck-interrupting strategy… but he certainly had a clear, well thought-out strategy.

Here at www.howtowingameshows.com, we applauded Arthur’s methods. It’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can about the show you’re planning to go on, before you go on it. The information’s all out there. Do your homework. It just might give you the edge!

It certainly did for Arthur – well, for 11 games anyway. Congratulations Arthur, and enjoy your $297,200!

Nicely played, sir.

‘Competition’ is not a dirty word.

hero_image_chuAs Arthur Chu continues on his winning way on Jeopardy!, the haters – including none other than The Washington Post ! – continue to hate.

I still don’t get it, and neither does April Sperry, writing for The Huffington Post today.

In her article Arthur Chu Is A Good Thing For Jeopardy!she makes a number of points explaining why Arthur’s not wrecking the game – he’s working it; using freely available information about the show to come up with a strategy, and then employing that strategy in playing the game. And it’s working for him!

Here are April Sperry’s Top 5 reasons why we shouldn’t be having a go at Arthur Chu and his Jeopardy! playing style…

1. Change is okay

Maybe Chu is ushering in a whole new play style that will forever reinvent the game. Maybe it’ll die out when his run is over. It doesn’t matter; change happens.

2. He’s not ruining the Jeopardy! spirit; he’s embracing it.

The point of Jeopardy! is to answer questions, make money and survive to compete another day. That’s exactly what Chu is doing.

3. He’s making people really think.

Chu is keeping his competitors on their toes in a whole new way by bringing strategy into the mix.

4. His “advantage” is hardly unfair.

He got his “game-wrecking” ideas from Google. Literally any contestant could have tried out his strategy — any contestant still can. They just aren’t, which is a personal choice.

5. It’s not just a game.

When contestants have thousands of dollars on the line, it’s more than just a game. When winning a game show could drastically change your financial future, yeah, it’s okay to play for keeps.

I couldn’t agree more with the last one. Having been there and done that myself, take it from me – it’s okay to take competing on a game show seriously. And when there is the potential to win life-changing amounts of money, you’re foolish to go in there thinking “Oh well, it’s just a bit of fun, I came here with nothing…”

When I worked behind the scenes on a Deal Or No Deal, I never ceased to be amazed at the number of contestants who would say “Oh well, I came here with nothing…” They tended not to finish that sentence, but it sounded like if they did, it would end with the words “… so it’s alright if I go home with nothing”.

No, it’s not.

If arriving with nothing and going home with nothing was alright, then the whole thing is just an exercise in futility – you may as well stay at home. You’ll get exactly the same result.

When you’re a game show competitor, you should be competitive! You owe it to yourself. And for the audience, it also has the side effect of making the game much more interesting and involving to watch.

Good luck to King Arthur – long may he reign.

Don’t hate him for doing his homework!

arthur-chu-jeopardy-facebookArthur Chu is a Jeopardy contestant, who’s been having a very good run lately. After 4 winning nights on the show, his current cash winnings stand at more than $111,000. But Arthur’s very specific game strategy – jumping across the board in search of the ‘Daily Doubles’, and going for the tie in ‘Final Jeopardy’ – has drawn a lot of anger from some sections of the public. He’s been copping heaps of abuse and accusations of cheating and immoral behaviour.


It seems to me that all Arthur’s done is that he’s developed a strategy for playing the game, and he’s now using that strategy. That’s exactly what I did with Temptation, that’s exactly what Martin Flood did with Millionaire. Loads of game show winners have studied the game shows they’re going on, prior to going on them. In fact, I think you’re silly if you don’t. Particularly now, when the information is so plentiful and accessible. There are countless videos, forums and websites (like this one!) that can give you all sorts of tips and hints, and of course you can bet that video clips of whatever show you’re interested in going on will be very easy to find online.

Have a look at this interview with Arthur, in which he details the preparation he did for his appearance on Jeopardy. He reveals all the sites he visited, all the past masters he studied, and is perfectly transparent about the study he’s done. It’s a great interview in which Arthur mentions several online resources that he used in his preparation for going on the show, including:

– The fan discussion forum The J Board

– The fan-created archive of Jeopardy games, players and clues The J! Archive

– Jeopardy champ Keith Williams’s game theory blog The Final Wager

I don’t quite understand why anyone would have a problem with Arthur preparing for his appearance, devising a strategy, and then using that strategy – it’s all within the rules of the game, he’s done smart preparation and now it’s working for him. He’s gathered as much information about the game and the show as he can before going on, and he’s using that information! Information which is available to everybody, by the way.

An Arthur’s not apologising. Why should he?

What is everybody’s problem? If anyone out there can please explain to me why people are dishing out the hate to Arthur, please do!  I’d love to know what the reasoning is behind all the vitriol…

P.S. Also on this page you’ll find a couple of great slideshows of slightly unusual game show moments. My favourite one is the Millionaire contestant who’s a fan of the movie Office Space...