Something a little bit different for you this week. A reminiscence about a game show that I was involved with…. and that, for quite a while, I had completely forgotten existed!
In July 2006, I was living in Sydney, when I was approached by Denis Spencer, who was my boss when I worked on Deal Or No Deal. His production company was developing a new game show for Channel 7 based on a Swedish game show called Doobidoo. Back then, after the recent runaway success of Spicks and Specks (a light-hearted, panel-based quiz show about music trivia) on the ABC, Channel 7 wanted a similar show. This new show, after a number of other suggested titles, was named You May Be Right, and Todd McKenney was signed to host it. Following his success as a judge on Dancing With The Stars, he was now part of the Channel 7 family. It was devised as a panel game show, with two panels of three celebrities facing off against each other, over various rounds of pop culture trivia questions, tasks and stunts. The job Denis offered me – “head writer” – saw me helping to come up with various games for the show and eventually, writing all of the show’s scripts on an ongoing basis.
Now, dear reader, because this happened so long ago, I’m afraid my memories of it are slightly fragmented. So here, in no particular order, is a grab-bag of
7 Memories From The Making Of You May Be Right…
YMBR MEMORY #1
I remember one of the show’s producers (who shall remain nameless*) being very enthusiastic, gung-ho, and aggressive, and quite foulmouthed in his everyday conversations.
One of the games was to guess the identity of a “mystery celebrity”, who was in the studio, but not visible to the players. While we were workshopping the best way to present this game, the aforementioned foul-mouthed producer had the following idea;
“So, we disguise their voice, right? And we can’t see them, right? Because they’re in an outdoor dunny! In the studio! And we just see their shoes! And the panels ask them ‘Yes / No’ questions, and when the panel successfully guesses who they are, right, we hear the dunny flushing, and then the celebrity comes out, doing up their pants! It’ll be f***ing hilarious! Everyone will piss themselves laughing!”
Okay, four things…
- Classy. Very classy.
- How many celebrity guests did he think would be jump at the chance to be presented this way on national television?
- Call me a naysayer, but what if it turns out not to be as funny as you think it is? Even 30 seconds is an awfully long time for a TV audience to be looking at an outdoor dunny…
- With ideas like this, so confidently expressed, how did you get to be a producer so high up the ladder? YOU?
In the end, wiser heads (I.e: absolutely everyone else’s) prevailed, and eventually the mystery celebrity was hidden inside a crate. I came up with the name for the game; Crate Expectations. Alright, alright. I’m not proud of it.
YMBR MEMORY #2
Meeting Pauline Hanson. Yes, I met Pauline Hanson as part of this whole experience.
She was the “Mystery Guest” on the first show, I think. Todd had invited her on, because they’d – surprisingly – become quite good friends when she was one of the contestants on Dancing With The Stars. I say “surprisingly” because Todd’s a gay man and she’s a xenophobic, hate-mongering redneck politician. I’m so strongly opposed to what she stands for, what she does, and the toxic influence she has, that I’d always said that if I ever met her, I’d never shake her hand.
So anyway I met her. And I shook her hand.
It was very hard not to, in a pre-show green room situation, with all the eyes of my nervous colleagues and expectant bosses on me. I chickened out, and was… polite. Politeness which very soon gave way to surprise – if not shock – when the first thing she said to me was that she was a fan of mine, she’d watched my entire run on Temptation, and was really happy when I won! I muttered my thanks and, trying to be self-deprecating, said something along the lines of “Thank you. Yes, my head full of crap finally came in handy!” Something naff like that, anyway. She immediately shot back “Did you say I’m full of crap?”, her eyes narrowing. “No,” I said, and awkwardly managed to clarify what I meant. I guess that she’d misheard me, but I also guessed that she’s probably on the lookout for haters all day, every day. She’s always primed for, and expecting, the next insult… from the moment she leaves her house in the morning, till the moment she gets home at night. If that is the case, that struck me as a paranoid, yet sad, way to live your life. Not to mention exhausting, constantly looking over your shoulder like that. Not that I feel sorry for her. She’s still an ignorant, deeply harmful bigot with a voice that’s way too loud, and a soapbox that’s way too big. And if she wants people to stop people hating her, she just has to stop saying hateful things. This is the sort of stuff I mean.
And I think I may have to leave it there for this week; my memories are turning out to be a bit more detailed – and wordy – than I expected! Join me again next week, when I recall what went wrong with the players, what went wrong with the hosting, and what went right with the format…
* Very mean of his Mum and Dad, refusing to give him a name, for all these years. Parents can be cruel, can’t they?