Celebrity Name Game

TV’s Grant Denyer (his words) is back at 6pm with a new game show, Celebrity Name Game.

Based on a US format developed by Courteney Cox and David Arquette, this replaces Pointless which replaced Family Feud. In something of a back-to-the-future move by 10, this is surely as close as you can get to Feud without surveying 100 people. So if you’re missing the Feud this could be right up your alley.

On a set that is ski-lodge meets penthouse, there are two teams of two: in the first episode I watched, young workmates Mikey & Trent and middle-aged couple Maureen & Ian who met when she frequented drag bars in Sydney (seriously).

Maureen is beyond excited when paired with guest Courtney Act, while the boys team up with Beau Ryan.

The gameplay is astonishingly simple -not that there’s anything wrong with that- which largely consists of guessing mystery words as one member of the team tries to describe it, without mentioning it by name.

“The things below my ankles are called my…?” Courtney asks.

“Feet!”

“It’s not Google it’s…? asks Beau.

“Yahoo!”

You get the picture.

Most clues are given by celebs verbally, some with charades, but under pressure everybody panics. That leads to some clunky answers and awkward humour. Geography seems to test several players who think Broome is in Queensland or Africa is above the USA. How embarrassment.

For the studio audience the comedy is seemingly infectious, and there may be a bit of red cordial on hand leftover from Game of Games.

One head-to-head round looks a lot like the Feud with contestants either side of our host, before one team is eliminated. The prize for the final round is a respectable $10,000 (and not like that skint $2,000 on Pointless).

Celebs will rotate across various episodes and will include Jane Hall, Susie Yousseff, Angie & Yvie, Tahir Bilgic, Olympia Valance, Lawrence Leung, Scott Tweedie, Brendan Jones, Casey Donovan, Dave Thornton, Tom Ballard, Merv Hughes, Rhonda Burchmore and more. There’s a nice informality to the show with room for playful gags, but it could do with a little format jeopardy other than just racing against the clock.

Denyer, who once indicated he never saw himself as a game show host, fits the format with relative ease. Part of the reason Feud succeeded so well was undoubtedly because he looked like he was having fun, and it’s the same here. Whether trying to recapture the magic with the same host in the same slot will work, is another matter, but Celebrity Name Game is certainly a broader-appealing format than the geeky Pointless, despite the subversive humour of Mark Humphries (Mastermind is on SBS  if you get withdrawal symptoms).

This show is unapologetically straightforward, and may be a no-fuss wind down after a rough day at the office. Diehard fans of TV’s Grant Denyer should be pretty happy. The only way is up?

Celebrity Name Game begins 6pm Monday May 13 on 10.

14 Comments:

  1. I attempted to watch tonight but couldn’t last the full episode. Too much in your face going on, much preferred Pointless at that time of night. Wouldn’t bother watching it again

  2. Maev....Sydney

    Along with ‘BarrieT’…..Grant has been growing on me also…I even like the beard….
    I also enjoy 10 News and the presenters….I am a bit of a news junky…..but I will forgo 9 News tonight…and stay on 10 for this then The Project …Masterchef…HYBPA but then SBS…

  3. I’m looking forward to this, love Grant! This is sure to be a hit for 10, definitely more like Family Feud.
    I would like Pointless to come back soon, maybe on one of the multi-channels, as it is a great show. But whatever happens goes.

    Also, David, I think ‘how embarrassment’ is meant to be ‘how embarrassing’ and Yvie is spelt with a ‘Y’.

  4. it’s like celebrity head that was a game on Hey Hey it’s Saturday. I enjoyed watching the US version daily last year when it was on Foxtel. Since DWTS Grant Denyer is growing on me.

  5. What a strange decision to have this stripped 5 nights a week… I don’t get Channel 10 (like most ppl nowadays it seems)…
    And Grant Denyer is just a complete turn off for me also… however I’m not turned on by the news either Maeve 😛

    • I agree the appeal may wear off quick. Perhaps name game Mon-wed and pointless Thurs/Friday when 10 doesn’t have the younger audience watching, but maybe that’s why they need a Game of Games style show later in the week.
      Hope it at least pulls 300k for 10, but no doubt the similcasts and Encores will be scheduled in come Monday

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