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.
“It’s not Google it’s…? asks Beau.
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.