While sitting down to watch NBC’s latest game show, Take It All, I wondered where they would screw it up. It happens eventually, sometimes taking years (Deal or No Deal), or just minutes (Minute to Win It). Look, NBC hasn’t exactly been successful with game shows. 1 vs. 100 is by far the best thing to come from them in over a decade and it was cancelled after being treated poorly. So as I watched the entire game of Take It All play out, I was surprised by how entertaining it was…then the final segment took place and I was mortified.
I’ll go through the show chronologically to bring back the happy memories. Howie Mandel, who seems to be NBC’s “go-to” personality, hosts Take It All. While not typically a fan of comedians turning into game show hosts, Mandel was superb on Deal and here he is no different.
The game plays like a typical Christmas gathering where you have a “white elephant” gift exchange. There are five players in a game and they are told the value range of all the prizes. Player one is introduced and chooses from one of the five mystery boxes on a screen. They are given a description of the prize and are even given small props so everyone knows what they are…a nice touch to represent the gifts which can be from $3,000 to $60,000 or more.
Player two is introduced and has a choice between taking Player one’s prize or taking one of the remaining mystery prizes on the wall. If they take Player one’s prize, then Player one must choose another prize.
Player three is introduced and play continues until all five players have had a chance to play. The player with the lowest valued prize at the end of the round is eliminated. So right here we see a little bit of “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” involved in the game. There is a more strategy for the players when you allow each of them to lock their prize and prevent it from being taken. This can only occur ONE time by each player in the entire game, and they play three rounds.
The second and third rounds play out the same, with higher valued prizes each time. After round three, we are down to only two players and we reach the end game called the Prize Fight. After a very intriguing three rounds of simple game play, I had high hopes for Take It All. Unfortunately, the Prize Fight had me questioning humanity.
Similar to “Friend or Foe”, the final round features a prisoner’s dilemma. Each contestant must secretly choose to keep what they have or take everything that both players have accumulated. To add to the greed, each player selects a secret envelope with money ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. If they both keep, they both win what they have. If one takes everything and the other keeps, the player who takes it all does just that. If they both choose take it all, they both get nothing.
I hate this format because it typically brings out the worst in people. It is extremely rare to come out of this with two winners, the only way I ever feel good about the ending. If both leave with nothing, it sucks. If someone leaves with everything, they look like a complete jerk.
NBC, you have a good show on your hands. The end game MUST change however. I’ve read so many posts on various sites that can’t stand it. I’m with them. What a terrible way for this to conclude. To allow two people to stand there and lie to gain the other’s trust only to rip everything from them at the last second is terrible. When has allowing another person to control your fate ever been a positive thing?
I want to like this show. It’s fun and enjoyable but the end game has got to go. I’ll watch again, but overnight ratings were simply mediocre. I expect them to drop throughout the week as it will be on every night.
UPDATE 12/12/12: Overnight ratings were surprisingly UP 5% for night number two. Two things…The show is either getting so much word of mouth about the first 50 minutes being solid, or people are actually into the prisoner’s dilemma end game. I’m shocked and would be interested in seeing the rest of the week’s ratings. NBC might be ordering more if this trend continues.
UPDATE 12/13/12: There is it. Take It All dropped nearly 50% in night number three. I am no longer watching this show. The final ten minutes just pisses me off too much.