Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The New Mister Television

In the 1950s, comedian Milton Berle, fondly called "Uncle Miltie", was also given the nickname "Mister Television" for his groundbreaking work in the early days of network TV. Is there a successor to the title in today's world of 500 channels? If so, I nominate the ever ubiquitous Regis Philbin for the honor.

Regis just turns up all over the dial. His long-running Regis & Kelly (formerly Regis & Kathie Lee) continues in syndication; Game Show Network reruns ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire; Last year he hosted NBC's America's Got Talent, and he now is on a revival of the old favorite Password on CBS. In this revival of the old show that was amicably hosted by the late Allen Ludden, Regis Philbin and celebrity contestants play with the average Joe or Jane to see if they can give away a million bucks. And who better to do that than Reege? The new Million Dollar Password looks like it could be the latest hit game show, as it has all the core components...a familiar and likeable host, a million-dollar prize, and the nostagia factor to bring the baby boomers into the fan base.

I watched the premiere episode, and thought the contestant, Dante Mercadante (love that name), left too early. He was doing great, but got cold feet. But who can argue with his fifty-grand prize money?

The password is "entertaining".

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