Weaver's Week 2003-05-24

Weaver's Week Index

24th May 2003

Iain Weaver reviews the latest happenings in UK Game Show Land.

Richard Whiteley reckons a match tied at sixty-nine points each makes for "a good position." John Leslie is to sell his story for £550,000. And Craig Stevens answers a contestant's mobile phone live on national television. Welcome to the wacky shows we call game.


As the door opens on another twelve celebrity wannabes, we remember the stars of Pop Idle, Big Brother 3, and Fame Academy.

Jessica Garlick (9th in Pop Idle) represented the UK at the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest. "Come Back" placed a very creditable fourth, but Ms Garlick has since been dropped by her record company.

Rik Waller (11th in Pop Idle) released his version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" into the top ten sellers in March 2002. The follow-up, a remake of Labi Siffre's "Something Inside So Strong" crawled into the top 40, and Mr Waller's recording contract was terminated. He then appeared in the first few episodes of ITV's Celebrity Fat Club Sorry Fit Club, but left that show half way through the regime, citing creative differences with the instructor. He appeared on Sky's documentary performing before a small crowd of perhaps 20 in Rochester, Kent.

Malachi Cush (4th on Fame Academy) released a top 30 album in March.

Sandy (13th on BB3) has returned to his job at a large London store, and never wears jeans so tight when he wants to climb trellises. Sunita (14th) has also returned to her old job, as a trainee barrister.

Alison (11th on BB3) has appeared at a few charity events in Birmingham, and pops up occasionally with Gopherman and Fern on This Morning.

Tim (5th on BB3) has given up a career introducing Pap Stars rejects, and has left the country to make his fortune as a banker in South Africa.

Sarah Whatmore (last 50 in Pop Idle) has nevertheless secured a recording deal with Simon Cowell, and has had two top twenty sellers.

Lee (10th on BB3) and Sophie (8th) have remained an item since leaving the house. Lee is still an exotic male dancer, Sophie works on obscure cable channel ITV2.

Spencer (9th on BB3) briefly worked with PJ (6th) as radio DJs in Cambridge. They knew their limitations, and decided not to pursue that line of work. Spencer has shacked up with an acter from cancelled US drama "Dawson's Creek"; PJ has still not talked about *that* night.

Ainslie Henderson (3rd on Fame Academy) has one top ten single to his credit.

Alex (3rd on BB3) did his germ-killer commercial, then vanished from the television screens to concentrate on personal appearances. Sadly, there's been no media fortune for Alex's far more entertaining parents, The Incredible Performing Sibleys.

Rosie Ribbons, Hayley Everett, and Zoe Birkett (6th, 5th and 4th on Pop Idle) have released singles to modest acclaim and slightly less modest sales. This column has been unable to discern if any of the three is still on a recording roster.

Jonny (2nd on BB3) was a commentator during an industrial dispute involving fire fighters last autumn. He's since joined the cast of stage musical "Boogie Nights," alongside Shane Richie.

Mark Owen (1st on Celeb BB 2) has another record deal, with a single due later in the summer. Will Mellor (1st on Celeb Fame Academy) is also looking to reactivate his singing career.

Sinead Quinn (2nd on Fame Academy) already has one number two single to her name. The second single is on the rosters for late June, with the album following two weeks later.

Darius Danesh (3rd on Pop Idle) has had two weekly best selling singles, and a top five album; a fourth single is slated for release next month. His second album is due out late in the year.

Jade (4th on BB3) has failed her driving test, made a comedy video that pretends to teach exercises, and fallen pregnant. She's also made more magazine covers than any other BB contestant. So much so that there was nothing unusual when this columnist saw Miss Goody on magazine racks in the US, until he tried to explain Jade's claim to fame to someone who hadn't heard of her. The latest drop in the avalanche: Jade has spent the last week with Mr Charles Ingram, Convicted Game Show Cheat, for Channel 4's WIFE SWAP show. Mrs Diana Ingram has spent the week with whoever Jade's other half is. While recognising that Mr and Mrs Ingram are convicted fraudsters, the phrase "haven't they suffered enough already" springs to mind. Jade's mother, Jackiey Goody, steps in for functions her daughter cannot do, usually because the organisers won't pay the appearance fee. With this money, Jackiey has bought the services of an agent, and a vowel.

Gareth Gates (2nd on Pop Idle) already has three solo number one singles, and a duet with William Young (qv). His first two singles have been promoted in Europe, and "Anyone Of Us" went top ten in Germany. A second album is due later in the year.

Kelly Clarkson (1st, Pop Idle US) has received no promotion in the UK.

William Young (1st on Pop Idle) has a "mere" two solo best-sellers, and a chart topping duet with Gareth Gates (qv). His version of Jose Feliciano's "Light My Fire" has been top ten in Italy, and a second album is due before Christmas.

David Sneddon (1st on Fame Academy) has a number one single and a top five album already.

Kate (1st on BB3) has a weekly syndicated radio show co-hosted with Andi Peters. We understand that she does some work on an obscure television show, but no one appears to watch her now.


From the Where There's A Hit, There's A Writ file:

An entertainment company owner who specializes in televised talent competitions has filed a lawsuit against Fox television and the producers of "Pop Idle US," claiming the show's concept was his idea.

Harry Keane claims that he came up with the idea for a show called "American Idol" in 1994. Apparently, Keane devised everything from concept to broadcast, including initial national auditions of talent to a final 13-week television series, where celebrity judges and the viewing audience would vote on the final 20 contestants each week. The proposal also included a voting system with viewers casting their ballots by telephone or the Internet.

The lawsuit says Keane applied for a copyright on the concept and even the stage design for his show in 1997, and then began sending out his proposals to investors and producers. One of those proposals went to Freemantle Media in north America; another to Thames Television.

Keane didn't file suit earlier because he wasn't aware of the show in Britain, and after the American version came out, he had to get his paperwork in order.

Neither Fox nor Freemantle Media returned calls for comment. Perhaps they were busily trying to shoehorn seven explanations into the response where only one will do. A critic in Sunday's New York Times blasted Pop Idle US 2 for the way every contestant is afflicted by melisma: a passage of several notes sung to a single syllable. All of the last eleven contestants use and abuse this vocal trick, most commonly associated with faded diva Mariah Carey.

Returning to game shows, Fox Television has unveiled its lineup for the new programming season. Included as a mid-season replacement is their version of one of our favourite shows, BANZAI! But there's no firm airdate, which leads to an exciting new gambling opportunity:

The Cancellation Conundrum.

Rules of Cancellation Conundrum very simple. Mr Fox will put lots of shows on television. When ratings fall below profitable level, Mr Fox will cancel these shows, leaving space open for exciting new gambling opportunity show. When will Banzai get a slot? Will it be:

A) Before November 1

B) Sometime in November or December.

C) Sometime in January or February.

D) Sometime in March or April.

E) Between May and August.

F) Not before September 2004.

Ha! Place bets now! It so simple! It even simpler than predicting the viewing figures for ABC Thursday at 8.


The Murder Ham finished last weekend, with a hugely improbable outcome. Not the culprit, but the identity of the person who would unmask the culprit and scoop the prize, at an improbability factor of 2 to the power of seven to one against.

Reviewing the posts on the UKGS email group, these points spring out:

The map? A complete red herring.

David B spotted "not enough attention has been paid to the killer's video - particularly the phone call you can hear as the killer turns to go up the stairs." (May 6).

Weaklink75 was first to finger Trevor as the killer, on May 4.

Open question: All the killer clues could reasonably have come from Catherine's bag; except the account numbers left in episode seven. How did Trevor know about Goldie and Jay's account, or that this would exonerate Goldie?


The series finale of Boys and Girls last week, and Channel 4 announced on Thursday that they wouldn't be airing any more entertainment programmes on Saturday nights. A decision that was clearly retroactive to March 1.

The BBC announces a new daytime quiz show. EGGHEADS will pitch teams of quiz champions against one another, with Judith Keppel amongst those taking part in the 12 Yard format. Also on the block: a new series of JUDGEMENTAL, apply now.

And in the old TREASURE HUNT slot, the studio audience gets a chance to show up love-to-hate celebs like Mr Beadle, Mr Brandreth, and Ms Street-Porter. NOBODY LIKES A SMARTASS pits four contestants against an audience of fifty. The same people are responsible for Banzai, so bet now on when this will air at 6pm.

Oh, has BIG BROTHER resumed? The Daily Tabloid offers £50,000 to any couple prepared to, um, do it live on national television (or E4). There are strings attached: the couple will have to survive a "making it or faking it" vote by Tabloid readers; the two will have to sell their story exclusively to the Tab; and the winning pairing will have to involve exactly one gentleman and one lady. Yep, if some Eurovision contestants were in the BB house, they wouldn't qualify for any dosh even if they, um, did it live on national television. In spite of the massive press interest, and last night's live nominations show, there's absolutely no Saturday coverage on Channel 4 today. Next time this happens will be in August, I'll bet.

The Eurovision Song Contest is on BBC1 and Radio 2 at 2000 tonight, introduced by Marie N (last year's winner) and Reynars Kaupers (singer with Brainstorm). Bearing in mind the infallible selection procedure for University Challenge and The Murder Ham, it's time to fire up the Completely Random Advent Predictor: this column is confidently predicting a Belgian win. It's Antwerp or bust! For BB, the same process identified contestants #3, #6 and #10 as ones to watch before actually knowing who they were.

Before that, Suzi Perry is in Arizona for Treasure Hunt. 1830 on BBC2.

The return of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue is this Monday. Do take notes, or send them if you're Mrs Trellis.

There's another chance to see The Great Reality TV Swindle at 2310 Thursday on C4. Hoax, or hoax documentary? You decide.

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