Fun and Games at “The Game Show Awards”

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(L to R):  Corky Ballas and Cloris Leachman waltz into “The Game Show Awards.”

(L to R): Corky Ballas and Cloris Leachman waltz into “The Game Show Awards.”

If you’re looking for a good time, tune in to “The Game Show Awards” airing June 6 on the Game Show Network (GSN). It’s an awards special celebrating fun and games, and all the iconic emcees and celebrity players from great classic and recent game shows. It was a trip down memory lane at the show, taped last weekend at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills. Blasting in from the past were Bob Barker from “The Price is Right” and Monty Hall from “Let’s Make a Deal,” plus “Jeopardy’s” ageless Alex Trebek.
Stars of the latest hits included the host of the awards, Howie Mandel, taking a break from handing out big bucks on “Deal or No Deal,” and ultra-popular funnyman Jeff Foxworthy of “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” “Bingo America” host Richard Karn (of “Home Improvement” fame), and “Catch 21” host Alfonso Ribeiro (of “Fresh Prince” fame) have their shows on GSN, a very family-friendly network. Where else can all generations sit around and laugh, as well as show off how smart they are? The show was another from Emmy® winning Michael Levitt, who seems to be the new Dick Clark with all the award specials he produces with panache.
It was the first awards celebrating excellence in the game genre, and there were lots of celebrities talking about what makes the magic on a show. Tom Bergeron, so good for keeping “Dancing with the Stars” from getting too wild, is one of the best hosts in the business, and told me, “What makes a great show is one that makes you feel connected as a viewer. You want to play along as you watch at home. You want to feel ‘I can do that, too.’”
The lovely “Deal or No Deal” briefcase models strolled the red carpet, along with the cute kids from “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” They were sweet but no one was sweeter than Corky Ballas, the dance pro who was escorting his “Dancing with the Stars” partner Cloris Leachman.
Looking fantastic and fit, what an inspiration she is at age 83 (or at any age). Cloris has four movies upcoming, including “Inglourious Basterds” starring Brad Pitt, directed by Quentin Tarantino. She also oversees her own clothing line called Cloris Line, and is in the middle of a book signing tour for her tell-all “Cloris: My Autobiography.” Corky and Cloris did a high-energy dance routine on the “Game Show Awards” that wowed the audience and “Dancing” judge Len Goodman, who said, “She always makes me smile.” Although Corky taught Cloris about ballroom dancing, he revealed that Cloris taught him something too. “I learned that your mind has to be like a parachute, always open,” said the proud dad of Mark Ballas, who just won the “Dancing with the Stars” competition with Olympian Shawn Johnson. Winning and sweetness runs in the family.
Seen in “the family way” was Carnie Wilson, a glorious nine months pregnant, who is thrilled to host GSN’s revised edition of “The Newlywed Game.” Carnie said, “When the contestants get all excited about winning, that’s what makes the magic on the show.” Another mom-to-be, Nicole Sullivan was there happy to have folks rub her belly for luck. The lucky lady is also getting ready for the second season of her sitcom “Rita Rocks,” airing on Lifetime. Looking surprisingly svelte after just having her baby, Alison Sweeny mentioned that she’ll be back as host of the next season of “The Biggest Loser.” Former “Brady Bunch” Christopher Knight says he’s having fun hosting the game show “Trivial Pursuit: America Plays.” Another “Brady” boy, Barry Williams revealed he’d like to get a gig as a game show host some day. I guess he thinks it’s easy money but I think there’s a tremendous amount of skill and talent involved. That was confirmed by Ken Jennings, the record-setting “Jeopardy” champ who competed against the always entertaining Vegas headliner Charo. The two battled it out in a fun “Game Show Awards” contest playing “Who’s Smarter than Ken Jennings?” Charo won! Really. Tune in and see for yourself.

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