Hey, who else out there remembers that old game show Finders Keepers? Where kid contestants had to tear apart a series of rooms in order to uncover objects hinted at in clues? Those old treasure hunts came to mind while watching The Great Escape, a new competitive reality show from the makers of The Amazing Race that premiered last night on TNT. The two shows aren't exactly analogous given that Escape involves pairs of grown adults competing in various tasks in order to free themselves from such confined places as a closed prison (Alcatraz) or a decommissioned aircraft carrier (the USS Hornet), but the image of these contestants ransacking rooms to search of concealed objects (usually keys) took me back to my lazy childhood afternoons spent watching Finders Keepers repeats.
Right now we're inundated with shows that feature celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Not only is Hell's Kitchen on several nights a week, but thanks to Masterchef and Kitchen Nightmares, Fox pretty much has him on year-round. And BBC America airs the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares as well. It's a whole lot of Gordon Ramsay to deal with. So when I saw that the second season of another show of his was airing on BBCA, I was less than enthused, to say the least. But then after my mother (a lover of all shows Ramsay) watched several episodes and raved about them, I felt compelled to at the very least check it out. You know how moms can be.
Squeezed in between a week of high-profile broadcast network upfronts, Turner's cablers launched themselves into the TV conversation by hosting their big event at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom this morning. TNT's biggest new property is, of course, the campy Dallas remake, while TBS is clearly trying to move past their former "We saved Conan and bought the rights to Family Guy repeats!" image and instead focusing on the future, now claiming, "We saved Cougar Town and bought the rights to The Big Bang Theory repeats!" After excited executives talked shop about shows currently in development (not particularly worth noting) and sampling their new series, Conan O'Brien came out to do a bit about television bigwigs and their imaginary Craigslist postings. It was underwhelming, but he snuck in a few funny jokes about Turner having their upfronts at 9 AM next to Penn Station while this afternoon's CBS upfronts will be at li'l ol' Carnegie Hall, and managed to keep the tired NBC jabs to a minimum. And on the bright side, his set was a lot funnier than anything else previewed for the network.
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