This was posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Game shows are becoming a thing again on prime-time TV. ABC is mostly recycling old ones right now with revamped celebrity versions of "To Tell the Truth," "Pyramid" and "Match Game." It recently tried a new one, too, called "Big Fan." NBC is entering a fifth season of Jane Lynch's "Hollywood Game Night."
Now enter NBC's "The Wall." The series, which debuted earlier this month, has pulled in promising ratings, growing in its second week in overnight ratings from 6.8 million to 7 million.
While that's hardly "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" or even "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" territory, this is 2017, not 1999 or 2007. Shows don't pull in 20 or 30 million anymore. Heck, even 10 million is a big deal nowadays.
So with early data in hand, NBC has already commissioned 20 more episodes of "The Wall."
If you haven't sampled it yet, you can root for an Atlantan Tuesday night Ebony Wardlaw and her Dallas sister Deanna.
Vulture calls the show "Plinko Writ Large," referencing arguably the most popular game on "The Price is Right."
It features hot host Chris Hardwick, who also hosts Comedy Central's "@Midnight," the "Walking Dead" talk show "Talking Dead" and the Nerdist podcast. And "The Wall" happens to be executive produced by LeBron James and his buddy Maverick Carter, who also created Atlanta-based Starz comedy "Survivor's Remorse."
The rules are a bit complicated. There's this massive "Wall" that is like a steroid-packed Plinko board. A couple - usually related or married - are split up. One throws balls down the board and random dollar amounts are reached at the bottom. If the other person answers questions right, that dollar amount is added to their total. If he or she gets a question wrong, the dollar amount is subtracted.
And to add an element of surprise, the isolated person can sign a contract at a certain point guaranteeing a certain amount of money or decide to gamble and see what the Wall conjured up.
In an interview, Ebony said the show is as fun to take part in as it looks.
"It was larger than life - literally," she said. "And everything is just lit up. There's a live studio audience. Just walking on stage being the focal point of attention was a little nerve wracking. Lots of anxiety. Just nervous and exciting. "
Ebony has an 11 year old and a 14 year old. Although her husband knows how things played out since he was at the studio, her two kids know nothing. "They're very frustrated," she said. "We taped over a year ago. It's been a long wait!"
"The Wall," Tuesdays at 8 p.m., NBC