Will ABC’s newest game show ‘Don’t’ make it to season two?

The season finale of "Don't" airs Thursday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. on ABC. (ABC/Guy D'Alema)
Photo: NATHAN WILLIAMS
Caption
The season finale of "Don't" airs Thursday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. on ABC. (ABC/Guy D'Alema) Photo: NATHAN WILLIAMS

Credit: ABC

The show was shot at Tyler Perry Studios in the summer of 2019.

Conceptually, ABC’s newest game show “Don’t” has all the trappings of any other game show: host, bright lights, big stage, loud audience, hyperactive contestants.

But actor Ryan Reynolds provides wry, often super sarcastic, narrative commentary after the fact, sometimes at the expense of the players though more often at the expense of the deadpan host Adam Scott (”Parks and Recreation,” “Big Little Lies”). The show also features mock ads and “behind the scenes” bits.

“It’s in a way to subvert a game show without losing its ability to work as a game that you could play along with,” said executive producer David Goldberg, who runs Banijay Studios North America, which developed the show.

Shot at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta last summer, the show features families trying to win at least $100,000.

Thursday’s season one finale features the super enthusiastic Williams family from Atlanta.

They first have to answer questions to keep one brother from falling into a vat of water and wetting his pants (“Don’t Embarrass Yourself”).

Round two, another sibling eats spicy foods and must not drink anything (“Don’t Drink”). Round three, one of the brothers shoots balls at cardboard cutouts of fire while avoiding humans dressed up as matches (“Don’t Play with Matches”)

Round four, all four family members ride a tiny van using their feet as wheels to get through an obstacle course in two minutes or less in “Don’t Make Me Turn This Car Around.” The final round features each sibling running away from an oversized ball in “Don’t Look Back,” evoking the opening scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The Williams are so hepped up, the show producers start an on-screen counter to track how many times they say “whooo!”

Caption
DON'T - "Don't Quit Your Day Job" - Don't miss Graham, Nathan, Leita and Reagan do their best to win $100,000 by competing in a series a challenges - "Don't Embarrass Yourself," "Don't Make Me Turn This Car Around," "Don't Play With Matches," "Don't Drink" and "Don't Look Back" - on the season finale of "Don't," THURSDAY, AUG. 13 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Guy D'Alema) ADAM SCOTT, LEITA WILLIAMS, GRAHAM WILLIAMS, NATHAN WILLIAMS, REAGAN WILLIAMS

Credit: ABC

DON'T - "Don't Quit Your Day Job" - Don't miss Graham, Nathan, Leita and Reagan do their best to win $100,000 by competing in a series a challenges - "Don't Embarrass Yourself," "Don't Make Me Turn This Car Around," "Don't Play With Matches," "Don't Drink" and "Don't Look Back" - on the season finale of "Don't," THURSDAY, AUG. 13 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Guy D'Alema)
ADAM SCOTT, LEITA WILLIAMS, GRAHAM WILLIAMS, NATHAN WILLIAMS, REAGAN WILLIAMS
Caption
DON'T - "Don't Quit Your Day Job" - Don't miss Graham, Nathan, Leita and Reagan do their best to win $100,000 by competing in a series a challenges - "Don't Embarrass Yourself," "Don't Make Me Turn This Car Around," "Don't Play With Matches," "Don't Drink" and "Don't Look Back" - on the season finale of "Don't," THURSDAY, AUG. 13 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Guy D'Alema) ADAM SCOTT, LEITA WILLIAMS, GRAHAM WILLIAMS, NATHAN WILLIAMS, REAGAN WILLIAMS

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

Reagan Williams, in a Zoom call Tuesday, said he was the one whose game-show application first caught the eyes of the casting producers. “I’m notorious for falling for scam emails,” he said. “But when I found email from ‘Don’t’ was real, I was so excited.”

The Williams grew up playing lots of games and can be super competitive. Nathan Williams said: “We learned a motto: ‘When things get tough for anybody else, it’s about time for a Williams.‘”

Graham: “We’re a big joking family, a big aggravated family. We find [that when] something gets underneath the skin, we like to dig in there a little bit more for the laugh.”

Nathan said the sibling dynamic helped them out during the show: “We know how to pick on each other but also pick each other up,” Nathan said.

The taping last summer at Tyler Perry Studios, they said, took more than 12 hours. They started around lunch hour and didn’t finish until dawn. Their parents didn’t even stick around for the entire taping.

How did they manage to keep their energies up? “A lot of Red Bull,” Reagan said.

The show is preceded on the same night by season two of “Holey Moley,” another family-friendly game show that often mocks the conventions of a game show on an oversized miniature golf set.

And ABC itself has plumbed the depths of summer game show concepts in recent years, including revitalized versions of “To Tell the Truth,” “Pyramid,” “Press Your Luck,” “Family Feud” and “Match Game.” (Netflix recently jumped on this bandwagon with its surprise hit “Floor Is Lava.”)

It’s unclear if “Don’t” will come back to Atlanta for another season. Its overnight ratings fell by nearly a half from episode one to episode six (4.2 million to 2.3 million) with a slight rebound last week.


ON TV

“Don’t,” season one finale at 9 p.m. Thursday, August 13.

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