This Week’s Podcast: The Rise of Downfall

The show was called Downfall and it premiered Tuesday night on ABC and CTV. Downfall of Western civilization is more like it.
The game show takes place on the roof of a Los Angeles office building. The studio audience, contestants and host Chris Jericho (right–appropriately enough from the WWE) are all up there. Down the middle of the rooftop runs a giant conveyor belt. Contestants are asked a series of trivia questions and if they don’t answer in time, prizes they could have won go flying off the roof, smashing into the street below.
I watched in horror Tuesday night as a car, a jukebox, an entertainment centre, living room furniture and other perfectly good items were destroyed. This on the heels of the worst recession in 70 years. It was like watching oil gush from that pipeline in the Gulf. No wonder the rest of the world hates America.
On the other hand, it does have that Letterman throwing watermelons off the roof of the Sullivan theatre kind of vibe. And there are no vuvuzellas.
The contestants and Jericho are close to the edge (in more ways than one) and are thus harnessed so they don’t accidentally jump up and slip off the roof. The contestant can hut a panic button, substitute a valued possession on the conveyor (one guy risked his golf clubs) or even a friend (a woman chose her husband’s boss). The friends, thankfully, are also harnessed.
When contestants get eliminated, they are swung over the edge and given a quick ride down. They never did this kind of thing on Definition.
Anyway, it is all kind of fascinating and lame and it drew nearly a million viewers Tuesday night on CTV and I ramble on about it and other things to Scott Thompson of CHML. You can listen in here.

4 Responses to “This Week’s Podcast: The Rise of Downfall”

  1. They did say at the beginning of the show that the prizes were replicas. So no, they did not really hurl a working car off of the *ahem* skyscraper. (Ten stories is a skyscraper? In L.A.?).

    For that matter, the million dollar grand prize is a replica. The fine print in the credits say the prize is an annuity paid out over 40 years. That’s $25,000 a year until 2050. One needs only to watch game shows from the 1970s to see how much that will be worth four decades from now.

    In other words, the million dollar grand prize is really worth less than $300,000 … before taxes. I will grant you, that is still more than the payout from Definition.

    Chris Jericho did a decent job as host, but he’ll always be Winnipeg’s second best game show host.

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  2. Will likely last as long as “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Deal or No Deal”. A grand entrance, only to fizzle from the tube and our collective memory.

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