Best of 2015: Top 10 Game Show Moments Countdown

Happy 2016, everyone! I hope you all are having a great new year’s day so far. It’s that time once again for The Blog Is Right to take one final look at the past year and countdown the Top 10 game show moments of 2015. As with most of my annual countdowns, this was another difficult one to create. This list begins with the moments most voted by the readers to be placed in slots #10 through #7. To all of the readers who participated in last month’s polling, I thank you for your help. Without further ado, let’s get started with the countdown.

#10: #UDecide Week on The Price Is Right: February 16-20 (Reader’s Choice)

The blog’s fifth annual year-end countdown begins with The Price Is Right’s #UDecide Week. The special social media-driven week gave viewers a choice of choosing between various elements within the episodes such as where Drew Carey should enter at the top of the show, the models’ wardrobe, exclusive sneak peek tours, pricing games and the grand prize for winning certain pricing games by voting via Twitter. During the week, viewers had a chance to see their results including how the “Pl!nko” board is setup before play, a dance-off between George Gray and crew member Matt and the Yodel Guy dressed as Rachel Reynolds in “Cliff Hangers”. One of the more memorable highlights from the week occurred during the first day when Anthony Cork played “Rat Race” for a super-sized top prize of $100,000 and won $75,000 as a result. Check it out in the clip below.

#9: Issac Caldiero Becomes The First American Ninja Warrior $1 Million Champion: September 14 (Reader’s Choice)

Coming in at number nine is Issac Caldiero’s amazing ascent up Mount Midoriyama while achieving American Ninja Warrior’s first-ever Total Victory in the process. Although Geoff Britten was the first American to complete Stage 4 of the Las Vegas course and make it to the top of the rope climb with less than a second to go, Caldiero finished the course and the climb in a faster time 3.51 seconds faster to be exact – and was crowned the first American Ninja Warrior and won the recently-increased grand prize of $1 million. Check out Caldiero’s fantastic finish in the clip below.

#8: Bob Barker Returns To The Price Is Right For April Fools’ Day Episode: April 1 (Reader’s Choice)

Since the Carey/Richards era of The Price Is Right, the April Fools’ specials have become more creative with each season that comes and goes from the “10,000th” special to the Models Rule! episode. After Craig Ferguson took the helm during last season’s April Fools’ special, legendary emcee Bob Barker made a special appearance on this year’s special show by hosting the opening IUFB round and first pricing game as well co-presenting a Showcase with Drew Carey. Take a look at the full episode below.

 

#7: Craig Ferguson Wins Daytime Emmy For “Outstanding Game Show Host” (Celebrity Name Game) in His First Nomination: April 26 (Reader’s Choice)

When Celebrity Name Game first hit the syndicated airwaves in 2014, it became an silent success among the viewing public and created a collection of YouTube-worthy comedic clips as a result thanks to Craig Ferguson’s excellent hosting skills and a unique array of contestants and celebrities. Watching Celebrity Name Game flourish within the past year and a half confirms that the classic Pyramid format hasn’t died, but has simply reincarnated through the new series, currently in its second season. Ferguson’s first year as a game show host was so impressive, it even caught the eye of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. This led to the Academy awarding Ferguson with his first-ever Daytime Emmy for ”Outstanding Game Show Host” in April. Check out his moment in the clip below.

#6: The Price Is Right’s 44th Season Decades Premiere Week: September 21-25

Moving on the sixth memorable moment of last year, we take a look back at perhaps one of the best season premiere weeks, let alone episodes, in the history of the long-running CBS daytime game show. During the week, the show paid tribute to each decade the show has aired on CBS by bringing back the music cues, classic chasing lights border intro, Eggcrate readouts on the One Bid podia, brand name place cards and other retrospective elements. Viewers were also treated exclusive BTS videos including the evolution of the Showcase podium, had a chance to see the brand new pricing game, “Vend-O-Price”, and the first contestant, Lauren Lumpkin, become the first Double Showcase Winner of the new season and win over $70,000. Check out the 80’s episode below.

#5: Andrew Skarbek Wins $1 Million on Million Dollar Minute: March 27

The fifth moment comes directly from the “Land Down Under” with Andrew Skarbek becoming the first (and unfortunately last) contestant to win the top prize on Seven Network’s Million Dollar Minute. After defending his title for 23 episodes, defeating 46 contestants and answering nearly 600 questions correctly, Skarbek finally made series history on March 27, 2015 by winning the biggest cash prize on Million Dollar Minute and in Australian television history with $1,016,000. Skarbek and his wife planned to use the money to buy their first home together and fly his 78-year-old mother back to Poland for a family reunion. Take a look at the latter half of his million-dollar end game in the clip below.

#4: Alex Jacob Wins $250,000 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions: November 20

Deemed as “the most dominant performance by anyone in any of [the] tournaments” by Alex Trebek, our fourth moment comes from Jeopardy! and Alex Jacob’s incredible victory in the 2015 Tournament of Champions. What appeared to be a potentially exciting contest between three stout players in Jacob, Matt Jackson and Kerry Greene, quickly turned into a one-sided affair thanks to Jacob taking full advantage of the Daily Doubles in both games, which helped him gained a $30,000 lead over both of his opponents combined when it was all said and done at the end of the second game. The currency trader and former professional poker player from Chicago, IL ended his Jeopardy! tenure with an incredible total of $401,802. Take a look at his quarter-million dollar recap in the clip below.

#3: Matt Jackson’s Jeopardy! 13-Game Winning Streak: September 25 – October 4

Speaking of impressive Jeopardy! champions, let’s take a look at Matt Jackson’s career on the answer-question game show in the third moment of this countdown. In his original 14-game appearance, the paralegal from Washington D.C. made an impression we won’t soon forget on the Jeopardy! community by winning a staggering $413,612, ranking 4th in “Most Consecutive Wins” and “All-Time Regular Episode Winnings”, achieving 11 “lock” games and an amazing correct response rate of 96.2% (386/401) and ending four games with more than $40,000 (highest one-day total: $51,000). Much like Jacob in the Tournament, one of the main keys to Jackson’s resounding success was how frequently he selected and answered the Daily Double clues correctly (28/31) and wasn’t afraid to “go big or go home” when it came to wagering. Despite his stellar and exceptional gameplay, he will probably be most remembered for his seemingly awkward smile among the mainstream media and public. Check out his highlight reel in the clip below.

#2: Celebrity Family Feud & BattleBots Revived on ABC: June 21 – July 26

As we are slowly encroaching upon the top game show moment of 2015, let’s take a brief peek of how the return of Celebrity Family Feud and BattleBots become the cornerstones for ABC’s summer programming. During the first season of both revived series on the alphabet network, Steve Harvey’s star-studded, comedy-filled Celebrity Family Feud and the action-packed, metal-mangling BattleBots were consistently among the top five Sunday primetime shows in total viewers and the key 18-49 demographic. In fact, Celebrity Family Feud ranked first in total viewers and the key demo in five out of the six newly-broadcasted airings on Sunday evenings and ranked first overall in both categories out of all the ABC summer shows. Check out an episode from both series in the clip below and stay tuned for the second season return of Celebrity Family Feud and BattleBots later this year on ABC.

#1: BUZZR Debuts: June 1

At last, we have arrived to the pinnacle of this year’s game show countdown: the debut of BUZZR. The digital subchannel was developed by FremantleMedia and initially premiered on June 1 on a limited number of FOX affiliated owned and operated stations. The goal of the network was to air a 24-hour channel solely dedicated to broadcasting thousands of classic game shows from the Goodson-Todman library including Press Your Luck, Card’s Sharks, To Tell The Truth, Let’s Make A Deal, Child’s Play and Tattletales. Viewers were even treated to watch never-before-seen pilots of unsold game shows including TKO, Play For Keeps, On A Roll, Star Words and Body Talk (which should have been sold, in my opinion). Today, BUZZR spans across 31 affiliate markets in 22 states and Washington D.C. and covers over 40% of the national media markets and that number continues to rise with every new station that signs on. Two of the newly signed cities include Las Vegas and Boston. Despite complaints concerning the limited number of episodes broadcasted for each show, the creation of BUZZR is every game show fan’s dream and even reminded some fans of the halcyon days of GSN when it was Game Show Network in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. This year’s countdown ends with an episode of one of pilots aired during BUZZR’s “Lost And Found” block in September – my personal favorite unsold pilot of the ones aired on the network: Body Talk.

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