It’s official: the latest revivals of Card Sharks and Press Your Luck will air on ABC and are scheduled to air this summer. This will add to ABC’s already robust roster of primetime game shows which currently includes The $100,000 Pyramid, Match Game, Child Support, Celebrity Family Feud, The Gong Show and To Tell The Truth.
Card Sharks, executive produced by Scott St. John, Jennifer Mullin and Jack Martin, first aired in 1978-1981 on NBC with host Jim Perry. The high-low game show was revived as a CBS and a syndicated series from 1986-1989 with respective hosts Bob Eubanks and Bill Rafferty. The more recent revival aired in syndication in 2001 with Pat Bullard at the helm. Reruns of the Perry and Eubanks versions currently air on Game Show Network and BUZZR.
In order for a Card Sharks revival to work, it needs to follow in the footsteps of the other ABC game show reboot and stick to the original format of its predecessor and not drastically change the show nearly to the point where it is flawed, unrecognizable and ultimately unwatchable like the 2001 version of Card Sharks.
Press Your Luck, executive produced by Jennifer Mullins with John Quinn serving as the showrunner, originally aired from 1983-1986 and was revived once in 2002 on Game Show Network for a couple of seasons under the new title Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck with host Todd Newton. Fun fact: before creating Press Your Luck, Bill Carruthers created a game show called Second Chance, which was essentially the grandfather of Press Your Luck. Second Chance aired for only one season in 1977 and was hosted by Jim Peck. Take a look at a pilot and an aired episode of the show and check out the similarities and differences between both episodes and between Second Chance and Press Your Luck.
I cannot begin to tell you how enthused I was when I first read about the return of the series. This is my all-time favorite game show for several reasons: it featured one of the more underrated host/announcer combos in game show history with Peter Tomarken and Rod Roddy, there was virtually no limit to how much a contestant could win (as best demonstrated by controversial contestant Michael Larson); and each high-stakes, high-risk, all-or-nothing game was filled with suspense, exciting spin battles, intense competition, exuberant and memorable contestants and a surprising amount of strategy for a luck-based game show. This show was also unique for its creation and animated appearance of its mischievous mascot, the “Whammy”. Throughout the series, viewers were treated to dozens of different cartoons of the Whammy dancing across their screens to the tune of taking the contestants’ money. (Another fun fact: Bill Carruthers provided the original voice of the Whammy.)
In order for the 2019 revival of Press Your Luck to work well, it would be better if the show sticks to the original format of PYL than the revised format exhibited on Whammy!, which featured only one question round. The Big Board mechanics are also key in developing this show. It would be great to see this version combine the design, fading square transition effect and font of the original board with the unpredictable randomness and the desynchronized square changes of Whammy’s board.
No host has been named yet for either shows.