Morris Crimpanfortis is in a bad way, a bad, bad way. He had a less-than-fruitful production meeting for Anthracite Tonite this evening. People are starting to get restless about him continually shoving off the start date. He doesn’t even have a credible co-host on board yet. Now he’s swerving down the snow-packed side streets of this long forgotten coal burg, on his way to another gruesome taping of the Silt Ridge Midnight News. In anticipation of this gut-wrenching experience, Morris loses his overcooked dinner in the corroded men’s room of the storied Five-Points Highway Diner. In a heartfelt “Memo to Self” Morris laments the mayhem and madness he’s about to encounter courtesy of the bad attitudes, nastiness and ugly energy of the Silt Ridge Midnight News players. He gets his mind off things by thinking about his new concept: “Game Shows with Consequence.” No longer can contestants blithely lose their shirts on a game show without subjecting themselves to a heavy dose of Adrenaline-induced Angst across America . . . 

TO: Morris Crimpanfortis V

FROM: Morris Crimpanfortis V         

RE: Game Shows with Consequences – Making ‘em Feel the Pain


Before I get ensnared in yet another foul episode of the Silt Ridge Midnight News, I wish to further a theory that I am developing, a theory that should have great repercussions in the network TV landscape for eons to come. It is, of course, the concept known as “Game Shows with Consequences.”

It’s Confidential – No, I mean . . . it’s Consequential

We’re going to get a taste of what that entails on my nightly show, Anthracite Tonite. Since this is a Memo to Self, I can state that I am climbing the walls over the delays to the proposed launch date. I know I need to do a lot of stuff before Daddy will greenlight the show, things like becoming a man and lining up sponsors, but enough is enough. This is going to be a groundbreaking show it’s high time we set a launch date.

I think about how well the snake is going to work, making my guests sweat. This will epitomize my risk vs. rewards theory that I vow to start enacting: if you’re a big-time celebrity coming onto my air to pitch your latest movie or hawk your latest wares, you better be ready to step up to the plate and pay the price. If you mess up even slightly during a live commercial read, you are going to have Mr. Sidewinder to answer to. This is a fitting introduction to my high-wire concept known as “Adrenaline across America.”

Contestants Risk It All

Likewise, there as to be something at risk for the typical game-show contestant. It’s no different than going into a casino and winning big. You’re probably going to lose something before you win. Nobody ever hit the jackpot for free, not even buying a lottery ticket. You still have to buy the ticket.

But these game shows will be the gift that keeps on giving because there will be consequences meted out after the fact for those who perform miserably during on-camera competition. So in most cases you really have it coming to you when you’re perp-walked into the parking lot and given your “payback sentence.” Contestants risk something upfront for the rewards of game show stardom, and they risk losing something at the backend as well.

Payback at the O.K. Corral

For instance, contestants who fail to advance in the rounds may be required to ride bareback through a row of burning hoops; they may be required to spend one minute in an MMA cage match; they may be asked to participate in tackling drills for Division I football players; they may be asked to spin around for five laps in a segment of roller derby; or stand on a track during the last ten laps of a NASCAR race; or be forced to ride backwards in a mile and a half camel race; or compete in a trans-Pacific sailboat race with a leaky hull. All of these pursuits become reality shows in themselves.

My game shows will be structured in such a way that there will be an ultimate winner every quarter. If you keep winning, there is definitely a grand prize at the end of the rainbow. If you win the grand prize, you obviously recoup all the money you put in to secure a place in the competition, and you don’t have to subject yourself to the ignominy at the end for those who lost at some point during the preliminary rounds.

Gamier than Bear Meat

Because so much is riding on these shows, viewership will be substantial. Contestants will sweat bullets because so much is contingent on how they perform – and what will happen to them if they lose. The prize money will be substantial, the rewards monumental. Winning contestants are guaranteed worldwide fame and acclaim. Those who do not fare so well become America’s roadkill – not that it won’t stop them from doing great things in the future. But it starts by putting your money where your mouth is. You need to pony up assets for a place at the table.

And oh, one more thing: all of these shows will be live.