‘Press Your Luck’ pressed forth several times before


TV Pipeline

Elizabeth Banks

Q: I like the new version of “Press Your Luck.” When was the original one on? – Pete McCoy, via e-mail

A: It actually had several earlier incarnations. The first was a daytime version that ran from 1983 to 1986 on CBS, with Peter Tomarken as host – and relatively low-tech set, compared to the hugely flashy one Elizabeth Banks presides over in the new ABC primetime edition. However, there still were “Whammies” that players had to avoid to keep their winnings … which one contestant famously did by using his VCR to memorize the show’s board patterns and win big, though CBS ultimately determined that it wasn’t cheating. (The system the board used was then changed.)

The first revival came almost 20 years later with the syndicated “Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck,” which had Todd Newton as host and “Saturday Night Live” alum Gary Kroeger as the announcer. Then in 2006, “Press Your Luck” had a brief comeback (with Ricki Lake hosting) as part of CBS’ “Gameshow Marathon,” which combined several classic television games. The current incarnation marks the first time the show has been back since then.

Kim Basinger

Q: Someone told me Kim Basinger once had a TV series. Is that true? – Don Mitchell, Grafton, Ohio

A: She actually had two, in the late 1970s. The first was a police-detective show called “Dog and Cat,” and the second was a version of the classic novel and movie “From Here to Eternity,” in which Basinger took the Lorene role that had earned Donna Reed an Oscar for the 1953 film.

Basinger also stayed busy with other television work before her movie career took off. She was a guest star on such shows as “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Vega$,” and she made TV-movies including “Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold” (she had the title role), “The Ghost of Flight 401” and “Killjoy.” Then, after a couple of relatively small films, she made her first big splash on the big screen as Sean Connery’s love interest in his final turn as James Bond, “Never Say Never Again.”


Q: Please settle an argument. On “The Andy Griffith Show,” were Gomer Pyle and Goober related? – Margaret Forrest, Delta, Colo.

A: Indeed, they were. They were cousins with a lot in common, including the fact that they both pumped gas for a living … and both actors who played the parts, Jim Nabors and George Lindsey, hailed from Alabama. Interestingly, they only appeared together on “Andy Griffith” in one episode, but Lindsey did a guest shot on Nabors’ “Gomer Pyle, USMC” spinoff.

Gomer had talked about Goober (and trust us, we’ve never used that sentence before) before the latter became a physical presence on “Griffith” when Nabors left to do his own show. Lindsey actually had auditioned for the Gomer role that ultimately went to Nabors, but he had a good run with Goober – carrying the character into another “Griffith” spinoff that CBS commissioned, “Mayberry R.F.D.”


Q: Was “Splitting Up Together” renewed? – Lauren Brace, Port Orange, Fla.

A: No. ABC decided to end the comedy, starring Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson as ex-spouses still sharing housing, after two seasons. Developed from a Danish show whose title translated into “Better Divorced Than Never,” the American version included Ellen DeGeneres among its executive producers.


Q: Why do so many producers say they’ll “shop” a show elsewhere after it’s canceled? – Brian Lee, via e-mail

A: Because certain series have proven there can be a market for such series, especially with so many cable networks and streaming services also in the game now. The notion got a boost when Netflix saved “Longmire” after A&E Network canceled it, ultimately doubling that show’s life by giving it another three seasons … and the recently premiered Season 3 of “Designated Survivor” proves Netflix still is in that business if it deems the show and the situation to be right.

Viewers have caught on, too, and it’s not uncommon to see fans launch campaigns on social media for other outlets to rescue such canceled shows as Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” reboot and ABC’s “The Kids Are Alright,” to cite two very recent examples.


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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2039 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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