ABC’s newest reality show is actually a game show: “My Kind of Town,” which I watched for the first time tonight. It’s from Michael Davies, the executive producer of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”
The premise of the show is that 200 residents of a particular small town are brought to a TV studio in New York. Various people from the audience are selected to play tongue-in-cheek games or stunts.
Some of the games involved pre-taped segments from the small town itself, and in some cases friends or relatives of the contestants have set them up ahead of time. Tonight, the host (Johnny Vaughn) asked the studio audience which resident of this week’s town, Ellenville, N.Y., had slept with a supermodel. When he approached one man and asked if he was the one, the man straightforwardly denied it — but Vaughn had photographic proof. The man’s wife had allowed the producers to put a hidden camera in their bedroom. In the middle of the night, she had gotten up, and the supermodel tiptoed in and reclined for a few seconds on the bed, with the dozing husband none the wiser!
The host then offered the prank victim a choice — a week with the supermodel in an exotic island resort, or a night with his wife at a low-budget camp near where they spent their honeymoon. The husband, wisely, chose the latter, and (as he must surely have suspected) the producers ended up sending him and his wife to the island resort instead.
Various amateur musicians, young and old, from the town got the chance to sit in with the studio band.
One resident was picked at the beginning of tonight’s show to be the town’s “champion.” His job was to try to remember the names of the townspeople singled out during the program, and if he could do it, every person in the studio audience would win a laptop computer at the end of the show!
It reminds me a great deal of “Truth Or Consequences.” I’m much too young to remember the original radio version, with Ralph Edwards, but I remember Bob Barker hosting the syndicated TV version before moving to “The Price Is Right.”
The emphasis on small towns also reminds me of “Almost Anything Goes,” a mid-70s show which pitted small-town teams against each other in goofy sporting events. (Regis Philbin was the sideline reporter.)
“Masterpiece Theatre” it ain’t, but “My Kind of Town” seems like good, goofy fun.