“The Money List” is a Big Winner for GSN’s Big Saturday Night
Back in August a British audience casting website listed information for new episodes of a game show called Who Dares Wins, which in America is better known as the quickly canceled FOX quizzer The Rich List. Luckily we have fantastic readers from England who went to the taping and found out it was a GSN revival called The Money List taping on the British set. Ten months later, the show is set to debut. On June 13th at 9:30PM ET, after nearly a year of waiting, The Money List, hosted by Fred Roggin, is part of GSN’s Big Saturday Night promotion, following 20Q. I’m a fan of some of GSN’s new programming like Catch 21 and Newlywed Game but nothing has really been appointment viewing on the network since Grand Slam. I’m glad there’s finally a show I can get fully behind again.
If you know the FOX version, your opinion will most likely generate from your liking or hatred of the one episode that network aired. The GSN version is the same, just using the British money chain. Two teams, comprised of strangers, bet how many items in a list they can name. Lists can be anywhere from “Mariah Carey Hits” to “Female Grand Slam Tennis Champions” to “European Capitals”. A challenged team must fulfill the bet they placed to claim the list, and if they don’t the other team gets it. The first team to claim two lists plays “The Money List”, where they have to name up to fifteen items in a category. They can stop after every three and take the money they earned, but getting all fifteen earns the team $50,000. Any money won on a Money List is theirs to keep no matter what and best of all, they get to return the next game and keep winning. There’s no limit to the amount that can be won.
I can’t tell you how nice it is to see a big money quiz show on GSN again that’s not some special event. It’s been so long. It really has been since Russian Roulette or WinTuition around 2002-2003, hasn’t it? There hasn’t been a show which actually demands anything of higher than basic intelligence since Grand Slam a few years back so it was such a relief to see a mix of basic pop culture as well as actual academic trivia. $50,000 for winning the end game is fine. I’m overjoyed that GSN kept the returning champions rule. It’s something they do unbelievably rarely and it really adds a lot to this show. There’s a good chance you’ll be seeing some six figure winning teams here. It’s so refreshing to see GSN throw money at a format. It doesn’t happen that often and it makes a world of difference.
The main issue I had with the FOX version was how drawn out it was. It’s why I’m glad to see the show have two full games, including two Money Lists, each show. In the screener copy I was sent, the pause between answers really didn’t seem like it took more than ten or fifteen seconds. The show still is drawn out in a few awkward places, like in the middle of a list when it’s clear a team is going to win, but I’ll take that if it means I don’t have to sit through a minute of agonizing thought for something that’s not brutally hard. The only issue I really have with the show is the dragging-out, though. It’s blatantly clear they could fit a lot of games in if they cut out a lot of the stalling. They really could fit another game in there most likely. However, this is such a part of modern game shows that I’ve given up fighting it. As long as it’s not painfully drawn out I’m fine.
Your enjoyment of the format is really going to boil down to your liking of already existing factors. For one, if you didn’t like the FOX version, you most likely won’t like the GSN version; it’s the same exact show. I was a fan of the FOX version, and getting rid of a lot of the dragging out made me like the GSN version more. The other pre-existing factor is Fred Roggin from GSN Live and NBC Sports. If you like Fred like me, you know what to expect. I liked him a lot better than the original host Eamonn Holmes. He seemed like he was having a lot of fun with the format, he did well bringing the tension out, and he was genuinely excited for contestants. You can’t ask for a lot more from a host. However, if you aren’t a fan of Fred, then you probably won’t be a fan of him here. However, if you can, give him a chance on The Money List and see what you think.
The Money List does something which more shows need to look at doing. Most shows today have a pretty well defined soundtrack and the music clues clearly give away when the game’s about to end or something big is about to happen. Money List is the first show I can think of that uses musical fakes. In the middle of some lists the music gets booming and dramatic, and it seems like the game’s going to end, but it continues and goes to normal. The points of musical tension switched from being fakes to being an actual game changing moment, so you never knew. Good for them for trying something different.
This show’s a bit tough to fully review because it’s a really recent revival that I just can’t sway you on. If you don’t like the original version, you’re not going to like this. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, I can’t recommend checking it out enough. It’s been so long since there’s been a big money, dramatic, tough quiz show on the network and I’d love to see this stick around for a long time. It’s one of the quicker paced quizzers in recent times and the play-along value is something that’s unmatched with GSN currently. I truly think it would be a better idea to lead GSN’s Big Saturday Night with The Money List instead of 20Q since it succeeds in just about every area that 20Q doesn’t, but maybe with time it’ll switch. Don’t miss The Money List starting June 13th at 9:30PM ET on GSN. We’ve got some interviews with Fred Roggin, supplied by GSN, we’ll be showing off this week.