Alex Davis
“Whammy!  The All New Press Your Luck” Turns 10 Thumbnail

“Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck” Turns 10

This may make some readers feel a little old.  Yesterday, April 15th, probably the first great Game Show Network/GSN original, Whammy!, debuted.  It feels like it was a big turning point for that network.  Up until then, they basically only did cheap looking interactive shows or poorly conceived games.  Some were good, but it was a wasteland.  Whammy! was basically that network’s first show which looked professional, played very, brought some attention from viewers of the original Press Your Luck, and had a vaguely decent budget.  It was impressive for a small cable network and looking at how the network sits now, ten years later, that production would still be pretty impressive today.  That’s one reason why it stays rated so well and continues to be rerun.

Given the resources and capabilities of a network like GSN at that time, I thought it was hard for them to do the show better.  They had a better looking set, outside of the big Sony syndicated shows the budget wasn’t that much different from other daily shows, it was hosted well, the new Whammy animations were fantastic, and the game worked.  It was hard to ask for more under the circumstances they were in.  Whammy! really should have lasted longer and got shoved under the table a little due to the transformation from Game Show Network to GSN, and that’s a shame.  Looking back at it on YouTube, it’s easy to forget how good and fun it was, and that’s all the genre is really about.  It’s obviously not the greatest show on earth.  It’s hard for a show about randomly pressing a button to be that.  However, it was fun, done well, was exciting, and was enjoyable to watch.  What more could you want?  Extremely well done show.

In a lot of ways Whammy on GSN reminds me of Challenge’s upcoming revival of Blockbusters and the attention its getting, and hopefully the results are the same for them.  It also makes you wonder why, in this Deal or No Deal luck-based game show era, why Press Your Luck has not come back given it still has some form of popularity and it’s only increased due to iOS, Facebook, and home games.  Maybe at some point.  But until then, what did you think of it?  Here’s a look back at, arguably, the show’s most exciting episode.  There’s a car on the line.

Alex Davis

About the Author

has written 3437 articles on BuzzerBlog.

Alex Davis is an award winning writer and producer based out of Pittsburgh, PA, who works out of New York, Los Angeles, and London. Alex is the head writer and editor for BuzzerBlog and is the president and head of development of 5Hole Productions, specializing in unscripted formats for television and internet play.

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14 responses to "“Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck” Turns 10"

  • James Greek says:

    I remember the day when Whammy! premiered really well. I remember it like it was yesterday, (oh wait! Yesterday was their birthday! lol) I was in Atlanta on that day and did not have access to GSN in my hotel room but I remember it premiered along with reruns of Classic Hollywood Squares and Win, Lose, or Draw. The Cronin/Boden era of GSN. Good times.

  • Scott says:

    The sad part about this, is that 10 years later, Whammy is still arguably one of the best programs Game Show Network ever created, aside from Russian Roulette and Lingo.

    Many of GSN’s other attempts at creating game shows have failed miserably; some due to the gameplay of the show, others due to the poor choice in host (I’m looking at you Engvall and Inaba).

    And of the game shows GSN created that had potential, like 20Q and The Money List, the network scheduled them on a bad time slot, and created so few episodes of a show that could’ve lasted so much longer.

    It boggles the mind, I tell you. It boggles the mind…

  • Kevin $ says:

    This is always how you know a game show is special and really deserves to be in “that” category. I can’t tell you how many of my non-game show (or, sometimes, my mostly non-TV watching) friends reference this show. And yes…specifically Whammy!, the “new one on the Game Show Network,” as most of them say. “Whammy!” and “Lingo” are the two (and “Russian Roulette” if you need a third, but not to the extent as the previous two) game shows that friends and passers-by STILL reference to this day, a decade later.

    I completely agree with you Alex. “Whammy!” revolutionized how GSN did game shows. If it weren’t for “Whammy!,” we honestly might never have seen “Lingo,” “R.R.,” or anything worth chatting about.

    With all that said, GSN REALLY needs to have a revival of the original PYL. It only makes sense…

    • Matt says:

      It would be hard because Peter Tomarken and Rod Roddy are dead, need have some of the original features like Pick-A-Corner, Double $$ and one spin,$2,000 or lose 1 whammy, more squares with additional spins, $$ amounts from $500 to $5,000 in round 1, $2,000 to $10,000 in round 2, goood prizes( like car, great trips, home furniture, and the flokati rug(Popular prize in round 1)), and most importany thing of all, having returning champions. The contests on Whammy won anywhere between $550 and $10,000 in one game. Only very few contestants won over $10,000.

      • shelly says:

        And an even smaller handful of Whammy contestants won over $20,000. (I think I can count those on one hand.)

      • CarShark says:

        You know, my first thought was to agree with you, but after consulting Brad Francini’s nearly-complete episode guide, it appears it wasn’t as rare as either of us thought. 24 of 65 first season episodes ended with at least a $10,000 win. One person won $20,000. 29 of the 57 episodes he has data for ended with someone winning at least $10,000, and 5 of them won $20,000 or more. For a cable show, that’s not bad going. Streets Smarts lasted five years, and it didn’t give away a third of that. Whammy would have lasted that long if it weren’t for the Changeover. All that money instead went to Average Joe, Vegas Weddings Unveiled and Kenny vs. Spenny.

        Just think, by fall of 2002, we had Whammy!, Russian Roulette, the pilot season of Lingo and the underrated Friend or Foe. That was a wonderful year for a young game show fan. The primetime game show craze was dying out, but Wheel and Jeopardy! were going strong. Family Feud was going strong. Bergeron Squares was about to become h2 and get a lot better. Meredith Millionaire debuted. Compare that to what we have now. Primetime game shows feel deader than ever. Still have Wheel and Jeopardy. Still have Feud, but with a new host. Still have Millionaire, but with a new format. (SuperMix? Really?) The only other show that’s stuck in syndication was the aforementioned Street Smarts. I hope GSN comes to their senses soon and goes back to what they’re capable of. Modern, fun game shows.

      • James Greek says:

        you know Peter Tomarken hosted the pilot for Whammy! I do wish he would have been chosen to host the series. Not only would it have marked his return to PYL but also his return to GSN as well.

  • Collin says:

    I would argue that Hollywood Showdown was their first great original, but when GSN kicked off the originals like Whammy, Wintutition, Russian Roulette, Lingo, and Friend or Foe (We’ll forget Cram), it was revolutionary. Russian Roulette particularly is still one of my all time favorite shows; Who’s Still Standing was just a cheap rip off.

  • Daniel B. says:

    *”…brought some attention from viewers of the original Press Your Luck…”*

    The original “Press Your Luck” was “Second Chance” (1977), and. “Whammy!” was the third attempt at the format. [A match between Jim Peck, Peter Tomarken, and Todd Newton would've been a far better way to celebrate April Fool's 2003, I think.]

  • Bobby says:

    With the recent announcements, would it be time for Newton, Richardson, and DiPirro to call Sony and RTL to get this show revived?

  • Marko Polo says:

    We need to start a Whammy 2012 campaign.

  • King Erroneous says:

    Project N-Nipple!

  • Myke25 says:

    I had trouble with a couple of things on Whammy:
    1) The name. Press Your Luck was a perfect name for the show. Why risk changing it?
    2) The Board. It was too spread out and hard to follow at times. The high-tech effects were great, but they should have kept the square board.

    That said, opening round aside, it was a pretty good revision. I agree it should come back…maybe as a limited-run summer series. Maybe paired with The $XXX,000 Pyramid.

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