I absolutely loved the American Gladiators as a kid back in the ’90s, and was really excited when I heard they were bringing the show back. Thus, Ben & I signed up for tickets to see a taping of the NBC revival, scheduled for tomorrow evening. We even called our friend gameshowman to see if he was interested, and despite some trepidation regarding previous experiences with show tapings (particularly those that air in prime time), he decided to come with.
I just got my confirmation E-mail a few minutes ago, and you can imagine my disappointment when I read the following:
“Thank you for your ticket request to see American Gladiators Live! We are writing to confirm that your seats are reserved for Wednesday December 5 at 5pm.
HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TAPING HAS BEEN SCHEDULED WITHOUT GAMES – WE ARE TAPING ALL OF THE INTRODUCTIONS TO HULK HOGAN, LAILA ALI, THE NEW CONTESTANTS AND THE NEW GLADIATORS — BUT YOU WILL NOT SEE ANY OF THE GAMES BEING PLAYED. IF YOU DO WANT TO SEE GAMES BEING PLAYED, WE ADVISE YOU TO SELECT ANOTHER DATE TO COME SEE THE SHOW AT http://www.americangladiatorstickets.com. There are still dates available for most tapings.”
What. The. Fuck.
No events? None? They can’t even lay down the Powerball tarp and just play one event a few times so we get to see some sort of action? Instead we just have to sit there – likely for an expanse of time of greater than 4 hours – watching the Glads get introduced over and over again? Are these people freaking serious? I mean, I’m fairly sure that when the original series taped, they didn’t tape an entire competition in its entirety, with each set-up and breakdown of each event; they likely taped all the Jousts at the same time, then all the Wall climbs, then all the Assault runs, et cetera. But I strongly doubt they devoted one entire taping to intros. Not only would that be incredibly boring, it would also be incredibly insulting to the spectators, who watch nonstop action on their TVs each week only to be treated to nothing but pointless ceremony when they see it live.
Far be it for me to suggest that the producers are hoping people don’t read that disclaimer and just show up at the studio completely unaware that they won’t get to see any of the events. But let’s think about this – if the website had mentioned up front that the taping would have no events scheduled, how many people do you think would sign up for tickets? I’m setting the over-under for that on about 10% of the average draw for the other, much more eventful tapings.
The hooded executioner referee from the show’s very beginnings clearly would not approve of this chicanery, that’s for sure.