Cover Image: Game Show Confidential

Game Show Confidential

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Rowman & Littlefield | Lyons Press and to NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

I was excited to get this book and read all about the history of Game Shows. This book was a little dry and disjointed at times for me, but overall I found the subject matter interesting.

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Game shows have a surprisingly long history, starting with their roots in radio quiz shows in the 1930s to today's glut of revivals, with plenty of drama and scandals along the way.

It occurred to me over the course of reading this book that I've not actually seen many American game shows beyond Jeopardy - I was more likely to pass my time watching Telugu game shows aired in the early afternoon with my grandmother during summer holidays. But the appeal of game shows in universal, and besides I've always enjoyed a cultural history of anything at all.

In this book, Hadleigh takes us on a tour of the evolution of games shows in the United States, hitting all sorts of genres and angles of the history. Hopping back and forth in time, he discusses the different game formats that became popular formulas, producers and hosts and contestants, and drama such as the quiz show rigging scandals of the 1950s.

It was also fascinating to learn more about how the shows that are pretty much institutions today came to be that way, as well as about the hundreds of pitched shows that sank without a trace. Producers really seemed to thick that throwing ideas at a wall and seeing what stuck was an excellent business plan.

However, I didn't think the content was organized in the best way, as we weave between the years and different types of shows from one chapter to another, making it hard to understand how game shows cross-pollinated each other as the genre became more established.

I also found some of the author's odd asides about personalities involved in the stories distracting, especially when he discussed or speculated on the sexualities of some hosts where it seemed irrelevant (excepting, of course, the chapter discussing diversity among the hosts).

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While the subject matter was interesting, I found this book to be poorly organized. The structure made it difficult to follow along and retain information. I can't say I'll be eager to recommend this to others.

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Game Show Confidential: The Story of An American Obsession, written by Jeopardy winner Boze Hadleigh, comes out May 1, 2023. Lyons Press, a subsidiary of Rowman and Littlefield Publishing, provided an early galley for review.

As a kid of the 70's, I grew up on game shows. Whether they were morning fare for days off and summer vacation or early evening offerings, I enjoyed these so much. It was a special time often spent with my grandmother. It is for this reason that this book attracted me so.

Hadleigh takes the reader through the history of game shows by presenting them via different topics (by game-themes, by similar production companies, etc.). As he does, he also drops interesting trivial tidbits and historical markers as well. Though the topics bounce around chapter to chapter, the grouped shows within each chapter are typically presented in a chronological manner.

I was especially pleased by the back-to-back chapters that focused on Match Game and its host Gene Rayburn. This is by far my all-time favorite game show, so seeing it given extra attention here was icing on the cake for me.

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Thank you to Net Galley for a e copy of Game Show Confidential by Boze. Hadleigh in exchange for a honest review.This book is full of everything you need or want to know about every game show ever created from the 1940s to the present day.My favorite game shows have been Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Press Your Luck..This book has all the information about each game show - who was the host, who produced it, was there any scandals associated with it and how it ended.Highly recommend for game show junkies.

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Game shows were a staple of daytime tv when I was growing up, and summers or days home sick were full of watching many of these shows. I was drawn to want to read this book for the nostalgia of that time. This well-researched book is perfect for anyone who, like me, has a soft spot for game shows of the past!

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I don’t have a ton of knowledge about game shows besides the fact that my family likes to watch them, and I never previously imagined it to be an incredibly enrapturing history— Hadleigh proved me wrong. This book was so much fun to read and I enjoyed many of the things I learned about.

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If you love game shows and want to know everything about them, this is the book for you. I am a game show fanatic and was thrilled to read all about my favorite shows, and my favorite hosts. There is even a special section on my favorite, Gene Rayburn!!! This is a well-researched book, it is also fun and at some point, you will say, "I forgot all about that show!!!". GREAT JOB!!!!

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This history of televised game shows offers fascinating footnotes from a world long past, when intellectual humor in the form new fangled high end part games that translated well over the new medium.

I’m a big fan of finding cave kinescopes, mostly on YouTube, that reflect a time I missed as a participant and mourn as a fan. The shows, especially those that featured New York grownup panels who shone the brightest through their wits and deductive powers might as well have thrived in another dimension. To Tell the Truth panelists are always opening shows off Broadway. What’s My Line featured arguably the most powerful Broadway columnist at the time, Dorothy Kilgallen, superstar publisher Bennet Cerf, the delightful Arlene Francis whose buoyant class stole the spotlight.

Tales of the TV baby steps in adapting popular radio models for a visual medium are the bread and butter of this delightful history from Boze Hadleigh. From the awkward early attempts to the fully refined American classics like Jeopardy, Game Show Confidential is a fascinating look at an American phenomenon.

Big stores like the 50s scandals offer new perspective, while forgotten legends like Bill Cullen get their due. There is even a section on game show turkeys and how they flopped. This is a fun and enlightening read from a time where sophistication and sensibility were called on to satisfy the country’s love of brain teasers and fast winnings. Who wouldn’t epeant to be Queen for a Day?

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This was a remarkably quick read, which I did appreciate. I am a self proclaimed lover of game shows - ever since I was a child I have always been an avid watcher and enjoyer of various game shows, especially when sick or up late at night searching for entertainment. This felt very surface level in a lot of aspects, and I would have appreciated a deeper dive into some aspects of these gaming shows. A lot of this book was "This show was the first show to xxx. It returned in this year and did x with xyz stars. It went off air and then later returned." which I found to be quite dry. I felt this book did get better later on, but I still did feel like I was reading a timeline of facts with some occasional narrative spiced in. I'd have preferred it if this book had taken on a more narrative tone than just thrown series of dates and names at me in rapid succession, because I don't feel like I really absorbed most of this!

I do feel like this was interesting in some parts and I did like seeing how old shows evolved into what we see today. I just wish this had been told in a way that was better able to keep me interested and attentive the entire way through!

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This is a very interesting topic and concept. Would love to read the final version when it is published, but was not able to finish it due to grammatical errors so extensive that they distracted from the story. The title was literally spelled wrong on the first page of the PDF..

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I love game shows...in fact, when we are bored we go to the Game Show Network and watch and laugh uproariously at the vintage shows' episodes.

Game shows used to be fun and goofy ... "The Newlywed Game" still makes me laugh to the day and I don't mean the hair and moustaches of the contestants. "The Price is Right" has been around since 1956, "Wheel of Fortune" since 1975 (Vanna White has been with the show for FORTY YEARS!) and Jeopardy since 1964. These are not just TV shows, they are cultural institutions!

"The Bachelor/ette" all started as a social experiment that now has declared winners .. winners whose engagements rarely come to fruition. Add in shows like "Love is Blind" and one's mental health and integrity come into game shows of the 21st century as contestants will talk (on scheduled episodes) about the bullying on social media and how their reputations are dragged through the mud via tabloids. "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" continues on, season after season, and now the focus of those shows is not the game, it is the people.

(Quick, name a winner of "American Idol" past season 4's Carrie Underwood who has actually become a wildly successful singer. It may take some time....)

Game shows will always be with us, and this book is a love letter to the genre: I loved it and will recommend it far and wide, especially to the trivia buffs in my life as there is a lot of information and cute facts that one has never heard of before.

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I love games, puzzles, conundrums and television so this book was right up my alley. Most of the shows I was familiar with but there were some that I had only heard of or were not familiar with at all.
Lots of trivia and fun facts were included in this fast paced read and I look forward to future books by this author.

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There's lots of fun information and trivia in this look at the history of, mostly, TV game shows. With isights into games, hosts, producers, and networks, Hadleigh gives a great behind-the-scenes look.

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There were a lot of fun facts and show information in this book. There were great tidbits of information throughout on game shows I had heard of and some I hadn't. I appreciated how the information for each show started with the very first show up until when the show ended. Some of the shows started a long time ago and evolved into the show you watch today. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the book as well as the behind the scenes gossip of each show's inception and hosts. I especially liked reading about the history of Password and the connection the incredible Betty White had to the show. If you like gameshows and are interested in how they came about, you will enjoy reading this book.

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Game Show Confidential, by Boze Hadleigh, like its subject, is a fast-paced read. It dives into, albeit not very deeply, the history of many of the game shows that filled your afternoons growing up. The catty asides that pepper the book when talking about the lives of the various emcees/hosts was distracting at best. It soured much of what otherwise could have been a fun read. Thank you to #LyonsPress and #NetGalley for the opportunity to preview this book.

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