powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


New series review: Power of 10 (CBS)

Teenager Jamie Sadler won a mil on Drew Carey's Power of 10.

Host Drew Carey fake-fretted Tuesday night after 19-year-old Jamie Sadler won a million bucks on the very first episode of CBS' Power of 10.

"This show's not gonna get through the first season, man," he told a whooping studio audience and, of course, those playing along at home.

He was joking, of course. Scripted dramas cost roughly $3 million per hour these days, with some far more expensive than that. Cost-efficient, big money game shows cost maybe half that amount -- and less when contestants walk away with mere pocket change.

CBS for its part has never had a prime-time game show hit on the order of ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire, NBC's Deal or No Deal or Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?. So it has high hopes for Power of 10, which premiered Tuesday and will be back at you Wednesday (Aug. 7th) at 7 p.m. central time.

Carey, prepping for his day job as Bob Barker's replacement on The Price Is Right, looks as though he'll be TV's most jocular comedian-turned-game-show-host in a field that already includes Howie Mandel, Bob Saget, Jeff Foxworthy, Jimmy Kimmel and Dennis Miller. He cranks out jokes and ad libs at a rapid-fire clip while also pulling hard for contestants like Jamie Sadler.

"I'm genuinely nervous for ya," he told the kid just before he won $100,000 by coming within 20 percentage points of America's answer to, "What percentage of Americans said in a duel with Dick Cheney, they would probably get shot by the Vice President instead of the other way around?"

Sadler locked in at between 35 and 55. Survey said: 43 percent.

Power of 10 requires more common sense than luck, but otherwise is hardly cerebral. A two-contestant elimination round leaves one of them vying for the hard cash, which starts at $1,000 and then increases tenfold to $10,000, $100,000, $1 million and the grand prize of $10 million.

CBS clearly doesn't anticipate giving that last sum away, because too much of that would in fact break the bank. But contestants do have a decent, fighting chance to win a million. In Sadler's case, he had to come within 10 percentage points of the answer to, "What percentage of women consider themselves feminists?"

He eventually settled on 23 to 33 percent, and that turned out to be a winner. But in this next-to-last round, contestants aren't told the exact percentage until they decide whether or not to go for the $10 million. So Sadler had a one-in-11 chance of guessing right and taking home by far the biggest booty in game show history. If he missed, though, his winnings would drop to a mere $100 grand.

"I'm out," Sadler finally said while his near-hysterical mother screamed for him to take his $1 million rather than take a big chance. FYI, America's answer turned out to be 29 percent.

Carey tends to laugh too much at his own ad libs during these proceedings. But he's an engaging host whose one-liners regularly hit the spot.

"My girlfriend calls mine 'Oh him again' " he cracked after posing the question, "What percentage of men said their partner had a nickname for their private parts?" (Survey said: 30 percent).

Just 10 percent of respondents said they'd spent more than $100 on a pair of jeans. This prompted Carey to add, "Hello Wal-Mart. That's all I have to say."

Power of 10's first batch of contestants were likable, too. Unlike other game shows, no one bounded hysterically onto the stage or used more over-the-top body language than a chimp lobbying for a banana. Sadler was very happy to win, but didn't go ape-doody. That's refreshing.

Wednesday night's survivor of Tuesday's second elimination round is the becomingly sedate Louise Palmer of Bakersfield, CA. She survived by coming closest to the actual percentage of American women who said they'd changed a flat tire on a car. Survey said: 50 percent.

This game just might work.

Grade: B+