Review: 'Million Dollar Money Drop'

Reason to watch: Money! Questions! Screaming contestants! Kevin Pollak!

When/Where: Fox/5, starting Monday at 8 p.m.

Watching loot drop worth your time? No

Contestants Brittany, center, and Gabe, left, participate for

Contestants Brittany, center, and Gabe, left, participate for the chance to win $1 million in cash in "Million Dollar Money Drop," premiering Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. on Fox. (Credit: Fox)

 

WHAT IT'S ABOUT There are four pedestals on which the contestants must place

$1 million in cash. They are asked a question - for example, "What's the most popular cereal?" - and given an answer displayed above each pedestal. They can shove all their cash onto one pedestal if they're absolutely certain of the answer, or distribute bundles around if they're less so. Host Kevin Pollak - that's right, the Kevin Pollak of a few hundred movies and TV series ("The Drew Carey Show") - asks the question, and the contestant has to shove around the loot while a clock ticks off 60 seconds. Get the right answer, and the pedestal remains in place. Guess wrong, the pedestal opens and the money drops - forever. It'll air for two hours Monday night, again Tuesday and Wednesday, and another two hours on Thursday. Whew.

MY SAY Game shows are about the oldest form of television, and if you take a look at the early network proto-schedules right after World War II (I did), you'll even see a couple planted on the lineups of NBC and its rival, the DuMont. By 1948, there were 10 in prime time, and TV games have remained with us very much ever since. I bring all this up simply to make an obvious point: We get it. We get that contestants act all squirrelly when they're about to lose or win big bucks. We get that there is a right or wrong answer behind a door or panel. We get that the host must have a Wink Martindale-like aura of glibness, smoothness, aloofness and wryness. What's missing - or is certainly missing here - is originality. Coin of the realm - pun intended - for TV games is familiarity, but that hardly confers an urgency to watch this one.

"Drop" is competently produced, while "Deal or No Deal" (both share the same producer, Endemol) manages a following. No doubt this one will, too. But any reason on Earth why you should invest the energy to lift your thumb off the remote and plant it on the Channel 5 button? No earthly reason whatsoever.

GRADE C

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