THE SHOW "Who's Still Standing?"
WHEN | WHERE Monday-Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC/4; then Mondays at 8, through Jan. 30.
REASON TO WATCH Ben Bailey ("Cash Cab") fans will want to see what he's like when he's not driving a cab.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Based on an Israeli hit, "Who's Still Standing?" is a game show whose contestants fall through trap doors if they get answers to word puzzles wrong (Ben pulls a lever, and down they go). There's one contestant in the middle, surrounded by 10 others; Bailey tosses the person in the center a question, then the next one to a rim contestant. If the rim contestant flubs, then the door opens; if the center one doesn't know the answer, he gets one "pass." It's all focused on the man or woman in the middle: If he or she can drop all 10 on the rim, he/she wins a million bucks. Rim contestants who drop the person in the center win (only) $10,000.
MY SAY After watching a few minutes, you may (as I did) start to wonder about those pitiless trap doors: What lies beneath them? A yawning stretch of existential void, where morose, penniless game show contestants float for all eternity? Or maybe a huge pile of pillows? (A vat of Jell-O? That would be fun.) Bailey -- star of Discovery's "Cash Cab," and a towering presence full of dry wit that bespeaks a certain degree of "what-the-hell-am-I-doing-this-for?" exasperation -- doesn't really say.
But when the blood-lusting crowd starts to scream "drop 'em!!" after someone misses an easy answer, a worried look fleetingly crosses his face. (Perhaps alligators down there? Piranhas . . . ?) Whatever: "Who's Still Standing?" is fun. Genial. Easy. A no-sweat TV viewing experience -- except the sweat of the contestants.
How this will wear over a solid week is anyone's guess; Fox tried the same weeklong game show stunt this time last year with "Million Dollar Money Drop." It dropped all right -- off the face of the earth.
BOTTOM LINE An amusing and not-bad game show; Bailey makes it bearable.