HOLLYWOOD, CA — Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s comment during a discussion on values that his definition of rich was having an income of $5 million has had a surprisingly negative effect in a seemingly recession-proof industry – game shows. “Why couldn’t he have said $1 million?” asked Meredith Vieira, host of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” “All of a sudden, we’re having a tough time finding guests willing to be humiliated for the chance to win a mere million.” Industry experts say “Millionaire” and many other shows which currently offer million-dollar prizes are being forced to up the amount to $5 million or be canceled.
That’s the situation on “Deal or No Deal. “You’d think 25 women in miniskirts with a combined million dollars in boob jobs would be enough to attract contestants,” laments host Howie Mandel. “Not to mention the chance to bump with a huge megastar like me.” The show, which just recently gave away its first million-dollar prize, is also hurting because the in-house banker recently had to be bailed out when a case that should have held $100,000 contained an IOU instead.
Regis Philbin, host of “Million Dollar Password,” is furious. “I just had some more gold-embossed business cards printed up with the show’s name on them. You can’t just use liquid paper to change a gold one to a gold five. Letterman is going to eat me alive on this one.”
McCain’s comment is having a different yet equally distressing effect on “The Price Is Right.” While no prizes on the show approach $1 million in value, new host Drew Carey is demanding that his salary be increased from $1 million per week to $5 million. “I can go back to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”” threatened Carey. It’s a lot easier to host and there’s no risk of getting hugged to death by a 200-pound grandmother from Detroit.”
The Obama campaign has picked up on this problem and is using it against McCain. “If I’m elected, I will force Hollywood to add new game shows and lower the top prize to $250,000 so that all Americans have chance to be rich, which I define as having an income of $250,000 a year” said Obama in a press release. “I will also force shows like “Jeopardy” to have harder questions for rich people to level the playing field.”
John McCain has so far refused to back down on his comment to bail out the game shows. “My friends, what happened to those good old shows like “What’s My Line?” And “Truth or Consequences,” he asked at a recent town meeting. “And besides, the American people don’t need to be competing on game shows to get rich. That’s what lotteries, oil futures and single heiresses are for.”