Ever dream of being a contestant on a TV game show?
You know, the kind of show where the host goes into the audience and tells someone dressed in a crazy costume to get up on stage and do something even crazier.
It’s a chance to win the day’s big prize, but even more tantalizing is that your friends will be green with envy when they see you on television.
Well, you’re in luck. Don’t go away. Come on and play Hasbro: the Game Show on Carnival Breeze.
Carnival Cruise Line’s latest deal with Hasbro brings games like Monopoly, Sorry, Operation and Connect 4 to life in shows before a live audience that are just like the real TV productions in Hollywood or New York. The show concept will be coming to other ships, but it’s on Carnival Breeze first.
The crowd starts to form early in the Ovation Theater even though it’s a sunny day at sea. They stream into the auditorium to get a seat that will have high visibility when contestants get chosen.
There’s a warm-up team that comes out and gets everyone cheering–as though they needed encouragement. They’re already waving their arms in frenzy and yelling as though it were already the final jeopardy round and we haven’t even started.
This is as real as a professional TV show gets, the behind the scenes folks explain. The production manager will give a signal that there’s 30 seconds to air time. They want everyone cheering when the applause sign goes on. There will be breaks for commercials and set changes and prizes for the contestants. .
“Now, are you ready to play?”
And five four three….Welcome to Hasbro: The Game Show. Here’s your host Butch Begovich.
There’s a thunder of applause as he darts across the stage wearing a tailored suit and a big grin.
“It’s all about competition. We’re all family here, but today we want to stimulate a bit of family rivalry. I’m going out into the audience and I want to find people who are ready to go all out for their team.”
The audience is divided down the middle. The left side will be cheering for the red team. The other half is the blue team. And Butch will pick four players to represent their teams stage and play life sized versions of classic board games.
Butch is actually the Carnival Breeze’s cruise director, a delightful guy who is from Minneapolis who says he didn’t really aspire to be a game show host but he’s loving it. “The energy you see in the first day’s show gets doubled every time the show is done on other days on the cruise,” he says. And it can get pretty intense.
“I haven’t been injured yet, but when I get out into the audience guests try to hug me or grab my arm.”
Molesters lower their chances of getting on stage, he says. There are tricks to getting noticed. “I’m a sucker for people who go all out. There are people who dress in insane costumes and make up big signs. One on the last cruise had a sign that read “Pick me and I’ll love you even more.”
For this show, it seemed it was important to wave your arms. If you’re a gal: wear red or a hat or something low cut. If you’re a guy, be a character. There was one who must have brought along a shark costume in his suitcase and another who wore six baseball caps on top of the other. The teams were rounded out with a cute little girl in a bright dress and a precocious 6-year old boy.
Once on stage the chosen teams start with high fives and each contestant gets chances to make shots in games like Connect 4 played with basketballs and Operation played with balls that are rolled up a ramp. You’d think they were heading into sudden death in the finals as the audience cheers good shots and groans over misses.
It’s all helped by impressive computer graphics displayed on Carnival’s new stage-sized LED screens at the rear of the stage.
At the end, contestants get a Monopoly card they insert into a giant ATM. Whoever’s got the most in their account wins and the display totes up some impressive amounts, some into five figures.
But like the money in the board game, the cash isn’t the spending kind. The actual prizes are collections of games, of course by Hasbro. But for the winners it’s every bit as exciting as hitting the jackpot at the casino.
They might even have a cable show on their hands.
– By Wallace Immen