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Thursday, March 23, 2017

The King

Chuck Barris was a genius.  Let me restate that, in no uncertain terms.  CHUCK BARRIS WAS A GENIUS.

Every reality show, past, present, and future, can be traced back to Chuck Barris.

He started as a page at NBC.  Barris moved to ABC where was one of his jobs was to keep an eye on American Bandstand, so Dick Clark didn't take payola.  ABC later allowed Barris to develop game shows.

As stated in his book, and my copy is pictured on the left, Barris wanted to do game shows, but he didn't want what he thought was an overdone and tired question and answer format.  That led to the birth of The Dating Game and The Newlywed game, among many others.

Chuck Barris never intended to appear on camera.   John Barbour was the intended host of The Gong Show. Barbour never grasped the concept of a bad talent show, rather than a good one.  He was replaced and the rest is television history.

I was never a huge fan of The Dating Game and The Newlywed game.  The Gong Show was funny for a while.  I veered away when it went over the top.  However, you'll love Chuck Barris after you read the book.  It's not all about his game shows.  It's about selling it all, moving to France, and looking for meaning in life.  It's a great book, one of my all time favorites.

It's not all laughs.  There were struggles to get shows on the air, battles to be taken seriously, allegations he was ruining television, and he lost a daughter, the pretty little girl who you saw on The Gong Show, to drugs.

Chuck Barris died of natural causes in Pallisades, New York Tuesday.  87 years old.  Writer, composer, television show producer...

You know what bugs me?  Chuck Barris was reviled.  60 Minutes and  Mike Wallace tried to nail his hide to the wall several years ago.  A lot of people thought Chuck Barris was the absolute worst-- degrading television, having fun at the expense of others.  Bunk.

Ryan Seacrest is the toast of the town these days.  He is executive producer of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."  It's one of the worst shows on television.  Ever.  Period.  Full stop, as Shepard Smith would say.  Barris productions were Masterpiece Theatre in compared to that garbage.  People love Ryan Seacrest.  Don't ask me why.  Chuck Barris had an image problem, and it follows him to the grave.  That's wrong.

Chuck Barris was The King.