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April Fools Day / Live-Action TV

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  • The BBC's Panorama made a show about "spaghetti trees", leading to many viewers asking how they could grow their own.
  • The BBC also produced a feature showing a recently discovered breed of penguins which flew to the jungle in the summer.
  • Another famous incident on the sports show Grandstand involved a particularly hilarious Funny Background Event: Watch it here.
  • A Discovery Channel program played perfectly straight, that proved that yes, in fact The Earth Really Is Flat.
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  • The Drew Carey Show made a few April Fools' Day episodes in which there would be various oddities occurring in the otherwise typical episodes (snow falling on set, mispronunciation of names, the ultrasound baby in the Mohawk Productions Vanity Plate meowing instead of giggling, a scene being played out in The Sims etc...), which are never brought up again. ABC made these into contests as to who could spot them all. The major plot points of those episodes have been brought up again, such as Mr. Wick's Groin Attack, so those at least are canon; when rerun, each error is pointed out Pop Up Video-style.
  • GSN (Game Show Network) did a major host switch on April, 1, 2003 among its original programming: Marc Summers hosted Cram, Todd Newton hosted Russian Roulette, Graham Elwood hosted Whammy, Mark L. Walberg hosted Friend or Foe, and Lisa Kennedy Montgomery hosted WinTuition. The five hosts came together for a charity episode of Lingo, which also had Todd Newton announcing (and Mark and Marc curb-stomping Graham and Kennedy 500-0).
    • On the subject, even with each host switch, each show's original host would cameo at some point: Kennedy appeared briefly in Friend or Foe?, Summers was dressed up as a prop for part of WinTuition, Elwood filled in for Pickwick in Cram (Disguised in Drag, no less), Wahlberg was in the Roulette audience (along with Kennedy and the Whammy), and Newton showed up for some Double Whammies on Whammy!
  • Speaking of game shows, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! both partake in this:
    • 1997: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and Wheel host Pat Sajak traded places. Pat and co-host Vanna White also played Wheel that day, with Pat's wife, Lesly, at the puzzle board. The flip-flop was lampshaded heavily on both shows: Jeopardy! had Wheel-themed categories in the first round (such as "Buy a Vowel" and "Before & After," which later became a recurring category on Jeopardy! itself), and "fool"-themed categories in the second, and a Final Jeopardy! category of "Trinidadian Amateur Ichthyologists." Wheel had several gag puzzles, including TRADING PLACES as the Bonus Round answer.
    • 2008: Alex wore a fake mustache (he had shaved off his trademark mustache by this point), and Pat tricked Vanna into believing he was bald by wearing a real wig over a bald wig.
    • 2010: Wheel made 10 things wrong with the show. They invited viewers to print out a worksheet from their website, and write down what they thought were the correct answers. Some were obvious (i.e. the Bankrupt wedges having "Bankrut", the Polish translation of that word), some weren't (Pat wearing a stud earring in the second round), and an eleventh wasn't even pointed out (rodeo footage in the opening montage of Hawaiian activities corresponding to the rest of the week's Hawaii theme). Jeopardy! spliced in different hosts for Alex Trebek on the same day. Alex still read the clues, but Pat Sajak walked out at the top of the show, Neil Patrick Harris was spliced in during the first round, Jeff Probst (who once hosted Rock & Roll Jeopardy! before his Survivor fame) during the second round, and a clip from Saturday Night Live's Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches featuring Will Ferrell parodying Alex Trebek. There was also an "April Fool!" category concerning joke articles published during the month of April (such as the Veterinary Record's "Brunus edwardii" article).
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    • 2011: Every puzzle on Wheel (except the Bonus Round) had the word "fool" in it. Amazingly, the contestants never caught on; you'd think by the third round, they would've been calling L and F, then buying an O.
  • Press Your Luck had an unaired instance for the April 17, 1984 episode (taped on April 1), where a prank was played on host Peter Tomarken: the challengers had fake profiles, both they and the returning champ were barely responsive to anything (including the returning champ), and none of them buzzed in on the questions. The ruse was revealed after Peter read the last question of Round 1.
    • This gag remained under the radar for 30 years, only surfacing in 2014 as one choice in a YouTube viewer vote by game show legend Wink Martindale (it won). It also revealed that a joke Peter made about one player being "a frog-man" in the aired version of the episode was a reference to the same player's fake bio in the gag version.
  • The Price Is Right has a long history of making gag prize Showcases with obviously silly prizes (e.g. egg beaters and paper plates, "six new cars" that turn out to be Matchbox cars, or even an acute case of athlete's foot as a prize). On another episode, the door that host Bob Barker normally walked through revealed a sign that said "April Fools!" before Bob walked onstage through the audience.
    • Drew Carey, after taking over as host on Price, has made several April Fool's gags on each April 1 episode. Except for 2011, he brought in Kathy Kinney, who reprised her role of Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show. He also does several funny gags throughout — things like playing the Match Game music during the credits, having everyone wear nametags that say "Pat", having random sound effects play during the Showcase Showdown instead of the normal ones, etc.
    • For 2011, the gag was that the 10,000th...something was going to happen today, so it was an important episode. Too bad so many things went wrong, from pieces of the set falling apart or malfunctioning, to announcer George Gray getting hit by a tennis ball launcher. And the 10,000th thing didn't even happen. "Maybe tomorrow," says Carey...only April 1, 2011 fell on a Friday.
    • For 2013 (2012 having April 1 on a weekend), the models took over the hosting and announcing duties, and made Drew and George model the prizes.
    • 2014's April Fools episode toned down the silliness but continued to insert some running gags. The most notable thing about the episode was the visible absence of all the regular cast. Craig Ferguson was host for the day, though Drew Carey made cameos on TVs from the set of The Late Late Show. Shadoe Stevens filled in at the announcer's booth, and no models appeared onstage except Geoff Peterson (voiced, as usual, by Josh Robert Thompson) and Secretariat.
    • For 2015 they had a special guest host for the first pricing game: BOB BARKER!
    • The 2016 edition borrowed again from The Drew Carey Show, dovetailing this with the show's recent addition of play-at-home games. Various "mistakes" were sprinkled throughout the show. Watchers at home were encouraged to spot as many as they could and submit their results; the one who could spot the most won a trip. Interestingly, many of the alterations seemed to be things only superfans would really spot, such as the Big Wheel's one-dollar space having a decimal point (which had been removed sometime in the 1980s).
  • Cranked Up to Eleven as a prank on Tom Bergeron for The Hollywood Squares episode taped to air on April Fool's Day 2003. At one point the male and female contestants were engaged in a heated argument, after which the male contestant made the female contestant break down in tears. Bergeron, who had a deer-in-the-headlights look (but, according to his book, wasn't going to stop no matter what), comforted the "poor woman" as he sent the show to commercial (unbeknownst to him, the camera was still running). At the end of the episode, giggling executive producer Henry Winkler (who was also filling in as announcer at the time) said over the intercom, "Hey Tom...April Fool's." Apparently, Bergeron hadn't realized the airdate of the show...until then. The "contestants" were in fact trained actors.
    • In the John Davidson era, a similar joke was played in 1987. Both contestants got into a fight after Miss Circle claimed Mister X got a quick look at John's card to successfully get a square. It ended with Miss Circle pushing Mister X off the podium, followed by the audience shouting "April Fools, John!" in unison. It turns out both contestants were stunt people. The show continued afterward with real contestants.
      • Luckily, they didn't go to extremes in 1988: Davidson was center square for that show while Joan Rivers hosted.
  • The current-events trivia show The Challengers played a joke on the April 1, 1991 show, puzzling the contestants and host Dick Clark with very obscure subjects before revealing the joke on the video wall. The contestants rolled with the gag while Clark told judge Gary Johnson (who was behind the gag) "Go to your room!" The game then resumed with the real categories for Round 1.
  • The short-lived NBC game show Time Machine did this on April 1, 1985, with a gag prize revealed to the day's champion rather than the standard endgame car. The joke falls a bit flat, though, since the actual car can plainly be seen in the background.
  • Actually a pre-April Fool's joke from the nighttime version of The Dating Game in 1969: After Farrah Fawcett selects her date, the three Bachelors get into a brawl. The trio were actually stuntmen.
  • The Seattle-based sketch comedy Almost Live! did a fake broadcast announcing that local landmark the Space Needle had fallen over. The joke was considered in extremely bad taste, and their hosting station ended up having to issue a formal apology.
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  • The gay-themed channel LOGO had a whole ad campaign about The A-List: Amish Country (The A-List was a short-lived Real Housewives-style reality series featuring gay mennote ). Granted, it fooled no-one and was more intended as a parody of the series.
  • The Kamen Rider Drive Twitter account commemorated its closure on April Fools 2017 by announcing that the character of Brain would star in the newest V-Cinema spinoff, Kamen Rider Brain, which would come out in 2035. Turns out they were wrong — it came out in 2019 as a two-episode web series, being announced for real on April Fools Day once again.
  • When Andi Mack aired on Disney Channel on April 1, 2018, its theme song was sung by Grunkle Stan.


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