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Series / Celebrity Name Game

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Craig Ferguson, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette walk onto a sound-stage. Hilarity Ensues.

Syndicated Game Show that premiered in September 2014 as another entry into the classic genre of "celebrities give clues, civilians give answers" shows. In the first round, a celebrity guest has 30 seconds to communicate up to 10 names of celebrities, characters, or other entities consisting of people, from a category to one of two pairs of contestants, at $100 a piece. In the second round, the celebrities switch and they double the money. The third round is played on the buzzer with Craig reading off clues in an often deadpan tribute to Jim Perry; the values start at $100, but increase after every name, and getting an answer wrong automatically gives the money to the other team. The first team to $3,000 wins the game and plays a Bonus Round for $20,000. For cluegivers, the traditional "don't say the word or parts of the word" rule applies, but rhyming is not allowed either.

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Serving as the first game show produced by Courteney and David's joint production company (better known for the ABC and TBS sitcom Cougar Town), it was originally pitched for CBS as a primetime series (which is how Craig Ferguson got involved). They decided to go down the syndicated route instead, with its distributors (Fremantle and Debnar-Mercury) promoting it to stations as a complement to Steve Harvey's Family Feud.

Season 2 made some changes to the formula; the first round uses letter categories only, and the final round occasionally features different types of puzzles (such as guessing a celebrity based on a Twitter post, or guessing the two celebrities in a fused image). In December 2016, it was revealed that the show would be cancelled after its third season. As of Feb. 9, 2018, Buzzr airs an hour of this show every Friday. Network Ten picked up an Australian version in 2019.

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Not to be confused with the bonus round of Hollywood Game Night, which, ironically, plays almost just like this show.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: Describe 10 names to the celebrity guests to augment the front game score to $20,000. One member of the team gets 45 seconds, while the other person is put in the Sound Proof Booth. The other person then gets 30 more seconds to try and get the rest. In the earliest taped episodes, some of the subjects on the board display photos instead of names.
  • Double The Dollars: Round 2.
  • Golden Snitch: With the dollar values of clues in Round 3 going up after every name, it can be this. However, it is possible (though very unlikely) to get to $3,000 after Round 2; a team must be a perfect 10 for 10 in both rounds to do so.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: The bonus round ends immediately if the second person breaks the "don't say parts of the name" rule, as it becomes impossible to win.
  • Personnel:
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    • Game Show Host: Craig Ferguson. He won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host for his efforts.
    • Studio Audience
  • Rules Spiel: ...which often contains ridiculous rules such as "no passing head lice"
  • Show the Folks at Home: Beginning in season 2, the answers in Round 3 are now shown as blanks slowly filling in (think Who's Still Standing?).

This series provides examples of

  • Catchphrase:
  • Creator Cameo: In one of the first two aired episodes, and several others, Courtney and David are the celebrity guests.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Craig was quite adept at ad-libbing.
  • Expy: As mentioned, much of the show plays very much like Pyramid, except every category is that dreaded names category.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Season 1 featured a "second chance" week of shows featuring losing contestants (and in particular, a few responsible for some of the more infamous What an Idiot! moments that the show had produced so far, such as the "Sacramento is the nation's capital" guy).
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In the first two rounds, rhyming clues are not allowed. However, Craig's Fame Game-esque ramblings in Round 3 (which start obscure and slowly become more revealing) can often end with blatantly easy rhyming clues such as "Oh, and her name rhymes with Sweaty Might" or more recently, outright giving out the answer.
  • Running Gag: Sometimes Craig's "In this round, I will be the cluegiver!" boast going into Round 3 is accompanied by a gag, such as the set going dark with lightning effects, flashing red lights, and Craig cackling Satanically; or Craig doing a random dance interlude to a generic game show-sounding motif.
    Craig: "DO I LOOK LIKE TREBEK TO YOU?!?!"
    • Craig sometimes asks female contestants if they are models. One time, they actually were.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Bill Engvall's mind goes completely blank when "Snapchat" comes up as a word.

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