After the premiere on January 20, the show was blasted by nearly every critic in the country; viewers of the timeslot on January 27 saw Gleason sitting on a barren stage apologizing for (and making fun of) the show, chalking up its failure to "the intangibles of show business" and sharing memories of other failures he was involved in.
The apology (part of which can be seen here) was critically lauded, and Gleason finished out his network commitment with a one-on-one informal talk show entitled The Jackie Gleason Show, which ran until March 24.
Game Show Tropes in use:
This show provides examples of:
- Becoming Part of the Image: The concept behind this game show.
- Catchphrase: "I'm sorry, your time is up."
- Foreshadowing: Near the end of the apology, Gleason mentions that "This isn't a requiem for a heavyweight." While the reference note and joke note are somewhat obvious, it should be noted that Gleason starred in the 1962 film adaptation of Requiem for a Heavyweight.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: During the apology, an audience member ran onstage and poured alcohol in Gleason's coffee cup. While drinking from it, Gleason realized what had happened.Gleason: It's a new blend called "Chock Full O'Booze".
- It's All My Fault: In his apology, Gleason takes full responsibility for laying the egg, while at the same time paying tribute to the experienced and talented people who came together to make the show happen.
- Nintendo Hard: To the max. Add clues and it's more like playing charades, breaking the point of the game.
- Product Placement: L&M Cigarettes and Kellogg's were the sponsors. The latter only stayed on for the first two shows; their official reason for pulling their sponsorship was "This isn't the show we bought", though the real reason was that they were offended by Gleason's "Chock Full O'Booze" joke.