Ant and Dec’s latest vehicle is “Red or Black” – a ‘game’ (in the loosest sense of the word) show that has just started on ITV in Britain.  It definately suffers from “LOOK AT THIS – THIS IS AWESOME!”  Hint- No it isn’t.

Take 256 audience members, and have them guess red or black in a series of contests that are 50/50 between the ‘red’ option and the ‘black’ (although the need to lose exactly half every time means those at the back of the queue get no choice).  The last contestent then guesses Red or Black on a giant proto roulette wheel to win “ONE MILLION POUNDS”!  There is no skill – each challenge is as close to 50/50 as the producers can get (One show included jousting on top of cars, tightrope walker race, top golfers Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood trying to hit a gong in a lake, and picking a place at a table set for 32. Each had a hidden jelly/jello, and on the word they all lifted the cloches to reveal if it was red or black). 

Yet each round is turned into an Olympian contest – the winning colour jelly was revealed by the colour of the table top.  The cloth was removed by ATTACHING IT TO A MOTORBIKE AND PULLING! AWESOME!  Cue interviews with tearful members of the losing half, people upset at being knocked out in round two – you’d think they had just lost their life savings, and then asking the survivors what their strategy is in the next round.  And do these epic contests take place in a normal studio? NO, THIS IS AWESOME, so it starts in Wembley arena (USians – think Madison Square Gardens) before the remaining 128 are bussed to a Stately Home for games in the grounds. 

This all takes an hour, to whittle down from 256 to 8.  That is 5 rounds.  There is then a half hour break while they show another programme, then we return for THE GRAND FINALE!!1!11

The final 8 re-enter the studio to an X-Factor style set up, complete with mini-bio films of each (as parodied in “Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor… and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice”), complete with the sad stories on how much it would change their lives (this is not to belittle the contestants themselves – the eventual winner is using the money to send his partner to the US for medical treatment as she has a rare yet serious condition – but rather the fact that ITV are spending a fortune churning out, and disguising what is essentially a game of “Head or Tails”).

More famous people are used to determine red or black, until the high drama finale with the “Red or Black wheel”, all to the sort of effects usually reserved for the winner of “ talent”, where at least they had to be good at something!  You can even play along at home via the internet: apparently just saying to the rest of the family “Red” is no longer good enough for the TV audience – we need to know which demographics nationwide are doing the best.  (And no, I didn’t sit and watch it, but I now know enough to make sure I actively avoid it)

And thus the slide of TV into mindless drivel continues.