Seeing what passes for television entertainment in foreign countries has always been somewhat of a hobby for me, even before there were media blogs where I could write about it. (Who knew that "Charlie's Angels", renamed "Droles et Dames," would still be in reruns in France in 1994?) So, as we are currently vacationing in Ireland, I was curious to see an episode of the truly awful ABC game show "Wanna Bet?" last night, which, from what I can tell, aired for a total of six episodes last summer.
The premise: a group of four celebrities (or quasi-celebrities) bets on whether average Americans can perform amazingly weird stunts, like a woman who claimed that she could tell the designer of a pair of shoes while wearing them -- blindfolded. (She could.) Each celebrity starts with $25,000, with the money made or lost going to charity.
Here's the weird thing about this show airing over here: the "celebrities" were, for the most part, the kinds that are not very exportable. The crew included: former NFLer Jerry Rice and former Jessica Simpson mate Drew Lachey -- both of whom also appeared on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars"; Rondell Sheridan from the Disney Channel series "Cory in the House" and a comedienne named Melissa Peterman who I gather has appeared on the sitcom "Reba." (In fact, I wasn't even sure these people were celebrities until my husband piped up and explained to me that the guy in the purple shirt was Jerry Rice.)
Far as I could tell, the only tie-in that the show had to this part of the world was the show's hosts: Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. Better known as Ant and Dec, most Americans know them as the hosts of "Britiain's Got Talent" from that Susan Boyle clip. (On a side note, Simon Cowell is appearing here in yet another talent series called "The X Factor", which appears to be a new show on iTV.)
All in all, a strange amalgamation of regional and global so-called celebrity, but it does make one wonder, in a YouTube-ified world, of how shows in the future may cross-pollenate across different countries, building in a little element from here and another one from there. On that note, it may be even stranger that Ant and Dec were chosen to be hosts of an American game show, way before the Susan Boyle video introduced them to the American public -- but in the future it might not be.