Competition gets slimy on new game show
September 29, 2009
Game shows are a form of entertainment that never goes out of style. Networks are constantly striving to come up with the wackiest incarnations that will draw in contestants and captivate viewers.
Park City resident Keegan Steele recently got a chance to participate in a new game show masterminded by Nickelodeon, and he thinks the network may have found the key to a successful series: the secret, he says, is in the slime.
On Monday, Nickelodeon premiered its new weekday afternoon game show, BrainSurge. The show features contestants ages 11 to 14 who compete in memory and concentration challenges for the chance to win prizes and the ultimate reward a dousing of thick, green slime.
The game is designed to test contestants’ visual, memory and thought abilities through a series of puzzles and exercises. Each episode starts with six contestants, and as they advance through three levels of mind-bending play, the pool is narrowed down to the quickest thinkers.
Contestants watch short clips and enter their answers on a keypad, earning points for correct answers. For example, a series of numbers from 11 to 20 is shown on a screen. Contestants must determine which number is missing and enter it as quickly as they can.
Host Jeff Sutphen keeps the energy level high as the contestants put their skills to the test, trying to earn the greatest number of points while avoiding elimination and a trip down the "Brain Drain," a giant slide filled with colorful soapsuds. Only the winning contestant gets the pleasure of being drizzled with slime.
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Twelve-year-old Steele flew to Los Angeles in February to audition for a spot on the show after his mom saw an advertisement online. "They went through a test with us and I thought the problems and mind games were really fun," he says. "I really wanted to be on the show."
Soon after, he got the call that he had been selected as a contestant. He flew back to L.A. in March to film the episode and experienced a taste of TV stardom. He even ran into the Jonas Brothers playing whiffleball outside the studio. (He didn’t talk to them, though "If you see a movie star you really shouldn’t bother them because they’re just trying to be normal kids, and that’s pretty hard for them," he says.)
Steele, who is home-schooled, says he didn’t study before going on the show. "They don’t tell you what you should be prepared for, just that you need to be really good at memorizing and puzzles and stuff," he explains.
The episode was filmed in front of a live studio audience, which Steele says didn’t make him nervous at all. "I felt pretty confident. It doesn’t really matter what you get on the show, just that you have fun and enjoy it." He added that the best parts were being in front of the cameras and going down the Brain Drain.
Steele’s episode airs on Friday, Oct. 2, at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time. When asked how he did, he replied, "You’ll have to watch and find out!"
And this may be just the beginning of Steele’s tenure as a game show contestant. "It was a really fun experience," he says. "I just think that everyone should go on a game show it’s so fun being in front of the cameras and all the lights and everything, so I think they should all try it."
BrainSurge airs Monday through Friday at 2:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon. Kids can also test their mental skills at home by playing online at http://www.nick.com/brainsurge .