Celebrity Blackjack on GSN
I can probably think of a couple of TV show ideas worse than the Game Show Network's new ``Celebrity Blackjack'' - ``Celebrity Candyland,'' maybe, or ``Celebrity Go Fish.''
But until those projects get the green light, this sorry attempt to capitalize on the success of Bravo's ``Celebrity Poker Showdown'' is the dullest, dumbest TV gambit of the summer.
The six-episode series features 25 celebrities playing tournament-style blackjack for contributions to their favorite charities.
Excuse me, did I say ``celebrities''? That's a stretch. The ``Celebrity Blackjack'' deck is stacked with has-beens, B-listers and stars on the way down. Tonight's lucky five are Snoop Dogg (looking to recover after the crash of ``Soul Plane''?), Shannon Elizabeth (``American Pie'' and ``American Pie 2''), Jason Alexander (``Seinfeld''), Camryn Manheim (of the recently canceled ``The Practice'') and Kevin Nealon (``Saturday Night Live,'' remember?).
In the introductions, three of these people joke that they took this gig because they've got nothing else going on.
OK, so most celebrity game shows can't land the real high-wattage stars. But ``Blackjack's'' other problem is that blackjack - at least when played by amateurs - isn't that much fun to watch.
Here's how it works: Each player starts with $100,000; the one with the most money at the end of 21 hands is the winner. The object of each hand is to get a total card value closest to 21, without going over. After the players place their initial bets, the dealer deals each one two cards, face up. Then the players have to decide whether to stay with what they've got or ask for more cards to get closer to 21.
There's a little strategy involved, but it looks like mostly guesswork. Ho hum . . . and at least in the first episode, most of the players seemed just as bored by the game as I was, although Elizabeth really got into it. The personality-free dealer - pro blackjack player ``Hollywood Dave'' Stann -host Matt Vasgersian (the TV play-by-play voice of the San Diego Padres!) and Alex Borstein (``Mad TV'') don't add much excitement, although Borstein looks weirdly like Monica Lewinsky.
The winner of each weekly tournament receives $25,000 and advances to the sixth and final round. The ultimate winner earns $100,000. All winnings are paid to charities chosen by the players, ranging from the ACLU and a children's hospital to Elizabeth's goofily named ``Animal Avengers.''
Whatever. I'm not going to tell you who wins or loses, who bellows ``Jew hater'' whenever another player bests him or who gives whom the finger. I will tell you that Snoop Dogg got a French manicure just for the occasion, and it looks fabulous.
Excitement enough for you? Me neither. Trust me - if you feel the call of the cards Monday night at 10, a game of solitaire is your best bet.
The official website can be found here: http://gsn.com/specific_page_elements.php?link_id=S46