How Much Is Enough?
Empty9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8
No, the title of this new game show has nothing to do with the current writers standoff with Big Media. This is not to say that it isn't an odd little diversion in its own right that seems to have more in common with the probability index of a mathematics equation than it does contestant combat in primetime.
But all of that pales in weirdness to the name of the host: None other than Corbin Bernsen. Yes, that Corbin Bernsen, ol' Arnie Becker from "L.A. Law." Before you begin shaking your head in sadness at how long and far poor Bernsen has fallen, consider that he hasn't exactly been shaking a tin cup in front of the Midnight Mission since "Law" departed this mortal coil in 1994. He has worked steadily: as a regular on the USA Network hour "Psych," in recurring roles on the soaps "The Young & the Restless" and "General Hospital" and with parts in such movies as 2002's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and 2004's "Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss." (Hey, a guy's gotta eat.) And if hosting a game show is good enough for Drew Carey and Howie Mandel, why not this guy?
All of that said, Bernsen looks a bit awkward in this role. He's overly indulgent and boisterous with the players and looks to be trying entirely too hard. But he's also got 40 episodes here to find his sea legs, and the expectation is he will. Less certain is how well the show itself will go over. Here's the gambit: The quartet of competitors study one another and calculate the best time to secretly "buzz in" as various money values between $1,000 and $5,000 are flashed. The "greediest" player in each round is eliminated. The other three get to keep padding their winnings until a final round face-off between two survivors. That's pretty much the whole thing.
Bernsen works to make the thing more exciting than it is by ratcheting up his decibel level. He'd no doubt have more fun were Harry Hamlin still available for him to harass.