Inside 'Million Dollar Password'

Today's cuppa: Barry's Irish breakfast tea in the morning and Northern Lights strawberry-maple tea in the afternoon.

Monday, I spent the day watching tapings of CBS' game show "Million Dollar Password," and the kind folks there let me bring the camera along. I apologize in advance for the less-than-perfect photography conditions (and my less-than-stellar skills at manipulating the camera -- thanks for the advice, CBS photographer Cliff Lipson!).

Regis Philbin is host. The celebrity competitors for the episodes I saw were Adam Carolla (audio clips about NBC's version of "Top Gear" to come), sharp "Password" veteran Betty White, "The Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan and "Big Brother" host Julie Chen.

For the record, the show has the coolest tea kettle I've ever seen on a craft-services table.

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But first, a personal note. I'm not a regular game-show watcher, but I do have a yardstick for measuring what makes a compelling game show. If you're yelling at the TV screen, it's a good game show.

Before NBC's "Deal or No Deal" premiered, my editor and I had to make a quick decision on whether to do a feature story on it. I popped in the pilot DVD, and within five minutes, was verbally encouraging and berating the contestants.

I did the story.

Scroll down here for the piece, from December 18, 2005. It begins:

Somewhere in the misty depths of human history, a caveman may have been standing with an armload of ostrich eggs when suddenly he spied a tasty rabbit munching on a nearby berry bush.
As the rabbit threatened to hop away, this early human was faced with a decision -- drop the eggs, grab the slingshot tucked in the back of his loincloth and maybe wind up with roasted rabbit for dinner, or let the rabbit go and have a guaranteed, if less juicy and succulent, omelet.
Several thousand years of human civilization later, very little has changed...."

On the set of "Million Dollar Password" -- an updated version of the 1960s game show -- I yelled, cheered and mumbled hints under my breath. Must be a good game show.

Without further ado, the pictures, starting with the gorgeous set, Reege and White (click on images for a larger version):

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Above is a look at the show's clue screen as it airs a clip from the original "Password," featuring White and her husband, the show's host Alan Ludden (or as she called him in conversation after the show, "my fella."). Below, clockwise: Keoghan and crew members; Carolla helping a contestant; Julie Chen ready to go in rehearsals; Keoghan looking kinda presidential behind a podium.Milliondollarpassword_067b

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