FOX TV’s Knock Knock Live Show Review
At 9PM on July 21 2015, Ryan Seacrest’s new TV show Knock Knock Live beamed out , live, over the Fox broadcast airways for the very first time and now it all seems a blur. Knock Knock Live is Seacrest’s bid to remain on the broadcast air long after American Idol has died and gone to heaven, which will be in early 2016. The format of the show is basically a feel-good, let’s give away lots of sponsors prizes to people who are deserving by knocking on their doors and surprising them. The show roped in a couple of stars like the rapper Common and soccer star David Beckham. Kellie Pickler (from American Idol fame) co-hosted. The show consisted of hearing sappy back-stories of deserving families and then showing them being surprised by one of the celebrities with a easy challenge and then a big prize. Some of the people who nominated the families also got prizes. In a bid to keep the in-studio audience entertained, one of the families in the TV studio was also surprised.
Knock Knock Live had an amazing slew of major sponsors that included Ford, Sprint and Meineke who gave away cars, iPhones and buses for teachers to pick up their students. The show often felt akin to when Oprah gave out all those cars (but later turned out that it was Chevy the gave away the cars). The same format played off here, with Seacrest giving away over half a million dollars worth of prizes of OPM (other peoples money). One such money giveaway was hilarious with Seacrest’s team spraying money into the street using a fan out the back of a truck and having the winner get on their hands and knees in the street to pick up the money in the dirt and grime and whatever else was there. The use of an armored truck is also hysterical, especially when the cash amount is only $25,000. Homeowners all over America will now be using armored trucks to take them to their condo closings as their bank checks are worth way more than $25k
The Twitter Sphere Reacts
Twitter sphere was quick to react to the show with claims that all the “surprised” fans at home were all remarkably well dressed. Each man had on a shirt and tie and the women were wearing their Sunday best with full makeup – not one person was in their boxer shirts or covered with paint or sweat, indicating that all the families were tipped-off in some way prior to the “surprise”. Fox probably didn’t want anything to go wrong on the debut of a live show. With the sheen off the surprise, the show lacked any genuine surprises and many questionable moments appeared in the show. One obvious fake surprise came when one of the hosts came to the door of the neighbor who nominated someone else. That neighbor acted totally surprised, yet a veritable riot had been happening outside their house for the last thirty minutes with over 50 TV crew, 100 neighbors, four TV trucks and an armored truck. Every neighbors in the street had seen the show on TV or heard the noise and came out, how did the nominated neighbor not know anything? Clearly they did. It was the most obvious fake of all.
Seacrest is Charming Host But Lacks Comedic Skills
Ryan Seacrest is no stranger to fake-ality TV shows, especially given his mastermind of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Knock Knock Live may have landed in that genre given its less-than-honest surprises. There were many moments in the show that a more talented host could have used to comedic effect, but Seacrest is just not-that-kind-of-host and the show often came over as bland, if not banal. Kellie Pickler shone brightly in this show that gave her an outlet for her upbeat and winning personality. It was clear to all that while this show may not last, she just passed the interview for something bigger and better. Pickler had talked about doing The View with Whoopi Goldberg, but that seems a step down for this bright and talented star on the rise.
In-Studio Audience Experience
The In-Studio audience did not have much fun on this show as anticipated as all the action was either pre-recorded or shown live on the giant screens in the studio. Only Seacrest was in the TV studio with the audience, and he is not exactly an electric personality in person. The audience members described the experience as only slightly better than America’s Funniest Home Video’s, but at least each audience member was paid $40 for their six hour experience on the show debut. The audience was gathered by OnSet productions, who are considering raising the pay rate for the audience, as it was a stretch to get five hundred people to come to this show in the first place, where very little live-action happens. Even with the extra money, they do not anticipate on making the show any more interesting for the in-studio audience, so the whole project is difficult.
Back Story Format Lifted From American Idol
The “feel good” format of the show is unlikely to sustain good viewership over time as there was very little raw entertainment in the show, just one family back story after another – with each family getting a bunch of money at the end. The over-the-top attention on the back-story format grew so large on American Idol that many feel that is what ultimately did the show in. Other major networks have made the same mistake, with NBC and their prime time show AGT (America’s Got Talent).
If you cast your mind back to 2012, NBC’s Olympics coverage also has way too much back-story and they managed to make the Olympics slow-paced and bland. It’s amazing that NBC was able to add huge amounts of back-story and not even show the sports events live. They also cut out of opening ceremonies to, you guessed it, show some more back story, this time a
a Ryan Seacrest interview with Michael Phelps. Seacrest is certainly no stranger to messing up good formulas.
During the initial TV show pitch meeting for Knock Knock Live, it is reported that Fox executives often heard the terms “low brow bonanza” and ” feel good format” and they thoroughly bought into the concept. If the plan was to aim the show at individuals who think that “investing in your future” means buying a lottery ticket, then they hit that demographic perfectly. The problem is that advertisers do not necessarily want that demographic and once the sheen is off this show, they will depart, especially given that Neil Patrick Harris’s similar TV show, Best Time Ever is just around the corner and that is being produced by the masters in this genre, ITV America who have had ten years of experience of developing a show like this.
Simon Cowell’s Suggestions Ignored
Simon Cowell had been asked for his informal input on the show and had been vocal about significant changes that would need to be made to make this show a long-term success. An insider indicated that Cowell stated that Seacrest just wants to be Mr Nice Guy, which after a little while, becomes boring and not edgy or interesting in any way. Cowell suggested that an additional character be introduced (perhaps he was referring to himself) who would arbitrarily decide whether or not the family could keep the money they just won. The reality would be that the family would get the money anyway, but on TV they would be denied just to see the reaction in some macabre They Shoot Horses Don’t They kind of way. “Seacrest needs a bad guy to counter his Mr Nice Guy persona, otherwise, he can be a bit boring” Cowell is quoted as saying. Cowell added “Where is Brian Dunkelman when you need him?”
Show Update: Show Cancelled
On July 29, 2015 Fox executives pulled the plug on this show directly after the ratings for the 2nd show were announced. Ratings that were already low in the 18-50 range for the premiere show, went down by another 17% in the 2nd show. The producers pulled out all the stops on the 2nd show by bringing in singing sensation Justin Bieber to give a 16 year old girl a surprise. Executives figured that If Bieber was unable to turn this show around then nothing would. A summer launch of a new show is always risky, but this show ended up being a real doozy. The 2nd show was aired Jul 28 2015 and the show was cancelled on July 29 after the audience viewing figures were released.