Extreme Gong (partially lost Scott Sternberg version of amateur talent show; 1998-1999)
Extreme Gong was a revival of the NBC amateur talent contest The Gong Show that aired from October 5, 1998 to August 26, 1999. The show was hosted by a pre-Weakest Link and Price Is Right alum George Gray and was announced by Eric Waddell. The original version of the show was created by Chuck Barris (who is known for creating The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game) and even hosted the show from June 14, 1976 to July 21, 1978. Although short-lived, it would go on to have multiple versions that aired on television and even a live stage version that premiered in 2010. The most recent version of the show aired on ABC for two seasons from June 22, 2017 to August 30, 2018 and was hosted by Tommy Maitland (played by Mike Myers). Extreme Gong was the third revival of the show that aired on Game Show Network and was produced by Scott Sternberg Productions in their fourth production for Game Show Network.
Contestants appear on the show and perform a variety of weird talents, like singing, acting, dancing, do magic, etc. A panel of three celebrity judges decide if the present act is worthy of continuing or not. If they decide to not let them continue, one of the judges bangs a gong displayed behind them and the act stops immediately and they are eliminated from the contest (similar to the strikes on America's Got Talent). Each act that didn't get gonged, they finish their act and at the end the panel gives the act a score on a scale from 0 to 10 (10 being the best, 0 being the worst). At the end of the program, the winner is determined by the highest score they got from the panel, the winning act gets a trophy and a check with a hilariously low amount. If a tie comes up, the winner is determined by the audience's applause.
The format of Extreme Gong is slightly different from the original format. Instead of a panel of celebrity judges, at home viewers decide if act is worthy to continue or gong them. The phone numbers for the decisions were "1-800-216-4804" for keeping the current act and "1-800-216-4802" for gonging them. If the callers like the act, an on-screen graphic of a gong turns green and the act stays in hopes of winning the grand prize. If the callers hate the act, the on-screen gong turns red. If more than 50% of the callers vote for gonging them, the "Babe of the Day" hits a gong on the left of the stage and the act is eliminated. Just like the original, the winner is determined by the number of callers loving the act.
Reception & Availability
Extreme Gong was panned by critics and fans of the original show. The now-defunct alt.tvgameshows website heavily criticized the show for differencing too far from the original format and were even mocked on the show at one point. The show aired it's final episode on August 26, 1999 and reruns would air until October 2000, when it was pulled from Game Show Network's schedule altogether. Since October 2000, the show had never reappeared on television or online for quite a long time, due to the negative reception it got. A clip was shown in The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments special that aired on NBC in May 2002. Various clips from a lot of the missing episodes were posted on YouTube from 2006 to 2019. On March 5, 2014, a studio master copy of an episode was posted online by user hipnogger. The October 5, 1998 episode surfaced on YouTube in four parts in June 2020. Another episode from July 1999, was uploaded to YouTube on July 4, 2021. The series still remains lost to this day.