Friday Night Games (partially found Australian spin-off of "Big Brother"; 2006)
Friday Night Games was a 2006 Australian game show that was created as a spin-off to the 2005 special show Big Brother: Friday Night Live which in itself, was a weekly live-to-air game show featured as part of the TV show: 'Big Brother Australia'. This show however was pre-recorded and shot on location in Dreamworld's Games Arena at Dreamworld studios in Coomera, Queensland.
The general premise of Friday Night Games was celebrities in teams of 3 competing in ridiculous and wacky games to win three shows (the heat, the preliminary final, and the grand final) and donate 50,000 to charity. Every week to make teams 4 players, the show would include a 'celeb to be'. This was a member of the public who would be decided from hundreds of applicants whittled down to a handful of contestants competing in two challenges explained on the show each week. The first challenge (which was recorded before the show's actual taping) had challenges which included holding onto a balloon whilst riding "Wipeout", holding a piece of paper above their head whilst riding on the Tower of Terror, a roller coaster at Dreamworld, without ripping it or trying to make origami whilst riding on the Giant Drop, another thrill ride at Dreamworld.
The next challenge featured contestants playing shorter formatted various mini-games during each episode recording the female and male winners of each game and then being added to the teams of celebrities.
The first episode to be found was the "Athletes vs Academics" episode which was found on a game show trading website in late 2011 as a complete episode with its aired commercials when it aired. It wouldn't be until 2018 that the search would be resumed as a webpage was discovered with more episodes listed by yet another game show collector. The gameshow collection of 'cjpowney' contained episodes 1-4 of the series. However, these were not posted online to any kind of file-sharing website and despite attempts to contact this lead, he did not reply to messages.
In 2019, a lost media video was made by Sam Davis to bring awareness to the show and its search. In a comment left by a user: "Scott Blake" he claimed:
"I was in the first episode as the celeb to be selected in the Big Brother team. I have a full copy of the whole episode. I have also been searching for them all online. I will upload it to the tube".
The person who left this comment never replied to replies of his comment nor did he upload the episode. It is still unconfirmed as to whether or not he was in the show...
Through the years between 2020 and 2023, many listed people from the show's end credits were contacted. Most didn't respond to messages sent to them, some people did respond but claimed they had no clue how to locate the episodes. All of the show's production companies were contacted but each of them suggested contacting one another to try and find the show.
Two promos for episodes of Friday Night Games have also been found over the years. One of which (a promo for episode 6) was found on a VHS tape by YouTuber, Sam Davis, when going through the commercials of a miscellaneous recording. The other promo was found by YouTuber, MediaTreasureTrove, and included two alterations of promos for the same episode (episode 9) playing during commercial breaks on the morning of April 14th, 2006.
In early 2021, the show's main host, Mike Goldman, was contacted about the show and claimed he was "almost sure" he had the entire series on VHS tapes at his home. He sent a parcel of all his shows to YouTuber, Sam Davis. When Davis opened the parcel, many of Goldman's shows were in there but contained no episodes of Friday Night Games. When Davis asked again to Goldman where the show was, Goldman simply stated that everything he still had from his hosting days was in that parcel and that he "must not have ever given that show". This was the first of two dead ends in the search.
The second lead in the search for Friday Night Games was an email sent from the aforementioned 'cjpowney'. 'cjpowney' detailed in an email that he had sent to Sam Davis that he had seen Davis' lost media special about the show (the first one) and went on to say:
"And as I was watching I thought to myself, I have some of those "missing episodes".
He finished the email by recognizing that Davis attempted to contact him back in 2018 with his original email about the listed Friday Night Games episodes and ended the email saying: "I would be happy to talk game shows and you might just have some items of interest for me also". Despite a quick response from Davis, 'cjpowney' never replied. Davis has attempted to reach him on other forms of social media believing emails were not something he checked regularly. However, it just so turned out that 'cjpowney' never checked any social media messages. Since early April 2023, 'cjpowney' has not replied to Davis' reply to his email nor has he read/seen any of Davis' other attempts to reach him online.
The third, most vital lead in the search for the show was discovered in late July 2023. After most of the show's grand final episode was randomly found to have been sitting on YouTube for three months as the inconspicuously titled: "Blank VHS Tape #12". Davis, once again, became inspired to find more episodes. This resulted in him finding a mirrored website that contained a detailed collection from another game show collector. All but two of the ten Friday Night Games episodes were listed in this collection. The Instagram of the game show collector with his pseudonym "B", replied quickly to Davis' message and said that he remembered the show. "B" also noted that he was surprised his game show collection still existed as a mirror because the original website domain had been long since deleted. 'B' also recalled throwing out a bunch of their VHS tapes to try and reduce clutter in his house on which some of the tapes that "B" thrown out had been multiple episodes of Friday Night Games (including the commercials) recorded on several different tapes.
Not long after this dead end in the search occurred, the show's lead production coordinator was contacted on LinkedIn about the show. He recalled converting episodes 3-10 of the series to a television preservation format known as DigiBetacam and then mastering it on a site in the Gold Coast for what is known as: 'picture lock-off' (which is a way of formatting a TV show into its best possible quality for archival purposes). He then brought the episodes to Sydney for 'audio sweetening' and 're-stripping' (a television show mastering process) on which he brought those converted episodes to the Network Ten building in Sydney, Australia to then be stored away in their archives.
The current efforts in the search for Friday Night Games involve attempts to contact the archives at Network Ten Sydney. However, there is a low likelihood of much help being given from this department of the network.
In January 2024, YouTuber 'Filip with an F' (who specializes in Big Brother Australia documentaries) was contacted by Sam Davis about the missing show. He didn't have any episodes of FNG; however, he did have the contact of a person (named Kevin) who recorded Big Brother religiously when it aired years ago. Davis contacted Kevin who quickly responded claiming he remembered the show and just needed some time to remember where he had the series stored. Kevin stated that his current priority was to clear his house of old printers and computers before doing anything else. He began searching through his hard drives for Friday night games recordings. Despite having HD recordings of every old big brother friday night live episode, Kevin did not record Friday Night Games when it aired.
The next attempt to find the show will be done through the australian television archive's research and supply service designed to discover lost and buried australian tv shows that only exist at tv stations and in company archives. The aus tv archive owner: 'James', runs the service. It will not be a while until this service will be utalised in an attempt to find the show as it costs nearly 500 AUD to even ask the owner to do research on the show and then further hundreds of dollars for the owner to attempt a search of the missing episodes. Even then, nearly $1,000 AUD could be spent without the show being able to be discovered...
When it comes to found/lost episodes, just two of the ten episodes that went to air have been found. They are Episode 6: Baby Night (the entire episode and the commercials) and Episode 10: The Grand Final Show (missing only the first two segments of the episode). These episodes are on YouTube.
Some of the confirmed themes of the shows from Lost Episodes are as follows:
- 'Aussie Barbeque Night' (confirmed to be Episode 1) - 'Circus Night' (unconfirmed Episode Number) - 'Wedding Night' (confirmed to be Episode 5) - 'Pirate Night' (Possibly Episode 9)
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