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Archive for Friday, October 13, 2006

Mob of 100 no match for ‘Deal’

October 13, 2006

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Having scored ratings gold with "Deal or No Deal" (7 p.m., NBC), NBC imports another game show, "1 vs. 100" (8 p.m., NBC). An international hit, "100" pits a single contestant against a wall of challengers.

As the title implies, 100 challengers play against the would-be millionaire in a game of trivia questions. The 100, also known as "the Mob," consists of folks from all walks of life but also is peppered with valedictorians, Mensa members, doctors and, in the opening episode, Ken Jennings of "Jeopardy!" fame.

The player gets money when members of the Mob get the answers wrong. The amounts go up with each round, as do the difficulty of the questions. The player can quit any time and take the loot but loses everything once he or she makes a single mistake. If that happens, the prize money is divided equally among the remaining members of the Mob.

Hosted by Bob Saget, "100" is almost as addictive as "Deal." And the presence of trivia questions offers a play-along dimension absent on that numbers-only game. But "Deal" does a better job of involving the audience in the contestant's story.

¢ Full-time and volunteer firefighters share stories of danger, camaraderie, bravery and fate in the 90-minute special "Into the Fire" (7 p.m., History), featuring music by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Dire Straits and the Talking Heads.

¢ With so many novel-length, seasonlong dramas to keep track of, it's easy to forget how one strong character can make or break a TV series. Characters don't come any more memorable and eccentric than Tommy Saxondale (Steve Coogan) on "Saxondale" (10 p.m., BBC America). He's an aging pest-control professional who used to be a roadie for Led Zeppelin and other classic-rock acts and never lets you forget it.

He's also a divorced father in anger-management classes. He's engaged in a one-man war against "the system" and on PETA types or anyone who "anthropomorphizes" critters and makes his battles against bugs, mice and rodents even more laborious. Tommy shares great scenes with Magz (Ruth Jones), his plus-sized lover, and Vicky (Morwenna Banks), the gabby pest-control receptionist who likes to needle him with news of his ex-wife's weight loss. You have to love any show that plays the Dutch rock relic "Hocus Pocus" by Focus over the closing credits.

¢ With Halloween fast approaching, TCM invites rocker and retro-horror filmmaker Rob Zombie to host "TCM Underground," a Friday-night fright fest of films good, bad and unforgettable, including "Plan 9 From Outer Space" (1 a.m., TCM).

¢ On a similar note, fans of Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers can wax nostalgic with "Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film" (8 p.m., Starz).

Tonight's other highlights

¢ A hit-and-run accident roils the diplomatic community on "Numb3rs" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): a pregnant woman's shipwreck ordeal; the power of forgiveness.

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