Casinos playing game show game

Poor Todd Newton is going to be outflanked. The Las Vegas Hilton is going up against the Bally’s live version of “The Price is Right” with a new afternoon game show set to rotate Bob Eubanks, Chuck Woolery and Jamie Farr as hosts.

The three will take turns helming “The $250,000 Ultimate Game Show” at the Hilton starting Oct. 8. Like the local version of “Price,” audience members who buy a $42 ticket have at least some chance of competing for about $50,000 in cash and prizes each week. And if someone should happen to win the big money in the title, everyone else with a valid ticket for that show gets $100.

Instead of featuring just one famous game, the new show will break down into nine rounds that directly or indirectly reference game formats the hosts are known for: “The Newlywed Game,” “The Gong Show,” “Card Sharks,” etc.

“There are two things I wanted to do in my career,” Eubanks said by phone earlier this week. “I wanted to do a show in Vegas and I wanted to be in a Western movie, and this fulfills one half of that.”

The show is produced by Chicago-based Jimmy Richards, who has taken “The $250,000 Bob Eubanks Game Show Spectacular” to casinos around the country in the past three years. “We were doing such huge business, we were averaging 800 people a show in facilities that didn’t hold that number,” Eubanks said.

Instead of being a passive landlord, the Hilton will be “very much behind it and involved in it, particularly in the prize structure,” says casino spokesman Ira Sternberg. However, the game won’t fall under the purview of state gaming regulators.

The live version of “Price” broke new ground for afternoon shows when it opened in April 2006. Newton, one of many potential heirs to Bob Barker on the TV “Price,” remains as the host. There is talk of it moving to another Harrah’s Entertainment property as an evening show next year.

The big question at the outset was whether customers would buy a ticket if there was no guarantee they would play. “Price” confronted that by letting every patron compete with a keypad. Similarly, “Ultimate” will draw ticket stub numbers from a hopper, allowing more than 50 players per show.

Specific hosts won’t be advertised for particular days, but Eubanks said he plans to host Mondays and Tuesdays, with Woolery taking over on Wednesdays and Thursdays and Farr on Fridays and Saturdays. …

“Dirty: Rock Hard Comedy Hypnosis” is closing, sort of. That name disappeared after Sunday’s final show at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. But hypnotists Terry Stokes and Michael Johns plan to return to the restaurant portion of Krave nightclub with the name “Hypnosis Unleashed.”

“Dirty” co-producer Bill Voelkner says it was tough to establish the show amid all the HOB concert offerings, and that concert clean-up made it hard to begin by the advertised time of 11 p.m. Voelkner plans to keep comedy magician Tim Gabrielson’s “Keep It Funny” in the club’s restaurant area.

Voelkner also produces insult comic Vinnie Favorito at O’Shea’s, which has agreed to a two-year extension on top of the two he has spent there. Voelkner’s latest venture is “L.A. Comedy Club,” reviving the stand-up comedy format at Palace Station.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to because I just love comedy,” he says, ever since he helmed a comedy club format at the bygone Maxim seven years ago. Marketing is geared to locals, and Voelkner is considering what might be a first in pricing: A “monthly” ticket that would allow as many visits within that month as one cares to make. …

This is late notice, but you might still be able to squeeze into “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” today or Friday at a $5 ticket for locals, benefiting Opportunity Village and celebrating the show’s fifth anniversary in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. …

Finally, comedian George Wallace has quoted yours truly in some of his ads, but I sense something better on the horizon. In their teleconference to promote The Comedy Festival in November, Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock recommended their buddy Wallace as someone who should receive the festival’s next “Legacy” award.

Wallace is “the only comedian I know that people are unanimous about,” Rock said.

It’s no big secret that whenever Seinfeld is in town for a pricey show at Caesars, you will have a good chance of seeing him do a walk-on at his buddy Wallace’s more reasonably priced show across the street at the Flamingo.

“Do we have to go over there and work the Wallace show while we’re in town?” Rock asked playfully. You could almost see his famous smile as he said, “That’s gonna be a good week for Wallace.”

Mike Weatherford’s entertainment column appears Thursdays and Sundays. Contact him at 383-0288 or e-mail him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com.

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