The Game Show King: A Confession
Chuck Barris reinvented television. And when he was through, he moved to the south of France. This memoir is about becoming king of the game show and why Peter Mayle got it all wrong. So how does a boy from south Philadelphia, the fellow who created the Dating Game, the Newlywed Game, and the Gong Show find happiness on the Cote d' Azur - especially if he fractures the language, is homesick for football, and knows in his heart of hearts that he's got at least one more prime-time hit in him struggling for air time? Painfully candid, remarkably informative, and alive with spark, wit, and intelligence, this chronicle may well be the funniest confession ever written. The end began a few years ago with the Popsicle Twins, an act performed by a pair of nubile Valley Girls on the Gong Show that almost shut down NBC. Chuck Barris was not only the creator and producer of the program, he was also its host, and therefore, the man responsible. He had, finally, gone too far. So, he sold Chuck Barris Productions and decamped with his beautiful wife to the hills above Saint-Tropez. He soon had a villa, a classic speedboat, lots of unwanted guests, and was being kicked toward the conclusion that the charm of the country would be considerably enhanced if one could only figure out how to get rid of the French people. The new beginning ended when Chuck Barris realized that having all your dreams come true isn't what it's cracked up to be. So, back to Los Angeles and the real dream-makers. Can't a guy who wrote a rock and roll standard, a guy who made himself into a champion boule player make the legend live again? The answer to that, and to why Bill Clinton would rather talk with Nicole Kidman (Mrs. TomCruise), can be found in these pages, a confession that would make St. Augustine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau envious. But before then, in 1972, Chuck Barris wrote a love story (You and Me Babe, which spent seven weeks on the New York Times best-seller list). At that time he was the most successful television producer in America. Now he's older, smarter, and a lot richer, and what he admits to here could only come from someone very much his own man.
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