Van Nuys, CA – Entrepreneurs, self-conscious women, and animal-loving caregiver “hopefuls” are the make-up of people that stand in-front of four mogul gate-keepers to the “Bank of Hollywood”. A new game show that gives people the opprotunity to fulfill their dreams by convincing these successful millionaires to fund their cause by giving them money from the bank.
“Bank of Hollywood” is executive produced by “American Idol” host, Ryan Seacrest, who was a “hands-on” producer as he worked on-set the first day to collaborate with the director, other producers of the show, and stage manager.
The four wealthy Hollywood “bankers” are: Candy Spelling (widow of legendary producer of Dynasty, The Love Boat, 90210, Aaron Spelling), Vanessa Rousso, a.k.a “Lady Maverick” (Professional Poker Player), Melody Thornton (“The Pussycat Dolls”), and Sean Patterson (Wilhelmina Models President).
One-at-a-time, a different contestant enters the arena-like stage via a lighted tunnel walk-way to convince the panel to give them the requested amount of money from the “bank of Hollywood”. They must prove that their cause is notable, and will make a significant change in their lives for the better. In order to receive funding from the bank, each “hopeful”, what contestants are called, must get approval from three members of the panel. If a tie occurs amongst the panel, and the contestant receives two “Nos” and two “Yes’s” then the panel must deliberate in order to come up with the deciding vote. The four judges discuss their votes on-stage without mics. The contestant then comes back in the final round of the show to find-out if they will receive the money or not.
Money requests that involve start-up cash for businesses, are always asked by the panel if there is a business plan. The business plans themselves are never in-hand of the contestants. However, the deciding factor of a tie-breaker in one instance, the business plan actually hurt a contestant and they did not receive the money. The judges stated that they did not like what they saw in the business plan. This was after a brief off-stage break from the judges. This gives the impression that the business plan of each contestant most likely is available by request back stage.
There seems to be no limit of the amount of money someone can ask for from the “Bank of Hollywood”. At least there isn’t one stated on the show. And, the total amount inside of the bank is a mystery. Also, it is never noted on the show as to where the money in the bank comes from. Money requests have ranged from $4000 at the lowest, to $650,000 thus far. The $4000 request came from an aspiring “storm chaser”, and the highest amount of $650,000 came from Pirate re-enactment performers to build a pirates ship.
Very likable host, Bryan Callen (MADtv) remains neutral and unbiased in each contestant circumstance and helps to facilitate the ruling process. As a host, Callen exudes much confidence and charm. A side-note, stand-up comedian, and game show contestant from “Deal of No Deal” (day time), and “Catch 21″, Vivica is the bubbly audience warm-up host who is currently up for Jackie Warner’s (“Work out”) new weight loss reality show, â€œThintervention with Jackie Warnerâ€ on BRAVO!”
The show features a few heart-felt requests from candidates, as well as some outlandish ones. Some examples of genuinely good causes include: a cheer leading squad to compete in the nationals; a soul food restaurant business; an Olympian’s funding; a same-sex child adoption; and a Venice Beach mobile food truck. Some of the more ridiculous requests for money has been for the following: breast implants; pageantry sponsorship; a $5000 dog bed; and a laughing therapy business.
“Bank of Hollywood” show provides a great chance for some one with a novel idea who can’t get funding from the traditional process. However, my biggest complaint with this show, is it needs to waste less time with the crazies asking for money (their soul purpose is to push ratings) , and more time on substantial requests from people who have a noble need whether it be concerning health, or business.
It’s sure to be an audience-pleaser in this time of recession. Where do I sign up? No air-date announced yet. “Bank of Hollywood” is said to air on “E!” network according to host, Callen and crew members.
UPDATE: The eight-episode series begins airing Dec. 14 at 10pm on “E!”