It’s gonna take a lotto luck (Lamar Co. follow-up)

The results are in — and it’s bad news for the Lamar County School District…

YES 53.82%
NO 46.18%

…a 60% supermajority of yes votes was needed for the win — hence why it’s a loss.

I’m writing this reaction to the results from the perspective of an Ohioan. Yes, I know Lamar County, Mississippi, long ago presented something like this to voters. At least one matter failed; at least another passed. They came in the pre-Mississippi Lottery era.

So for starters, why did this year’s referendum fail? Either it was a big ask overall — or it seemed like a big ask combined with others getting the short-end of a stick. If a certain meeting is any indication, it’s apparently the latter.

But first, let’s review what this would’ve meant for the district if “yes” cracked the 60% barrier: new buildings for Sumrall High, Purvis High, and Oak Grove Middle Schools; a new office building for Oak Grove Elementary School; and a new gym for Lumberton Elementary School.

At a public meeting in Lumberton, months before the vote, some attendees hinted they didn’t like the idea of only getting a new gym for the elementary school. Knowing what I know, Lumberton needs and deserves more from the school district.

The school district superintendent blamed low voter turnout for the loss — as well as miscommunication and alleged wrong information in social media chatter.

Well — how’s this for chatter? Recall I lived in Ohio, another lottery state, before relocating here in 1991. The Mississippi Lottery, depending on how you look at it, started in 2018 (formation) or 2019 (selling its first scratchers). Even in that other lottery state, bond issues and levies were the norm from school districts; granted, they most likely came from city school districts as opposed to county school districts.

While there was chatter, for and against the Lamar County bond issue, I’m just asking — was there a formal campaign from the school district or friends thereof? Back in my Ohio days (most of the 1980s through the summer of 1991), when a school district put up a bond issue or levy up for a vote, a campaign immediately followed — most likely on local radio stations and in the newspapers. Good friends gave voice to a radio spot ahead of a crucial bond issue vote in ’91. Signs on sidewalks and billboards plus the newspaper ads followed suit.

For various reasons I have to keep close to the vest, I was not able to make a side-trip to Lamar County for the duration of the bond issue period — from the time it was unveiled through last night’s vote.

Still, overall, this isn’t the first bond issue I’ve seen from a school district while residing in a lottery state.

Doug’s Place Flashback #1: Thinking back to the time in the early ’90s the bond issue and levy failed in my old Ohio neighborhood, the school superintendent, while conceding defeat, admitted it was a gamble. Senior adults and retirees I recall speaking with prior to the big vote feared they were being “run out of town.” Was some of that history repeating itself in Lamar County?

Doug’s Place Flashback #2: During my time with Cindy, while visiting her neighborhoods in Delphos, Ohio, near Lima, a bond issue there was soundly defeated. One of her relatives pointed out it was a tough sell to senior adults and retirees. It made me think back to Flashback #1.

To be fair to the school district, if leaders “thought forward” with the bond issue and extremely made over five schools instead of three — with improvements for the elementary schools to match the other three schools — perhaps we’d have different results. There’d be a lot for everyone — instead of a lot for most and a little for others. Again, it sounds like the district needs to support Lumberton a lot more than it already is at the present time.

Hey, there’s still money from the Mississippi Lottery coming Lamar County Schools’ way. Right? I mean — the Mississippi Lottery just started selling tickets for Lotto America. That’s gonna rake in a lot o’ bucks for schools everywhere in Mississippi. Right?

“The Hollywood Squirrels” Final answer?

Random thoughts on recent game show developments.

There’s word CBS will reboot “Hollywood Squares” in primetime next January. About all that’s known is Drew Barrymore will be the center square.

Good pick. There’s a generation, and I’ll include myself in it, who’s seen her grow up in front of the camera from “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Firestarter” right on up to her current hit daytime talk show, which dedicated an episode to an “E.T.” cast reunion.

“Squares” purists should hope Leslie Uggams receives an invite to the grid in this reboot. Between Uggams’ portrayals of Blind Al in the “Deadpool” movies and the overseer of Vault 33 in Prime Video’s adaptation of “Fallout”, I can see this happening. Anyone who knows anything about Uggams’ career knows there’s so much more than just “Fallout” and “Deadpool”. Producers would be wise to throw in clips from the original “Squares” series with Q&A gameplay between Uggams and original host Peter Marshall.

Speaking of producers, they would also be wise to pick up the pace. There’s word those who have run “Hip Hop Squares”, “Nashville Squares”, and the current “Celebrity Squares” for Paramount’s cable networks will run “Hollywood Squares”. Regardless of format, I can’t say I came back week-to-week as a viewer.

The pacing across this series of reboots was, and is, slow — noticeably slower than the John Davidson years in the 1980s. I recall a few times “Hip Hop”, “Nashville”, and “Celebrity” were so slow, that three Xs or circles would not be aligned in the allotted main game time. The match would boil down to who had the higher money score without scoring a tic-tac-toe. Where’s the fun in that?

So if the next “Hollywood Squares” wants a crash course in how to properly produce “Squares”, they should take a look at any recent episode of “Funny You Should Ask”. Select episodes of the Jon Kelley-hosted game show aired not long ago on CBS.

Yes, I know, “Funny You Should Ask” operates on a low prize budget. But it plays much like “Squares” — just with fewer celebrities and no tic-tac-toe element. Kelley reads a question to a pre-determined celebrity, the celebrity gives a joke answer, then the celebrity gives either the right answer or a bluff. It’s up to the civilian contestant to determine if the star is right or wrong. A correct determination awards money to the player’s score.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Question, joke, answer, is the answer right/wrong?

To be fair, on “Squares”, you can’t always go for the joke. Even Marshall admitted this in his memoir. Some celebrities were specifically positioned in the grid for quick “true/false”, “yes/no” or other quick multiple-choice questions because, usually, they’d be chosen for a block or a win. It helped with the — you guessed it — pacing.

Plus, there are secret square questions played for at least one vacation or a jackpot of prizes. In those situations, the host (Marshall or one of his successors) would ask the celebrity a multiple-choice question, the star would choose from among the selections, and the civilian would either agree or disagree.

Overall, we’ve got a long way to go before we see Barrymore and at least eight other stars on a new “Hollywood Squares” (married couples, comedy teams, soap co-stars, music groups, etc., have been known to occupy more than one square throughout the decades). We’re off to a good start.

Briefly, there’s word ABC is bringing back “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” to the network for its silver anniversary. There’s also word celebrities will play for charity throughout the season.

Call me crazy — but I’d rather see civilians play against the house for the million. Ya know — like the good old days when Reege hosted.

It’s gonna take a lotto luck (follow-up)

Roughly four and a half years after the Mississippi Lottery sold its first scratch-off tickets, we may have our first sign it’s not helping our state’s schools.

The Lamar County School District is putting a bond referendum up for votes in May.

District leaders say the maximum amount of the bond issue would be $117 million. If approved, new facilities within the district would be built including the following: new buildings for Sumrall High, Purvis High, and Oak Grove Middle Schools; a new office building for Oak Grove Elementary School; and a new gym for Lumberton Elementary School.

To clarify, I’m not a Lamar County voter. All I can do is provide food for thought in these writings from 2018 and 2019. Yeah, yeah, in the latter link, you’re going to see a reference to, at least, a hypothetical “annual fall festival.” It was written before the pandemic. Mmm’kay?

An even further Doug’s Place Flashback: Just before I left Ohio in 1991, the school system of my Dayton suburb had a levy and bond issue up for votes. Both failed.

The Ohio Lottery — even though it’s home to a TV favorite in “Cash Explosion” as noted earlier — has been in operation since 1973. While a CE host has claimed to see a difference the lottery has made in his child’s school, levies and bond issues have been submitted for Ohio voters’ approval after 1973 — many times.

You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it. Part VI.

Huh boy — let’s hope this doesn’t start another series of long posts. To see the first five parts, go to and search “You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it.”

Maybe I shouldn’t open up about this but I will. I gave up online dating for Lent — for the third time. Unless the Matches, Bumbles, Tinders, etc., can control scammers, this surrender will likely be permanent.

Don’t tell me they can’t control scammers. Yes, the online scamming community (won’t name nationalities) is growing in number. There are reports online scammers have a new ally in AI.

I still argue, however, if the nightclub nearest you can hire security detail, the public school nearest you can hire at least one resource officer, and the university nearest you can employ its own police force, the online dating community should seriously consider hiring police retirees to control the nonsense created by scammers.

It’s 2024. Working from home has become more and more of a thing. Scammers are likely operating from home — while making an ill-gotten fortune. It’s likely scammers are using online dating as a springboard to reach your bank account.

Okay, with that rant out of the way, one of the last times I tried online dating was last year. It with something called JustLo. At the time, it got about a 4.5-star rating in the iOS App Store from fellow users. Likely an A- at worst on the report card.

So, I thought, let’s give it a try. The good news: Two women from Hattiesburg immediately reached out to me. At least — their profiles indicated they were from Hattiesburg.

It was time to prove they were from Hattiesburg. I immediately responded with “SMTTT”. Collective response: They had no idea what “SMTTT” meant.

If you’ve lived in Hattiesburg or vicinity since the dawn of social media, you’re likely well aware #SMTTT is the hashtag shorthand for “Southern Miss To The Top”.

More Hattiesburg women were reaching out to me. Real or fake? Once again, I greet them with “SMTTT” and get the collective — “huh?”

Conversation wasn’t limited to my alma mater and related shorthand. I would bring up other things locals just instantly know: the Pocket Museum; the Saenger Theatre; The Lucky Rabbit; traditional events such as Hubfest, FestivalSouth, and the Crawfish Jam; even “Home Town”, which usually films about half an hour up the road in Laurel (HGTV ventured into The Burg and The Lucky Rabbit more than once). Sure, I could bring up a long-running radio show that celebrated 28 years on the air earlier today — but I’m fighting a losing battle on JustLo.

None of the Hattiesburg-based women I chatted with on said app knew anything about what was going on locally. Alarmingly, they wanted to change subjects.

Speaking of location, location, location, to the best of my recollection, I don’t think any of the other women who reached out were from neighboring cities and towns (read: no one from Petal, Richton, Laurel, Ellisville, Poplarville, Collins, Columbia, the list should go on and on).

To be fair, the pay-to-play platform was a bit different with their coin system as opposed to a three-, six-, or twelve-month subscription. But the coin system felt like playing an old-fashioned rigged slot machine — with a lemon popping up in the third reel every time ensuring a loss.

When I nearly had enough, I wrote a one-star review (surprise!) for the App Store. Now I didn’t go into hyper-local specifics like I have here. To keep my review short, I generalized the “SMTTT”/”huh?” exchange in writing the following…

…as you’ll see, I posted it in late September of 2023 — eight days after Earth, Wind & Fire Day, if you know what I mean.

In early November, the developer responded. Timely response? Judge for yourself.

In the following image, you’ll see the last several words of my review followed by the developer’s response dated November 8, 2023…

…to the best of my recollection, I don’t remember a “report” button. If there were, I’d report accordingly. Otherwise, I’m not dignifying the response with a lot of remarks. Looks like the developer is trying to save some face — and failing.

Regardless, if the first five posts from this blog with the title “You’re a fake, baby. You can’t conceal it.” — based on lyrics from an Alexander O’Neal hit in the 1980s — should tell you anything, it’s this: I’ve gotten good at sniffing out fakes.

And that’s the thing. When I’m spending too much time playing detective when I should be finding a date for Friday night, the apps aren’t worth my time, effort, and, where applicable, money.

Doug’s Place Flashback: Yes, it’s true Cindy, my late wife, and I met online. However, as we got to know each other, we realized we had a lot of mutual friends — one of whom regretted not playing matchmaker (this person’s long since been forgiven).

Generations of people before us didn’t need any kind of internet connection to make a romantic connection. Think about that before plunking down your hard-earned money on a dating app.

Are you reelin’ in the years?

We begin with this image that’s made the rounds on Facebook.

Did the creator of this sign lose a job? I can’t say with certainty. I’ve seen worse.

I remember seeing “F BREAKFAST” on a similar display at a certain restaurant in town. There was noticeable space between “F” and “BREAKFAST” — with the sixth letter of the alphabet on one row and the nine-letter word on another row. The sign maker didn’t finish the job or letters were just lost.

The job stayed unfinished for about three days until it finally changed to something else. That’s not a great look for the restaurant. I’ll give the chain a break and not name the restaurant. They’ve had enough PR nightmares — most of their own making.

But back to ana– er, uh, annual. You laugh — but we ALL need to be careful how we use that word. provides the following two definitions of “annual.”

  1. “of, for, or pertaining to a year; yearly: annual salary.”
  2. “occurring or returning once a year.”

Think about it. We lost several events, normally held once a year, to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those annual festivals, shows, and other events we can set our watch by suddenly didn’t become annual, by definition.

Doug’s Place Flashback: For many of us, the Friday before Spring Break of 2020 started a long time of discontent. A number of us at FOX23 and Waypoint Media would go on to work from home — temporarily. Certain shows, festivals, and other normally annual events in and near Hattiesburg and Laurel were postponed or ultimately canceled. It would stay that way for several months.

Up I-59, my colleagues in Meridian were actively promoting “The Price is Right Live!”, a traveling stage show of the long-running CBS game show scheduled for a presentation in the downtown area in April 2020. I planned to see this. But the traveling game show’s appearance in Meridian was canceled as well.

So, back to the homeowners association. If it canceled this Easter egg hunt due to coronavirus concerns, suddenly, it’s not an annual event. You could call it a traditional Easter egg hunt or just simply call it an Easter egg hunt.

The Indianapolis 500 and Kentucky Derby are two famous races normally held in May. Casual sports fans know one’s an auto race; the other’s a horse race. But one of them has been held annually.

Two Indy 500 events were canceled due to World War I. Four Indy 500 races were lost to World War II.

The Kentucky Derby has endured both World Wars and the aforementioned pandemic. There have been postponements — one due to World War II and the other because of the beginning months of the pandemic. But no total losses.

As of this writing, approximately two months before the command to start engines at IMS, you’re going to see the carefully-worded statement 2024 marks the “108th Running of the Indianapolis 500” — as opposed to “108th (or higher ordinal number) Annual Indianapolis 500”.

Closer to home, a local broadcaster (I politely won’t say who exactly; it’s not a current co-worker) reported on the “one-month anniversary” of a certain event. By definition, a “one-month anniversary” doesn’t exist. Let’s go back to for two definitions of “anniversary.”

  1. “the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event: the tenth anniversary of their marriage.”
  2. “the celebration or commemoration of such a date.”

So, the broadcaster should’ve said, “It’s been one month since (the event).” Wait eleven months and then you have an anniversary. Yes, as Monty Hall would say, the broadcaster missed it by a mile.

When you hear or read about an anniversary or an “annual” event, remember the sign from the homeowners association. Did it really survive the pandemic and was it held in some form during said pandemic? Did other circumstances make it a traditional event instead of an annual event?

Take it from someone who’s about to celebrate the 28th anniversary of a long-running radio show.

Math and science are wonderful things

It seems appropriate one day after Pi Day that this happens.

As this writer sees it, the only people who really wanted the relocation of the Mississippi University for Women and the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science to Mississippi State University, or to have any MSU involvement at all, are the legislators who proposed this. If that’s the case, a polite request to those in North Mississippi: Remember in November.

Based on the chatter I’ve seen and heard in online versions of newscasts from the area, opponents didn’t see how the relocation would save anyone any money. Other opponents also raised the issue of MSMS’s 16-, 17-, and 18-year-old students on the campus of an SEC school — possibly being exposed to a lot of Thursday and Friday night partying and definitely being exposed to big money sports, especially on the weekends.

At a time like this, I wish Geof were still here. My younger brother passed away nearly two years ago. I’m sure he would’ve opposed this proposed move — loudly. If you knew Geof, you knew he spoke fondly of his years at MSMS and Columbus. There are a few MSMS staffers from the late 1990s who remember Geof. He’s that unforgettable.

With that, long may MUW and MSMS live in Columbus. And, if you can spare the dimes, please send a monetary contribution to: Geof Morris Memorial Fund, MSMS Foundation, 1100 College Street W-190, Columbus, MS 39701.

Big money goes around the world

(Hmmm, wonder why I’d go with Rush lyrics in the title for this post?)

It’s been about 24 hours since “that happened” — so I suppose it’s safe to comment on “what happened.”

For the last few months, I’ve been following “La Poule aux œufs d’or” — one of only two lottery TV game shows in production in North America. The other is the long-running “Cash Explosion” in my adopted home state of Ohio, where they still write off the one-year-old “Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich” as if it were a Pam Ewing-style bad dream. #IYKYK

A look at the show’s entry on Wikipedia gives the impression the game show plays like “Treasure Hunt” — both the original series hosted by Jan Murray and the reboot that Chuck Barris bought from Murray. The original version of “La Poule” had a quiz element whereas the current version is luck-based. Seeing as how it’s a lottery show, it has to be to be luck-based.

In recent months, the show’s progressive jackpot (“le gros lot”) already surpassed its own record of $1,075,000, a payoff awarded nearly two decades ago — just after America’s Memorial Day weekend of 2004.

“La Poule aux œufs d’or” had gone more than a year without awarding the jackpot — which reached $1,525,000; as of this writing, that translates to $1,127,000 and change in American currency.

See the historic three-game episode here. You’ll get an idea of how the show works in the first game. “Le gros lot” is awarded in the second game. I wondered if a fresh $150,000 jackpot would go into circulation for the third game with it being randomly placed into one of the remaining eggs (a policy enforced in the 1970s and 1980s versions of “Treasure Hunt”) — but no.

As of this writing, a spot check of Google News indicates many French-speaking Quebec media have reported on this. I’m honestly surprised the English-speaking media in Canada have not followed suit.

U.K.’s in Jeopardy! — baby — just — for one month?

The most recent version of the United Kingdom’s version of “Jeopardy!” has concluded its most recent series (“season” in American terms) after nearly one month.

If ITV commissions another series, I’ve got ideas for improvements. But first, let’s look at the positives.

As the old saying goes, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. The U.K.’s “Jeopardy!” bore a very striking resemblance to ours here in the U.S. The theme music is about one generation old, the opening animation is about the same (with a noticeable emphasis on the host, more about him in a bit), and the game board is nearly the same (props to the U.K. writers for making full uses of the widescreen when writing answers; American scribes are still adhering to the 15-character-per-line rule, instituted since J! returned to the air in 1984). You’d almost think the British invaded Culver City, California to tape the season on American soil — but they didn’t.

The host is Stephen Fry. I confess — I don’t know a lot about him. I’ve seen him on the British “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and I’ve heard about his work on “Quite Interesting” — but that’s about it. From the episodes of “Jeopardy!” I saw, he handled the game well — however — we’ll get to the negatives eventually.

Knowing what I know about British game shows, their hosts have gained just about as much rock star status as, say, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, etc. There is very little syndication in the U.K. So once a game show is commissioned (“sold” in American terms), it goes national rather quickly and can find an audience just about as fast. That is why you saw a lot of Stephen in the opening animation.

So, some notes on gameplay. Since “Jeopardy!” in the U.K. ran for an hour each weekday (try saying that three times fast), they played three rounds before Final Jeopardy! Much to the surprise of a couple of podcasters in the U.K., they don’t play regular Jeopardy!, Double Jeopardy! and Triple Jeopardy! like we do on “Celebrity Jeopardy!” here in the U.S. In the U.K., there were two rounds of Jeopardy! and a Double Jeopardy!

The “cash amounts,” using Stephen’s terminology, below each category, to be honest, bore some resemblance to the first reboot of “Jeopardy!” here in the States. The one that started in 1984 with Alex Trebek at the helm and continues to the present day with Ken Jennings is the second reboot.

True story: The first “Jeopardy!” reboot debuted in 1978 on NBC the day after Geof was born. No wonder I mistakenly called it “Geofardy!”

In any event, below each category in the U.K. are answers worth £25, £50, £75, £100, and £150; double those amounts, naturally, for Double Jeopardy! In the ’78 reboot, the answer values were $25, $50, $75, $100, and $125 (again, the stakes doubled in DJ!) — two and a half times the original series’ amounts.

Lowball, you say? I agree. But, again, knowing what I know about British game shows, U.K. residents aren’t greedy by nature. They play more for pride than anything else. Yes, I know, this is the nation that gave the rest of the world “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and has at least one other million-pound game show in production. But still, from what I’ve seen, many U.K. games are played for modest stakes.

Geof, once upon a time, was eyeing a move to the U.K. If those plans came to fruition, I told him he should try out for “Countdown” — a long-running game show of letters and numbers. Geof was really good at Scrabble and, given his passion for engineering and science, can be really great at math. I did note a daily winner claimed a custom-made teapot for the show with the overall tournament of champions winner receiving a leatherbound Oxford English Dictionary, which had a value of about £4000 at the time.

So, as I saw it near the end of 2023, U.K. champions on “Jeopardy!” in the month of January would average about £5000 per victory. Eh — I’m not too bad off.

Okay — I’ve held off the negatives enough. Podcasters in the U.K. picked up on this. My fellow Americans picked up on this.

The… pacing… of… the… United… Kingdom’s… latest… version… of… “Jeopardy!”… is… too… durn… slow.

Here in the U.S., a player picks a category and an amount, the host reads the answer, a player buzzes in hopefully with the right question, the moment the host says the questioner’s correct, the questioner picks the next category and amount, lather, rinse, repeat at a rather blazing speed — only to slow down just a smidge when the controlling player finds a magical daily double. The same can be said in just about every foreign version I’ve seen — including at least two previous U.K. “Jeopardy!” incarnations only played for points with the top winner assured of no less than £500.

Same can be said for “Rock & Roll Jeopardy!” on VH1 here in the U.S., which I was quite good at. “Sports Jeopardy!” on Crackle, with one less answer per category in each of the first two rounds, was a little slower in pace to allow for an opening monologue from host Dan Patrick, more chatting with players midway through the show plus a post-game wrap-up. Not too slow, though.

Over in the U.K., a player picks a category and an amount, the host reads the answer, a player buzzes in hopefully with the right question, and the moment the host says the questioner’s correct, the host — then — likely — explains why the question and answer “match” each other — on darn near every answer and question. Think of it as an extra “Jeopardy! Clue for You” — seemingly too many extras just to fill the hour. Commercial breaks, for the curious, are fewer and further between in the U.K. — so that’s why America’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” plays at the speed of, well, “Jeopardy!”

With memories of 1978’s “Jeopardy!” somewhat fresh, the biggest thing I can think of to help the U.K. “Jeopardy!” going forward is — a bonus round. Don’t groan too loudly, my fellow Americans.

If ITV commissions another series of “Jeopardy!” as an hourlong format, I can see Stephen presiding over three rounds of competition (hopefully a regular J!, Double Jeopardy! and Triple Jeopardy!) with the game-deciding Final Jeopardy! to crown the champion. Along the way — cut down on the jibba-jabba, to use Mr. T’s terminology.

That should save more than enough time for — Super Jeopardy!

Doug’s Place Flashback: This YouTube video shows you how Super Jeopardy! worked in the 1978 reboot. Think of it as five-in-a-line American-style bingo before making three mistakes.

From what I’ve been able to gather, the U.K. uses just one giant monitor to display answers as opposed to a 6×5 display of monitors. So I’d argue they can pull off their own Super Jeopardy!

Further, they wouldn’t have to limit it to five categories with five “level numbers”. They could have 25 categories on the board — with an answer behind each one. Then place a green marker to indicate a correct question or a “life lost” (our strike) for an incorrect question.

Another thing I’ve noticed about British game shows: They prefer the term “lives lost” — something akin to 1980s video arcade games. They’ve used that terminology on “Family Fortunes” (our “Family Feud”) and “Cash Cab”.

If the U.K.’s recent, and just as well-done, adaptation of “Wheel of Fortune” is any indication, Super Jeopardy! in the U.K. doesn’t necessarily have to be played for more money. It can be played for shopping sprees at certain businesses or “a lovely holiday” (in American terms, a nice vacation).

Bottom line: If I were an expatriate American living in the U.K., I’d still watch — but I’d want to watch a fast-paced quiz I’ve grown up with.

Some hope: Stephen will be hosting “Jeopardy!” for Australian television with expatriate Aussies competing on the U.K. set. Don’t know much beyond what’s been reported in the Australian press.

ADDENDUM 6/10/24: I’m just now getting around to seeing an episode of “Jeopardy! Australia” — which plays just like the most recent U.K. version. The cash amounts are $50, $100, $150, $200, and $300 — in Australian funds, naturally — in each of the first two Jeopardy! rounds with the values doubled in Double Jeopardy! Also, just like the U.K. version, Stephen adds in extra info after just about every answer and question.

Remembering the founder of TV’s best-known Doug’s Place

When my late brother and I were building Doug Morris dot org, I came up with the name Doug’s Place as a nod to an establishment on “Days of Our Lives”. The Doug in that Doug’s Place was Doug Williams, played by Bill Hayes.

Word came this weekend Hayes passed away at the age of 98. My fellow game show fans and I recall his many visits to “The (Original) Hollywood Squares”; its spinoff, “Storybook Squares”; and “Password Plus” — often with his co-star and real-life wife, now widow, Susan Seaforth Hayes.

Wesley Eure, another game show favorite and DOOL co-star who has Pine Belt ties, posted this tribute on Instagram.

Another one bites the dust?

Belated wishes for a happy new year, everyone. If 2024 is not off to a great start, there is plenty of time for a turnaround.

However, it appears it’s too late for a former nemesis of Doug’s Place. A colleague sent me these photos.

The colleague also called the number listed for Direct Media Services — and got the “number is not in service” response.

Between a dated website format (Adobe Flash support went bye-bye about four years ago; thus making it impossible to display a montage of all-star placements), no sign of good social media links (not even Instagram or the new Threads), an alarming context clue of Paul McCartney’s “new book” (seen in the earlier image; “Each One Believing” was published in 2004; I wouldn’t call that new), and a disconnected phone number, I’m calling it.

DMS has closed its doors for good. If so, when?

To DMS, all I can say is this: In the event you’ve really met your Waterloo, good riddance!

Recall nearly two decades ago, I blogged a Direct Media Services representative wanting to book a live morning satellite interview with a sex therapist on a TV station where I worked at. Due to the content therein and the targeted daypart, citing parents would be embarrassed in front of their children if this went forward, I immediately said no. But — the same rep wouldn’t take no for an answer.

She called and e-mailed me a total of six more times begging and pleading me to change my mind. I still responded in the negative. Further, we narrowed our prerequisites for satellite interviews to the point that DMS and its competitors would have to work hard to get their feet in the door.

I can only hope these standards are still honored long after I’ve left. Leadership changed after I moved on to other work. To be fair, I’m pretty sure they’ve got a “no dice” policy on satellite interviews by now. Their resources have grown since I’ve left; so the “need” for satellite interviews should be at or near zero — would that it’s below zero.

If this is the end, what happened? I’ve searched the news section of Google, and nothing has turned up. Know something? Let me know in a reply.

After putting up with DMS’s sex therapist nonsense, I programmed all messages on my work account to have anything from any e-mail address ending in a DMS e-mail domain go straight to junk mail — where it belongs. I basically cut ties with them after that drama in 2004.

Nearly two decades later, I can only wonder if they started shooting themselves in the feet. Did DMS become its own worst enemy? Did other stations around the country balk at this nonsense the way I did? Again, that “new book” by Paul McCartney, “Each One Believing,” was published in 2004 — the same year DMS begged and pleaded to have a sex therapist interview appear on a morning show I produced.

I recall DMS had a secondary website — The link will take you to how it looked in, you guessed it, 2004, courtesy of It appears has had no new updates since 2008; it is since defunct (hence why I’m not hotlinking to the current So maybe that’s a clue to when an apparent going away party, with final toasts to each other, was held.

It still begs the question: If DMS is no longer in business, why is the main Direct Media Services website still active, as of this writing?

Suppose that champagne jam/last call for DMS happened less than two decades ago. In that case, I hope those who left DMS went on to rewarding careers — jobs that don’t involve pestering local TV producers about satellite interviews with little or no local value — or, horror of horrors, interviews about shows on other networks or streaming services such as NetFlix.

Finally, to the satellite interview universe at large (a spot check of Google indicates at least one of DMS’s competitors is still in business; another, apparently, has diversified and not included SMTs among its services; I recognize the names), I can tell you the TV industry at the local level is becoming less and less dependent on satellite interviews. A producer’s need to fill three minutes in a local newscast can now be done more constructively.

Long ago, I suggested you should pitch SMTs with a regional twist instead of a national one. As much as DMS continued to beg to book this sex therapist interview, I begged for more interviews with regional and statewide interest. They didn’t listen. Did they pay the consequences? Judge for yourself.

One of DMS’s competitors, who shall remain nameless, wanted to book a satellite interview on behalf of Meijer, the retail chain primarily based in the Midwest, on school meal prep. I immediately rejected since there’s no Meijer store here in Mississippi. The Meijer rep begged — citing an online component. If there was an online component, the original press release should’ve listed the web address for said online component (apps weren’t a thing yet); it didn’t, I had to Google the address and show said address to the rep. I still rejected; local nutritionists were ready to pick up the slack anyway. The rep would’ve had better luck in the states where Meijer has brick and mortar stores.

So if producers are saying “no dice” to SMTs for whatever reason, it’s time to change your strategy — lest you meet your Waterloo.

Apparently — like Direct Media Services.