PLAAY Games

Sports Simulation Board Games

NBC's "Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge" Returns

NBC's Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge

NOTE: NBC's Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge was conducted in January and February of 2015 with the "Celebrity Skater" card set for ROLLER RUMBLE Roller Derby Game. The series is chronicled below, starting with the initial announcement, and concluding with the results of the "Million Dollar Game."

January 30, 2015

It began as a lightly-regarded summer replacement series in 2009, and exploded into a national phenomenon--and now, six years later, it returns for another lap around the banked track. NBC's Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge begins a brand new adventure of celebrities-turned-athletes with a triple-header season debut Sunday night after the conclusion of the network's broadcast of the Seattle-New England pro football world championship game.

The premise: classic banked track roller derby, skated by celebrities, scaled back for television. That means shorter games, a slightly less severe bank angle for the track, and somewhat relaxed rules. And--like all great reality TV--people are going to get PAID. There's a million dollars on the line, to be divided by the winning team however they see fit. Just like in 2009, NBC will also present a second million-dollar check to the charity of the winning team's choice.

The series was a runaway ratings hit in its inaugural season, with Donny and Marie Osmond's team making an inspriring run from the loser's bracket, forcing a winner-takes-the-check final game against David Hasselhoff's squad of stars. The final bout generated so much interest, it was moved from the NBC soundtstage in Burbank, to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. NBC pulled out all the stops, staging the game as a benefit for the Susan G. Komen foundation, and rolling out the "pink" carpet for a host of invited celebrities. As a special touch, NBC invited Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page for a special pre-game feature on roller derby, spotlighting the just-released derby movie "Whip It." The game itself was close and tense, with Hasselhoff's team holding on for a 15-13 win.

All of this hoop-la prompted industry speculation that a second installment would quickly be forthcoming. Instead, the network found itself quickly tangled in litigation from a variety of sources. "After the series, we had a number of participants whose legal counsel was, shall we say, a little aggresive," explained NBC VP of Programming Gary Cook. "All of a sudden, a bump or a bruise became a 'career-threatening, debilitating injury.' Truth is, for many of these folks, there wasn't much of a career left to threaten." Cook continued, "We also heard from several parties claiming to own rights to various elements of roller derby, everything from thebanked track to the use of the term 'jam.'"

Because of these headaches, NBC was disinclined do a sequel, despite a steady stream of viewer requests for one. Cook says the network finally began to look into reviving the series two years ago. "We sat around the big square table one afternoon, somebody says, 'Look, we need a hit show.' Somebody else says, "what about roller derby?' I said, 'seriously?'"

Cook continued. "We talked. We talked some more. We sent it to legal. Our team put together a disclaimer document and waiver, all participants are required to sign it." Cook added that celebrities will get a bigger paycheck this time around, even if their team doesn't win the tournament. "First time we did this, everybody got paid scale, except the winners. This time around, we negotiated different deals with each celebrity--but no money was even discussed until they agreed in principle to sign the waiver."

The 2009 series was a solid ratings success, ending up the year's fourth most-watched reality TV show, and ninth most-watched show overall in the key 25-54 demographic. "Older viewers remembered the roller derby from Saturday morning television when they were kids," enthused Cook. "Younger viewers are re-discovering roller derby through the grass-roots flat-track versions that have sprung up all over the country. So, it's a win-win."

Several of the stars of the 2009 series have returned for 2015, including actors Vin Diesel and Matt Damon, and former Olympic star Kristi Yamaguchi. Diesel commented, "I was so excited when I got the call about this show coming back, I love the competition, I love getting the TV exposure, and if we win the million dollars, I'll love that, too!" Yamaguchi was one of the celebrities quickest to embrace the sport in the 2009 edition, and had several scoring sequences that were athletic enough to make the cable network sports highlight shows.

The new 2015 edition of NBC's Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge kicks off with a triple-header extravaganza, with all six celebrity teams in action back-to-back-to-back. After that, the series settles in to a Tuesday and Thursday night primetime schedule, for six weeks. (Check local listings for exact broadcast times.)

February 2, 2015

Results from NBC's post-Big-Game Triple-Header Roller Derby Extravaganza...

GAME ONE: Team WARNER vs. Team ANDERSON

The momentum shifted wildly in this one after a tight first period that saw the Team WARNER women clinging to a 5-4 lead. In the second period, the WARNER guys put on a clinic, mostly at the expense of Team ANDERSON’S Chaz Bono, who was repeatedly exploited for position and points. At the end of the second period, Team WARNER held a comfortable 12-4 lead. But with Pamela Anderson moving from pivot to the jammer slot, Team ANDERSON seized control of the game in the third period. Anderson scored 4 on an early jam, then with Lindsay Lohan “blinding” WARNER jammer Brooke Burke with talcum powder, then some track-bullying from Lohan and Kanellis provided an opening for Vivica A Fox to jet past for three more points. Denice Richards’ illegal elbow to Raven Symone’s midsection—unseen by celebrity referee Carson Daly—provided the final point of an 11-0 run that put Team ANDERSON on top 15-12. The fourth period quickly led to fisticuffs. An early skirmish between Apollo Ohno and rapper Ro Shon sent both guys to the penalty box. A second shoving match involving Hines Ward and Matt Damon resulted in ejections. Just when it looked pretty bleak for Team WARNER, though, captain Kurt slid on the jammer helmet and joined blocker Bill Goldberg in the backfield for an unlikely jam that caught Team ANDERSON off-guard (Highlight Reel result) and resulted in six points, putting Team WARNER back in front! As the fourth period ticked down, Team ANDERSON gained enough track advantage for a jam, but—needing 3 points, and with their best jammers having been ejected— elected to go for the POWER JAM. They JUST managed to pull it off—but could only get 1 point, and Team WARNER held on for the win. WARNER 18, ANDERSON 16. Afterward, Goldberg told Daly, “This is where we turn it on, baby. I’ve already thinking about how I’m gonna spend my share of the million dollars.”

GAME TWO: Team SEACREST vs Team GOSSELIN

The SEACREST women grab an early 6-1 lead, but as the buzzer sounds, Hope Solo scores four points and Snooki Pollizi chips in an additional point to make it 6-5 at the end of the first period. The GOSSELIN guys dominate the second period: twice the SEACREST guys kicked off jams, but it was the GOSSELIN men who scored. Finally, a huge late-period eight-point jam (Will Wheaton 3, Vin Diesel 5) to make it 16-9. However, the third and fourth periods were ALL SEACREST: both the GOSSELIN women and men were shut out, and X-Games star Louie Vito chipped away at the Gosselin lead in the final period, scoring 1 point, then 3 more to tie the score at 16-16. As the game clock ticked down to zero, Team SEACREST got a jam started, but found little room between GOSSELIN defenders. However, as the buzzer sounded, Warren Sapp and Trace Adkins heaved Chris Tucker over the rail, allowing Vito to sneak past for the winning point! Now THAT’S “Must-See TV!!” SEACREST 17, GOSSELIN 16. Afterwards, when Tucker complained about the rough treatment, Sapp butted in and said, “Yeah, well next time you’re gonna get worse!”

GAME THREE: Team ROCK vs. Team KARDASHIAN

A tale of two squads: The ROCK men were rock-solid, but the ROCK women were embarrassingly out-done by inferior athletic ability and relentless underhanded tactics from the KARDASHIAN women. Home captain Kim KARDASHIAN opted to have the men skate first in this one, and the ROCK men bounced back from an early deficit to knot the game at 7-7 at the end of the first period, ex-sports stars Dennis Rodman and Darryl Strawberry combining on a 7 point power jam. The second period saw the KARDASHIAN women go on an 8-0 tear, the half ending with Kim Kardashian given Tia Carrere a bloody nose—and, making it worse, Kardashian was caught on camera laughing about it. The ROCK men gained back a couple points in the third period, Terrell Owens jamming for five points. But when the women took the track in the fourth period, an 18-12 lead ballooned to 27-12 with Lolo Jones and Kirsten Dunst taking turns swerving past and leaping over fallen ROCK skaters for points. Afterward, Khloe Kardashian explained, “We knew the way the series is set up, the team with the biggest first-round win got a second round bye. We wanted to be that team, so we made it a point to never let up. Does that make us bad sports? Who cares—we want the money.” KARDASHIAN 27, ROCK 12.

Second round action features a TUESDAY night (2/4) game from the “Champion’s Bracket” and a THURSDAY night (2/6) game from the “Second Chance Bracket”…

Champion’s Bracket: SEACREST at WARNER (loser moves to second-chance bracket.)

Second-Chance Bracket: ROCK at ANDERSON (loser is out of the series.)

Earned Byes: KARDASHIAN (biggest margin of victory), GOSSELIN (narrowest margin of defeat).


February 3, 2015

SAPP ARREST PROMPTS REMOVAL FROM ROLLER CHALLENGE

NBC announced today that Warren Sapp has been dropped from the network’s “Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge” reality/sports series, due to his weekend arrest in Phoenix. VP/Programming Gary Cook announced the move this morning in a brief, two paragraph statement. “We felt that it could be a distraction,” Cook said, “so we needed to move quickly. We notified Warren this morning—He wasn’t happy about it, but he said he understood.” Sapp had played a prominent role in Team Seacrest’s first-round win, which had been videotaped a couple weeks prior to broadcast. His spot on the Seacrest roster will be taken by a new celebrity, to be announced shortly. Contacted via cell phone, Sapp was contrite and concerned. “I let the fans down, the network down, and I let myself down,” said Sapp, adding, “I just hope that if our team wins, I’ll still get a cut of the million dollars. I mean, they probably wouldn’t have won that first game without me.”


February 4, 2015

GAME FOUR: Team SEACREST vs. Team WARNER

With the women skating first in this one, Warner’s Kristi Yamaguchi went right to work. The star of the 2009 edition of the series pulled off this season’s first multi-lap power jam, jetting through the pack, and then circling back around to slip past Seacrest’s Kristin Cavallari as the jam buzzer sounded, for six points. Brooke Burke added two more points on the jam for Team WARNER, and it was the start of a huge first period. The Seacrest women’s defense looked ragged and disorganized, and by the end of the first period the Warners had exploited it for a series-record 19 points, and a 19-5 lead. However, with X-Games star Louie Vito wearing the jamming helmet, the Seacrest guys chipped away at the big deficit in the second period. On two occasions, Team WARNER got jams started, only to see Team SEACREST get the points. Then, when Vito was penalized for aggressive play, the Seacrest guys responded by pulling off a rare short-handed jam—and picked up a couple MORE points! At the end of the second period, the Warner lead had been knocked down to just five points, 19-14. In the third period, the Seacrest women’s defense looked completely different than it did in the first—thanks perhaps to a halftime scolding by celebrity coach Jenny McCarthy. The Seacrest women stuffed three Warner jams, including a power jam midway through the period. Late in the period, Seacrest jammer Lil’ Kim kicked the skates out from under Yamaguchi and clambered through the ensuing pile-up for three points, making it 19-17.

Desperate to make something happen in the men’s fourth period, Team WARNER shuffled its line-up, with Warner and blocker Bill Goldberg strapping on the jamming helmets. An early period jam got underway, but again Team SEACREST stiffened, and at the end of it Trace Adkins flattened Jaleel “Urkel” White, with Vito sneaking past for a late point that made it 19-18. Moments later, the Seacrest guys seized the lead, with Seacrest himself weaving past fallen Warner-ites for three points. Team WARNER put together a jam with just under three minutes to play, and a last-gasp jam in the final 30 seconds, but were unable to score either time. That made three complete periods with zero points for Team Warner—and a trip to the “Second Chance Bracket” for next week’s action. After the game, Warner—uncharacteristically harsh—suggested that Seacrest was “over-rated, certainly as an athlete and probably as an entertainer as well.” Seacrest’s Snooki Pollizzi shot back, “I think Kurt needs to figure out how to get his team to play four quarters per game instead of just one.”


February 5, 2015

GAME FIVE: Team ROCK vs. Team ANDERSON, and Somebody Goes Home!

NBC's "Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge" hit the airwaves tonight with the first game from the “Second Chance Bracket,” where the winner stays alive for the million-dollar check, and the loser exits the series. Pamela Anderson opted to have the men skate first in this game, and barely three minutes into the first period action, we had a shocker of a plot twist. The Rock got into it with Team ANDERSON honorary “coach” (and one of 2009’s team captains) David Hasselhoff (Pamela Anderson’s co-star in “Baywatch”), and was EJECTED! Hasselhoff had been shouting insults from the infield, and suddenly Johnson skated into the infield and let the Hoff have it with a classic “People’s Elbow”—resulting in referee Carson Daly immediately giving “The Rock,” “The THUMB!” OUTTA here! What a development—Team ROCK’S best skater, ejected from the game!

However, the ejection of their leader seemed to energize Team ROCK rather than discourage it. A shove-filled first period resulted in only three points, total—a 2-1 Anderson lead . The Rock women started the second period with an impressive jam, Tia Carrerre scoring five points. That prompted Team ANDERSON’s Denise Richards to knock Carrere to the floor with a vicious forearm, ending Carerre’s evening. (Carrerre also suffered a bloody nose in last week’s game!) The second period ended with Team ROCK on top 9-4, but it was still anyone’s game, and with The Rock unavailable for the men’s third period, the fans wondered how this would shake out…

What happened was Dennis Rodman. Rodman dished out hit after hit, alternating legal blows with questionable ones. With Rodman obliterating defenders and Apolo Ohno, Lil’ Romeo and Terrell Owens slashing past them for points, the Rock men—minus The Rock—increased the lead to 20-6 at the end of the third period. The carnage continued in the fourth period, with a frustrated Team ANDERSON’s dirty tricks and borderline tactics mostly drawing blanks. Team Rock’s lead ballooned to twenty points, 28-8, before a couple of late jams against the second-teamers narrowed the final score to 28-15.

In the post-game interview segment, both captains pointed to the early-game altercation between Johnson and Hasselhoff as the catalyst for what happened afterwards. A clearly angry Anderson fumed, “That kind of garbage doesn’t belong in ANY league, not to mention a reality TV sports league.” Johnson was unapologetic, saying Hasselhoff got what he deserved, and laying the blame on the referee, Daly. “I know this is just a made-for-TV sports thing, but come on—the officiating s**ks. Me getting thrown out of the game two minutes in—that was a bunch of cr*p,” adding, “See you next week.”

Team ANDERSON becomes the first team to be eliminated from the series, while Team ROCK advances in the “Second Chance Bracket,” to play the winner of the upcoming match between Team WARNER and Team GOSSELIN.


February 10, 2015

GAME SIX: (Champion’s Bracket) Team SEACREST vs. Team KARDASHIAN

The winner of this game gets the easiest path to the “Million Dollar Check,” needing only a single victory against whichever team emerges from the Second Chance Bracket.

The Seacrest guys seized the early lead with an impressive double-trouble jam, Jose Canseco grabbing the jamming helmet and joining forces with Louie Vito for a total of six points between them. But the Kardashian men mustered a late first period power jam, Lil’ Jon weaving past the Seacrest defenders for five points making it 6-5. The Kardashian women opened the second period with a series of “gray area” tactics that have become their signature: “accidental” skate tangling, sneaky elbows to the ribs and hair pulls into the rail. Kim Kardashian twice victimized Debbie Gibson at or near the end of jams, each time giving the Kardashian women crucial additional points. Referee Carson Daly appeared not to notice, as no warnings were issued. At the end of the second period, Team KARDASHIAN clung to a slim 11-10 lead. Early in the third period, Kardashians Richard Hatch and Steve-O collaborated on a “high-low” hit to Trace Adkins, knocking him out of the game. So, on came the newest Roller Challenge celebrity, Blake Shelton, star of NBC’s “The Voice,” who has taken Warren Sapp’s place on the Seacrest roster. Shelton immediately went to work, with an ungainly but effective shove that sent Hatch into the rail and sprang Vito (who’s the early odds-on favorite for CRC MVP) for a perfect “grand slam” 5 point jam, putting Team SEACREST back on top 15-11. A Kardashian jam as the third period ended netted a couple points, and we entered the fourth period with the Seacrest women charged with protecting a 15-13 lead.

Kim Kardashian opened the fourth period by taking an awkward face plant into the infield chairs, unable to return, replaced by little-used Leah Remini (Carrie Heffernan on the CBS hit sitcom “The King of Queens”). Shortly after entering the game, Remini delivered a well-placed knee to Kristin Cavallari’s midsection that triggered a Kardashian jam by Lolo Jones. With Cavallari sprawled on the track in pain, the athletic Jones took advantage of the opening, quickly lapping the pack and circling back around to skate by Cavallari again, and also slip past Gibson and Snooki Pollizzi a second time, for a total of eight points and a 21-15 lead. Team captain Ryan Seacrest was visibly angry, and apparently had seen enough of the underhanded Kardashian tactics. As the pack re-formed, Seacrest shouted instructions to Lil’ Kim, who immediately began knocking people around with a vengeance. After a Cavallari screen sent the Seacrest women into the jam, Kim circled the track and delivered a pair of “payback” cheap-shots as she sped past Remini and Khloe Kardashian, and fellow jammer Shawn Johnson also earned a point, making it a one-point game again, 21-20 with about three minutes to play. That set up a potential fantastic finish, but it wasn’t to be—the Seacrest women were unable to generate a jam, and the Kardashians were content to skate out the remaining time. However as the final few seconds wound down, Khloe Kardashian took the opportunity to get in one last shot at Cavallari, a roundhouse hook that landed, sort of—enough to send Cavallari to the track for the second time. As the closing credits rolled, Seacrest could be seen in a heated exchange with Daly.

Team SEACREST now heads to the “Second Chance Bracket,” where it will play the winner of Thursday night’s Team GOSSELIN vs. Team WARNER contest in round four action. Team Kardashian awaits the “Second Chance Champ,” and will get two shots at the Million Dollar Check.


February 12, 2015

GAME SEVEN: (Second Chance Bracket) Team GOSSELIN vs. Team WARNER

Another “loser goes home” match-up that will trim to four the remaining combatants for the million dollar check…

Kurt Warner decided to have the men skate first in this game, and his strategy was quickly apparent. With his jammers Ro Shon and Brian Bonsall seriously outmatched by Gosselin’s jamming duo of Donald Driver and Helio Castroneves, Warner out his best athletes—himself and Bill Goldberg—in the up-from blocking slots, electing to use solid blocking to build track advantage, and limit Gosselin’s chances to score on jams. It worked early, with six points on two power james, but then Team GOSSELIN got wise, and moved Driver into the blocking slot. By the end of the first period, the Gosselin guys had re-gained the lead, 7-6. Expecting fireworks in the women’s second period, instead we were treated to a tough-as-nails jostle-fest. Hope Solo for Team GOSSELIN scored the second period’s only point to extend her team’s lead to 8-6. The men’s third period saw Gosselin’s John Rich smack Warner’s Adam Carolla with a guitar case, unseen by referee and emcee Carson Daly, Carolla’s resulting tumble tripping up several Warner defenders and making it easy for Rich to pick up four quick points, extending the lead to 12-6. Instead of being provoked, Team WARNER stuck with its policy of patience, rewarded when Ro Shon blew through the pack for a perfect five point jam. The third period ended with Team GOSSELIN clinging to a 12-11 lead.

Warner’s men’s crew had kept it close enough that his talented women’s squad was able to deliver the win in the fourth period. They seized momentum—and the lead—with an early double-barreled scoring jam that saw Kristi Yamaguchi and Brooke Burke each score points, putting Warner’s team on top for the first time since the game’s early moments, 16-12. Then, Warner had the women shift gears and go into “slow-down mode,” a move that Gosselin was never able to short-circuit, despite personnel changes on the track. A Yamaguchi point on the game’s last jam provided the final five-point margin, 17-12.

Kate Gosselin expressed her disappointment at her team being the second squad eliminated from the reality/sports series. “I thought we had better skaters, and better strategy, but you look at the scoreboard and it tells a different story,” she lamented. “I hope NBC does this again next year, because I want another shot!” Warner, ever the diplomat, congratulated Gosselin as the closing credits rolled. “You guys did a heck of a job out there, with no foul play or dirty tricks—I really admire that.” When Daly reminded Warner of Rich’s guitar case antic, Kurt winked and said, “was that illegal?”

Team WARNER stays alive in the Second Chance Bracket, with a Tuesday night (2/17) match against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s team. “Thank goodness we get the weekend to recover from this,” said Warner, rubbing a welt on his shoulder picked up during the game. “I don’t heal as fast as I used to when I was playing football.”


February 17, 2015

This week's telecast of NBC's Million Dollar Celebrity Roller Challenge features the first of three consecutive elimination games from the “Second Chance” bracket. NBC is touting new ratings just release, which show CRC to have picked up viewers with each broadcast. Ryan Seacrest plugged the show on last week's “American Idol" on FOX, and as a result last Tuesday’s match between Team SEACREST and Team Kardashian drew top ratings (8.7, 11.3) for the time slot in the 18-34 and 25-54 demographics. NBC VP/Programming Gary Cook said, "we're pleased, obviously," adding, "we always felt this show had the potential to become another phenomenon like the last edition was. It's gratifying to see that happening."

GAME EIGHT: (Second Chance Bracket) Team ROCK vs. Team WARNER

This match settled in to be a defensive struggle, as Kurt Warner stuck with his even-handed “wait for the opportunity” approach which has served his team well. Indeed, all five first period jams were kicked off by The Rock’s men’s squad, but the Rockers were only able to score on one of them. At the end of the first period, Warner club trailed, but only by two points, 4-2. The Warner women took the track for second period, and Team ROCK borrowed the “patient” page from Warner’s play-book, slowing the game down so as to reduce the advantage of the stronger Warner women’s squad much the same way that the Warner men had done against the more talented Rock men. Team WARNER’s Kristi Yamaguchi did manage to pick up a couple scoring jaunts, and at the half Team WARNER led 6-4. The third period echoed the action of the first—tough defense, plenty of hard hitting, and points were scarce. Big blocks from Team ROCK’s Dennis Rodman gave the Rockers two late power jams—but only two points! Still, Team ROCK entered the final period with a 7-6 lead…

Team WARNER switched gears in the opening minutes of the fourth period. Instead of playing for position, the Warner women opened up with some high-flying, aggressive skating that quickly produced a double-shot jam. Yamaguchi breezed past three Rock defenders for points, and fellow jammer Brooke Burke also picking up a late point, making it 10-7 Team WARNER. Moments later, though, Team ROCK kicked off a power jam that saw Jenny Anderson leap over three fallen defenders as the buzzer sounded, to knot the score at 10-10! With less than six minutes to go, the Warners kicked off a jam, but Rock defenders quickly double-teamed Yamaguchi. That left it up to Burke, who eked out a point with a smart move near the end of the jam, making it 11-10. Then the defining moment: with just three minutes to play, the crowd noise deafening, the Warner women got another jam going. Needing a point themselves, the Rock jammers decided to go one-on-one with Yamaguchi and Burke, and Yamaguchi made them pay—she turned on the jets and out-skated Anderson, picking up three points—HUGE! That made it 14-10 for Team WARNER, and the dying moments of the game saw the Rockers unable to trigger a last-gasp jam.

After the game, Warner appeared to be fighting back tears, saying “These guys and gals, I am so proud of them. Kristi was amazing. Brian Bonsall—he has worked so hard to be a good skater. We started out a bunch of celebrities acting like athletes, but we’ve become a team—maybe not the most talented team, maybe not the flashiest team, but we’re a team.” Dwayne Johnson was reflective as well after the defeat knocked him and his team out of contention for the championship. “Forget about the money, we’re in it for the competition. Tonight wasn’t our night, but we skated clean and skated hard. We can live with ourselves.”

Team WARNER moves on in the Second Chance Bracket, with a Thursday night prime-time game against Team SEACREST. “We’ll enjoy the win tonight, get back to work tomorrow, said Warner. “In two days, it’ll be do-or-die again, so we can’t afford to celebrate too long.”


February 19, 2015

GAME NINE: Team WARNER vs. Team SEACREST

The winner of this game advances back into the Championship Bracket needing to defeat TEAM KARDASHIAN twice in order to win the Million Dollar Check. Key story lines here are Team WARNER establishing itself as the “feel good” team, with an overachieving roster that seems to have been smiled upon by good fortune, and Team SEACREST, eager to extract comeuppance to the cheating Kardashian squad that knocked them into the second chance bracket with a controversial one-point defeat…

As the “home” team captain, Ryan Seacrest chose to have the women skate first—a strategic decision that meant the game would be decided by the men’s squads, of which Team SEACREST has a marked advantage. That put extra pressure on the Warner women to try to build a cushion, and it showed: Warners’ Raven Symone was whistled for aggressive skating in the opening 30 seconds of play, putting Team SEACREST at a man-advantage. They converted a power jam moments later, Snooki Pollizzi slithering through the pack four four points. Then, the Warners’ Kristi Yamaguchi was called for tripping—referee Carson Daly was showing zero tolerance—and again the Seacrest women converted, but only a single point. Late in the first period, though, Team WARNER settled down, Yamaguchi picking up four points split between two jams, and the first period ended with Team SEACREST on top 5-4.

The Warner men headed to the track, needing to keep it close. That they did in a hard-hitting second period, which was highlighted by a huge blindisde block from Bill Goldberg that allowed both Warner jammers to sneak through for a point giving Team WARNER its first lead, 6-5. Louie Vito got a late point on the second period’s final jam, and at the half it was 6-6.

The Seacrest women began the third period in a surprise formation that featured Lil Kim in one of the jammer slots, and before the Warner women could adjust, Kim had picked up a couple points on an early jam—aided by some shady tactics from Paris Hilton—to regain the lead for the Seacrest women, 8-6. Symone delivered payback on the next sequence, hurling Hilton over the rail with a sharp shoulder, causing Hilton to tumble hard to the concrete floor (producing a smattering of applause from the audience)—Hilton would not return. Late in the third period, with the Seacrest women double-teaming Yamaguchi, trailing jammer Brooke Burke found an opening and scrambled for three big points, giving the Warner’s a 9-8 lead.

Could the Warner men protect the slim lead? The Seacrest guys immediately went on the offensive, kicking off the first jam of the fourth period with a flying screen from Jose Canseco—but, the Warner defenders held fast, no points! Next a power jam from Team SEACREST—again, stuffed! No points! The crowd was getting really energized at this point. The Seacrest guys got it together and kicked off yet another jam, but this time Warner signaled his lead jammer Ro Shon to turn on the jets, a move that caught the Seacrest guys completely off-guard. Vito got tangled up with Bonsall, and could only get a single point, while Ro Shon jetted past four Seacrest defenders. Daly signaled the points—and the underdog Warners had extended their late lead to four points, 13-9!

Now less than three minutes remained. Trace Adkins in the pivot position, calling the signals—jostling in the pack, Canseco grabs the jamming helmet from trailing jammer Seacrest and then lead jammer Vito breaks loose—another jam is ON! With the defenders position to stop Seacrest, a big seam opened up in the Warner defense, allowing both Canseco and Vito to score—five points between them, and—oh MY!—Team SEACREST had a one-point lead with just over a minute to play, 14-13! The pack re-grouped, the clock re-started, and the desperation set in for Team WARNER—unable to get a jam started as the final seconds ticked down. Just as the buzzer sounded, Goldberg and Metta World Peace went spinning into the infield chairs, with words exchanged and fists raised—Daly intervened, and order was restored. Team WARNER’s good fortune had run out, and Team SEACREST is headed to back to the Champions Bracket for a rematch with the dastardly Kardashians!


February 26, 2015

GAME TEN: The Million Dollar Game, Team SEACREST vs. Team KARDASHIAN

A re-match from round two, with Team SEACREST nursing a grudge having been victimized by low-ball tactics that were all the difference in a one-point defeat. “We’re not going to just sit back and take it this time,” spouted Seacrest in the pre-game segment. “If that kind of stuff starts happening again, we have a plan.” “What, is that some sort of THREAT or something?”, Kim Kardashian retorted. “There’s no place for that kind of garbage in this show, and if Little King Seacrest thinks he’s gonna dish something out, he better be ready to suffer the consequences.” With that angry exchange, the game began, with the women on the track first…

Indeed, as the first period began it looked like an angry, edgier Team SEACREST, with Lil’ Kim delivering a shot to Kirsten Dunst’s ribs that sprung jammer Snooki Pollizzi for two points. Minutes later, Kim “accidentally” dropped a wet towel on the track, causing a massive wipe-out for Dunst and Khloe Kardashian. That netted three more points for Team SEACREST on the subsequent jam. Late in the period Shawn Johnson broke through for four points to extend the Seacrest lead to 9-2—each of these jams was kicked off by the Kardashians, but in every case it was Team SEACREST that scrambled past defenders for points!

However, with just seconds remaining in the first period, the Kardashians got a huge break: Johnson was whistled for illegal procedure, and the Kardashians quickly mustered a power jam, Lolo Jones circling the pack for five big points, quickly trimming the deficit to 9-7.

The men took the track for the second period, and apparently referee Carson Daly had seen enough of the “new” more robust Seacrest style. Just seconds into the period, Seacrest himself was whistled for roughing. Some scrappy skating, though, from Trace Adkins prevented the Kardashians from creating a power jam as penalty time expired. But just as the Seacrest guys returned to full strength, Metta World Peace laid out Sean Avery with a blind side blow, and Daly hit team SEACREST with another penalty for roughing. Again, through, Adkins pivot savvy prevented the Kardashians from jamming with the man advantage. It looked like the second period would go entirely scoreless, but with seconds left the Kardashians created a jam, which saw Keyshawn Johnson slingshot around the track, elbowing past Adkins, Peace and Jose Canseco as the buzzer sounded. Suddenly the Kardashians had their first lead of the game going into the half, 10-9.

The women’s third period began with some hard hits dished out, one of which sent Seacrest’s Kristin Cavallari to the bench with a possible concussion (later shown to be negative). A Kardashian jam was once again thwarted by Team SEACREST—Lolo Jones picked up a point for the Kardashians, but she was out-smarted by Pollizzi, who flung a well-placed elbow into Jessica Alba’s mid-section and then ducked past a lunging Khloe Kardashian and two other defenders—four points! That put the Seacresters back in front 13-11. Team KARDASHIAN responded by quickly putting together yet another jam, but only eked out a single point, again from Jones. Late in the period, Kim Kardashian directing the pack, gestured to Jones to “hand over the helmet”—the jam was on, and Kardashian then weaved past a slow-to-react Seacrest defense for a perfect “grand slam” five point jam as the final seconds ticked off the clock. That sent the Kardashians into the final period with a solid 17-13 lead.

Apparently sensing that a million dollars was slipping away, the Seacrest guys took the track in the fourth period with a no-holds-barred sense of urgency, quickly kicking off a jam. But Kardashian Jammer Lil’ Jon delivered a below-the-belt blow on Seacrest star jammer Louie Vito, unseen by Daly, and with Vito writing on the track in pain, Lil’ Jon skated past four defenders to extend the Kardashian lead to seven points, 21-14. Next sequence, Lil’ Jon tried the same move—this time Daly saw it, though, and called off the jam, but—despite Seacrest protesting violently—didn’t send anyone to the penalty box. The pack re-formed, the clock re-started—and Seacrest’s Jose Canseco sent Vito through for the jam—a perfect five pointer as the crowd roared. With 5:20 left in regulation, the Kardashian lead was trimmed to two points, 21-19!

As the final minutes drained away, the Kardashians played a roller derby version of “keep-away,” stringing out the pack just enough to make it difficult for the Team SEACREST to jam. Finally, with 40 seconds left two play, the game’s last jam commenced: Kardashian Richard Hatch wove crazily from one side of the track to another, intending only to screen out Vito to keep him from scoring. At the last moment, desperate Seacresters Adkins and Peace collided on the track, and Hatch was able to tumble over them for two insurance points, providing the final margin of victory for the Kardashians 23-19.

Afterward, Carson Daly presented the million dollar check to team captain Kim Kardashian, and a second million dollar check to be donated to the Kardashian team’s charity of choice. “We’ll have a vote on it after we’re through celebrating,” Kardashian said, “we’re leaning toward St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.” Kardashian added, “this is a vindication for all the smack talk from the other guys, we won this thing fair and square and no one can take it away from us.” Losing captain Seacrest was visibly irate, replying to repeated prompts from Daly with curt, clipped responses. When asked what words he’d like to say to opposing captain Kardashian, Seacrest replied “Well, she won’t be making any guest appearances on any show I’m associated with any time soon, that’s for sure.”