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Some Random Thoughts

Big Break Atlantis
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DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 27: Ian Poulter of England smiles on the 11th hole during the Pro Am prior to the start of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club on January 27, 2010 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)  - 

One of the hardest parts of producing a Big Break is keeping your poker face. We spend a few months of pre-production in Orlando creating the rules for all the challenges, and devising the twists and turns of the season. Then after each shooting day is over, we interview contestants that may have unwitting triggered a trap that won’t spring until the next day’s shoot. 

For instance, at the end of day four, which corresponds with our fourth episode, I interviewed Kelly, who had bought out of the elimination challenge in that episode. So I had to ask her to talk about her decision to trade all of her points to avoid elimination, knowing full well that the next morning she would be playing a one-hole match against Natalia to avoid being sent directly to the episode 5 elimination. Evil laugh.

Episode 5 was a big day with a lot happening. Gerina Pillar returned, we played tic-tac-toe, and we had $5000 credit from Avis up for grabs. Great to meet Gerina, as I didn’t work the Big Break Prince Edward Island season. She’s incredibly nice, and a credit to the game, we thank her for appearing and wish her success on the LPGA Tour.

Tic-tac-toe is an idea that’s been floating around for at least four seasons in different incarnations. One of the big issues has always been dealing with stalemates. In the paper game we all played growing up, two players that know strategy can force a stalemate almost every game. Golf tic-tac-toe is a bit different simply because players have to execute a shot, but we had no idea how many stalemates to expect. To protect against that concern, we used it as a first stage in a two stage immunity. Naturally we had zero stalemates. Many thanks to Range Servant for providing the net system, and to our Art Department for dressing the pieces in true Atlantean fashion.

At the end of episode 1, we always ask the contestants about the grand prize package during the night’s interviews. We usually end up with a variety of responses, but certain people fixate on certain prizing. Allison was especially pumped up about the inclusion of Avis in the Grand Prize package that first night, so naturally she was pretty juiced when the episode 5 immunity prize turned out to be Avis. We couldn’t have asked for a more excited winner. After hanging on and surviving a few early episodes, she vaulted up the Championship Points leaderboard in show 5. Could it be a sign of things to come?

Tune in next week...

Jon Painter