For some of us, it comes as something of a relief to consider that in the landscape of nonfiction television, survivors and top models and American idols and flavors of love will come and go. Low-concept nerdy word games, on the other hand, apparently are timeless. Just look at Chuck Woolery, whose storied show-host career has included stints on such language-loving programs as Wheel of Fortune; Scrabble; and, most recently, GSN’s ratings gobbler, Lingo. Has that guy aged at all? Or, better, look at Chuck’s Lingo co-host, Shandi Finnessey, who, as a former Miss USA (2004), is also conveniently easy to look at and who will be at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville Center Court on Saturday afternoon, auditioning prospective Lingo contestants.
People tend to like Shandi. She has an old-fashioned, all-this-and-brains-too thing going on, and she and Chuck have good chemistry, at least as word-game-show co-host chemistry goes. In Lingo, which airs nightly at 7:30 on GSN, teams of two square off to decipher five-letter word puzzles for cash. Quite often the contestants, perhaps overcome from the pressure and the gleam of studio lights and co-hosts’ eyes, appear idiotic and barely literate, but Chuck and Shandi very graciously don’t rub it in.
Saturday’s audition will involve a timed word test and an on-camera interview. Two finalists will be selected for an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles and another round of auditions (contestanthood, in this day and age, is highly selective). Runners-up will receive swag, including Lingo stress balls and samples of Friskies cat food. (Is there a correlation between linguistic inclinations, stress levels and cat ownership?) All are welcome to autographs and photo-ops with Shandi. April 22, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., 1151 Galleria Boulevard in Roseville.