Although the channel formerly known as Game Show Network has become plain ol’ GSN, the cabler embraces its unpretentious roots with “Camouflage,” a word-game series where the winner can walk away with, like, a few hundred bucks. Dress it up all you want with interactive components, this new program hosted by Roger Lodge could just as easily be premiering in 1977 as 2007, which, all things considered, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Three players try to find the word hidden within a perplexing string of letters, so the puzzle “LINDSAYLOHAN” — and clue about where the actress “hears ‘cut’ ” — turns out to be “S-A-L-O-N.” Get it? (For the record, Chuck Barris produced a show with the same title — using pictures embedded within each other — in 1980.)
The game itself as actually surprisingly tough, and the visuals disarmingly low-key compared with the recent spate of spookily-lit gameshows since “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “The Weakest Link” splashed into primetime.
The challenge for GSN is that such conventional gameshows traditionally skew to an older audience, which explains why the game network and an assortment of other channels (AMC, A&E and TLC) have distanced themselves from the brands for which those letters once stood, the better to chase younger demos.
Interactivity has provided GSN an opportunity to sip from the fountain of youth by attempting to tap into the computer-fluent audience with real-time play-along elements, but the retro flavor of “Camouflage” won’t do much to dispel perceptions that “younger” and “gameshow” remain oxymoronic. Yet strictly in the spirit of “Wheel of Fortune” or “Tic Tac Dough,” chalk up the channel’s latest offering as a perfectly serviceable property that meshes with its classic gameshow library; inspiring a significant audience to go to the trouble of finding it, alas, could be another matter.