Producers of “Poker Night in America” Introduce New Poker Show – “The Final Table”
The creators of the popular syndicated poker show Poker Night in America, Rush Street Productions, have received kudos for the work they have done. In an era in which there has been little to no “new” television programming dedicated to poker, Rush Street Productions came out and provided that content for a rabid audience. Now they will take that premise one step further with the creation of their latest show for syndication, The Final Table.
“We’re very excited to be bringing this new programming to national television,” said Executive Producer Dustin Iannotti during the announcement of the new show on Friday. “We plan to take some risks to try and appeal to a broader mainstream audience. The show will be unique and focus on entertainment, built around a poker game. It will be unlike anything that’s ever been produced before in poker.” The president of Rush Street Productions, Todd Anderson, gave the nuts and bolts of The Final Table. “We expect to produce twenty-six one hour shows in 2016 (and) there will be plenty of chances for people to play and make their way to a Final Table, including a $1M guarantee Main Event at Choctaw Casino at the end of April,” Anderson noted.
What might set apart The Final Table from other poker broadcasts are some of the innovative and risky changes that the producers have taken with the game. Such changes as a “time bank” chip for use to make extremely hard decisions, a “shot clock” format that will give players only 60 seconds to make their decision or else their hand is dead and other twists to the game will be featured, as well as top professionals duking it out on the baize. In addition to these changes, there will be more “comedic” featurettes that focus on compelling moments in the game of poker.
The Final Table promises to have some interesting analysts in the booth to offer commentary for the program. In the studio will be two viewpoints – perhaps the “Old Guard” and the “Young Gun,” so to speak – in 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and American Poker Awards nominee Jason Somerville. In another unique twist, Hellmuth will be in the broadcast studios in the traditional manner, while Somerville will be in his “comfort zone” as he broadcasts over Twitch. Somerville is one of the most popular performers on Twitch, with his streaming broadcasts often racking up tens of thousands of viewers.
When the action is on the felt, it will be up to play-by-play announcers Maria Ho and David Tuchman to keep the viewer up-to-date on what is happening in the game. Ho, who left her broadcasting duties with the Heartland Poker Tour last year (where she was the first female professional poker player to hold down color commentary duties on a poker program), will join Tuchman, who currently does play-by-play for Poker Night in America and has done the World Series of Poker’s live stream previously, in what should be an intriguing and fast paced broadcast booth.
Already in the can (taped for broadcast) are episodes from Turning Stone Casino in New York, Canterbury Park in Minnesota, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL and the Thunder Valley Casino in Sacramento. In the next couple of months, The Final Table cameras will be revisiting some of these old haunts and a couple of new ones:
February 25 – March 7: Canterbury Park Club, Shakopee, MN
March 1 – March 14: Maryland LIVE! Casino, Baltimore, MD
April 1 – April 4: Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh, PA
April 8 – April 11: Sugarhouse Casino, Philadelphia, PA
April 7 – April 27: Choctaw Casino, Durant, OK
For those yearning for new poker programming, check your local listings. The Final Table will be debuting in late spring, but it will be on a syndication basis. Therefore, the actual stations and broadcast times may vary.
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