Scrambled Scuares Squared
Words are Buzz Berry's game, but lately, the host of "Sqrambled Scuares" has been more of a numbers man.
The High Country's own game show has grown exponentially, all due to a simple equation: "Two teams of two equals twice the fun."
Next week, Berry's proud to premiere "Sqrambled Scuares Squared."
Whereas the original concept has two contestants competing to unscramble a series of word puzzles, this latest incarnation features two teams of two going head-to-head, or heads to heads.
"We've been doing 'Sqrambled Scuares' for close to nine years now in the High Country," said Berry, also the show's creator. " Although we've done some specialty shows that featured two teams of two, we never till now decided to have a teams edition, with two teams of two."
And it has a nice ring to it.
"You have to insert a space in there," Berry joked, "so, it's 'Sqrambled Scuares ... Squared.'"
Over the years, he said, people would be hesitant to play without their husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend by their side.
But the new show is only a couples' edition in the most literal sense of the word. It's not limited to significant others, but open to friends, roommates, colleagues, church members, businesses, "and the combination of pairs can just keep on going," Berry said. "There are a lot of folks who wanted to be on 'Sqrambled Scuares' over the years, but they wanted to have a teammate, somebody to support them."
Those folks include Ben and Jaime Whitehead, owners of Coyote Kitchen, and Jason and Amanda Campbell, owners of Bald Guy Brew in Blowing Rock, who will appear on the "Sqrambled Scuares Squared" premiere Monday, May 30, at 8:30 p.m.
"Everybody seems really receptive, even though we're just getting started," Berry said. "We'll be looking for teams of two, and these teams can represent businesses, churches, neighborhoods, nonprofit organizations, and I don't mind if they want to use the show to bring attention to an event they have coming up. That's part of the fun there, too."
For instance, the following episode will promote the June 11 fundraiser to restore the historic Boone Mennonite Brethren Church - one of many causes the local game show has championed in its nine years.
"We can claim to be one of the longest-running local television game shows in U.S. history," Berry said. "I can't find another local television game show that's been around longer ... It doesn't mean it's not out there, I just couldn't find it."
On the other hand, he's found a lot of contestants.
"It's just been a lot of fun, being able to meet so many people in the High Country, and in a fun way," he said.
The fun involves unscrambling a series of anagram puzzles before time runs out, with contestants drawing prizes, like gift certificates to area businesses and restaurants, along the way.
The "Squared" edition follows the same rules, only teammates alternate each round and both participating in the oftentimes nerve-racking "Super Sqramble," where contestants have only one minute to unscramble the squares.
Plus, Berry and company are always welcoming people to join the studio audience, which is almost as interactive as the game itself, complete with giveaways, free refreshments and Berry's trademark repartee.
"I've never had the opportunity but once to sit in the audience," he said, "but it's a fun, live experience."
Tapings happen every Tuesday at 6 p.m. for the regular show and 7 p.m. for the "Squared" edition, all at BZB Productions on Winkler's Creek Road in Boone.
The show took a six-month hiatus last December, as Berry dealt with illness in the family, "but we've got a crew that's just been so supportive, and they're ready to come back, too," he said.
The comeback happens Monday, May 30, at 8 p.m., with the "Squared" edition following at 8:30 p.m. And don't worry if you miss it. "Sqrambled Scuares" airs weeknights, at the same times, on cable channel 20 in the High Country and cable channel 4 in Wilkesboro.
For more information or to sign up as a contestant (and watch an episode, while you're at it), visit http://www.sqrambledscuares.biz.