There is a fine line — also, just four letters — separating a fan from a fanatic.
Those who wander too far over the line often wind up getting police mug shots, restraining orders and 15 minutes of fame on TMZ.
But Big Fan, an offbeat new game show premiering at 9 p.m. Monday on ABC, is looking for super fans who can restrain themselves to a somewhat healthy obsession.
The show’s premise couldn’t be simpler. It asks three diehard fans to prove they know more about their favorite celebrity — a movie star or reality TV personality or sports hero — than anyone else.
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After two rounds of trivia to determine a winner, the No. 1 fan then goes head to head against the celebrity. Sometimes the fan actually knows more about the celeb than the celeb knows about himself.
Jimmy Kimmel, one of the executive producers, describes the type of big fan you’ll see competing on Big Fan:
“No. 1, you have to have a pet named after the celebrity,” he says. “Or named after the celebrity’s pet. That’s very important.
“No. 2, there have to be posters in your home. Whether you’re married or not, it doesn’t matter.
“And No. 3, you really have to know the minutiae. I mean, you have to know what, for instance, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers got on his SAT test. If you can come up with that sort of thing, you’re probably going to make it on the show.”
Rodgers happens to be the celebrity in the second of back-to-back episodes airing Monday. The first episode brings in Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey.
Rodgers said he agreed to do the show for two reasons.
No. 1, he’s a big Jimmy Kimmel Live fan: “I love watching him on late night,” Rodgers says. “I always look forward to the sketches on his show.”
No. 2, he enjoys interacting with die-hard Packers fans: “Whether it’s at a training camp practice, where we get anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 fans at our practice, or whether it’s at a community event or whether it’s at a signing or any time I’m at the Piggly Wiggly buying groceries, there’s a great relationship between Packer players and fans,” he says.
The two episodes airing next week feature reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West and actress Kristen Bell.
“I think people will want to tune in just to see if the celebrities don’t know something about themselves,” Kardashian says. “I think that would be funny.”
As a matter of fact, it happens in the first episode. McConaughey buzzes in to answer a question about himself (how old he was when he filmed the movie Dazed and Confused) and he gets it wrong!
Celebrity-driven TV game shows in prime time seem to have made a comeback in recent years. Also in ABC’s lineup are To Tell the Truth, hosted by Anthony Anderson, at 7 p.m. Sundays, and Match Game, hosted by Alec Baldwin, at 9 p.m. Wednesdays.
Meanwhile, NBC has a new game show, The Wall, that mixes an old-school trivia format with 21st century prize money (up to $12 million at stake in every episode). Episodes air this week at 9 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Big Fan was inspired by a popular segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live that pits a celebrity versus a super fan. The segment became a viral video success when pop star Katy Perry went up against a fan and lost.
What’s also fun about the show is that even the losers go home happy after host Andy Richter takes photos of the fans with their beloved celebrities.
There are no creepy stalker moments in Big Fan. This show is about the stars and their fans having a good time together and bonding.
“I pride myself in having a close relationship with my fans,” Kardashian says. “I really believe that, if I didn’t have that support system from my fans, I wouldn’t have a career. I owe them so much.”
- 9 and 9:30 p.m. Monday
- WFAA/Channel 8