Wanda Sykes Pushes It With New BET Game Show

Wanda Sykes' game show Face Value debuts on BET Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. The show sees teams judge a stranger based on a minimum of information, including their name and job, and how they look. Teams consist of three people, each with a captain—in the pilot, actor and comedian Brandon T. Jackson captains the men’s team, and Sheryl Underwood, also an actor and comedian, captains the ladies.

The teams see a quick clip of Tiffany Haddish interviewing a person on the street, then have to guess how the person will answer a question asked of them. 

As Sykes says in the promo, “it pays to judge a book by its cover.”

Face Value comes from Push It Productions, the production outfit founded by Sykes and Page Hurwitz. Push It’s other creations include Talk Show the Game Show on truTV.

Sykes was in Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO and hosted The Wanda Sykes Show on Fox, and has had numerous comedy specials on HBO.

The show “will humorously break down stereotypes, expose prejudices, and celebrate the human spirit by highlighting the commonalities and differences among people of various backgrounds, races, religions, beliefs and life experiences,” according to BET. The network is on board for 12 episodes this season.

Hurwitz says Face Value “has conversations a lot of people have in private.” It does not make the effort to be politically correct, and in fact celebrates that it is not. “It’s all wrong,” Hurwitz says. “But it’s hilariously funny.”

Deon Cole (Black-ish, Barbershop) hosts, and Haddish (Girls Trip, Carmichael Show) does man-on-the-street segments, similar to Jay Leno’s old Jaywalking segments, asking passers-by some pretty off the wall questions in Las Vegas.

Why is she in Vegas, when the show is taped in Glendale? “It’s the one place you can find every type of person,” says Hurwitz.

Sykes calls Cole “very likeable, very funny and quick witted,” and says she’s been a fan of his for a long time.

“He’s great on his feet…he can talk to anybody,” adds Hurwitz.

The idea for the show came from Lance Crouther, who holds an executive producer title alongside Sykes and Hurwitz.

Sykes says Face Value is “fun and open and honest.”

Hurwitz believes it will change some of the racial stereotypes some people hold. “People will have their biases blown out of the water,” she says.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.