The show in question is We Interrupt This Week, and it was the first game show to be broadcast on Public Television. I don't think that's really a big deal - when I became a fan of it, during its single season of 1978, I didn't care if it was PBS' one-hundredth game show. What mattered was that it was thirty minutes of witty, erudite humor. It came during my PBS/British phase, when I'd discovered the charms of both British programming (The Prisoner, Monty Python) and PBS as a refugee from the single commercial television channel I endured in the world's worst town.
We Interrupt This Week was a mock game show that was hosted by the BBC's Ned Sherrin, who was perhaps the closest host I've seen to John Daly. (I also loved his word pronounciations.) It started out, if I'm remembering correctly, as a monthly program called, appropriately, We Interrupt This Month. When it met with surprising success, it became a weekly series and changed its title accordingly.
I called it a mock game show, but I'm not sure that's either accurate or fair. The two teams, made up of media celebrities of one extent or another*, did play the game for real, and did score points that, in the end, would determine the winning team. And the questions were legit, if often ridiculous. The scorekeeping was slightly less capricious than that on another British import, Whose Line is it Anyway?, though Sherrin did echo Clive Anderson with his pronouncement at the beginning of each show that "My decisions will be arbitrary, prejudiced and final."
*In the original monthly version, the sides were called the "Home" team and the "Home Away From Home" team. When the show started its weekly run, the teams were simply labeled "Home" and "Visitor" or "Guest." That "Home Away From Home" moniker tells you a lot about the show's sense of humor.
It was great fun seeing celebrities not always known for having senses of humor* - Jeff Greenfield, Richard Reeves - in a battle of wits not only with the other team but with the sardonic Sherrin, who in the tradition of quiz hosts always managed to have the best lines. As far as I can tell, this is the only recording of the program - at least it's the only one I could find, so I'll let you be the judge. It's been a long time since I've seen this show - I was reminded of it by running across it in last week's TV Guide listing - but I find it holds up just as I'd remembered it, if you can put yourself back into the headlines from 1978.
*It also showed which of them were smarter - or perhaps stupider - than you thought. Watch this and judge for yourself.