|Burt Luddin (played by John Cervenka)|
|Krystal (played by Tiffany Richardson)|
|Stephanie Brown (as Mackenzie Peters)|
Michael Luckerman (as Wendell Hardy)
Sabrina Hill (as Veronica)
Jordanna Capra (as Rhonda)
Chris Darga (as Lou Deborg)
Game Show Network: 4/1/1999 – 6/30/1999 (reruns continued until 2001)
|Game Show Network|
"The following program is a real game show, featuring real contestants vying for real prizes. From the city of neon, it's time for Las Vegas' number #1 and only game show, the love buffet (Insert description & the three couples) Do these couples have any reason to stay together? Will find out on BURT LUDDIN'S LOVE BUFFET! And now, the man who really lives dishing out, our host Burt Luddin!"
Burt Luddin's Love Buffet was a short-lived relationship-styled game show, similar in style to The Newlywed Game, wherein three married couples competed for prizes. However, the game was interspersed with a "behind-the-scenes" situation comedy, where the characters were fictional. It premiered in 1999, but was canceled in 2001.
Paul Abeyta and Peter Kaikko, who had previously created the talk-show satire Night Stand with Dick Dietrick, which had starred comedy actor Timothy Stack, created Burt Luddin's Love Buffet in cooperation with John Cervenka, who, in addition to acting out the lead role of Burt Luddin himself, was also the series producer. (Abeyta and Kaikko were the executive producers of the show.)
On Burt Luddin's Love Buffet, the game itself, hosted by former Las Vegas television meteorologist Burt Luddin (actor-producer John Cervenka), was real, as stated above. Gameplay was divided between four rounds and followed by a "Bonus Buffet", whose primary prizes consisted of travel packages.
In Round 1, each couple was posed a separate question with a multiple choice answer. A successful match was worth 1 heart. In the subsequent rounds, all three couples were asked the same question, the halves alternated. A match was worth 2 hearts in the second round, 3 in the third, and 6 in the final round. The couple with the most hearts (out of a possible 12), won the game, a $500–$750 merchandise prize, and the right to advance to the "Bonus Buffet." All three couples had drawn balls with numbers inserted in them before taping of the show began; in the event of tied scores, the ties were broken by giving the game to the couple with the highest number.
In the Bonus Buffet, where travel packages were the prizes, the winning couple picked the trip they would play for by selecting one of five buffet serving trays displayed by Krystal (actress Tiffany Richardson), the show's model; the destination was on the lid of the tray. Krystal then read out the description of the travel-package prize. Then the couple, separated by a partition, held in their left hand a set of boxer shorts, in their right hand a pair of women's panties. Burt would then read a statement about behavior or habits, and each half of the couple would hold up the item to which of them they thought the statement applied. As Luddin himself phrased it: "If it applies to (man), pull up the boxers, if it applies to (woman), pull up her panties." The couple won the travel-package prize by matching at least seven of the ten statements. They "missed" whenever they matched six or fewer of the ten statements, and then won only the prize they had won for winning the game; they were not entitled to any extra prize awards.
Three different couples competed on every show; there were no returning champions.
Comedy situations and the show's failure
Aside from the authentic contestants genuinely playing the games and actually winning the legitimate prizes, Burt Luddin's Love Buffet was otherwise a situation comedy whose comedic theme was what supposedly went on behind the scenes of the game show. These were generally rather outrageous situations, and they were all deliberately kept separate from the gameplay.
Unfortunately for Abeyta and Kaikko, game shows proved not to be as rich a potential comedic mine as talk shows had been, especially on a dedicated basic-cable network as opposed to first-run syndication or even a major non-cable television network, and Burt Luddin's Love Buffet was canceled in 2001, after only two generally low-rated seasons.
John Nordstrom II
“Some contestants are briefed as to some areas of questioning prior to taping.”