BOSTON -- If "The Price is Right" and the state's finances aren't put in "Jeopardy," Massachusetts may soon run an interactive television game show to increase revenues.
State Treasurer Joseph D. Malone, who also serves as chairman of the Massachusetts Lottery Commission, announced late Tuesday that the state will launch a weekly game show that will involve not only a studio audience but, through on-line participation, the home audience as well.
The Massachusetts lottery is one of the largest in the country. In fiscal 1994, the state received over $600 million in revenues after prizes. The state ran a television program for the lottery from 1975 through 1985 called "The Big Money Show."
Malone announced that the state is working with Mark Goodson Productions to set up the new program.
"The Massachusetts lottery has always tried to keep its games exciting for players by introducing new ideas and constantly improving our games," Malone said. "This new game show will allow players to participate in a regular drawing, but also have an additional chance to win a prize."
Malone said that unlike other games associated with the lottery, this new game show will allow contestants to participate in "exciting, suspenseful games of chance."
The Lottery Commission has been looking for new ways to build revenues. Malone and the lottery's board, meanwhile, are reportedly concerned about Gov. William F. Weld's desire to bring some form of casino gambling into the state.
Several sources said a proposed casino in Falls River could lessen the revenue from the lottery.
The new game show is expected to cost about $1 million a year to run and would be funded directly from the lottery's $70 million operating budget. Lottery officials said they hope to increase lottery revenues through increased ticket sales and advertising for the show.
Malone was just reelected for a second term as state treasurer. He and Weld have both been credited with improving the state's finances since they first took office, in January 1991.
Malone said the game show will be seen in the Boston area on Saturday afternoon at 12:30, directly following the popular weekly Candlepin Bowling Tournament. For the rest of the state, the time has not yet been determined.
The state will be holding an open audition for a host for the show in Boston's Comedy Connection on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.