Mario Lopez's Blank Slate Is Super Fun, And Features One Of My New Favorite Game Show Moments

Mario Lopez smiling hosting Blank Slate
(Image credit: Game Show Network)

As someone who rather perfectly handles the balance between scripted acting and TV hosting, the eternally youthful Mario Lopez is as genial as on-screen personalities get. (Who else could make teaching Henry Winkler about DILFs so adorable?) He continues to prove himself a stellar frontman while heading up Game Show Network’s latest original, Blank Slate, which is essentially a slightly less bawdy version of The Match Game, based on the popular board game of the same name. 

Blank Slate is not only one of the channel’s more amusing offerings, but it also boasts my new favorite game show moment, on top of other highlights. Let’s see if anyone out there’s preferences match up with my own.

Best Thing: Mario Lopez Vs. The Judges

While Blank Slate isn't necessarily a show that's perfect for Jeopardy! fans, it does share some common ground by way of having behind-the-camera judges around to assess whether or not contestants' answers are close enough matches for points to be earned. I always got a mini-jolt during any point when Alex Trebek (or Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik after him) wouldn't quite know whether or not a specific pronunciation or wording passed muster, thus requiring a quick look and inquiry: "Judges?"

But while audiences don't always see how those decisions are made on Jeopardy!, which sometimes needs to put filming on pause for clarification purposes, Blank Slate has more fun with that process. If Mario Lopez sees two answers that are anywhere near the same vicinity, he's probably going to call on the judges to make a decision. And if that decision isn't in the players' favor, he just might cause a stink over it.

While it may not be the most objective way to host a show, I absolutely adore each and every time Lopez raises his voice in a faux-argumentative tone, such as it went in the clip below:

I don't know why I think it's so damned funny to see Mario Lopez acting like a kid arguing with his parents, and I obviously can't speak with any authority on whether or not the host's interjections actually sway the judges to side with the contestants. But I 100% hope that this remains a regular feature of Blank Slate for however long it runs.

Also Great: Anytime Someone References Mario Lopez's Career

As someone whose career has taken him from teen sitcoms to killer cable dramas to soap operas to dance competitions and beyond, Mario Lopez has proven his talents in so many different ways. And already during the first two months of Blank Slate's run, several episodes have seen contestants and their comedian guest partners bringing up various roles from Lopez's past.

It wasn't all that long at all before someone brought up the actor's hilariously steamy stint as Colonel Sanders for Lifetime's mini-movie A Recipe for Seduction back in December 2020. And you know this show couldn't possibly exist without Lopez's dance moves getting referenced. And not just verbally, but visually, with the host showing off his rhythm at times.

I absolutely love the banter between Lopez and frequent guest Caroline Rhea, especially when it's centered on their work in Hollywood. And even though he wasn't involved with Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I'm absolutely here for any and all anecdotes she shares about that sitcom, even if it's just to say she's using her Aunt Hilda powers.

What I'm really hoping for now is for a Saved by the Bell vet or two to show up on Blank Slate, such as Tiffani Thiessen or Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Not that I'd turn down Elizabeth Berkley or Lark Voorhies or Dennis Haskins or literally anyone from the Peacock revival.

Blank Slate airs weeknights on Game Show Network at 6:00 p.m. ET, and can be streamed on demand via YouTubeTV subscription or other services.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.