A Saskatchewan-made interactive game show is using its online season finale for a good cause.
Big Time LIVE!, hosted by Weyburn entertainer Richy Roy, will collect pledges for Special Olympics Saskatchewan when the trivia show goes live on Facebook at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“They need us now more than ever because it’s not just about competing in the games, it’s also about the mental well-being and being connected to their friends and family,” said Roy, who operates Big Time GameShows with his brother Preston.
The online game show is open to anyone with a Facebook account to access the Big Time LIVE! page. It’s free to play, and contestants — who answer in the comments — can win prizes.
Money raised during the season finale will support Special Olympics Saskatchewan programming, which has been on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Just in conversations with some of our athletes, you get a sense for how much they miss their programming, and it’s a lot more than just sport and fitness,” said Jeff Zerr, director of marketing and development for Special Olympics Saskatchewan.
“It’s that social aspect as well between the other athletes, coaches and volunteers.”
Zerr said athletes have expressed that they miss the structure and routine the programs provide.
Special Olympics Saskatchewan works with children, youth and adults living with an intellectual disability. The organization currently supports 1,200 Special Olympics athletes in the province.
Farm Credit Canada is matching donations received during the game show on June 3 up to a total of $5,000.
Interactive game shows to continue
Roy, who also performs magic, is working with the Moose Jaw Shrine Club on a live online variety show for kids that will be streamed on Facebook every Saturday morning in June.
Each show will feature several different acts including balloon twisting, magic, horses, and a hypnotist.
The virtual event is the charity club’s response to cancelling its annual Children’s Festival in June due to COVID-19.
Prior to pandemic restrictions, Roy and his brother took their game shows on the road around Saskatchewan, performing at corporate events, casinos and small-town fundraisers.
As events postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, Roy decided to launch the interactive online show ahead of its original date in July.
“There were a few bugs along the way, but we definitely got it to the point where it’s seamless,” Roy said.
The entertainer said the online show has drawn an audience as young as 12 years old to contestants in their late 80s. He told Global News some nights have seen around 750 people participate.
“It’s one thing to sit at home and play Jeopardy! every night, Monday to Friday, but it’s another thing to be an actual contestant every single week,” he said.
Roy said there will be a second season of Big Time LIVE! — slated for the fall — and he plans to continue growing the online platform even when in-person events resume.
“It really is the next evolution in game shows, so I don’t think it’s going to be leaving anytime soon,” he said.
Roy said they are working on a new interactive show “kind of like Fear Factor” called Split Decision, where people at home can decide what in-studio participants have to do. It’s set to launch in July.