Million dollar game show quest falls short in Thicke of contest

By Brian Sweeney
They didn’t win a million dollars, but they had plenty of fun trying.
Margaretville resident Betty DeSilva, along with daughter, Diane DeSilva, and granddaughter, Brianne Ballard, appeared on the NBC program “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” last week and came up short of their million-dollar goal.
The network sent out press advisories last week announcing that the show featuring the DeSilva family would be airing on November 19. However, the participants were forbidden from releasing any details of the show’s outcome. In fact, the players and their families have been sworn to secrecy since the show was taped in September.
The trio, playing in the show’s first foray into a family format, quickly rang up $8,000 in winnings.
On the $8,000 question, the team used its first “lifeline,” in which either the audience, a friend or celebrity is enlisted to help with the answer.
The topic category was “Ugly Ducklings” and the question was “What actress admitted that she was called ‘freckle face strawberry’ as a kid?” Utilizing the “Ask The Audience,” lifeline, 69 percent of the audience responded with Julianne Moore. The team agreed with this advice and got that question correct.
Up next was the $16,000 question: “Which ’80s sitcom had the theme song “Without Us?”
The choices were:
A. Who’s the Boss
B. Growing Pains
C. Family Ties
D. Silver Spoons
Diane said that neither she nor her partners knew the answer.
They decided to use their “Ask the Expert” lifeline and called Alan Thicke (’80s sitcom star and jingle writer,) via videophone.
He told the team that the answer was definitely not B. “Growing Pains” (that was the show he had been on as father to Kirk Cameron and two other children) and he was quite sure it was not C. “Family Ties.”
Because Mr. Thicke’s answer was not definitive, they used another lifeline, a new one called “Double Dip.” Under this option, players may chose two answers, but if they are both wrong, they lose all but $1,000 of their winnings.

Audience groans
Since Mr. Thicke had ruled out two answers, this made sense to the team. They then selected “Who’s the Boss” and host Meredith Viera said it was wrong. So they ended up choosing the only answer left, which was “Silver Spoons.”
“The audience gasped as soon as Brianne said it, so we knew it was wrong!,” Diane recalled.
The correct answer was C. “Family Ties.”
“We lost all but our $1,000 and never got to use our Phone-a-Friends who were all sitting next to the phones wondering why we never called!” noted Diane.
Despite the fact that the million dollar prize eluded them, the DeSilva family thoroughly enjoyed the experience on the national television stage.
“Life is grand. We had the time of our lives traveling to Manhattan twice as a family with Brie’s baby, Ella and my other daughter, Alexandra,” Diane recounted.
“It was an experience we will always treasure. Ella’s dad, Matthew, is stationed in Iraq for at least another year. He has only met Ella twice in her short eight-month life, but now she has made a national television debut and he will have all of the record of this and be able to look back on the time he missed.
“We are truly a thankful family for being fortunate to have this amazing experience together, and hey, we won a grand! The press and media have been very kind to us and we have loved every moment of our temporary fame,” she concluded.
Diane is a graduate of Margaretville Central School and is the grade 6-8 ELA academic administrator for the Shenendehowa Middle Schools in Clifton Park. Brie graduated from Roxbury Central School and is employed as a receptionist/Tutor from Clifton Park, Betty is the former Margaretville village clerk and now serves as the deputy clerk and treasurer for the village.