Media Medium
29 August 2001

STEPHEN LEAHY

The riddler

The Action Time founder, Stephen Leahy, is a Gemini trickster so we
can expect some innovative and experimental game shows from
Splash, his new TV production company

Which of the twelve zodiac signs is associated with questions, answers and quizzes? No big prize for guessing Gemini, and no surprise that one of television's whizziest quiz and game show producers is Gemini Stephen Leahy (May 30 1949). Leahy is making news by quitting Action Time, the Carlton Communication's production company, and starting afresh with an independent, 'Splash'.

From the point of view of astrology, Leahy's talent comes first and foremost from his four planets in buzzy, quick-witted, finger-on-the-button Gemini. Sometimes accused of being superficial and shallow, nevertheless " all-round development is more to Gemini's tastes than depth, and his chief object is to see, observe and know much, and to use this knowledge as well as possible" (Parker). With no fire in his horoscope, his success reflects the clever ideas and wordplay of his abundant air, rather than vision and inspiration.

But there is more to this trickster personality than meets the eye, and with a birthtime of 6.30pm giving him intense and broody Scorpio rising, what you see is not quite what you get. Scorpio is the keeper-of-secrets, the zodiac detective, the mysterious dark horse who can suss out others yet remains an enigma. Add to this brew a stack of Gemini planets in his House of Hidden Resources, and Leahy himself is a riddle not easily deciphered. His Gemini-Scorpio combination makes for a shrewd observer of human frailty, fascinated equally by riddles and psychology. The Gemini side of him shows in 'Trivial Pursuits' and factual knowledge quizzes, but games like Cluedo, Sabotage and The Mole appeal to his devious, darker edge.

Leahy's move out of Action Time marks a new phase, shown in his horoscope over the coming year by Mars moving on to innovative and unpredictable Uranus. He almost certainly has in mind some highly experimental formats, no doubt exploring the possibilities of linking interactive audience participation in the game show. Big Brother is casting a long shadow over TV minds but as much as anyone in the business, Stephen Leahy knows how to join up the dots of aspiration and fun, competition and audience participation, to create a winning game-show format.

However, with erotic Scorpio and raunchy Mars so strongly emphasised in his horoscope, it is surprising that Leahy's programmes aren't a lot sexier. This could be about to change. In the future, his new games might reveal more of the tremendous Scorpio sex drive and macho Mars energy that are tucked so tidily away in his horoscope. Look out for plenty of action in years to come, and perhaps a big Splash in January 2002.

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