Sunday, March 29, 2020

Maplewood, NJ Family Wins Big on Nickelodeon's 'The Crystal Maze'

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Kaminsky family of Maplewood, New Jersey was featured on Friday's (March 27) episode of The Crystal Maze, a new game show on Nickelodeon.

The Kaminsky family, l to r, Jan, Ezra, Asher, Talya, and Samantha, ready for The Crystal Maze.

“We had an absolutely amazing time,” said Jan Kaminsky, who along with her wife, Samantha, and children Asher, Ezra, and Talya, had a family experience she said she’ll remember forever — especially since they conquered the eight different physical and mental challenges in the maze and won the game.

“We won the grand prize, and that was completely unimaginable” before they filmed, Kaminsky told Before the shoot, she noted, “we honestly said the trip and the family experience is the prize, and we really meant that.” Most of the $25,000 prize money went to the kids’ college accounts, she said, after each family member got a little to spend on a reward for themselves.

Host Adam Conover, center, with the Kaminsky family, l to r, Jan, Ezra, Asher, Talya, and Samantha.

Their journey to The Crystal Maze started last July: they were submitted as potential contestants by a casting agent who knew the show was looking to include an LGBTQ-headed family in the mix of competitors.

“They did a really good job including a diverse group of families in a lot of ways,” said Kaminsky. “We were thrilled, and really proud to be part of it.” Another episode featured an multigenerational Deaf family.

Their summertime audition was complicated by the kids being at sleep-away camp, but a Skype interview and a later in-person audition with sample challenges to see how the family would work together secured them the opportunity.

The family used the pseudonym Eastman on the show in case there was any hate backlash; Kaminsky said there has not been. They traveled to London in August to film the show on its sound stage in Bristol; it is already a long-running, popular program in Great Britain, and the Nickelodeon version is filmed on the show's original set at The Bottle Yard Studios. The day-long shoot was a “fun but grueling experience,” Kaminsky said.

And no one should worry that there were re-shoots of the challenges: “The challenges were real, the outcomes were real, and it was a really, really fun time.” An on-set adjudicator, who watched over the shoot the whole day, “ensures that it is legitimate and nobody’s doing anything that is untoward.”

Asher Kaminsky tackles a challenge in The Crystal Maze.

One aspect of the filming delighted the kids, who are ages 15, 12, and nine: Adam Conover, of the show Adam Ruins Everything, was the host. All the Kaminsky kids are big fans and were very excited to meet him.

As hard as the game show was, keeping the results a secret for six months from family and friends was also tough. Knowing that if they spilled the beans they might have to forfeit the prize money helped to keep their lips sealed. Still, said Kaminsky, “people texted me all along saying, ‘really, what happened?’”

The Kaminsky family concentrates in the Futuristic Zone as host Adam Conover looks on.

The episode, #110, which also serves as the show's first season finale, is now available to stream on demand through cable providers and to purchase on Amazon.

The Kaminsky family in the Crystal Dome.

From Windy City Times:

GLAAD shared an exclusive clip of GLAAD Media Institute alum Jan Eastman and her family competing to complete the challenges and puzzles ahead of them in the season finale of Nickelodeon's The Crystal Maze—a game show that brings entire families through a series of challenges, encouraging teamwork and mutual support, a press release noted. Eastman is a nurse, advocating for equality for LGBTQ in health care. She participated in the GLAAD Media Institute's course, Engagement 101: Telling Your Story: Messaging and Media Tools for Today's Activist in 2018.


More Nick: Nickelodeon Now Casting for Families to Feature in 'The Crystal Maze' Season 2!
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