BILL WOLFF:

From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

(Soundbite of music)

MIKE PESCA, host:

Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR Studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, "Big Bug Splat on Windshield." I'm Mike Pesca.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

And I'm Rachel Martin. It's Tuesday, June 24th. Big b -I can't even say that. "Big Bug Splat on Windshield." This is the name of a very popular Japanese game show. Why do we speak of this? Because there are two ABC shows are premiering tonight that are takeoffs on Japanese game shows, which, if you haven't seen them, are hi-larious (ph).

PESCA: Are you sure it's ABC? I think it might be PBS. Are you sure it's not part of a FRONTLINE series? So Japanese game shows sort of making the human being inside an obstacle course, making the human being act like "Tetris," turning...

MARTIN: They do all kinds of crazy. They are much more physical than American game shows, which I adore as well.

PESCA: I know we're supposed to think of the Japanese game show as really weird, but what's weirder? That phenomenon or the American dating game show, which used to be kind of funny, the panel show, "The Dating Game," but now, like, "Rock of Love," Tila Tequila?

MARTIN: Right, those are all totally bizarre.

PESCA: "The Bachelorette," translated into Japan as "I am the Winner of a Whorehouse," I believe is how they translate those. Which are your favorite game shows? And don't say "Tila Tequila."

MARTIN: No, it's not. Of all time, I mean, I really loved "Press Your Luck."

PESCA: "Press Your Luck"?

MARTIN: I loved "Press Your Luck." I loved all the little whammies had different personalities. You never knew which whammy was going to come out.

PESCA: Three different personalities.

MARTIN: There's like whammy in drag sometimes, evil whammy, angelic whammy.

PESCA: You know the whammies were the breakout character, and I think the Game Show Network has reinvented the show. It's just called "Whammy or no Whammy." In fact, I was thinking about this. It's a lot like Fonzie with "Happy Days." There's a big analogy. Whammy was to "Press Your Luck" as Fonzie was to "Happy Days."

MARTIN: You're right, you're right. So, I mean, lest we talk about this for the whole hour...

PESCA: Wouldn't be bad.

MARTIN: Which we could very easily do, we are going to talk about some other things. Serious news story. We're going to check in on the situation in Zimbabwe. It's intensifying. We're going to check in with Celia Dugger who's covering the story for the New York Times.

PESCA: And I've always wondered this about airfares, where's the choice? With hotels and rental cars and like everything else you can buy in our society, there are different levels of price and quality to choose from. But with airlines, it's either the cattle car or first class that no one really can afford. So I'm going to try to get the bottom of that.

MARTIN: Good luck with that. And those Japanese game shows, those American shows modeled after them premier tonight. We're going to talk with a blogger about what's so alluring, captivating about Japanese television, and can it translate to American audiences? All that plus new music and today's news headlines in just a minute, but first...

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MARTIN: International pressure is mounting for the government of Zimbabwe to postpone the country's presidential runoff election. That's after opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, took refuge at the Dutch embassy in Zimbabwe's capital of Harare over fears for his safety. Yesterday, the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council unanimously called on Zimbabwe to postpone Friday's vote. Here's U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad.

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Ambassador ZALMAY KHALILZAD (Permanent U.S. Ambassador, United Nations): The Security Council condemns the campaign of violence against the political opposition ahead of the second round of presidential elections scheduled for 27 June, which has resulted in the killing of scores of opposition activists and other Zimbabweans, and the beating and displacement of thousands of people including many women and children.

PESCA: But Zimbabwe's ambassador to the U.N. responded to the Security Council vote by pledging to go ahead with the election as scheduled.

(Soundbite of press conference)

Ambassador BONIFACE CHIDYAUSIKU (Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe, The United Nations): We take note of their concerns, but as far as we are concerned, the dates have been set.

MARTIN: Tsvangirai defeated longtime Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in a vote on March 29th. But Mugabe's ruling party claimed that his margin of victory was too small, thus requiring a runoff election. On Sunday, Tsvangirai pulled out of the runoff in the midst of a wave of violence and intimidation against his supporters. Human rights groups say 85 people have been killed and tens of thousands have been displaced.

PESCA: Police loyal to Mugabe raided Tsvangirai's party headquarters on Monday, rounding up dozens of people. The candidate's closest aide has fled the country. Tsvangirai told NPR yesterday that his staying in the race would have made no difference, that Mugabe would never accept the result of a free and fair election.

(Soundbite of NPR's Morning Edition, June 23, 2008)

Mr. MORGAN TSVANGIRAI (President, Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe): He has already declared that he will not accept the opposition victory. He is not going to hand over power and that he is going to go to war if he lost. So under those circumstances, Mugabe has determined that he wants to stay in power forever and ever.

MARTIN: Tsvangirai has told Dutch radio that the Dutch ambassador has received assurances that there is no threat against him and that he may leave his refuge in the Dutch embassy in the next few days. You can check at npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now, let's get more of the day's news headlines with the BPP's Matt Martinez.

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