‘Push, Nevada will bring jackpot to couch sleuth | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Push, Nevada will bring jackpot to couch sleuth

It is a safe bet to say casino towns have a certain quirkiness. Push, Nev., is no different.

However, you will not find this town on any state map. “Push, Nevada” only exists in the minds of the people working on the television show, though a spokeswoman said Push is very real to them.

What makes this one-hour drama different than other shows is the audience has something to gain at the end of the 13 scheduled episodes. One person has the chance to walk away with more than $1 million by solving the mystery. The producers stress this is not a reality show.

Not much is known about the town of Push. We do know that everyone makes love at 9:15 p.m. and they go to sleep at 11 p.m. There is one casino in town — the Versailles. It pays out the biggest jackpots in the state. Sloman’s is the slow-dance bar where people go to feel a little less lonely.

Two of the executive producers have more name recognition than the two stars. The four producers are Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Sean Bailey and Chris Moore. Starring as IRS agent Jim Prufrock is Derek Cecil and Mary is played by Scarlett Chorvat.

Tonight’s sneak preview of the premiere called “The Amount” has the IRS agent receiving a fax from the Versailles, perhaps accidentally, telling him about a huge accounting mistake and an embezzling scheme at the casino. Jim goes to the desert town where he meets Mary. She explains to him that the mystery to Push is “like all the best secrets, not quick in the telling.”

He refuses to heed her advice to pack his bags and head home. Jim is determined to figure out what lies in the shadows of this peculiar town.

Around each corner could be a clue for the viewer as to how to solve the mystery.

“… I think when there’s a Web site or a phone number featured, the viewer may want to pay attention,” Bailey said earlier this summer at the ABC press tour. “It may have actual meaning.”

Redundant information may be a clue as well. And you might even want to try calling the phone numbers that pop up. A Web site will allow viewers to interact with each other. Go to http://www.abc.com, key word Push.

Affleck wanted to go beyond the typical TV show. But he also stresses that people who just want to watch the show without going after the prize will find the show captivating. He realizes the show has to be compelling and engaging otherwise the contest element has no meaning.

“I think it’s interesting because it sort of breaks the barriers of how you tell stories,” said Affleck at the press tour. “And as technology advanced so dramatically and so exponentially in the last 10 years, it created all these opportunities.”

He cites the examples of people flooding chat rooms to talk about “X-Files” and the cult status that “Twin Peaks” came to have. Those are his models for what he and his cohorts are trying to accomplish with “Push, Nevada.”

Thursday night the premiere will air again at 8 p.m., with the second episode “The Black Box” immediately following it. In the second episode, Jim struggles to identify a murder victim with little help from Push’s deputies — they insist it was a suicide. Officials from the Nevada Gaming Commission have their own reasons to care about the death. And then there is Mary who is in hot pursuit of the stolen money.

“… what we’re really most excited about is that we came up with what I think is a really good mystery with a solution,” Affleck said. “Where it’s not just arbitrary weirdness or arbitrary quirkiness but that every single thing that happens in the course of this show that’s unusual is motivated and has sort of an answer to it.”

He promises everything will make sense after the 13th show airs.

— Kathryn Reed may be reached at (530) 541-3880, ext. 251 or e-mail kreed@tahoedailytribune.com

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