Monday, March 30, 2015


Oh, those foolish folks at CBS daytime. Not content with bringing Bob Barker back to The Price is Right on April Fools Day, they're sending Drew Carey and Plinko to Let's Make a Deal.

Gotta admit, it's a cute stunt. In a bit of video LMAD shows Wayne Brady intoning that he's Drew as he conducts a lucky contestant to the big board. The nice lady at Let's Make a Deal also sent me a still of Drew Carey on the show, which you can see here. Drew looks like he dressed down for the occasion.

This crossover recalls the Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy stunt when Pat and Alex switched hosting duties on April Fools Day, 1997. On a blog called Game Show Follies, who am I to complain about such foolishness? And if it nudges the numbers a little, that's a nice bonus.

At least Plinko had a day out on another show. He (it) probably liked the change.

UNRELATED UPDATE: In a faux tweet I said I would review Monopoly Millionaires Club tomorrow after watching it on GSN. Only for some reason the show won't be on GSN tomorrow. There was a last-minute preemption. Don't know why. Sooner or later I'll get around to watching and reviewing the show. In other GSN news, the network's gaming subsidiary GSN Games acquires casino game developer Idle Gaming.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hot news

Hey, did you hear that they canceled Cash Cab? And the winners got a check later and not the actual cash they flashed on the show?

Okay, I follow game shows pretty closely, and not everybody else gets up to date all that quickly. But a TV critic kindly explains to a questioning e-mailer that Cash Cab went to the chop shop in 2012. The show lasted six seasons and hundreds of eps and even spawned a (mercifully) short-lived Chicago spinoff. So it's not like the project flopped.

As for the money, the accountants do want a paper trail. So it was a lot easier to just mail the winners a check to make sure that the show observed all the legalities. The other issue raised by the critic is whether the contestants hailed the taxi randomly from the street. Well, some of them did and some of them got tricked into waiting for the cab. One contestant revealed that his group thought they were going to a reality show audition, for instance.

All this is not exactly news. But then not everybody writes a game show blog, so I shouldn't make fun. And sadly, the Cash Cab no longer rolls on.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Yet another dump on Dylan

As the new season of Chain Reaction tapes with Mike (Hey There Vagina) Catherwood, Game Show Garbage takes time to dump on former host Dylan Lane. At least they're dumping on something game show related, instead of a Simpsons episode.

Lane certainly deserves some of the criticism. He tended to be a little stiff, though not the android life form GSG pronounces him. But the Garbage men have to exaggerate to live up to the site's image. Lane could drop in a quip or three and seemed to get along well with the contestants. And it's not his fault that he was good-looking.

A tougher knock was his occasional trouble with the rules. I can remember a couple screwups, which didn't help the show's professionalism. Anyway, his show biz career rapidly petered out after Chain Reaction. In fact, he seems to have left entertainment entirely, and there was never any doubt that GSN would get a new host for the remake.

We'll see how the Vagina guy does. I look for some spicier chains, but that's just Catherwood's image.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Last line

The YouTube What's My Line channel has reached the final CBS episode from September 3, 1967 (with commercials!)

As hardcore Line-niks know so well, John Daly was the last mystery guest and managed to fool everybody except Bennett Cerf. The episode also offered some pleasant flashbacks, both on tape and "live" in a way, with the civvie contestants from the first episode in 1950. The cancellation of the show sounded a modern and rather ominous note, as TV Guide pointed out in its story, "End of the Line." Demos did in WML. John Daly and company were just skewing too old. The bane of game shows had already raised its head in 1967.

To be fair, the overall ratings were in the tank, too. But after seventeen years almost any show will get a bit tired. And the syndie What's My Line would return for seven more years of job-guessing.

The YouTube site will apparently continue to fill in some eps that it missed along the way. But the site has reached a milestone, which is also a tombstone. At least the CBS version of What's My Line went out in style.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

He's b-a-a-a-a-a-a-ck

It wasn't exactly the best kept secret since the Manhattan Project, but now it's official. Bob Barker returns to The Price is Right on April Fools Day.

It's like he never left, right? Well, no. A lot of water has flowed over the CBS daytime dam since Bob relinquished his duties, and Drew Carey has become an 11:00 AM institution of a sort. But there are still those who pine for Ye Olde Days of Bob.

One of the piners hangs out at the board formerly known as Matt Ottinger's. Gazing at a video of Bob and Drew together, he grumps: "Look at that two-shot of them in the video clip. A shining star next to the dimmest of dim bulbs. (SHAKES HEAD)" To which a Bob-phobe replies: "I know he's done some stupid things, but that's not a nice thing to call Barker."

Oh yes, the ancient fight over whether Drew is a worthy successor to Bob. It seems like a long time ago now - and it really was a lot of years ago - but that was the ragingest of raging game show controversies once upon a time. The years pass, other controversies come and go, and nowadays most people don't seem to care all that much. There are too many other things to argue about in our little genre.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

More on the end of a game show

On Game Show Paradise I yak some more about the end of Let’s Ask America

Other poster: All [the joy over the axing] does is perpetuate the completely untrue image of the 'Internet fans' as a collective of self-entitled, neo-Luddite traditionalists who react to the words 'new' and 'different' in approximately the same way a mongoose reacts to a cobra.

That's a completely untrue image? Um, okay. Anyway, as I said in the blog entry, I liked Let's Ask America and wish it could have done better in syndication and on GSN. The three-year run is a little misleading. The show only lasted that long because Scripps stations were more or less stuck with the in-house product. Nobody else wanted the show much at all, and after a while even the Scripps stations weren't interested.

As for Bill Bellamy replacing Kevin Pereira, I thought the change was desperation, an attempt to find the next Steve Harvey (who never seems to come along). Millionaire has tried the same Hail Mary, with predictably poor results. As Baba Wawa might say, wumors are wunning wampant that Millionaire will soon follow Let's Ask America into that Nielsen good night.

One more thing: a commenter at the BuzzerBlog Facebook page wanted Let's Ask America replaced on GSN with classics. The elegant reply: "Why can't you guys watch that s--t on YouTube?" And for some reason, I'm always the guy who gets slammed as anti-classic. Oh well, who said life is fair (wink)?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ratings: daylight savings does syndies no good

Don't you love turning the clocks back, or forward, or however the hey we have to turn them twice a year? Syndie game shows sure didn't like the onset of daylight savings time. Every one of them got clobbered for the week of March 9-15. TV News Check brings the grim household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.8 - down nine ticks to tie the loud judge for the lead among all syndies
Jeopardy 6.7 - down seven ticks to end just a hair behind the soulmate
Family Feud 6.4 - down six ticks, this is getting tedious
Millionaire 1.7 - down a couple ticks to tie a season low
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - what else, down a couple ticks

TV by the Numbers says that the top three still led all syndies in total viewers despite DST. The viewer averages: Wheel of Fortune 10.9M (weekend repeat 4.0M), Jeopardy 10.2M (weekend repeat 3.2M), Family Feud 9.9M. As always, pay no heed to the silly six-fold numbers for Weekend Adventure.