Saturday, October 25, 2014


Just noticed that Game Show Garbage is trashing (natch) a low-rent YouTube version of Family Feud. It's on Fremantle's Buzzr channel at the site. So I decided to sample an ep to see if it justifies GSG's usual rhetoric about the end of western game show civilization as we know it. Well, yes and no and mostly no. Which sounds noncommittal, I know.

The problem with rubbishing the YouTube effort is that the format is just so ridiculously strong. It was Mr. Goodson's second favorite show (after To Tell the Truth, a bit strangely) and even a stripped-down version can't destroy the format's appeal.

The worst thing about the ep I watched was a screaming, incompetent contestant named Jess Lizama. Omigod, she's annoying. Host Josh Leyva did an okay job even if he couldn't keep his eyes off the camera. The other contestants were acceptable. Everybody was a "YouTube celebrity," which means nobody's heard of them.

Since this is YouTube, everything is cheaper and smaller with teams of three, only two rounds in the front game, and a combination fast money round for the two teams. But that's not necessarily a terrible thing. We're on YouTube time, after all, and it's nice to squish an entire show down to 8:14. And they use the original theme!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Game show archeology

GSN can use any publicity it can get for its Sunday oldies. The ratings for the first try were awful.

That's why the network moved this Sunday's double run of Crosswits (1986) from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. At least Sitcoms Online gives GSN a nod. The linked story lists all the celebs from the two episodes, headlined by Rosie O'Donnell, then a "rising new comedian," and Arsenio Hall in his first game show appearance. Joanna Kerns of Growing Pains also shows up.

This idea of dusting off little known relics from the vault might be good in theory. Game show hardcores, the folks who inhabit the Internet boards, have long complained that GSN doesn't show enough old stuff, and in particular rare old stuff.

The reason for GSN's omission is simple, of course. Ratings. The relics just don't draw much of an audience compared to, say, the 88th run of Harvey Feud. But once in a while GSN will sacrifice an hour to the hardcore game show gods. Just not in prime time.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that Arsenio made his game show debut earlier, on Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. He's right, as YouTube shows.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Raining men

Seems like everybody has male models on the brain lately. On Game Show Confessions, a board that leans toward older-is-better, the TPiR guys get advised to watch old clips of Gregorio Gaviati and David Gibbs on Sale of the Century.

My own exposure to Sale is limited to just a few glimpses of the eps currently playing on GSN. I've seen the show described as the "thinking man's Let's Make a Deal." Well, you did have to answer general knowledge questions. Which does imply more cerebration than you'll normally see on LMAD.

As for the male models "interacting" with the prizes more on Sale than on TPiR, I dunno. You can only interact so much with a motorcycle that's just sitting there. Frankly, if the models just show off the prizes, it's okay with me. Sorry to be blunt, but the models (of either sex) are eye candy. Let's not kid ourselves here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I need not apply

The Price is Right is starting the final countdown on its male model search. They didn't even ask me to participate. Don't they know how incredibly sexy 63-year-old actuaries are?

You can read the USA Today story for all the details of the hunky competition. The most humorous suggestion occurs at the end of the article. With Drew Carey down to a very svelte size, McPaper (old nickname) thinks he might make a good model himself. He's quick with a quip, after all.

TPiR's original male model, Rob Wilson, left the show last spring for the soapier environs of Days of Our Lives. The whole male model idea has taken on an xy-chromosome life of its own. I guess it's a gender equality thing, proving that men can smile and wave at the merchandise as well as those of the xx-chromosome persuasion.

Will they eventually have robot models? If TPiR hangs around long enough, the show might debut its answer to Jeopardy's Watson.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ratings: a bit of good news for Craig

Craig Ferguson got some badly needed good news from the Nielsen folks for the week of October 6-12. Otherwise it was flat to down for syndie game shows. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.4 - down a tick
Jeopardy 6.2 - down a couple ticks
Family Feud 5.8 - flat, is this a blah week or what?
Millionaire 1.9 - down a tick for the put-upon Terry
Celebrity Name Game 1.2 - up a tick and Craig will take what he can get

Terry Crews did manage to make the top 25 list at TV by the Numbers, even if he slipped out of the twos in household ratings. The viewer averages: Wheel of Fortune 10.1M, Jeopardy 9.3M, Family Feud 8.5M, Millionaire 2.6M. Even in a blah week, the numbers for the top three look good compared to most broadcast and cable shows.

Speaking of broadcast shows, The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal both showed nice year over year increases for the week of October 13-19. 5.3M and 3.2M viewers, respectively. Congrats to Drew and Wayne.

In the first week of the new schedule that has the game show Interwebs upset, GSN did great total day numbers. All that Harvey Feud all over the place didn't hurt at all. 345K/293K viewer averages prime time/total day for the October 13-19 week. The network ranked 41st and 32nd in the windows. The total day rank is as high as I can remember for GSN.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mr. Monopoly comes to the blog

There's really no excuse for this blog entry, except I like the picture of Billy Gardell with Mr. Monopoly.

As readers of this blog know, Gardell will host Monopoly Millionaires Club, debuting in February in syndication and on GSN. A bunch of state lotteries are backing the project, and they started selling tickets today for a weekly Monopoly game drawing every Friday. So naturally they kicked off the festivities with a Times Square bash.

One thing is certain: the new game show won't scrimp on prize money. State lotteries are notoriously flush with cash. They rake in gazillions every week. I have no idea how interesting the gameplay on the TV show will be, but some contestants will no doubt go home a lot richer.

I also like the giant shoe Billy is holding. Though it seems a little big for the board, even if the board is jumbo-sized itself.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy new year 1965

Another slow news weekend, another trip to the YouTube What's My Line channel.

We're now into 1965 on the channel, with the January 3 episode. Yes, fans of the show can't avoid the grim knowledge that this is the last year of Dorothy Kilgallen's life. She doesn't look too fragile on this episode, though her appearance had been getting more worrisome for a while. Buddy Hackett is a guest panelist, and he's very funny on the ep. He's a little more restrained than usual, which works fine.

But semi-regular Martin Gabel gets off the line of the night, with a dig at wife Arlene Francis' expensive tastes. This leads to some marital sparring. The mystery guest is Jason Robards, and Buddy Hackett guesses him in a hurry.

A historical note: the first contestant is a young English woman named Sue Huxley. Martin Gabel wonders if she's related to the famous Huxley family, and she turns out to be the granddaughter of biologist Julian Huxley and the grand-niece of novelist Aldous Huxley. She's also about to marry an American. The panel stumbles around and never guesses that she breeds cattle.