Saturday, May 19, 2018

Well, somebody liked it

Hadn't dropped by BuzzerBlog in a while, so I decided to see what the Brit-o-philes were up to.

Sure enough, there was plenty about the U.K. Millionaire reboot, which I expected. Alex Davis used to tell us over and over that the Brits do game shows better, and BuzzerBlog still believes.

I also noticed that the blog has gotten rid of the weird penile image of Steve Harvey. Instead they've got a screenshot from Taskmaster, of all things (see photo). Taskmaster already seems to have expired, as it drew an audience measured in dozens (slight exaggeration). But the show was based on a Brit original, so Cory Anotado - chairman of my fan club - gave the show a ridiculously favorable review.

Too bad almost nobody in America agreed with Cory. The latest Nielsen news on the show was that it attracted a whopping 105K viewers, which Comedy Central could probably get with a Cheech and Chong movie rerun. Who knows, that might be the show's replacement.

I checked. The replacement is actually a Jeff Dunham rerun. By the way, Comedy Central ordered ten eps of Taskmaster but only eight made it to air. The numbers were that bad. What a turkey.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The fateful year

You know how I love the oldies boards. With a lack of big game show news today - I had to get a faux tweet out a gaming lawsuit against GSN - I peeked around at the boards for bits and pieces.

For most people the year 1990 holds no enormous significance, unless you happen to be turning 28 this year. But for game show oldies fans, it is the Great Dividing Line. Before 1990 we frolicked in the golden age of the genre. After 1990 it's been downhill and down-hillier, as the genre decays into...well, whatever it is today.

I think this view is loony, but it has real currency on the oldies boards. Check Game Show Forum's top 50 list if you don't believe me. Forty-three of their top fifty shows originated before the deadly deadline of 1990. It's been mostly miserable since the fateful year for older-is-better folks.

Posters on Game Show Paradise have recently written a couple of long and sad accounts of how everything fell apart at the dividing line. They mourn for pre-1990 daytime game shows on the broadcast networks as the golden relics of a bygone era.

Of course, it's easy (and correct) to ridicule this view as good ol' days fantasy. The media universe has simply evolved into a zillion channel smorgasbord instead of the old suffocating broadcast triopoly. Many new and often very good game shows have appeared on cable and the Internet and even what's left of the broadcast dinosaurs.

But the oldies boards still shed tears for the ancient triopoly. Funny thing, they use the Internet to do it!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Not Chuck

As a faux tweet noted, John Michael Higgins will be the host of GSN's America Says, debuting June 18.

The press release offers some details of the format. As widely speculated, there's more than a passing resemblance to Family Feud. Two teams of contestants guess survey answers. Sound familiar? Exactly how the format will differ from Feud isn't so clear. But my guess is that GSN doesn't want too many differences from the most successful show on the current schedule.

America Says gets a 5:00 PM weekday slot, which is far from GSN's all-Feud prime time. This doesn't indicate overwhelming confidence in the show, but I might be over-speculating. GSN may just not want to jeopardize the recent good numbers in the prime time window.

I'm not very familiar with John Michael Higgins' career, though Wikipedia tells me he does a lot of voice work. So I assume his voice will be soothing enough for a game show audience.

A funny note: based on a glimpsed promo, a poster on Game Show Paradise thought the new host might be Chuck Woolery. You can always count on GSP for humorous cluelessness. These are the deep thinkers who yelped that GSN was acquiring Toddlers & Tiaras.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sunshine state

If your corporate parent owns a Florida resort, you might as well use it to tape your game show.

CNBC's reboot of Deal or No Deal will originate from Universal's playground - "three theme parks, six on-site hotels and a nighttime dining and entertainment complex" - in Orlando, FL. The Florida connection extends to three DOND casting calls for contestants in various sunshine state locales this month. Maybe they'll serve orange juice on the new episodes.

The original order is for thirty one-hour eps. There's no debut date yet except "fourth quarter 2018." So we can narrow the date down to between October 1 and December 31. (Sherlock's a piker compared to me.)

The linked story makes it look like there will be little tinkering with the original format. Twenty-six suitcases, the banker, the hour-long length - it all looks like the NBC show. I don't know about the models, though. Can CNBC afford twenty-six of the lovelies? We'll see sometime in the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ratings: normalcy restored for Funny

The universe is back in sync, as our lowest rated syndie game show bounces back to its eternally correct level. Steve had a forgettable week and otherwise there were no changes. TV News Check has the household ratings for the week of April 30-May 6...

Family Feud 6.3 - down a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.9 - flat
Wheel of Fortune 5.8 - flat
Millionaire 1.6 - flat, this is getting dull
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - up a tick to its usual number

GSN had its worst week in a while. 399K/278K viewers prime time/total day for the May 7-13 week. The network ranked 34th and 28th in the windows. Not bad by historical standards but below recent weeks. GSN got 93K/59K viewers in the 25-54 demo.

How low can Taskmaster go? The Comedy Central turkey fell to 105K viewers for its latest run. Put this poor creature out of its misery.

UPDATE: The poor creature apparently expires this Friday, May 18. The Washington Post reports that Taskmaster's last two eps will air that night. The WashPo reviewer actually likes the show. Truly, there's no accounting for tastes.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The cab rides again

A welcome return: Discovery will run new episodes of Cash Cab this summer.

The new eps will kick off with a shark-themed episode on the network's much-ballyhooed Shark Week in July. No, there won't be any carnivorous fish flopping into Ben's cab. But the show will feature "videos from some of the most renowned divers and photographers featured in previous editions of Shark Week, including Andrew Mayne, Paul de Gelder, Andy Casagrande and Joe Romeiro."

Have to admit that I've never heard of any of these gentlemen, but I'm not a big Shark Week fan. I am a big fan of Cash Cab, though, so more episodes are always appreciated. I think the reboot is okay, despite all the ads and promos stuffed into the episodes. That's why we only get two games per ep instead of the classic three.

But the celeb guests add a little fun, so the new version is far from terrible. It'll be nice to see more of the show this summer.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Half garbage?

A while back Game Show Garbage promised new inductions into their hall of shame.

I made one of the easiest predictions possible: the new inductions would hardly deserve the overheated rhetoric that GSG would lavish on them. I didn't know that, in at least one example, the rhetoric would get too heated both ways. GSG would actually overpraise part of a show.

That's what happens with their latest induction of Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour. Rather unbelievably, Game Show Garbage wants us to believe that the MG half of the show was "great." Come on, despite Gene Rayburn's best efforts, the MG half was hardly great compared to Match Game at its truly best, in 1974-75 when Richard Dawson was still trying and the show had settled in with a perfect cast of regulars and semi-regulars.

GSG then shouts that Mark Goodson "bastardized" the Hollywood Squares half of the show into the "absolute worst." Oh, stuff it. Goodson just wanted to make the show a tad more honest by eliminating wall-to-wall scripting of the celebs. That scripting has always rubbed me the wrong way. It's not rigging, of course, but it's a little too close for comfort. Such shenanigans are also annoying on the current Funny You Should Ask.

Okay, maybe Hollywood Squares doesn't work all that well without massive scripting. But that probably means there's a serious weakness in the basic format. So I'm not going to scream bloody murder about Goodson tinkering with "Merrill Heater's best show."

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Buzzr news and views

I put some Buzzr bits into an update to a previous post, but the material deserves an entry of its own. Don't want to slight the oldies diginet...

A while back I noted Buzzr's annoying habit of stuffing a pile of commercial time into their B&W shows. I'm not alone in my grumpiness. A poster on Buzzr's Facebook page sighs. 5 minute Plexaderm commercial in the middle of a show...there has to be a better way.

Yes, there is a better way. Just cut all the extra commercials and run the shows at their original 30-minute length. Easy peasy.

And in a nice bit of schedule news from Buzzr, Celebrity Name Game returns starting June 4. Craig and friends will frolic at 10:30 PM weeknights, replacing Tattletales in the prime time lineup. I always thought Tattletales was a forgettable, weak tea knockoff of Newlywed Game, so I don't regret the departure.

The other shows from the scrapped Friday night "new-ies" block are nowhere to be found. But at least CNG will blow a bit of dust off the diginet. Could this be the start of less ancient shows in prime time on Buzzr? Wild blue thought experiment: last year's The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal at 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM, and Steve Harvey's Family Feud and CNG at 10:00 PM.

All of a sudden Buzzr might actually draw an audience. The microscopic older-is-better crowd would go ballistic, but who cares? Anyway, this is the craziest speculation.

Dear diary: good-bye

Nielsen stories always appeal to my actuarial self.

Other people might get bored silly. But it's my blog, and I'll post about Nielsen if I want to, post about Nielsen if I want to, post about Nielsen if I want to. You would post about Nielsen, too, if an actuarial career happened to you.

The latest from the beancounters is that they're finally scrapping the "much-reviled" diary system used in the 140 smallest TV markets. Having people write about their viewing habits has always drawn the wrath of TV execs, and Nielsen will now use electronic gadgets to get the information.

According to the linked story from TV News Check, the results show a big boost for cable outlets. GSN should be happy, because a little game show network was always easy to forget when people wrote down what they watched on TV. The electronic whiz-bangery will now capture that viewing.

It won't make an enormous difference in overall numbers because the smaller markets are, well, smaller. They don't have a gigantic impact on total ratings.  But every little bit helps, and in a cord-cutting era, GSN will take all the help it can get.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Late night follies

Once upon a time, Conan O'Brien was big. Or at least his tribulations at NBC got a lot of notice. Nowadays he does a talk show on TBS that gets 350K viewers or so. A lot of Feud reruns on GSN draw a bigger audience.

It's yet another lesson in how the media mighty have fallen. But give Conan credit, he's still trying in late night. I have a sneaking suspicion that he wants to be a game show host. He did a long series of crazed Jeopardy satires that ended with Trebek's Revenge.

Now comic Andy Daly has turned up on Conan's show as a sadly lost 1980s game show host. The bit was moderately funny, though they kind of ran the joke into the ground.

Who knows, Conan might do a LeBron one of these days and stumble into a successful game show format. He could be a showrunner in our little genre and maybe get more than 350K viewers.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Welcome to the sidebar

One of the odder features of, a Jeopardy board, is a long thread that tracks the latest season of Millionaire. Well, it's another quizzer, after all.

The thread includes several references to WWTBAM Bored, an Interwebs board that I'm happy to welcome to the blogroll in the sidebar. The site offers comprehensive Millionaire episode summaries, along with plenty of palaver about the long-lived quizzer.

A minor warning: for some reason WWTBAM Bored doesn't have an off-topic section. So non-Millionaire threads crop up in the middle of discussions about the show. But that's a quibble. Millionaire fans can always ignore the off-topic threads if they want to. The titles usually make it clear when irrelevant chat is happening.

Always nice to add a new site to the long list. Let's hope Millionaire sticks around for many more years and gives the "Bored" much more to talk about.