Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy days are here again

You might call it a wheel of fortune.

A few entries ago I mentioned that Drew Carey was talking about a big moment on the premiere week of The Price is Right. Well, we've now seen what the big moment was: $80,000 getting doled out to three contestants for their lucky spins on the big wheel.

I gotta admit, it was fun to see the fortunate trio dancing around together. It reminded me of game shows' essential reason for existence: to make civvies healthy, wealthy and wise. Or at least to give them a lot of extra bucks.

Drew seemed suitably impressed by the wild and crazy goings-on. The studio audience went nuts, of course, even by the nutty standards of TPiR audiences. And the big payoffs probably didn't hurt the show's debut week ratings, or The Price is Right's chances for another multi-year renewal by CBS.

Friday, September 22, 2017

That was quick

As a comment thread on this blog points out, our little game show diginet Buzzr has made a strange programming decision.

No, I'm not talking about the Richard Simmons Dream Maker experiment, which Buzzr has already announced as a "limited run only." (My guess is that it will be very limited.) Instead, I'm referring to the decision to pull Wordplay after only three airings. Now that is a really limited run.

The Buzzr announcement talks about "unforeseen circumstances" behind the quick hook. This has set off some wild-blue speculation that some performer or production company yelped about the long dead show seeing the light of diginet.

As I blathered in the comment thread, that's always possible. But a lot of Wordplay has been available on YouTube for a while now, and nobody's yelped about that. Maybe we can use Occam's shaving utensil and speculate that Buzzr execs just thought the show was a dog. So they gave it the heave-ho and replaced it with their most reliable performer, Match Game. Gene and friends should be on Buzzr in prime time, anyway.

On the Buzzr Facebook page one viewer notes that Wordplay "is about as exciting as watching show melt." That's a little harsh, but there was a reason the show only lasted eight months in its original run.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A keen go-cart racer

A ramble through the game show Interwebs turned up this thread on Game Show Paradise about celebs who originally appeared as civvie contestants on game shows.

Truth be told, I already knew about a lot of them, like Vanna's turn on The Price is Right (no, she never got off contestants row.) Or Brianne Leary's jump from civvie to celeb on Match Game (the only one who ever made the journey across the stage.) But I didn't know that Simon Cowell of talent contest infamy made his TV debut as a civvie on the UK Sale of the Century.

They introduced Simon as a motor racing fan and a keen go-cart racer. Maybe he offered sour opinions about his competitors' driving, as sort of a warmup for Idol. The thread runs through some other performers whose game show adventures I wasn't aware of, like actress Kellie Martin. She played on Card Sharks and later voiced Daphne on Scooby-Doo, among many other roles. Always thought the cartoon was a little unfair to Daphne, making her more brainless than necessary.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Ratings: last week of syndie reruns

The last week before the fall premieres saw only small changes for syndie game shows. By the way, I don't know if this will be the last we see of Craig and friends, or if we'll get one more weekly ratings report. Anyway, TV News Check has the blah household ratings for September 4-10...

Family Feud 6.0 - down a tick
Wheel of Fortune 5.4 - up a tick
Jeopardy 5.1 - flat, not much going on
Millionaire 1.6 - up a tick
Celebrity Name Game 0.9 - flat and soon to depart

GSN continued to languish with really bad numbers. 281K/227K viewers prime time/total day for September 11-17. The network ranked 47th and 43rd in the windows. The schedule indicates that GSN is trying to establish some other shows in prime time besides Harvey Feud. But they're paying a ratings price.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Limited time only

Happened to be flipping through the nosebleed section on my cable channels, and I ran across Dream Maker on Buzzr.

To be honest, I had forgotten all about this...whatever getting a regular slot on the game show oldies diginet. But Buzzr's Facebook commenters haven't forgotten. They are loaded for bear in their remarks...

It is the worst thing I've ever watched. Couldn't change the channel fast enough. Not even a game show.

How is Dream Maker even REMOTELY considered a game show? What's next, re-runs of Jenny Jones and Geraldo?????

Oh dear god, no!!! Don't give them any ideas!!!

There's much more where that came from. When Net denizens are running through punctuation marks at this rate, you know the reaction is, let's say, unfavorable. By and large Buzzr has gotten fawning notices from the heavily traditionalist game show Interwebs. But this experiment with Richard Simmons and friends has riled the online masses.

The only good news is that Buzzr itself promises that the show's run is "limited." It can't get limited fast enough, as far as the Internet is concerned.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Him again

Is there a more tiresome game show personality than Arthur Chu?

Of course not. Which is why we've got to have a movie about the guy. Wouldn't you know, the linked story hits almost every item that everybody got to know and love about dear Arthur, whose only claim to fame is winning a few times on a game show.

Playing the race card. Check. Literally obscene political rants. Check. Pseudo deep think about Twitter and Facebook. Check. Cashing in with a ridiculous ticket price for his ridiculous movie. Check.

Ken Jennings, a much better Jeopardy player, has parlayed his streak into a career, which is mildly tedious but understandable. Chu just seems to annoy everybody for the sheer joy of the sport. And when people express their extreme boredom with him, he shouts race or politics or life's general unfairness.

What a guy. The perfect game show contestant for whines and whimpers.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Shoes of fortune

Always on the lookout for weird game show items, I couldn't resist this oddity about football cleats.

The sports site with the linked story seems befuddled by Minnesota Viking Stefon Diggs' choice of footwear. The reaction on Twitter is decidedly mixed, ranging from "These cleats are stupid!" to "Low-key fresh!"

My guess is that the reaction will get a lot more negative after the game today, which Minnesota lost 26-9. Even worse, the football squad suffered the indignity of getting outscored by the baseball team in town, as the Twins won 13-7. (Hm, a football score, now that I think about it.)

You might call it a wheel of football misfortune. Maybe Diggs will try Jeopardy shoes next week. Alex might look nice in purple.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Games TPiR people play

With The Price is Right about to debut its tenth season with Drew Carey, the show is filling the media with hoopla and hubbub.

In particular, the show is highlighting a new game called Gridlock. Inspired by the traffic in Los Angeles, contestants playing for a car must "navigate" their mini game vehicle out of a lane of traffic and into an empty lane by correctly giving the price of the vehicle.

Cars and game shows go together like a horse and carriage, no doubt. Meanwhile, Drew himself offers some thoughts on various TPiR games. He dislikes Stack the Deck and That's Too Much because people lose too often. The games are okay, just too hard. But Cliff Hangers is fun because people win most of the time. Drew waves off a compliment from the interviewer about creating Rat Race. Gee, I like that game.

Drew also teases about "a moment coming up during premiere week that is so outrageous." He thinks it's going to be TPiR's biggest viral moment ever. Maybe I'll have to put it in the video blog in the sidebar.

UPDATE: A commenter notes that 2017-18 will actually be Drew Carey's 11th season. He's right. TPiR is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Drew's first show on October 15, 2007.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ratings: syndies almost all flat

There was virtually no movement among syndie game shows for the week of August 28-September 3. TV News Check has the Irma-delayed but still boring household ratings...

Family Feud 6.1 - down a tick in the only move
Wheel of Fortune 5.3 - flat
Jeopardy 5.1 - flat
Millionaire 1.5 - flat, get the idea?
Celebrity Name Game 0.9 - flat as we're almost done

We've got one more week of reruns in the ratings before we get new numbers starting September 11. Maybe then we'll see some movement.

I watched one of the last runs of Celebrity Name Game in my home DFW market today. Next week the station replaces it with something called Couples Court. Just what we need, another phony judge show.

GSN crashed and burned for the week of September 4-10. 292K/220K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 49th and 43rd in the windows. Horrendous numbers. Maybe Amy Davis knew something when she jumped ship.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Moving on

Don't know if this has anything to do with Mark Feldman taking over from David Goldhill as GSN president, but programming veep Amy Intracaso-Davis is also moving on.

It probably does have something to do with the change at the top, but nobody at GSN tells me anything, so it's all speculation. Anyway, Amy will return to NBC's cable operations as the programming chief at the E! networks. I didn't realize it at first, but the linked press release reminds me that she has been around at GSN since 2011. I'm not sure if that's the longest tenure for any programming veep at the network, but it has to be close, at least.

The release also mentions her role in American Bible Challenge, Skin Wars, and The Chase. Well, two outa three ain't bad. (You can probably guess which one of the shows I'm not crazy about. It's the show that didn't get an Emmy nom.)

In more pertinent news by show biz standards, Amy's tenure saw GSN pull its biggest annual viewership numbers ever. I have no idea what her departure means for the network's future course. GSN is currently wall-to-wall traditional game shows, with no Skin in sight. We'll just have to stay tuned to see if that changes.