Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ratings: syndies jump for joy

After a rough week syndie game shows bounced back in the July 7-13 period. All the shows tacked on a few tenths of a point, except for poor Cedric. But he's outa here pretty soon, anyway. TV by the Numbers posts all the household ratings and viewer averages...

Wheel of Fortune 5.8 - up a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.7 - up three ticks to close in on the soulmate
Family Feud 4.6 - up three ticks for smiling Steve
Millionaire 2.0 - flat

The viewer averages also perked up some. Wheel of Fortune 9.1M (weekend repeat 4.5M), Jeopardy 8.8M (weekend repeat 3.4M), Family Feud 6.7M, Millionaire 2.6M. Not bad for TV's July lull.

GSN's total day average nudged up a little for the week of July 14-20, says TV Newser. 351K/254K prime time/total day. The network ranked 41st and 39th in the windows, right around its usual spot in the cable pecking order.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I was a teenage contestant

Grumpy old me has complained about Jeopardy's constant tournaments and stunts. And frankly, except for the champions' tourneys, I don't have much use for all the specials. After a while there just isn't much special about 'em.

But as I watched tonight's kickoff of the show's teen tournament, even this ancient grump got to rooting a little. I wanted all the kids to do okay. When one of them bombed with a big negative score and didn't make Final Jeopardy, I actually felt a twinge of regret. What's happening to my precious cynicism?

I even felt bad when one of the other kids goofed the FJ question - which I nailed, to brag obnoxiously - and lost her lead and the game. She might still move on as a wild card, but you never know.

This tournament gets a bunch of stories in Google News, as local outlets like to cover the brainy teens. They make for cute pictures and cute quotes. At least they're enthusiastic about national TV time and the chance to show off some smarts. It's hard even for me to root against smart kids, after all.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Schwab on the radio

As sports junkies line up to play Sports Jeopardy this fall with Dan Patrick on Crackle, news comes that Howie Schwab will be part of the project.

Howie is fondly remembered from ESPN's Stump the Schwab game show. He's the ultimate sports trivia nerd, sort of the Ken Jennings of jock minutia. He'll be consulting with the Sports Jeopardy guys to make sure they don't mix up their shortstops with their cornerbacks.

The linked story features a funny interview with Howie and Dan Patrick. In a bit of bizarre gameplay, Patrick actually nails an incredibly obscure trivia question from the Schwab. Daniel seems quite proud of himself and growls at his staff for thinking it was all a set-up.

Sadly, Patrick whiffs on a second question from Schwab. There's also some reminiscing about their time at the "four-letter" network. (Which would be ESPN, for the not so well-informed.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Before Chuck and Susan

One of the nice features of the revived BuzzerBlog is "throwback Thursdays." The site looks back at the long and tangled history of our little genre.

The latest installment recalls Number Please, a minor Goodson-Todman effort that didn't last a year on ABC. The format wasn't anything special. Two contestants took turns revealing letters in hidden phrases until they got up the gumption to guess the solution. But it's obvious how the word game anticipated later efforts like that one with the big wheel. YouTube offers a sample ep.

I very vaguely remember the show, mostly because host Bud Collyer was famous thanks to Beat the Clock and To Tell the Truth. The YouTube episode just reeks of the fifties, though the show actually dates from 1961. The show refers to the contestants as "Mrs. Dewitt" and "Mrs. Secord," which nowadays might bring a sex discrimination suit (slight exaggeration).

As BuzzerBlog notes, an old-soap-opera organ also keeps playing throughout the proceedings. The whole thing seems to come from so far back, that it's crummy to realize I turned ten years old during the show's brief run. I come from pretty far back, too.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bible challenged

American Bible Challenge wrapped its third season last night. The Bible Belts won it all.

While the third go-round hardly drew the whopping numbers of the first two seasons, it was still quite successful by GSN's historical standards. The show regularly got 500K+ viewers for its first-run eps. Not long ago that would have been considered absolutely terrific for our little game show network. It's still pretty good for GSN.

So I have to think that we'll see a fourth batch of episodes. Though I have no inside, outside or any-side information to guide me. The news may not be so swell for the show's religious companion, It Takes a Church. The offbeat dating show was always more of a stretch for GSN's usual audience, and its numbers have only been okay, sort of.

GSN has Skin Wars coming in August, and that show looks about as nonreligious as you can get. Maybe the network doesn't want to get typecast as some kind of Christian specialty outlet. But I doubt that RuPaul will make many references to scripture.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Greedy for more

I don't know about Chance of a Lifetime, but I definitely agree with the Game Show Confessions sentiment on Greed.

The Chuck Woolery quizzer was the best of the early Millionaire knockoffs. In contrast to the folksy Regis show, Greed offered raw competition and, well, greed for the big bucks. Woolery quizzed teams yoked together in enforced cooperation and competition. The terminator faceoffs only added to the cutthroat nature of the proceedings.

The format was by no means perfect. Teams got into a habit of bailing out with $200,000 because the questions simply turned too risky at the higher levels. Dan Avila showed the horrible fate that could await a contestant. He tried for the ultimate prize and lost on chocolate.

The show reran on GSN with some success but hasn't been seen for years. It did deserve more than 44 episodes, but them be the game show apples.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ratings: syndies tumble

Most of the syndie game shows would like to forget about the week of June 30-July 6. Sure, it's the summer doldrums for all of TV land, but the shows in our little genre really got hit. At least Cedric didn't join the downward trend. TV by the Numbers has the household ratings and viewer averages...

Wheel of Fortune 5.6 - down five ticks to a season low
Jeopardy 5.4 - down four ticks in sympathy with the soulmate
Family Feud 4.3 - down six ticks in a nasty tumble
Millionaire 2.0 - flat, which is good this week

In viewer average Pat and Vanna hung in at number two behind the sarcastic jurist. Wheel of Fortune 8.9M (weekend repeat 4.5M), Jeopardy 8.3M (weekend repeat 3.6M), Family Feud 6.3M, Millionaire 2.7M. Despite the week-to-week drops, the shows are still pulling decent audiences.

GSN posted viewer averages for July 7-13 in line with the last several weeks. 350K/239K prime time/total day. The network ranked 40th and 41st in the windows.