Monday, March 2, 2015

Game show self-congratulation

Readers of this blog know about my sour attitude toward show biz award shows. It's just great to watch the glitterati congratulate each other, in shows that go on longer than Senate speeches.

But the Daytime Emmys do "honor" game shows, so I'm sort of forced to cover them. In recent years the show has been bumped further and further down the media food chain. Nobody wanted the sucker, not the major networks, not the CW, not HLN, not even a piddly little online site.

Just when it seemed like the show was finally going to give up the statuette ghost, the old TV Guide channel (now known as Pop, as in Pop Warner) has signed on for a two-year hitch. My guess is that nobody will watch the awards, but the producers still promise: "Even if you don't watch daytime TV, you're going to love this show."

Love it or not, I'll let you know which game show wins. This is a full-service game show blog.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Check your local (blog) listings

A poster on Game Show Paradise notes a change in GSN's schedule, and I respond...

Other poster: Was GSN announcing schedule changes for March? Because I was very surprised to see Minute To Win It being shown this morning and that made my day so good today.

You should check the sidebar at Game Show Follies a little more often. The schedules for the first couple of weeks in March have been up for a while now. The Fieri Minute To Win It eps run at 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM on Saturday. Generally speaking, GSN seems to be releasing the schedule for two weeks in advance on Wednesday or Thursday. I put 'em on the blog as soon as I get 'em.

The next big change on the schedule will be the debuts of Monopoly Millionaires Club and It Takes a Church in late March. Check the blog a couple weeks in advance for how those shows are listed. I assume both will get some reruns, but we'll see.

Have to admit I don't follow the GSN schedule as closely as I used to. Scott Rahner at Game Show Network News tracks every little twist and turn in the schedule, based on the pds I post.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Drawing dead

Talked about the GSN upfront a few posts ago, and the high mortality rate for the network's development projects.

So why not look at one of the shows that never made it to the light of GSN's day? The network taped this unsuccessful 2000 pilot of Pictionary with Graham Elwood as host. The draw me a picture format had previously reached TV in a couple of short-lived incarnations.

The pilot looks like old (and much of new) GSN, with a minimalist set and spartan production values. Elwood, best known for the disrobing Strip Poker and the goofball Cram, seems quite low-key compared to those two efforts. The pilot is hardly a disaster and strikes me as more appealing than a lot of projects that eventually graced GSN. Maybe network execs thought they could get the same or better numbers by just leasing old Win, Lose or Draw eps.

A YouTube commenter suspects the pilot's contestants are hired actors - a common practice, of course - and everybody does seem way too caffeinated for the simple little game. The repetitious music gets annoying after a while, but GSN could have and certainly has done worse than this show.

Friday, February 27, 2015

R.I.P. Mr. Spock

The role of a lifetime must be the ultimate blessing and the damnable curse for an actor. The financial and career rewards are obvious, but they come with a devouring other identity that nobody - least of all the poor actor himself - can ever escape.

Was Robert Preston ever anybody besides the Music Man? And could Leonard Nimoy, dead at 83, ever flee the character I named in this entry's title? Nimoy even titled his first autobiography I Am Not Spock, for all the good it did him.

In the end Leonard seemed reconciled to his Vulcan doppelganger. In looking over his IMDb page I was a little surprised by the number of game shows he did. You Don't Say, Hollywood Squares, Pyramid, and the syndie What's My Line.

Ironically, in the linked WML appearance the panel gets sidetracked onto Mission Impossible, instead of that sci-fi show with the curt captain. Nimoy had a long and varied career as a fine actor beyond Star Trek, as his lengthy IMDb page shows. But the Vulcan guy always cast a long pointy-eared shadow. R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Time to take out the garbage

For some reason I looked at Game Show Garbage today. Hadn't stopped by in a while.

And I didn't stay long. The site looks kind of deserted. The last update was a couple weeks ago. On the main page GSG dumps on some Simpsons episode. I'm supposed to get sexed up about this? Since when did the site become Simpsons Garbage?

It's hard to avoid that clunking cliche about vaulting over a large carnivorous fish. Not that I haven't enjoyed the site in the past. Our little genre produces a lot of garbage like any other human endeavor, and somebody's got to point out the detritus.

But diminishing returns are the rule in any business, including the game show garbage business. The barrel gets scraped and pretty soon the site is left with trivia like its latest video induction, the worst game shows of 1975. Who can remember them and who could possibly care about them?

Maybe it's time to review some good stuff, guys. A little variety wouldn't hurt after all these garbage-filled years.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ratings: syndies blah out

Syndie game shows have seen better weeks. None of the shows gained for the week of February 9-15, and the top three lost ground. TV News Check presents all the downbeat household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 7.4 - down four ticks
Jeopardy 7.1 - also down four ticks in sympathy with the soulmate
Family Feud 6.5 - down three ticks, Steve has hit a speed bump lately
Millionaire 1.9 - flat as Terry tries to hang in there
Celebrity Name Game 1.4 - flat as usual

Despite the declines the top three looked good compared to all the other syndies at TV by the Numbers. The viewer averages: Wheel of Fortune 12.0M to lead all syndies (weekend repeat 6.3M), Jeopardy 11.2M (weekend repeat 4.7M), Family Feud 9.9M. The shows took three of the top four slots. Again, the numbers mean zilch for the six-time counted Weekend Adventure.

TV Newser posted their February chart. Well, okay, it was the January 28-February 22 chart. GSN liked the month, however it's defined. 434K/362K/490K viewer averages prime time/total day/extended prime time. The network ranked 35th, 27th and 31st in the windows.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Crossing over

Don't worry, I'm not going all John Edward on you with this entry's title.

I just happened to notice a bit on Game Show Newsnet that was actually about game shows for a change. Debra Jo Rupp, one of the surprisingly few people who have crossed over from appearing as a civvie on a game show to appearing as a celeb on the same show, celebrates her 63rd birthday today.

Okay, they were different versions of the same show. Debra Jo appeared on 25K Pyramid as a civvie and on Donnymid as a celeb. On the linked Donnymid video she recalls her turn on the ancient Pyramid and an unfortunately useless prize.

Which got me thinking about the only civvie who ever crossed over on Match Game: Brianne Leary. Those are matching screenshots of Brianne on the show, as a celeb welcomed back by Gene Rayburn and as a civvie playing the bonus round. Brianne won about $9,000 in her civvie turn, equivalent to nearly forty grand today.

Not bad for an aspiring actress. Eventually she landed a role on CHiPs and went on to a reasonable if not stupendous TV career. She also co-invented a paw cleaner for pets. Honest.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that Lynn Deerfield appeared as a civvie on the 1960s Match Game and then as a celeb on the much more renowned '70s version, after she joined the cast of Guiding Light. IMDb agrees and gives a few more details.