Sunday, September 30, 2012

Online future

A few months ago I thought GSN was betting the house on online gaming. The network wasn't developing any new game shows and seemed to be using the cable TV operation as an aging cash cow. But that was before American Bible Challenge and Steve Harvey's Family Feud starting blowing the Nielsen doors off.

Now I'm not so sure. GSN president David Goldhill and friends may figure there's a little life left in those doddering old TV game shows. But it was still interesting to read about GSN hiring former Zygna exec Jeff Karp for its online gaming operations.

GSN has actually seen declines in its Facebook game traffic, though Karp points out that lots of other online developers have the same problem. At least Karp realizes that game show brands give GSN a natural niche online. He even mentions Wheel of Fortune.

I really can't blame GSN for using the online operations to hedge its bets on the cable network. Online is growing, cable TV is stagnant. And how often will lightning strike with numbers like the Bible quizzer has generated?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tough to replace

To absolutely nobody's surprise, Let's Ask America didn't do so swell in its quest to replace the hallowed Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune duo.

At least the first day numbers from September 17 weren't too encouraging. Deadline Hollywood reports that all seven Scripps stations which replaced the Big Two syndie game shows saw huge ratings drops in the affected time periods of 31%-67%. Meanwhile, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune prospered on the first day of their new seasons. They got very nice increases in ratings compared to their year-ago numbers and their lead-in shows, despite losing the seven Scripps outlets.

Of course, other stations in all the affected markets picked up the Big Two shows. So folks in those cities could watch Pat and Vanna and Alex as usual. I really don't know how successful the Scripps experiment in cheaper homegrown programming will be. But the early returns don't look good.

UPDATE: To give Let's Ask America some credit, Variety has some better news for the show. In its first two weeks, the survey-fest averaged 1.7 and 1.8 household ratings in its markets. Hardly monster numbers but reasonably acceptable for such a low-cost show. Let's Ask America also skewed relatively young for a traditional game show.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pain and suffering

As if Meredith Vieira didn't have some Nielsen pain to deal with on Millionaire, she also suffered a sore hand. Contestant Lee Yanco got a little overenthusiastic in a high-five with Meredith, and she received the "worst pain of my life."

Okay, she wasn't mortally wounded. She came back with a bandaged hand and a wisecracking attitude. Apparently her lawyers are on call.

Game show hosts have been known to take a few lumps. There's the classic if yucky video of Swedish hostess Eva Nazemson, who regurgitated on live TV because it was that time of the month. But give her credit. She explained the unpleasantness and continued with the show as if a little televised vomit was the most natural thing in the world. A real trooper.

Of course, sometimes the pratfalls are intentional. Gene Rayburn once rolled down the steps on Match Game because, what the hey, it made a good entrance. Gene was 57 when he did the full body roll, so he deserves some credit for physical flexibility.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sitting through another season

A faux tweet noted a casting call for CW's stunt gamer Oh Sit a few days ago. So I speculated that maybe a second season was coming. Turns out that we will have another go-round for the obstacle course antics.

My review of the show was lukewarm at best. I actually liked the action on the course. It was all the other stuff in the show that got tedious. Maybe in the new season they can tighten up the pace and concentrate more on contestants spilling and thrilling. That's when the show gets fun.

There's no debut date yet for the new eps. The ratings have been pretty consistent for the show, generally 0.4 in 18-49 with a little under a million total viewers. Hardly a breakout hit but decent enough for the CW.

And there's no news on whether the hosts - Jamie Kennedy, Jessi Cruickshank, and Tanika Ray - will return. I didn't have much use for any of them but thought Cruickshank was the very worst.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ratings: Feud jumps in new slots

New season, new timeslots mean nice ratings for Family Feud. Steve Harvey's little survey-fest saw a very good bounce in the week of September 10-16. Most of the syndie game shows didn't have much to complain about, in fact. TVNewsCheck brings the generally pleasant news...

Wheel of Fortune 5.9 - up a tick
Jeopardy 4.8 - up three ticks
Family Feud 3.9 - up seven ticks, better living through better timeslots
Millionaire 2.0 - ouch, down three ticks

As you might expect, Meredith slipped out of TV by the Numbers' top 25 list. The viewership averages for the other three shows: Wheel of Fortune 8.9 million, Jeopardy 7.0 million, Family Feud 5.5 million. Next week the soulmates get their season debut numbers.

TVNewser's cable ranker says that GSN enjoyed another prosperous week. For September 17-23 the network averaged 460K/283K viewers prime time/total day. GSN ranked 36th and 38th in the windows.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Shakespeare's Feud

Been watching a lot of John O'Hurley's Family Feud on GSN lately. I can see what Roger Dobkowitz meant when he said that O'Hurley's audition to succeed Bob Barker on The Price is Right was the Shakespeare version of the show. Perfect diction, faultless grammar, patrician style.

You might call O'Hurley the anti-Harvey. The current Feud incumbent is clownish, loud, rubber-faced, camera-hogging...adjectives that don't remotely apply to O'Hurley. The ratings say that folks like Steve's down and dirty treatment better than John's highfalutin approach, though O'Hurley kept Feud's numbers profitable.

John always did seem a little out of place on grubby, low-rent entertainment like game shows. But he was super-competent and plenty telegenic, not to mention quick with a quip. So he got a fair number of gigs in our little genre.

My initial reaction to O'Hurley on Feud was a little impatience with his high-flown airs, especially because he replaced Mr. Everyman on the show, Richard Karn. But John's style is growing on me. He never got really snooty and always seemed to have a sense of humor about himself.

UPDATE: Looks like I jinxed John. He's losing his 5:00PM weekday afternoon slot on GSN to Minute To Win It.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Game shows do numbers

To nobody's surprise American Bible Challenge continues to romp and stomp in the ratings by GSN standards, with 915K viewers for the fifth episode.

But it turns out that GSN has found a more compatible lead-out to the show than the luckless Beat the Chefs. The network's Pyramid remake performed quite well last Thursday following the Bible quizzer. The news generated some comment on the GSN Internet board, and naturally I couldn't resist joining in...

Other poster: Not sure if the 545K is the average for the whole hour or just 9 PM.

It was just the 9:00PM run. The numbers are from Travis Yanan through Futon Critic. Note that both American Bible Challenge and Pyramid skew old, getting relatively few 18-49 viewers. So what else is new about traditional game shows? But the 151K 18-49 viewers for the Bible quizzer are great by GSN's historical standards. The show gets so many viewers compared to normal GSN fare that the demos can't help but look pretty good by the network's usual standards.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The 31-game winner

As the baseball season heads for the playoffs and World Series, this fan rummaged around YouTube for game show clips with ballplayers. One of the most, well, arresting clips (sorry, bad pun) was Denny McLain's appearance on the Wally Bruner version of What's My Line.

For the non-baseball-inclined, McLain was almost certainly the last pitcher to win thirty or more games in a season. Five-man rotations, pitch counts, and well-staffed bullpens have made it virtually impossible for any pitcher to duplicate McLain's 31-win 1968 season.

McLain looked great on WML, when he was in his prime. But as most baseball fans know, his prime vanished all too quickly. His life and career tumbled into sleaze and worse, and he became well acquainted with law enforcement personnel and prison cells. Wikipedia offers all the miserable details. At least he's out of jail now and his life seems to have stabilized.

By the way, Soupy Sales quickly guessed McLain on WML. Soupy could play the game.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Self-defecation

As a faux tweet mentioned long ago, Alan Thicke will star in Queen for a Day: The Musical. Sounds like a joke but the stage show is really going to happen. Luckily for Thicke's sanity, he seems to realize just how jokey the entire concept is.

In an interview with Canada's National Post, Thicke displays a nice, rumpled, down-to-earth sense of humor about himself and his career:
A reviewer once wrote without any irony or facetiousness, just because he was illiterate, that "Alan Thicke has a nice self-defecating sense of humour." [Canadian spelling, folks.] I said, "Yeah, that’s me. Put that on my tombstone."
While I've never been a huge fan of Alan Thicke's game shows - All New 3's a Crowd was a crime against humanity - I can appreciate his apparently genuine lack of pretension. Which helps in such a low-rent, unpretentious genre as game shows. I have no idea if the musical based on the old Jack Bailey embarrassment will be great, horrible, or in-between. But at least Thicke has the right attitude.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Survey says

Don't have a Scripps station in my home area, but I did finally catch the premiere of Let's Ask America on YouTube. I was prepared to dislike the show because Scripps is using it as a cheap replacement for the hallowed Jeopardy/Wheel of Fortune combo.

Turns out I couldn't muster up much hate. The show is hardly the greatest format I've seen, just another rehash of survey-says. But the proceedings move along briskly enough, and host Kevin Pereira drops in a decent quip now and then.

Through Skype four contestants play from the comfort (or discomfort) of their homes. The guess-the-survey-result questions carry increasing amounts of money. After each of the first three rounds, the low contestant on the money totem pole gets the video ax. In the final round the remaining Skype-er (is that a word?) can bet all or part of the money on one last survey question.

The surveys mostly concern silly pop culture and other goofiness familiar from Family Feud. At least the premiere episode offered a pleasant final round winner, a Southern grandma with the accent to prove it. The show is certainly dirt-cheap but far from unendurable. It's not an outlandish possibility that Let's Ask America might last a while.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ratings: syndies bob up and down

Millionaire's new season didn't help the show's numbers much, and other syndicated game shows mostly marked time in the week of September 3-9. We'll see if the new seasons debuting over the next couple of reported weeks move the ratings anywhere. TVNewsCheck presents the blah news...

Wheel of Fortune 5.8 - up three ticks
Jeopardy 4.5 - flat, can't keep up with the soulmate
Family Feud 3.2 - flat
Millionaire 2.3 - down a tick

At least all four shows made the top 25 syndie list at TV by the Numbers. The viewership averages: Wheel of Fortune 9.1 million, Jeopardy 6.8 million, Family Feud 4.5 million, Millionaire 3.2 million. So-so numbers as the reruns wind down.

GSN continues its nice ratings run as American Bible Challenge racks up record numbers for the network. TVNewser reports that GSN averaged 407K/262K viewers prime time/total day for the week of September 10-16. But the network is shaking up the schedule, anyway, by getting rid of Beat the Chefs, at least for now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The chefs get beat

Just got a new schedule for September 17-23 from GSN. In the accompanying e-mail GSN says that Beat the Chefs is getting all of its slots eliminated.

Naturally, the news has raised some interest on the GSN Internet board. Beat the Chefs could hardly expect a rousing reception from the largely traditionalist board, but nobody dumped on it too hard. I personally thought the show was surprisingly entertaining, but it was obviously a bad fit for GSN's audience. I natter on some more on the board...

Okay, my reaction to the changes. The cooking show was always a stretch for GSN. Not a quizzer, not a word game, not a stunt show. Basically, it was a refugee from Food Network. I thought Beat the Chefs was pretty good myself, but it doesn't surprise me that GSN's audience didn't, er, warm to it. This is a warning for the entire reality slate that has been kicking around in development at the network.

The revolution of rising expectations proceeds. GSN clearly wants the lead-out from American Bible Challenge to perform better. You get 900K viewer numbers, you get greedy for more. 300K+ used to look pretty good. It doesn't any more. And don't get me started on those 100K and 200K numbers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thirty years

It's lasted a lot longer than a lot of marriages. Pat and Vanna have been together with the wheel for thirty years now.

Wheel of Fortune's new season kicked off with the well-worn clip of Pat introducing Vanna as the "new" permanent hostess. Once upon a time the whole world was new, I guess. And once upon a time Vanna was new to Wheel. In fact, I've heard a rumor that a guy named Woolery actually preceded Pat on the show.

Nowadays it seems almost impossible that Pat and Vanna wouldn't be on Wheel. What if somebody else showed up one of these days? We don't have to worry about that any time soon because they've both re-upped through 2016.

Frankly, there's not much else to report on the new season. In the chitchat at the end of the show, Pat ticked off a few different tweaks to the gameplay. But they don't amount to much.

And we did have a bonus round winner, which was nice. In fact, the winner was a really good player who dominated the entire game. He was also a little loud, but I'd be loud, too, if I won that big.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sequels

Today I did something I've never done before: watch a Czech movie all the way through. It was Snezenky a machri (rough translation: Snowdrops and Aces) from 1983. You can watch it with bad English subtitles here. Believe it or not, the flick has become somewhat legendary in the Czech film industry.

You might be wondering what in Hades a Czech movie has to do with game shows. Patience. Anyway, the film - a teenage dramedy about compulsory ski training for 17-year-olds (!) - finally spawned a sequel in 2008, Snowdrops and Aces 25 Years Later. And guess what. Almost everybody hated the remake. I found a page of nearly a thousand comments in Czech, most of them yelps of displeasure, which my helpful browser translated into machine-ish English.

This is where the game show angle comes in. If there's anything that risks the displeasure of game show fans, it's a remake of an old show. Seems that Internet critics can only be placated if the remake sticks painfully close to the original, like GSN's Pyramid. Any departure from hallowed tradition brings howls of disappointment and downright outrage, similar to what greeted the remake of my only venture into Czech movie-watching.

By the way, if you're wondering what brought me to the movie in the first place, it was...chess, of which I am something of a fan. (This entry is getting more and more bizarre.) The movie's title inspires the strangest chess tournament in the world, also called Snezenky a machri, which is held each year in the Czech Republic.

The tournament pits a team of twenty-something chess-babe female masters against a team of sixty or seventy-something old-guy grandmasters. The pictures of the tournament tend to look a little creepy, with the old farts seated across the table from the babes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bible-thumping ratings

A thread on the GSN board chews over the latest numbers for American Bible Challenge. The biblical quizzer keeps on romping and stomping in downright divine ways for GSN. Total viewer numbers consistently rise above 900K. In fact, the top five shows in total viewers in GSN's entire history are the Press Your Luck doc with the Michael Larson episodes, and the four eps so far of American Bible Challenge.

The Nielsen news makes all those predictions of apocalypse seem silly. "American Bible Challenge is not the vehicle that is going to make great things happen for [GSN]." Uh, no. Really great things, by GSN standards, are happening every Thursday night.

The news isn't nearly as bright for the other originals, Pyramid and Beat the Chefs. Oh, they still get decent 300K+ viewer numbers. But Foxworthy and his Bible-thumpers make those numbers look weak. We might be seeing a revolution of rising expectations here. American Bible Challenge could just be an incredibly lucky one-off for GSN.

I like the Bible show. It's clever and funny and Foxworthy is a hopelessly likable host. But lots of funny and clever quizzers with good hosts have crashed and burned over the decades. The Bible quizzer is succeeding exactly because of the subject material, which I also thought might be too specialized or unappealing for many viewers. Just shows what I know.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Supposedly special

My grumpy self has already made clear my disenchantment with too many specials on Jeopardy.

In fact, except for the almost iconic Tournament of Champions, I don't have much use for all the other stunts and tournaments and special weeks and stupid human tricks. But Jeopardy remains one of our classic game shows, so your blogger takes note of the show's various specials coming our way this season, as listed by Carrie Grosvenor.

I'll admit that the new Military Week sounds promising, because it honors people worth honoring and it differs from the usual celeb parades. Otherwise, I could pretty much do without kids week and teen week and college week and twenty-somethings week (I made up that last one).

But grump as I might, the specials are coming. The new season kicks off September 17.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ratings: syndies wobble up and down

Syndicated game shows gained a little or lost a little or didn't do much of anything in the week of August 27-September 2. Some preemptions took their toll, along with a whole lotta reruns. But all the moves were very limited. TVNewsCheck presents the so-so news...

Wheel of Fortune 5.5 - down a tick
Jeopardy 4.5 - down a couple ticks, a little worse than the soulmate
Family Feud 3.2 - flat
Millionaire 2.4 - up a couple ticks, nice news for Meredith before the new season started

All four shows made the top 25 syndie list at TV by the Numbers. The viewership averages: Wheel of Fortune 8.3 million (weekend repeat 3.4 million), Jeopardy 6.6 million, Family Feud 4.4 million, Millionaire 3.3 million. Good to see Meredith back on the chart.

GSN continued to rock on down the highway with American Bible Challenge and the successful acquisitions, according to TVNewser. The network averaged 441K/300K viewers prime time/total day for the week of September 3-9, ranking 37th and 39th in the windows. Mighty fine numbers by the network's historical standards.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Going for a record

The news that Alex Trebek, Pat Sajak and Vanna White have all signed through the 2015-16 season has set off some speculation that they may be aiming for Bob Barker's 35-year record on The Price is Right.

Pat, Alex and Vanna don't phone me regularly - or at all, in fact - so I can't say for sure what their aim is. But I'm skeptical that they have Barker's record in mind. Truth to tell, they probably don't mind what they're doing and they're getting paid awfully well for it. So why not keep on keeping on?

I'm a baseball fan and I've seen players hang around forever in an effort to capture a big record. Pete Rose's obsessive pursuit of Ty Cobb's hits record got almost silly (not to mention Rose's gambling fiasco). But there is no game show hall of fame that honors statistical records.

Still, who knows? Maybe one or more of the trio is thinking about making it through Barker's three-and-a-half decades and then some. As the linked story notes, they're all a lot younger than Barker was when he finally packed it in.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Resume

Happened to catch an episode of GSN's Chain Reaction this morning. And it got me thinking about whatever happened to host Dylan Lane.

Google helped me find a few items. He did something on VH1 after his GSN gig. But the most interesting information I turned up was his resume on IMDb. Who knew that his skills included "stage combat"? Never had to fight anybody on Chain Reaction, anyway.

The resume says he's also a really athletic guy - everything from yoga to rollerblading to skiing - and he can do a Russian accent. Never heard his da's and nyet's on Chain Reaction, either.

The resume also brought home to me that he's a working stiff. I've often dumped on performers and shows on this blog, but they're all just trying to make a buck, after all. Maybe I should remember that and be a little kinder. I've had to brush up my own resume a few times.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Schedules, we get schedules...

GSN is trying Baggage in the morning according to recently released advance schedules. This sets off much chatter on the GSN Internet board, and I can't resist chattering myself...

The schedules for the weeks of September 10-16 and September 11-17 are now up on the blog. They show the same changes as Zap2it, which is no surprise because Zap2it is operating from exactly the same e-mails that GSN sent to me.

Don't know yet if Baggage in the 8:00AM hour is permanent. It may just be a trial to see if GSN can get somebody to watch after five hours of infomercials. I get the feeling that American Bible Challenge, the new version of Pyramid, and the successful recent acquisitions (Harvey Feud, Minute To Win It, 5th Grader) are making GSN impatient with the skimpy morning numbers, and they're going to try some different things. The revolution of rising expectations may be making those morning numbers look really bad to GSN execs. 100K, 200K might seem pretty puny nowadays, when the Bible show pulls around a million.

Speaking of American Bible Challenge, the show continues to garner ridiculous numbers by GSN standards. The third ep got 942K viewers. Beat the Chefs dwindled to 300K, though. Still not a complete disaster but the trend is worrisome. The basic problem remains: Beat the Chefs is not a show for GSN's audience. It's not a quizzer, it's not a word game, it's not a stunt show. I personally think the cooking show is surprisingly entertaining, but I can see why it's a tough sell to game show fans.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Skewing the squares

A thread on Matt Ottinger's board commented on how celebs could skew Hollywood Squares (and its descendant Hip Hop Squares) by leading a civvie contestant they disliked to the wrong answer. As posters on the board note, it's still up to the civvies to make the decisions. So such skewing isn't really the kind of cheating which would bring down the wrath of Standard and Practices.

A poster quotes Peter Marshall on the games Paul Lynde would play with contestants he didn't care for:
[If Paul Lynde] ever took a dislike to a contestant, that guy might as well have gone home. He'd do everything he could to make that person lose. He'd practically come right out and say his answer was correct and force the contestant to agree. Of course, his answer would be wrong. Then, during the commercial, he'd say, "Got you, didn't I?"
Hollywood Squares always rubbed me the wrong way with all the scripting of the celebs. I also don't get warm and fuzzies from how celebrities could screw over disliked civvies with such mind games.

But what the hey, the civvies knew what they were getting into, and they always had the final say on the celebs' answers. If a civvie got faked out by a celebrity for whatever reason, it was just part of the game.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Another kind of game show

Eons ago I played first board on my high school chess team. I've hardly played chess since then, but lately I've been following the game on TV.

Honest. There's a website called Chess TV, which webcasts chess matches. Currently they're showing the chess Olympiad. That's exactly what it sounds like, the chess Olympics. And today something really, really rare happened at the Olympiad. The U.S. beat Russia, which is like your local high school baseball team beating the Yankees. (Yeah, I know the Bombers have been slumping lately).

With nine rounds finished and two rounds to go, the U.S. is tied for first place and has a decent chance to medal. Anyway, the game shows on Chess TV don't feature cute models or free cars. But sometimes the games are downright dramatic (well, by chess standards).

The host is a Ukrainian grandmaster with a less than perfect command of English. But even he managed some drama in his voice as the U.S. neared its historic triumph. The final two rounds should be worth a peek. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Too bad, the U.S. lost to China today (September 7) and that probably knocks them out of the medals. They gave it a good try.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ratings: summer blahs

The summertime blues hit syndicated game shows, which were all flat or down in the week of August 20-26. Viewers had better things to do than watch reruns and all the rest of the usual summer TV fare. TVNewsCheck brings the forgettable news...

Wheel of Fortune 5.6 - down a couple ticks
Jeopardy 4.7 - down three ticks
Family Feud 3.2 - flat
Millionaire 2.2 - down a tick

Meredith slipped off the top 25 syndie list at TV by the Numbers. The viewership averages for the other three shows: Wheel of Fortune 8.7 million, Jeopardy 7.1 million, Family Feud 4.7 million. We've seen better numbers.

GSN continued its decent ratings in the week of August 27-September 2, buoyed by American Bible Challenge. The prime time/total day viewership averages were 386K/280K, according to TVNewser.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Millionaire returns

Caught the Millionaire season debut today. It's a little hard to believe that the syndie has endured for eleven seasons now, after ABC gave up on Regis' prime time version.

The supposedly big news before the debut was the new set. Except the new set looked pretty much like the old set. I saw a few tweaks here and there, but I was looking for them. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought the color green, as in the color of money, got more play on the new set. The most noticeable change was the podium, which had a more sculpted, metallic look...for folks who like sculpted, metallic things.

The gameplay was unchanged. They still randomized everything, which has never made much sense to me. But the random money and questions are here to stay, so I might as well get used to them. One spoiler: the season's first contestant bombed but the second guy did better. Meredith was chatty and competent as ever. Millionaire rolled on.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Inherit the Oprah

The battle between Katie Couric and Family Feud's Steve Harvey to inherit Oprah's talk show audience continues to garner media attention.

Media reporters have to chatter about something, but I have to wonder if Oprah's audience hasn't already dribbled away. Her ratings were headed down, down, down before she finally packed it in, and her OWN venture ain't doing so swell. Are there really huddled masses of Oprah-deprived daytime viewers yearning for a new icon?

I also have to wonder if Harvey isn't spreading his media empire a little thin. The radio show, Feud, the TV talker, the books, the movies, the baseball cards (I made up that last one)...after a while, there's only so much Steve any audience can absorb. But Harvey is hot right now thanks to Feud's improved ratings and the surprise success of his movie. He's got quite a few kids to support, after all, so I can't blame him for making hay while the media sun shines.

Will the talk show cut into Feud's numbers, as viewers get Steve-overloaded? I doubt it, but I could be generalizing from little old me. I never watch talkers, which makes me think most game show fans also aren't interested.

UPDATE: TVNewsCheck reports Steve Harvey's talk show averaged a 1.5 household rating, up considerably from the same time slots last year.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Panic?

The Futon Critic has posted some numbers for the second eps of American Bible Challenge and Beat the Chefs, which naturally show drops from the debuts. And just as naturally, a clueless poster on the GSN board pushes the panic button. I giggle at the post...

The original post is downright hilarious, though unintentionally. 949K total viewers "only" makes the second ep of American Bible Challenge the third most-watched show in GSN history, after the Bible debut and the Larsen documentary. Time to press the panic button, no doubt, he said sarcastically.

And old-skewing? Har-de-har-har. GSN usually gets somewhere around zero 18-49 viewers. The network will gladly take 176K of them. GSN has always skewed older than Everest. Once upon a time, High Stakes Poker topped the network with a little over 100K 18-49 viewers.

Beat the Chefs may suffer by comparison to Bible, and it certainly can't withstand all the reruns. I don't know that it's destined for cancellation, though. The cook-off is hardly a Late Night Liars disaster. 357K total viewers is very respectable by GSN's usual standards. But a cooking show was always going to be a tough sell to GSN's audience.

Couldn't find any numbers for the Pyramid sneak peek. May have to wait for Douglas Pucci's usual weekly list.