Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chess to the death

I've mentioned that I'm something of a chess fan. Maybe the oddest game show for chess fans is Chess.com's "Death Match." This three-hour blitz and bullet festival pits two chess masters against each other in shorter and shorter time formats. First, five minutes a game, then three minutes a game, then one minute a game in the ultimate bullet showdown. (Well, there are wussy one-second increments per move in each format.)

International masters Danny Rensch and David Pruess provide sometimes goofy, sometimes insightful comments on the games as they play out over the Internet. The latest match saw two women players duke it out, Americans Anna Zatonskih and Tatev Abrahamyan. Really, Anna should have won because she is the much higher rated player.

But sometimes upsets happen. Tatev pulled away late in the match to a pretty easy win. Even though she looked a little haggard and fuzzy-haired during the pre- and post-match interviews, the lower rated Tatev really didn't have much trouble, especially in the one-minute games. You never know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ratings: Meredith gets a little good news

Syndicated game shows didn't move much in the week of October 15-21. But Millionaire got a little much needed good news. And most of the other shows didn't have too much to complain about. TVNewsCheck brings the news that could have been worse...

Wheel of Fortune 6.5 - flat, but number one among all syndies in household ratings and total viewers
Jeopardy 5.7 - down a tick
Family Feud 4.2 - flat
Millionaire 2.3 - up a couple ticks and Meredith can use every tenth of a point
Baggage 1.1 - hey, even Jerry was up a tick

Meredith also made the top 25 syndie list at TV by the Numbers. The viewership averages: Wheel of Fortune 9.8 million, Jeopardy 8.5 million, Family Feud 6.0 million, Millionaire 3.1 million. In case you were wondering, Jerry didn't make the list.

In cable land Figure It Out continues its nice run on Nick, topping out at 2.2 million viewers in the week of October 15-21. And Syfy's Total Blackout began its second season on October 30 with an all-time high of 1.43 million viewers. Expect both shows to stay around for a while.

GSN's overall averages for October were 336K/236K viewers prime time/total day. Okay but hardly as good as when American Bible Challenge was new and shattering ratings records for the network.

Monday, October 29, 2012

On and on and on

There was never any doubt about it.

But just in case you were worried, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy have been re-upped by the ABC owned and operated stations through the 2015-2016 season. Alex and Pat and Vanna had already signed on for those seasons, so station renewals have become pretty much a formality.

Sure, the Scripps stations recently rebelled over the shows' increasing cost and tried their own homegrown programming. But syndication's ageless duo easily found other stations to carry them in the affected markets.

Once upon a time, though it's very hard to believe, these shows didn't exist at all. And at some distant time in some distant galaxy, there won't exist any more. But for now they just keep rolling along like the old man river of syndication. It's hard to imagine the TV world without them. What would I put in my weekly ratings updates?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Canucks match up

Rules are made to be broken. This blog normally confines itself to U.S. game shows. But I've been bending the rules for a few items about the Canadian revival of Match Game. After all, the Canucks are our close relatives, right down to the accent of English used...except for that weird "ou" sound.

So I might as well give the show a full-scale review. In a word, it's okay. Yep, that's the word I kept thinking of as I watched an episode on YouTube. Now okay is not terrible or bad or anything negative at all. Okay is kind of good when you think about it. I wouldn't mind people saying that I've led an okay life when I finish up. I can think of lot worse things they could say.

The gameplay was familiar, with the borrowing of a speed round from the Match Game '90 revival. The panelists - all Canadian except for token USA-nian Caroline Rhea - were funny enough. Host Darrin Rose kept things moving. The contestants weren't brilliant but they weren't idiots, either. The slightly off-color humor was in keeping with the original's spirit.

Like I said, everything was okay. Was it dazzling, unforgettable, light-years ahead of the 1970s classic? Well, no. But it was not a waste of twenty-two YouTube minutes.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that Caroline Rhea is Canadian, too. Well, darned if she isn't. I stand corrected.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Greed is reportedly good

A faux tweet noted that Howie Mandel's new NBC game show Take It All will debut for a short run on December 10.

Now comes a Hollywood Junket report on the show's gameplay and set. The format will sound familiar to anybody who's ever played the white elephant parlor game. Once upon a time I played a long session of the game with people from my wife's church choir. Basically, contestants decide if they want to steal somebody else's prize or keep their own. The kicker: they get eliminated if they end up with the worst prize at the end of a round.

The endgame is based on the prisoner's dilemma, a familiar gimmick from GSN's Friend or Foe and a few other game shows over the years. Hollywood Junket gets almost giddily enthusiastic about the show. In particular, they praise Howie as "funny, quick and right on point." Well, Howie did host Deal or No Deal with surprising charm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our Chuck

A thread on Matt Ottinger's board sprayed a surprising amount of venom at schlockmeister Chuck Barris. Of course, Chuckie made a career of getting venom spit at him, but Matt's board is so traditionalist. I figured anything as old as Chuck's shows would be pretty much immune from criticism.

I figured wrong. Several posters took turns dumping on the one Chuck Barris show I liked a lot, Newlywed Game. Yeah, Gong Show was mostly an embarrassment and Dating Game was kind of a bore. But Bob Eubanks kept the newlyweds at each other's throats enough to make me reasonably happy.

The posters at Matt's place didn't like the dumb answers from so many of the newly hitched. Gee whiz, guys, such stupidity made the show. When the stereotypical blonde didn't know what "urban" meant, Newlywed Game rocked, with a large assist from Eubanks. (By the way, I like the French subtitles on the YouTube clip. Makes everything seem even stupider somehow.)

At this point I could launch into my usual lecture on how game shows should be at least a little dumb and cheesy. But I'll skip it today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stunts

Been watching some episodes of Minute To Win It on GSN. What is so appealing about stupid human tricks, otherwise known as stunts?

It's hard to say when I think about it, and I probably shouldn't think about it. After a while I do feel a little dumb watching people bounce ping-pong balls into fishbowls and slap balloons around in the air. So I just tell myself that it's harmless fun. If contestants can make money from such silliness, who am I to argue?

We all have to do something to pass the time, even if the time is only a few minutes on TV. And to be fair, Minute does test some genuine athletic abilities, like reaction time and coordination.

When stunts get too gross, like scorpion-eating on Fear Factor, I tend to check out. But the Fieri festival stops way short of that. In fact, the stunts on Minute tend to be less messy than the ancient Beat the Clock. Which of course is the stuntfest that started it all.

Ever since Bud Collyer yelled "stop the clock," people have been watching other people do stupid tricks on TV. It's brainless, it's silly, it's the empty calories of a media diet. But I can watch PBS documentaries some other time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ratings: syndies generally brighten up

The top three syndicated game shows all had a decent week for October 8-14. But the news was less swell for the bottom two. We're getting into peak viewing season for TV shows of all kinds. TVNewsCheck brings the numbers for one and all...

Wheel of Fortune 6.5 - up a tick and second only to Judge Judy in household ratings
Jeopardy 5.8 - up a couple ticks
Family Feud 4.2 - up a tick to tie its season high
Millionaire 2.1 - flat
Baggage 1.0 - down a tick for poor Jerry

TV by the Numbers says that Wheel of Fortune was tops in total viewers among all syndies, even ahead of the loudmouth judge. The viewership averages for the top three: Wheel of Fortune 10.0 million, Jeopardy 8.6 million, Family Feud 6.2 million. Very decent numbers all round.

TVNewser's weekly cable ranker reveals that GSN's ratings continue to fall back to earth after the heavenly lift from the Bible quizzer. The network averaged 329K/223K viewers prime time/total day for the week of October 15-21, ranking 41st and 42nd in the windows. Not terrible but a definite comedown from a few weeks ago.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fixing a pyramid?

A thread on the GSN board has been chewing over the less than overwhelming ratings for the network's Pyramid revival. Another poster asks me the natural question...

Other poster: I don't understand your criticism that Pyramid isn't different enough, Casey. What exactly could they have done to this format?

I always liked a tighter time limit. Maybe not as tight as Donnymid's 6-in-20, but I would have considered something like the very first season's 8-in-30, or maybe 7-in-25. Also would have spiced up the categories a little. They're just as bland as the old Clark versions. A little naughty humor wouldn't hurt, even if it would set off the same complaints that Steve Harvey's Family Feud generates on the game show Internet boards (as if that makes any difference in the real world).

I do like the one change they did make, the build-the-bank feature. Makes the final round in the front game meaningful even if one team is way ahead. The really depressing notion is that Pyramid has just had its day with the general TV audience, and no tweaks would have helped much. Let's face it, a lot of pilots have been tried over the years, and none of them apparently wowed test audiences. Oh well, maybe the show will somehow get a second season.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wannabe game show star

A faux tweet referred to a funny story by Canada's Mireille Silcoff. She happens to be married to the new Match Game's producer Michael Kronish. Naturally, she fantasizes about a starring role on the show.

Reality intervenes, much to her slightly bemused annoyance. The husband supposedly tells her: "I just don't have a chair for an overthinking bookish type who goes over every sentence with a thesaurus." Somehow I doubt the absolute authenticity of that quote, but a producer knows salable comic talent when he sees it.

Meanwhile, I have to confess to the same fantasy. What if I was a star on a game show, or just about any kind of show? Then I look in the mirror - you can check my photo on this blog - and the fantasy dies a quick but painful death.

Still, it would be nice to get into People magazine with my hot new show, instead of splattering phosphors on a mostly ignored corner of the Internet. But I wouldn't bet on either Mireille or moi enjoying the big break any time soon.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Get gonged

Game Show Garbage goes for the really low-hanging fruit with an endless trashing of GSN's crime against humanity, Extreme Gong.

Of course, no defense is possible for the disgrace that was E.G. But come on, guys, this is getting too, too easy. We already know that Extreme Gong stunk, sucked, smelled and stenched (is that a word?) Don't you have anything else for us?

Well, as a matter of fact, they do. The Game Show Garbage gang actually criticizes Extreme Gong for one of its tiny redeeming features, the show's frequent slams on alt.tv.game-shows. If any Usenet group deserved a good dump or four, it was al.tv.g-s. (I should know, I was one of the group's misguided contributors.)

The GSG crowd also doesn't like Babe of the Day, who was at least decent eye candy. And they unload the entire dictionary of invective on producer Scott Sternberg, to the point where I feel a little sorry for guy. Which is something I don't want to do.

Finally, sorry for the heresy, but the original Gong Show wasn't all that great, either. The GSG folks should just have admitted it before crushing the horrendous remake.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Winners

American Bible Challenge has wrapped its first season with the team Judson's Legacy taking home the grand prize. As you might guess from the name, the team was formed in memory of a child named Judson, who died at age two from a rare disorder called Krabbe disease. Judson's parents and a family friend make up the team.

This cynical blog will pause in its cynicism long enough to congratulate the winners and GSN for contributing $140,000 to medical research on a cure for the disease. Whatever your opinion of religion - and a number of anti-religious reviewers dumped on the Bible quizzer when it debuted - it's hard not to feel good about this story.

Of course, American Bible Challenge has also done very good business for GSN. Which is fine with me. The show is funny and clever and Jeff Foxworthy hosts with flair. A second season has already been ordered. I wish the producers good luck and continued success.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No disclaimer, no show

Fans of The Price is Right should not get heart attacks over this entry's picture. Drew and company have not been axed from CBS.

Instead, in a bizarre legal tangle, the TPiR live stage show in Orono, Maine was cancelled last night. The venue for the show, the Collins Center at the University of Maine, omitted a "No Purchase Necessary" disclaimer on their website.

The production company thought the lack of a disclaimer was misleading. So the show got wiped out, and a bunch of eager fans got bummed out. One irate TPiR-lover Facebooked this complaint: "It was a total bummer! That was my birthday present. To drive two hours plus, wait in line in the cold, get all excited just to be denied. It made me feel sad inside."

It does seem like the ultimate p.r. nightmare. Hard to believe that nobody noticed the lack of a disclaimer until the last moment. But lawyers rule the world, just not very efficiently.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stephanie bids farewell

It's not exactly the women's world championship of chess. Which is held by a Chinese teenager named Hou Yifan, by the way.

But college prof Stephanie Jass did pile up seven consecutive wins on Jeopardy before succumbing tonight. Depending on who you believe, that either ties the all-time record for female contestants or sets a new record. Either way, it's a great run for the the distaff side. (Gee, that phrase sounds quaint.)

In her eighth episode Stephanie unfortunately goofed in Final Jeopardy on "Countries and Populations." Hey, anybody can lose track of a population here and there. But she'll be back for the Tournament of Champions, no doubt.

At least she has the right attitude. "Just trying to cram for information was making me stressed," she said in an interview with her hometown newspaper. "If I get a board that doesn't play to my strengths, that's the breaks." She got a question on demography, which apparently wasn't a strength. But she has nearly a hundred and fifty grand to console herself with.

UPDATE: Looks like Stephanie does hold the record for most consecutive wins by a female contestant. The previous record was six, set by Larissa Kelly in 2008.

Ratings: syndies bob up and down

Syndicated game shows moved a little during the week of October 1-7, but not much. At least there weren't any sudden drops, but there weren't any big jumps, either. TVNewsCheck is on top of the itty-bitty changes...

Wheel of Fortune 6.4 - up a tick
Jeopardy 5.6 - flat
Family Feud 4.1 - down a tick from a season high
Millionaire 2.1 - down a couple ticks in more blah news for Meredith
Baggage 1.1 - up a tick, you remember Jerry?

Only the top three made TV by the Numbers' list of the 25 most-watched syndies. The viewership averages: Wheel of Fortune 9.8 million, Jeopardy 8.5 million, Family Feud 5.9 million. Pretty standard numbers lately.

TVNewser's usual cable ranker says GSN enjoyed an okay week for October 8-14, with 347K/230K viewership averages prime time/total day. Not long ago those would have been pretty good ratings, but they look a little pale compared to recent weeks. The network ranked 39th and 41st in the windows.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No reason for the rhymes

As a faux tweet noted, Ryan Seacrest is working on a remake of a nearly forgotten 1970s game show called Rhyme and Reason. The show was almost completely wiped, but the pilot somehow survived and has surfaced on YouTube.

Seacrest apparently plans to use hip hoppers for his remake, which is tentatively titled Rhyme, Rap or Reason. The original used a cast of old game show regulars like Richard Dawson, Jaye P. Morgan and Lee Meriwether. The central figure was Nipsey Russell, who contributed rhymes of all sorts, some of them kind of funny.

Bob Eubanks hosted in a classically smarmy way. The idea was to get the celebs to create rhyming answers which used words secretly picked by the civvies. Slightly off-color humor was encouraged, as the show tried to duplicate a Match Game atmosphere.

The problem was simple: too many of the rhymes were lame beyond any possible forgiveness. Of course, not every reply on Match Game hit the target, either, but at least the celebs didn't have to force their answers into stilted verse. Even Nipsey couldn't knock off the rhymes consistently enough. Rhyme and Reason suffered through one low-rated year before ABC pulled the plug and brought on something called Family Feud as the replacement.

We'll see if Seacrest has any more luck with the remake.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Time flies

It's not the most meaningful anniversary for my grumpy TPiR-indifferent self.

But as Wikipedia points out in its article on The Price is Right, "[Drew] Carey's first show aired October 15, 2007." Which was five years ago today. Lots of water has passed over the dam since then, and the thunderous Internet arguments over Drew now seem a little quaint. He's still here, he's not going away, and the show keeps grinding on.

I have no skin in the endless Barker-Carey arguments. Both hosts were and are plenty competent, and I don't watch the show much, anyway. Drew's lost weight, gotten a new announcer, presided over a few of the apparently inevitable lawsuits around the show, and given away piles of cash and merchandise. What more does anybody want?

Yeah, I know the traditionalist Barker diehards want a lot more, like for Drew to drop dead, preferably onstage. I wouldn't hold my breath. Five years from now we'll probably be noting the big one-oh.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life goes on, bra

A few posts ago I noted that former Wipeout host Vanessa Lachey recently gave birth to a kid who is so cute. This prompted some semi-sage observations about how life goes on, even for game show people.

Wouldn't you know, Bleacher Report (a site usually devoted to sporting matters) has done a life-goes-on feature about Nickelodeon's hosts from the 1980s and 1990s. The group has piled up a lot of years, a lot of relationships and kids, and a lot of jobs, mostly in show business.

Michael O'Malley may be the best known of the group, thanks to his Glee-ful career lately. But I thought Jessica Gaynes' story was the most interesting. After her stint on Wild and Crazy Kids in 1990-92, she got out of the business and had kids of her own. Now she "speaks passionately about child labor issues." She didn't much like her experiences as a teenaged hired hand at Nick.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Smashing the bar

Let's get back into the time machine with Richard Carson's terrific YouTube collection of I've Got a Secret clips.

In fact, the clip I just watched is kind of a double time machine. It's almost a half-century old, dating from March, 1964. Bill Cullen even mentions that newfangled group, the Beatles. But the clip refers even further back to events of a half-century or so before 1964, the temperance crusade which finally resulted in Prohibition.

The contestant was Ruth Stout, sister of Nero Wolfe author Rex Stout. Miss Stout's secret was that she had smashed up a bar in 1901 with Carry Nation, the ax-wielding temperance lady.

The panel didn't guess the secret. But after Garry Moore revealed the bar-smashing episode, Henry Morgan invited Miss Stout to the bar next door. She accepted, which shows that the temperance crusade was over, at least for her.

In fact, the elderly Miss Stout made the whole experience sound more like a lark than a serious protest. She told how the police were laughing with Carry Nation and didn't take the bar bust-up all that seriously. Still, the temperance crusade would eventually have some very real consequences. The segment was yet another bit of American history from I've Got a Secret.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Game show hosts moonlighting

This discussion thread chats about game show hosts who did guest roles in other TV shows or movies. I always thought the ultimate moonlighting role for a host was Richard Dawson's turn as the villainous emcee in Running Man. He proved that he could act, unlike his co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oddly, nobody mentions this role in the thread.

For me the most nostalgic bit in the thread is Johnny Olson's unbilled role as the announcer in the "Real Families" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. I've always had a soft spot for that show, and not because it was supposedly set in my old hometown. WKRP just happened to be outlandishly funny a lot of the time. "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

There's also a note about Howie Mandel (with hair) guesting on Highway to Heaven. Sadly, I couldn't find any pictures of the hirsute Howie on the show. But the poster swears that he was quite handsome back then. I'll take her word for it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

GSN schedule shuffles

With American Bible Challenge wrapping its initial run, GSN will make a lot of schedule changes over the next couple weeks.

The GSN Internet board is happy happy joy joy over the return of Press Your Luck and Card Sharks to weekday mornings. The schedule gets older overall, which is the shortest way to the Internet board's heart. But grumpy me isn't too happy over Password Plus getting the heave-ho from weekday mornings. My deep thoughts from the board...

Other [non-fan of mine] poster: I'm surprised Casey Abell has nothing on this. Maybe he's still in shock GSN still cares about classics.

This comment would be more appropriate for your hero, Alex Davis. He almost never posts about classics, I often post about them. Alex has often loudly proclaimed his lack of interest in classics, while I'm a fan of lots of them. In fact, I just posted an appreciation of Bert Convy. (Hope it wasn't a jinx on Password Plus.) But I don't expect you to ever say anything bad about your hero Alex, or anything good about me.

Oh, my own reaction to the changes...never been a big fan of Card Sharks, Press Your Luck or Whammy, so those changes don't make much difference to me. I wish Password Plus was keeping its weekday slots, but at least it's still on the weekends. Woolery Lingo was due for a rest, as I commented before, and frankly so was Engvall Lingo.

I'm always fine with lots of Pyramid of all sorts all over the place. Just posted a reaction to Chad Mosher's thorough analysis on BuzzerBlog of GSN Pyramid's chances for renewal. (I personally wish Chad would just take over BuzzerBlog completely.) Not sure about a renewal myself, but we'll see. The recently announced renewal of American Bible Challenge was an absolute lock, of course.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ratings: syndies wobble a bit

Not a whole lot of movement for syndicated game shows in the week of September 24-30. But Steve Harvey continues to get good news, and even poor Meredith Vieira had something to be happy about. TVNewsCheck offers the numbers...

Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - flat
Jeopardy 5.6 - flat like the soulmate
Family Feud 4.2 - up a couple ticks
Millionaire 2.3 - up a tick for forlorn Meredith
Baggage 1.0 - down a tick for even more forlorn Jerry

Everybody except, of course, Jerry made the top 25 syndie list on TV by the Numbers. The viewership averages: Wheel of Fortune 9.7 million, Jeopardy 8.5 million, Family Feud 6.0 million, Millionaire 3.1 million. Decent numbers as we head into the top months for TV watching.

TVNewser's cable ranker shows that GSN enjoyed another good week in October 1-7. The network averaged 377K/266K viewers prime time/total day, and ranked 37th and 38th in the windows.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hippety hoppety again

After scoring decent ratings for MTV2 in its first season, Hip Hop Squares returns October 23. I didn't mind the show in its first go-round. At least they respected the basic format, even if many of the hip hoppers were reportedly drunk as skunks.

The linked story says some of the usual suspects will come back for more fun, including the very easy-on-the-eyes Kat Graham. Ms. Graham seemed a little embarrassed in her first turn on the show. She wasn't sure if a pop girl like herself had enough street cred to hang with Mac Miller, Ghostface Killah and the rest of the harder-core gang. I wouldn't worry, Kat. You look plenty good enough to me to hang with anybody.

Peter Rosenberg returns as the host. He was cheery and competent and appeared to be enjoying himself. The story doesn't say anything about announcer Ms. Nix. Hope she comes back for the second season, because she was very pleasant visually, too.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Odds on Pyramid

At BuzzerBlog Chad Mosher has posted a long analysis of ratings for GSN's Pyramid.

Chad's bottom line: "Will The Pyramid come back for a season two? If we simply look at the 6PM numbers, I think the answer is still so-so, with a slight lean towards yes. Additionally, if the prime time numbers are to be figured in as well, or if GSN experiments more with prime time and it goes well, my answer becomes a likely."

Don't really disagree with this, though Chad's analysis may be biased by his strongly traditionalist leanings. That's why he's so enthusiastic about GSN's Pyramid, calling it "one of the best game show revivals of this century." GSN has gone super-traditionalist with the show, hardly daring to change anything from the old Dick Clark days.

I'm a pretty trad guy myself. But after a while, aping the past gets a little (sorry) old. Frankly, I think GSN's Lingo was a much better revival, exactly because the network did change a lot of things from the ancient 1980s version. I realize this is a minority opinion on the game show Interwebs, where older is almost always better.

In fact, I think the slavish imitation of everything old may help account for Pyramid's less than overwhelming ratings. Viewers have been there and done that. Right down to almost every detail.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sympathy for Bert

Happened to see Bert Convy and Elizabeth Montgomery on Password Plus this morning on GSN. You can watch a bit of their appearance on the show here.

It was a little strange to see Convy competing on the show that he would later host for five seasons when it was revived as Super Password. But Bert was all over classic game shows, as his Wikipedia article recounts. He was always a competent game player and quick with a quip, and handsome and personable in an unpretentious way. Just a natural for the genre.

As most classics fans know, Convy died of a brain tumor at the sadly early age of 57. Bert was never a giant of the genre, but he never turned in a bad performance, either. He was one of those all-purpose players and hosts who helped make a lot of game shows a little more entertaining.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Embarrassment

I feel so filthy publishing this entry.

Not because of the beefcake photo, which just looks silly. A price tag plastered on some guy's chest? Sexist maybe, but hardly a major embarrassment. No, I'm ashamed because I'm joining in the media riot over some male pretty face becoming a model on The Price is Right, instead of the usual female (and litigious) pretty faces.

This is the ultimate cheeseball stunt. But what they hey, we're talking about the ultimate cheeseball genre. Game shows have always been so tacky and grubby and grungy at their materialistic heart. That's why, as George C. Scott once said, God help me, I do love 'em so.

The Price is Right will probably reap some Nielsen benefit from our bare-chested newcomer. And why shouldn't it? Any game show that can get this down and dirty and on-all-fours deserves all the love in the world.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

So adorable

This blog gets a little cynical now and then, like every day. So just to show I have a heart (somewhere) I'm posting the absolutely adorable picture of Nick and Vanessa Lachey's 14-day-old son Camden.

Vanessa may have lost Wipeout. But when you gain so much cuteness, who cares? To be honest, I thought Vanessa was just fine on the stuntfest, but I guess she either decided to hang it up or the decision was made for her.

The real lesson is that life happens. People get into relationships, get married, have kids, get divorced, switch jobs, make money, lose money, get and spend and lay waste their powers (thanks, Will). It's just the same in game shows as everywhere else. Even actuaries have lives, sort of.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Sherri

Sixty-five new eps of Sherri Shepherd's Newlywed Game start rolling on GSN October 25.

The show takes over from American Bible Challenge at 8:00PM Thursday. I doubt the newly hitched will get 900K viewers, but Sherri has generally done okay for the network. She also hasn't tried to dominate the show as much as I had feared. In fact, all things considered, she's been a pretty good host for GSN's reincarnation of the Eubanks epic.

I'll admit to a bit of old-fart nostalgia for the happy homewrecker, Bob Eubanks himself. GSN actually brought him back for a couple eps of their version, and I thought he did great. And I frankly didn't think that Carnie Wilson fared all that badly as the original host on GSN. But Carnie's relationship with the network dissolved in a nasty legal spat.

Okay, I'm not overly enthusiastic about any Eubanks-less version of Newlywed Game. But GSN could find worse things to spend their money on than Sherri's episodes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ratings: syndies all brighten up

All the syndicated game shows had something to be happy about in the week of September 17-23. The big two launched their new seasons successfully, and every show was up from the week before. TVNewsCheck spreads the glad tidings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - up four ticks
Jeopardy 5.6 - up eight ticks, just to outdo the soulmate
Family Feud 4.0 - up a tick
Millionaire 2.2 - even poor Meredith was up a couple ticks
Baggage 1.1 - What's this? Jerry? In his debut syndie week?

As you might expect, Meredith and Jerry didn't make the top 25 at TV by the Numbers. The viewership averages for the other three shows: Wheel of Fortune 9.5 million, Jeopardy 8.3 million, Family Feud 5.7 million. Very respectable audiences in the gazillion-channel universe.

TVNewser put out a cable ranker for all of third quarter 2012. GSN enjoyed a very nice three months with 383K/268K viewership averages prime time/total day. Thank you, Messrs. Foxworthy and Harvey.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lewd, crude and feud

Some of the funniest stuff on the GSN Internet board lately concerns the supposed lewdness of Steve Harvey's Family Feud.

For a show that features no violence or nudity, you'd think that Harvey Feud was the greatest threat to decency since, I dunno, high-school sex education. I generally laugh off such prudery over a little off-color talk on the show. But the complaints have started to leak into the mainstream media. The Philadelphia Inquirer has joined the Steve-is-a-threat brigade.

The show is getting better ratings, and success always attracts critics. (Failure attracts critics, too, but people get tired of punching a deflated bag.) Still, I just have to laugh at the anti-Steve Legion of Decency. If you're going to faint over expressions like "trouser snake," then maybe 2012 television is not for you. Try taking a time machine back to 1954. And never get within nine miles of a television set showing Game of Thrones.

The justified criticism of Harvey, from my POV, is his transformation of Family Feud into the Steve Harvey Standup Routine. But folks seem to like the act, so I'm not complaining too much.