Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A well-run chase

Although it barely made a ripple in the general entertainment media, GSN's version of The Chase has generated a lot of noise in the game show blogosphere. That's because a lot of the British show's U.S. fanbase hangs out on, you guessed it, game show blogs. So there was intense interest in how well our little game show network would import the challenging quizzer.

Well, Chase fans, you can rest easy. GSN didn't screw this one up at all. Their version, which debuted last night, is fast-paced, entertaining, often witty, and thoroughly competent.

Lots of worries centered on host Brooke Burns, not known for game show chops, at least on a show that requires intense, blitz-speed questioning. Brooke did fine, even if her repartee isn't Cullen-level. She got in a few jabs at the hulking Beast, Mark Labbett, who responded with astringent comments about everybody else on the show.

Without plodding through a tedious explanation of the format, The Chase comes down to a nuclear-level (slight exaggeration) trivia war between the Beast and three civvie contestants. On the debut episode the Beast ultimately triumphed. Like Ben Stein, he's a tough guy to beat. But a good time was had by all as the confrontation played out.

Douglas Pucci delivers the review which means everything, from the Nielsen Company. The Chase debuted with 511K total viewers and 168K 18-49 folks. More than acceptable by GSN standards. The second run didn't do quite as well but still performed decently. And GSN's Minute To Win It really romped and stomped last night.

15 comments:

  1. Don't get me wrong:

    The Chase was one of the best GSN originals in a long time. Fresh format, not a revival rip and a cool set.

    I thought the show could have done at least a *little* better. 486,000 viewers lifts the average primetime average up by a lot, considering last week's 389K was the highest in a while, but considering the hype, The Chase did not do that well.

    The 18-49 demos were good actually, averaging 143K for The Chase (9-11pm) and then Minute to Win It had a very strong showing, the best ever NBC version or GSN version airing on GSN.

    The Chase going up against America's Got Talent, Summer's #1 Show since ~2006 probably didn't help.

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  2. Revolution of rising expectations. If an original doesn't do American Bible Challenge numbers, it's a "disappointment."

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  3. I figured you, or someone else would bring that up. Still, when a Harvey Feud rerun the next night (Wednesday) gets 100,000 to 250,000 viewers better than The Chase did, then why should they keep producing new originals?

    I'm all for a 'Minute' Season 2, new originals like 'Swarm', 'It Takes a Church', 'The Impostor' and Bible Seasons 3, 4, 5 and on, but then there's Harvey Feud's numbers.

    Third season of TABC is filming in December, judging by its "tentative" schedule, I've heard.

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  4. Yeah, but you can't run Harvey Feud all the time, though GSN tries hard to do that. In general GSN is riding such a ratings wave that it's easy to forget this network used to average maybe 250K in prime time not so long ago. In fact, that was their average for all of 2007.

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    1. Growth in distribution has helped the delivery numbers since 2007, although the overall ratings are not much better. GSN has to be happy with the ratings and we'll see how they hold up. Not a huge hit, but anything that delivers over 150,000 in the 18-49 demo is helpful. No one expected it to do Bible numbers. Perhaps the people responsible for the lack of development at GSN will now realize that a good game format is still what their audience clamors for. I'm skeptical these numbers will continue and it will be interesting to see if reruns hold up. Hard quizzers have not had a good history on the network. Still, the GSN brass is having a greengasm over these ratings.

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    2. There really hasn't been that much growth in distribution since 2007. The household number has gone from a little under 70 million to a claimed 77 million now. No big deal.

      Interesting how Minute To Win It really blew the doors off last night. GSN averaged 523K in prime time. Not long ago that would have been a flat out staggering number. Now it's very good but hardly incredible.

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  5. One other comment...the hype for the show was almost completely confined to the game show blogosphere. There was hardly any attention from the general entertainment media, unlike American Bible Challenge.

    While The Chase was of great interest to the Anglophiles in gameshowland (Alex Davis and friends), it wasn't anything special outside their tiny world. A Bible quizzer, on the other hand, was something so different that it commanded a lot of media attention. Not to mention that American Bible Challenge had a much larger built-in audience of interested viewers.

    At least GSN sounds happy in their press release about the ratings.

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  6. Casey, do you have access to what kind of numbers "Grand Slam" did in 2007? This is the last thing I can think of(besides Bible) that did this well in primetime

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  7. Sorry, don't have any numbers for Grand Slam. As I recall, there were stories that the ratings were okay but nothing special. The show never got renewed, anyway, so I tend to think the ratings were so-so at best. I kind of liked the show but thought there was too much Miller and filler.

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    1. Grand Slam was one of the lowest rated originals of its time at GSN. That was before the debacles that were Late Night Liars, Hidden Agenda, Wink Martindale's Hidden Camera, Family Trade, and others.

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  8. You can always count on JP for a list of failed GSN shows (wink).

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  9. You also have to take into account the following with Bible versus The Chase.

    American Bible Challenge was the first new original to premiere on the network in well over a year (Lingo in June 2011, Bible on 8/23/2012), while GSN has already fired out Family Trade, Bible Season 2, MTWI and now The Chase.

    Just a thought from above, after all the Grand Slam talk, for some odd reason.

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  10. I thought it was well done. My only (minor) nits are the dramatic pauses before answer reveals and the host's obvious reading off of a teleprompter. I know, they all do that, but it's better if you disguise it. I have that same nit about Hollywood Game Night which I also enjoy except for Jane's eyes being glued to the prompter. I was really surprised at the monetary awards the contestants were playing for.

    Rather embarrassing for NBC to be giving away $25K on HGN while the Chase on lowly GSN had the contestants playing for $180K.

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    1. Speaking of...will Hollywood Game Night return for a second season? Doubtful, consideting The Winner Is got canned with the same numbers Hollywood Game Night had. TheWinner Is was also less expense to produce, by my guess. No celebrities for one.

      I liked The Winner Is, to be honest.

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