Thursday, August 29, 2013
So the show, which debuted on August 6, barely lasted a month in its first go-round on GSN. It didn't even get through the eight eps taped for the first season. The network announced a renewal for The Chase before its debut, but this (lack of) scheduling does not demonstrate enormous faith in its future. What happened?
Well, first of all, the show didn't perform terribly. The five first-runs so far have averaged 455K viewers. Not bad by GSN's historical standards, but not really all that great by GSN's recent standards. GSN averaged 380K viewers for all of prime time in August, and even some Chain Reaction reruns in the afternoon got more than 455K viewers. It's the revolution of rising expectations. Also, The Chase has not done particularly well in repeats, a critical issue for rerun-happy GSN.
I'm sure the network didn't expect American Bible Challenge numbers. But they probably looked for more from Brooke and the Beast than they got. I gave The Chase a glowing review, and I still think it's a fine quizzer. But let's face it, the show is more of an Anglophile website darling - BuzzerBlog and Game Show Newsnet in particular - than a mass-appeal project in the U.S. Let's hope that better days (or at least more days) for the show lie ahead.
In the week of August 11-18, only one week after The Chase debuted, the show's first-run already sank to 46th on the weekly list. (The repeats were way down the list, of course.) When your hot new show - which you renewed before its debut - falls that far that fast, it's natural for a bit of disappointment to set in.
The recovery this week was nice, and I hope it persuades GSN not to give up on the show. But anybody at GSN who had their doubts about The Chase got some ammunition for their arguments pretty quick.
UPDATED UPDATE: Scott Rahner at Game Show Network News says that GSN will bring back The Chase in late November, including the unaired two eps from the first season. We'll see. Hope it's true. The show hasn't bombed, after all, even if the numbers don't seem to justify a pre-debut renewal.
UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE: Well, good news for us Chase fans. GSN just sent out revised schedules through October, and The Chase stays on the schedule with a couple reruns on Tuesday night. Yay! I hope the ratings hold up halfway decently. As always, though, you can't trust the advance schedules all that much. By the way, 5th Grader is gone from the schedule completely after September 15.