Saturday, December 31, 2016

Big fans

The news that Celebrity Name Game got the ax naturally set off cries and whimpers on the show's Facebook page.

I'm a fan, too, so I'm not a happy camper over the show's slightly puzzling demise. Yes, CNG always finishes last in the syndie game show ratings, but the numbers look decent compared to syndies in other genres that get renewed ad infinitum. (Wow, Latin on a game show blog!)

Chatterers like Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer and Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz get pretty much the same ratings as CNG, and they get one renewal after another. By the way, Steve and Jerry both appeared on Celebrity Name Game. As I recall, Wilkos was okay and Springer was terrible.

The only good news is that CNG will run some new eps in February, at least if the Facebook page is to be believed. I'm getting a little tired of the retreads. There was also a vague hint that Fremantle might try the format somewhere else besides syndication. GSN maybe?

Friday, December 30, 2016

You can learn some things from this blog

Hadn't dropped in for a while on my fan club at Game Show Forum. And what do I see? Bill Cullen as Santa Claus! That's a nice touch, even if the slender Bill wouldn't have made a very convincing Santa.

Also saw this thread about GSN's annual Christmas stunt - which concludes today - of graveyard-shift What's My Line and I've Got a Secret. Before the stunt began, the GSFers seemed befuddled over who was appearing on the episodes. Gee, guys, if you had read my blog instead of just dumping on it, you would have known. Way back before my detour through the hospital, I posted the information on original air dates and guest celebs.

One nice fellow at GSN is still sending me occasional info about the schedule, though I remain off-limits for the complete pdfs. Maybe they think I'm radioactive since my emergency hernia operation. Come on, GSN, break down and admit that I'm hopelessly harmless. Just send me the complete pdf advance schedules once more, and everything will be hunky-dory. (How's that for an ancient adjective?)

Thursday, December 29, 2016


I checked Game Show Newsnet today, and five of the top twelve items were obits, with those huge black borders the site seems to like so much.

Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Cindy Stowell and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The obit for Alan Thicke has just scrolled off the site's front page. Not all these people had close connections to our little genre. In fact, all I could find for Carrie Fisher was a single appearance on a Star Wars themed episode of Deal or No Deal (noted in a faux tweet).

Still, the black borders are piling up at the site. The genre seems to be closing the year with a grim death book. As somebody who just had a bad health scare myself, the effect is more than a little creepy.

I try not to dwell too much on obits here. At least I don't color in massive black borders, and I deal with most deaths in the faux tweets. (Of course, major figures in game shows get full blog entries.) But lately the distinguished thing insists on its importance.

SOMBER UPDATE: Game Show Newsnet has posted another obit with the usual thick black border. This time it's the entire death list for 2016. The grimmest year-end wrap-up you could want.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ratings: syndies edge up

Syndie game shows mostly made small gains in the latest week. In fact, the Sony soulmates both notched season highs. The bottom two also inched ahead. TV News Check has the household ratings for December 12-18...

Family Feud 7.2 - flat but leads all syndies
Wheel of Fortune 6.6 - up a tick to the new season high
Jeopardy 6.4 - also up a tick to a new high
Millionaire 1.7 - up a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.4 - up a tick but it's cancelled anyway

It would be grim humor if Craig Ferguson makes season highs even after his show has gotten the ax. I'll also include the usual disclaimer about Wheel earning all its numbers from one daily run. Meanwhile, Millionaire has posted a blurb about its highest one-day audience this season on December 15: 2.53 million. The show has prospered with better time slots.

GSN averaged 439K viewers in prime time for 2016 (or almost all of the year). That was up a smidge from 2015's 423K. GSN's prime time numbers started strong in 2016 but tailed off in the fourth quarter with losers like Hellevator, Scare Tactics and Window Whatever.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Almost gone but not forgotten

More year-end lists are turning up on the game show Interwebs.

Entertainment Weekly, of all sites, offers a bunch of memorable game show gaffes. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably know about most of them. One nice thing: a couple moments from Celebrity Name Game make the sort of honor roll. The lively Pyramid knockoff will soon depart, though its ratings are hardly terrible by modern daytime standards.

The pictured contestant (named Abby) made what will probably remain the worst CNG gaffe ever. She only had one clue to nail in her half of the bonus round. But she said part of the clue and got ingloriously DQed. It was a crushing moment for all concerned.

The other EW clip from Celebrity Name Game isn't a gaffe at all. It's showrunner Courteney Cox playing a round of Friends trivia with Lisa Kudrow. They do just fine.

Monday, December 26, 2016

'Tis the season

The recently deceased George Michael is getting a lot of media kudos for his charity. One item recounts how he helped a contestant on the British Deal or No Deal with money for medical treatment. (See the screenshot.)

This reminds me of Queen for a Day, the bizarre game show where women contestants competed with stories about their terrible lives. Jack Bailey hosted in the most unctuous style imaginable. The contestant with the most appealing story got a lot of merchandise and other goodies. The other contestants also got some help.

Charitable giving is always welcome, and George Michael deserves credit for not seeking publicity for a lot of his good works. It's also nice to know that he was enough of a game show fan to tune into Deal or No Deal once in a while. The genre actually helped somebody! (Okay, lots of contestants have gotten much needed cash from game shows.)

I get a little antsy when game shows make a big deal about their charitable side. But this George Michael item is a pleasant reminder that more than a few contestants have picked up some welcome assistance.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

McPaper looks at the genre

As a faux tweet noted, USA Today did a once-over-lightly on our little genre.

Starting from The Wall, the story looked backward - including a feather-light allusion to the rigging scandals - and forward in game show history. The most colorful newspaper (do they even sell the dead-tree format any more?) seems to think that game shows are alive and well. The story does note the genre's perennial drawback, the dreaded old skew in Nielsen's demos.

But at least several game shows are holding and sometimes building their audiences. It's hard to say that about other TV shows, even the mighty NFL. The secret of such success? "Game shows can make a big, spectacular moment for a regular person." And regular people like to watch those moments.

Any TV genre is only as good as its latest numbers from the Nielsen Company. But for now game shows are keeping their heads above water...or their carcasses ahead of the cancellation bear. Except for Celebrity Name Game, anyway.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Those crosswords

On Game Show Paradise a poster commented that Wheel of Fortune has a new category: "Outside the Box."

Uh, no, as another poster pointed out. The category was actually WoF's crossword puzzle, as the screenshot shows. The line at the bottom is the clue to the crossword, which is why they label it the "clue." In case you're wondering, the four words in the solution were ribbon, bow, wrapping and tape.

The other poster said that maybe Wheel should put the name of the category, crossword, at the bottom of the screen along with the clue. I dunno, that would probably clutter things up without making things any clearer.

For what it's worth, I like the new category. It's a nice break in the routine and it pays off to nail letters in more than one word. But it probably does come as a disorienting surprise to somebody who's never seen it before.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Year in review

Yahoo has listed five top game show moments of 2016. No doubt it's only the first of several such lists that will soon turn up around the game show Interwebs.

In fact, Yahoo's list does lead off with a nice moment on Family Feud. A couple announces they're expecting their first child, and it comes as a surprise even to the other family members. But let's be honest, Cindy Stowell's recent run on Jeopardy isn't just the top moment of 2016 in game shows, it's one of the all-timers.

I haven't wanted to sentimentalize Cindy's victories too much, because her posthumous Jeopardy episodes have been getting so much publicity around the Internet and the old media. And I can understand why Yahoo (among others) wouldn't want to place such a grim reminder of mortality on their list. But now and then we all need to recall that time always wins, and our place in this life is precarious and short.

Under any circumstances I'm not a big fan of year-end lists. But Cindy tops 2016 for game shows, and maybe any kind of show.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

This program was prerecorded

Once upon a time TV was almost all live. Then along came a videotape machine.

That was about 60 years ago, when Truth or Consequences, the ancient Bob Barker game show, started prerecording its shows. It was great for Barker, who didn't have to get up so early on the left coast to make the 11:30 AM broadcast time in the Eastern zone.

Not to mention that his studio audiences were a lot more energetic. "Can you imagine doing an audience-participation show at 8:30 in the morning?" the 93-year-old Barker asks. He got some relief when, on January 22, 1957, Truth or Consequences "became the first program to be prerecorded on videotape for subsequent airing in all time zones."

The gadget that did the trick was a bulky Ampex machine which cost two hundred grand in today's money. Seems pretty ridiculous nowadays when anybody can record anything on a cell phone that costs, well, next to nothing. But the machine was state of the art back then. By fall 1957 Ampex was swamped with a backlog of a hundred orders for its videotape recorders.

And it all started with silly stunts on a game show.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Proud papa

ESPN usually isn't a source for game show stories. But most athletes aren't game show producers, either.

This article from the four-letter network tells about LeBron James, one of the showrunners for The Wall. While watching the show debut on Monday, he felt like a daddy seeing his kid go off to college...or to NBC prime time. As things turned out, a couple from Lebron's hometown of Akron, OH relieved the show of $1.3 million, which is still serious money. (Okay, it's not that serious for somebody with James' NBA contract.)

We also find out that LeBron watched a lot of The Price is Right when he was a kid. Seems that his mother was a big fan of Mr. Barker and company. Speaking of TPiR, LeBron says that the initial presentation of The Wall was like a Power Point display. To be honest, they might have well have shown a clip of Plinko and said that they were really going to jazz up the gameplay.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ratings: syndies barely budge

There was hardly any movement in syndie game show ratings for the week of December 5-11. But there were still two new season highs, if just barely. TV News Check has all the household ratings...

Family Feud 7.1 - up a tick but good enough for a new season high
Wheel of Fortune 6.5 - flat
Jeopardy 6.3 - like Steve, up a tick for a new season high
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - flat

GSN perked up a little for the December 12-18 week. 405K/269K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 38th and 36th in the windows. Window Whatever won't last forever.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Up against the wall

Just watched NBC's sneak peek of The Wall, the Peacock Net's (warning, Variety speak) homage to Plinko. The contestants were a married couple, and the wife was the excitable type. I mean, she was almost literally bouncing off the wall.

The good news is that the rest of the show was better than she was. Sure, the basic idea is a blatant steal from The Price is Right's favorite pricing game. But NBC has souped up the gameplay with trivia questions, offers to bail out, multiple balls bouncing around the nooks and crannies, good balls that make money and bad balls that cost money, and heavy doses of impressive electronic whiz-bangery.

In the end things worked out just fine for our married friends, and they walked away with $1.3 million. I assume that NBC did not want a godawful wipeout in the sneak peek. But such wipeouts are certainly possible, which does add a nice edge to the proceedings.

Chris Hardwick hosted with enthusiasm, which kept him from being drowned out completely by the shrieking wife. The format built suspense right until the end, though we knew that the couple were either gonna win big or win really big. And that $1.3 million was really nice.

UPDATE: The show gets respectable numbers. 6.5M total viewers and a 1.6 18-49 rating. Not spectacular but decent.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Why must I lose to this idiot?

As a faux tweet noted, on January 19 GSN will pair the debut of Divided with the season four (already?) premiere of Idiotest.

Time flies when you're having fun with idiots. The Ben Gleib visual puzzle epic has ground through 145 eps since its debut in August, 2014. Reruns have also abounded, which only proves that idiocy is a saleable commodity.

I like the small doses. After a while I miss too many of the puzzles and start feeling like a, well, you know what. I goofed the puzzle in the screenshot, for instance. (Hint: check the first syllable in "rations.") Another problem for me is Ben Gleib's hosting style. He often seems to want to score sarcastic points off the contestants, instead of wanting them to win the damn game. I don't like an obvious cheerleader as host of a game show, but Ben could be a little kinder to the players.

Idiotest has never been a runaway hit in total viewers, but the show does skew young by GSN's geriatric standards. So season four dawns next month. Happy new year to all us idiots!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

So polite

AV Club goes round the board with their writers for nooks and crannies of pop culture they discovered in 2016.

Joe Blevins picks What's My Line as his personal fave of the year. Thanks to YouTube he's found the charm of the simple job-guessing show. Oddly enough, he doesn't mention the WML YouTube channel by name, especially considering that it's one of the very best game show sites anywhere on the web.

He also doesn't talk about Fremantle's absurd attempt to close down the channel, or even about WML's regular and extensive presence on Buzzr. Joe does say that he was a GSN freak back in the early 2000s, but he ignores the network's usual Christmas stunt of graveyard-shift What's My Line and I've Got a Secret. (Which begins Monday.)

Joe's impressed that everything and everybody were so polite on WML, even when an intruder strolled up to Melina Mercouri and John Daly. The intruder was quite genteel and he was ejected courteously.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Telegenic contestant

It's just another contestant story, but this SF Weekly article about San Francisco's Brette Humphrey on The Price is Right has a few interesting features.

For one thing, Brette got some hints that she would be picked for Contestants Row. The demos were working for her, as the studio audience that day was mostly older. (Sorry, demos are brutal in this business.) And then there was the hand sign and the glimpse of a name card...

A brief, one-on-one interview with a "guy that's been part of The Price Is Right for like 30 years" resulted in a hand motion that seemed promising, flagging her as a likely contestant. And because it's so loud in the studio that people don't always hear their names called, someone holds up a sign — and Humphrey spotted a quick glimpse of part of her name, so she had a second to get prepared.

So next time you spot your name on one of those cards, get ready to bid. The story also asks whether Brette got p.o.ed over the $1 overbid that another contestant laid on her. "You know you're on camera, so you don't want to look too upset." Not to mention that she did the same thing to another contestant.

Everything eventually worked out fine for Brette. She won over fifty-two grand in cash and merchandise, including a Chevy SUV.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Heavy metal

With Big Fan about to descend on us, Jimmy Kimmel did one of the segments that inspired the show.

Rock 'n' roll Hall of Famers Metallica took on one of their superfans, a fireman from Cleveland (home of the HOF, by the way) named Dave. The contest went the band's way, as they knew their own trivia pretty well. But Dave still got a nice consolation prize, a free trip to one of the band's concerts next summer.

The segment was a lot of fun to watch as a raucous frat-boy atmosphere prevailed. I don't know how well the fun and games will translate to the new ABC game show, but the idea works pretty well as a late night talk show segment.

Andy Richter will host Big Fan. He's always struck me as a little too prissy for his own good, but maybe he'll loosen up for the superfan high jinks. This won't exactly be Jeopardy, after all. Just a lot of goofiness about various celebrities.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The distinguished thing

The title of this blog entry is what Henry James once called death. And on that lively note...

As somebody who just had a serious health scare, I'm probably a little more sensitive to today's game show news. Alan Thicke, host of Pictionary and GSN's 3's a Crowd, is dead at age 69. He also wrote several game show theme songs, including Wizard of Odds and Wheel of Fortune. And Cindy Stowell won her first episode of Jeopardy, although the show aired after her death on December 5.

Sorry for all these grim tidings, but our little genre seems to have an affinity for the dark side right now. Critics usually regard game shows as somewhere between trivial and silly...except for Jeopardy, maybe, which wins Peabody Awards and other highfalutin' things. No doubt game shows are usually on the lighter side of the TV menu, though certain commenters on this blog like to remind everybody of the celebrity bucket-kickers club.

Still, time always wins. R.I.P., Alan Thicke and Cindy Stowell.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ratings: top syndies get happy

The week of November 28-December 4 was a good one for the top three syndie game shows. All of them hit season highs, as they rebounded from low Thanksgiving week numbers. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Family Feud 7.1 - up a whopping eleven ticks from the preceding week
Wheel of Fortune 6.5 - up nine ticks
Jeopardy 6.2 - also up nine ticks to its new season high
Millionaire 1.6 - down a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - the departing show stays flat at its usual number

GSN racked up what have become its normal numbers and rankings for the week of December 5-11. 390K/258K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 41st and 38th in the windows. Window Whatever continues to be a drag on the numbers, with a mere 155K viewers for the latest run in prime time.

Monday, December 12, 2016


This blog has pretty much managed to escape the Kardashian phenomenon, or whatever you want to call it.

But no more. Big Fan, ABC's upcoming game show for, you guessed it, big fans of various celebs, will feature the perfect celeb for the role, Kim Kardashian. Her ep was taped back in May, which means a lifetime of famous-for-being-famous has passed in the meantime. Of course, Google News is full of chatter about Kim's appearance, like this Daily Mail outpouring.

Kim is the ultimate creature of reality TV, the bastard offspring of our little genre. So I guess it's only appropriate that she will finally turn up in an actual game show. She looks surprisingly winsome in the stills from the show (see the screenshot). I'm sure she'll treat her big fans nicely on Big Fan. That's the least we can expect from a celeb, no?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hitting the Buzzr

Seems a little strange to ask what's new on Buzzr. Our little diginet doesn't exactly specialize in new stuff of any kind. But there's usually "news" of a sort about the oldies subchannel.

What's getting to be a Christmas tradition begins again on December 19. Lots of Betty White episodes of various shows will descend on the network. It's always nice to see the game show doyenne doing her thing on different formats.

Buzzr continues to accumulate new outlets around the country. The latest is KBTU-LD, a low-power station in Salt Lake City. Buzzr now occupies channel 23.3 in the market. As always, Buzzr needs to get onto more cable systems for long-term viability.

Finally, the diginet wants to know why you love game shows. Well, I love 'em because I love to blog about 'em (and I like to watch 'em, too). You can upload a video about your own fondness for the genre.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Three for the money

Three new entrants in our little genre are about to take their bows. ABC's Big Fan, NBC's The Wall, and Spike's Caraoke Showdown. So the natural question is which has the best chance to succeed.

The natural answer is to wait for the numbers from the Nielsen Company, but that's so boring. Let's try some cheap and easy prognostication, based on the trailers and other info already out there on the web.

All three of these shows seem to have some plusses. The Wall has, well, the wall, which has entertained people in a lower tech version for decades on The Price is Right. Big Fan has celebs galore and the endless allure of celeb-worship. Caraoke Showdown has more than a passing resemblance to James Corden's late night segments, which have racked up impressive YouTube stats.

But what any new show really needs is gentle comparisons to other shows on its network. The cancellation bear effect, in other words. By this standard, Craig Robinson's karaoke project looks to have the easiest ticket to success. It takes a lot fewer viewers to survive on Spike than on a big four broadcast network.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Physical therapy

So my physical therapist shows up for the first at-home appointment after I get back home from the hospital.

We're chatting about this and that and my wife tells him that I write a game show blog. Which gets him smiling and asking about that LeBron James show with the big wall that sort of looks like...and here he trails off, but I'm guessing he means Plinko on TPiR. Sure enough, I tell him that I've written a little about the show on the blog already.

After he leaves I rustle up this sizzle reel from the show, and The Wall is certainly a tall sucker, much like its executive producer. The likeness to Plinko is painfully evident, and CBS is probably doing a slow burn over the sincerest form of flattery. You might call it Plinko 2.0, a souped-up electro-whiz-bang version of the simple little thingie on The Price is Right.

Hosted by Chris Hardwick, the show gets its first sneak peek December 19. Your faithful game show blogger will be watching and reporting.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ratings: sweeping with the syndies

This week TV News Check does its round-up of sweeps numbers for syndie shows.

November sweeps this year ran from October 27 to November 23, for those keeping score at home. Family Feud was the number one game show. I've often whined about the unfair comparison between Feud's many daily runs and Wheel of Fortune's single run. But Steve continues to produce impressive numbers. Meanwhile, Chris Harrison also can be happy about his ratings. All the household averages with changes from last year...

Family Feud 6.7 - up three ticks
Wheel of Fortune 6.2 - down eight ticks
Jeopardy 5.9 - down six ticks, the Sony soulmates have seen better sweeps
Millionaire 1.6 - up three ticks with better timeslots and a steady hand from Chris Harrison
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - up a tick, like it matters any more

GSN endured a so-so week for November 28-December 4. 367K/252K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 42nd and 38th in the windows.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

While I was gone

While I was on my winter medical vacation, the biggest game show story was the surprising cancellation of Celebrity Name Game after three seasons. Sure the show regularly trailed the field among syndie gamers, but the numbers were hardly terrible compared to other genres. In the latest available week, Craig Ferguson and buddies had actually scrambled to a season high.

The show couldn't have been that expensive. Prize money was chintzy and the top prize was tough to get. The celebs on the show were not high up the alphabet lists, and Craig himself hadn't moved into the later expensive years of a host's career on a show.

All the execs involved made the usual noises about how great the show was and how great Craig was and how greatly they believe in the format. So everything is great except the show is dead. I really liked the lively Pyramid knockoff, and at least it had three good years.

By the way, school's been out for the last couple weeks in the comments on this blog. For the most part the comments have been reasonable and civil, but there have been exceptions. I run a loose ship on comments, anyway, but I'll be watching things a little more closely now.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Just a brief note literally from an IPad as I lie in a hospital bed. The worst is definitely past, and I'm well on the way to that fabled total recovery. The details are not germane to the blog, and HIPAA is invoked. Let's just say that if the situation wasn't life threatening, it was a helluva lot closer than I wanted. Extensive emergency surgery was required. My enormous thanks to all the superb medical professionals who got my unruly system back on track.

I expect to resume blogging within the next five to seven days. See you then.

UPDATED UPDATE: Well, I changed my mind about HIPAA. Seems like weird theories grow on the web in the absence of full facts. I warn readers that the facts here are not for the squeamish.

Last Thursday I developed sharp pain in my abdomen. I also had a lot of gas, and not sweet smelling gas, either. Things got worse over the next several days. Finally I was retching uncontrollably and vomiting what looked like liquid excrement.

What had happened was that a small hernia had opened in my abdominal wall. A part of my small intestine had gotten caught in the opening, producing a complete blockage. With no way to rid itself of the poison, my body was ejecting excrement back through my stomach and up the esophagus.

Monday night my wife and I went to an emergency room. The capable staff quickly diagnosed the problem from x-rays and cat scans. I was ambulanced to Lewisville Medical Center and scheduled for emergency hernia repair.

Luckily the surgery was successful. (If it hadn't been successful, I wouldn't be blogging now, would I?) Again, many thanks to all the great people who got me through this literally rancid experience. And thanks for the concern and good wishes from readers. For better or worse - and I know that opinions differ - this blog will soon resume normal business.

One other thing. Just be happy I didn't include any pictures with this post.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

GSN daytime

I'm pretty lazy today, plus I'm not feeling too good, either. So I'll just reprint a post from Game Show Paradise about the ratings for GSN's new daytime lineup...

Douglas Pucci provided the numbers for the new shows on GSN's daytime schedule for November 21. WoF isn't doing well at all, though it doesn't look bad compared to Window Whatever (faint praise). The other shows are so-so. None of the shows get any 18-49 viewers, but that's pretty normal for GSN daytime.

GSN 11/21, in total viewers (adults 18-49)
10:00a Whammy 202K (27K)
11:00a Wheel of Fortune 149K (25K)
11:30a Wheel of Fortune 161K (22K)
12:00 Wheel of Fortune 146K (16K)
12:30 Wheel of Fortune 177K (19K)
3:30 Chain Reaction-Catherwood 295K (29K)
4:00 The Chase 239K (23K)

UPDATE: As I mentioned, I'm having some health problems right now. So I won't be updating the blog for the next few days.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Movie review

Just watched the Legends of the Hidden Temple movie. It should have been subtitled: Catalog of References to the Game Show.

Which is fine with me, because they're referring to the best kid game show ever. The story of the movie is simple: three terminally cute kids run through the hidden temple. Along the way they meet every bit of the old game show you can imagine, from Kirk and Olmec to the scary temple guards to the green monkey (who swipes every scene he's in).

The movie's production values are decent, though the CGI effects aren't the best ever. The target audience of kids and their parents will enjoy the thrills and spills, and there's even some coy humor. Like all the kids on the game show, the kids in the movie have a tough time assembling the silver monkey from those three little pieces. Kirk has trouble himself with the gadget at the end of the flick.

There's a heavy hint of an upcoming sequel, but the movie never tips its hand about a possible revival of the game show itself. That's what we would all like to see, right?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sneaky peekie

Like a few other people, I'm going to be out of the house when GSN runs its sneak peek of Divided today at 7:00 PM Eastern. So I won't be able to review the show. But that didn't stop me from blathering about it on Game Show Paradise. Not much can stop me from blathering on and on about any subject...

Divided has featured briefly in a few GSN promos. They list it as "coming in January." I'm sure we'll see much heavier promotion as the official premiere date gets closer. I assume they're slipping in the sneak peek today to see if it holds the audience during the Harvey Feud marathon. They probably want a read on how the show can perform without much promotion.

I wrote a blog entry about the sneak peek quite a while ago, when I noticed it on the ScreenerTV schedule. At first I thought it was just a blooper, but it looks like the sneak peek is really gonna happen.

As for GSN only caring about "reality trash," I don't think that's true at all. I do agree that GSN worries too much about younger demos, which has led to some bad programming decisions. But if they can lure the young'uns with traditional game shows, they're perfectly happy to do it. That's why Idiotest keeps getting renewed with only so-so total viewer numbers.

Speaking of reality trash, non-game show Window Whatever is getting horrendous numbers. 155K total viewers and a 0.02 18-49 rating for the November 22 ep. Look for this thing to disappear in a hurry. GSN's reality shows have crashed and burned lately, unless they've got naked girls.

UPDATE: Guess what. I managed to squeeze in a viewing of the Divided sneak peek. Long story short: I liked it. Four contestants have to agree on answers to tricky questions while the clock and their prize money tick down. This leads to spats and whines, but things never got too far out of hand on the sneak ep.

A bespectacled (?) Mike Richards took time off from his TPiR and LMAD showrunner duties to host. He refereed the spats pretty well and kept the show moving. The half-hour length worked to hold my attention. It's a lot better than window decorating, anyway.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Odd bit of Jeopardy history

Remember Ben Ingram?

If the name doesn't ring a bell, Ben was the Mr. Nice Guy Jeopardy contestant who won the 2013 tournament of champions. This was one of the more anticipated T of C's ever, because the other two players in the final were Julia Collins and Arthur Chu. They had racked up winning streaks of twenty and thirteen games. Ben was no slouch himself with an eight-game win streak. But the Julia-Arthur clash was sort of matter vs. antimatter, fan favorite vs. fan, well, not so favorite.

In the tournament final Julia was never a factor and Ben edged out Arthur, much to many viewers' relief. Now Ben Ingram's girlfriend, Liz Hutchens, will take her own shot at the answer and question game this Friday. She's a registered nurse in Pineville NC, and like all Jeopardy contestants, she's keeping mum about the results ahead of the broadcast. "All I can say is I hope everyone enjoys the episode."

She also says she didn't feel any competition with her famous (in Jeopardy circles, anyway) boyfriend. She did feel like she was playing against the buzzer.

UPDATE: Liz did a bit worse than Ben. In fact, she finished third with zip in the bank. Can't win 'em all.

HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: In the sidebar I've added links to the ScreenerTV schedules for GSN and Buzzr. As always, the schedules are subject to last-minute changes. All times are Eastern.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Making Olmec come alive

As everybody knows by now, Nick '90s nostalgia has burst all bounds, blown past all barriers, and generally gotten out of hand.

With the Double Dare special and the Legends of the Hidden Temple movie this week, Google News is getting stuffed - no Thanksgiving reference intended - with Nick stories. Aging millennial writers are reliving the glory days of their childhood, when they plopped themselves in front of boxy TV sets and watched Olmec and the green slime. One of the more interesting items is an interview with Legends showrunner Scott Stone.

Scott has some funny stories about how they brought Olmec to semi-life. Hint: it was all very low-tech. He also addresses the mini-controversy about the show being "rigged" to produce few winners. He says they really wanted more kids to make it through the Temple Run. But the poor young'uns would freeze up on the way and get too scared of the temple guards to do things right.

There's an intriguing tidbit about a new game show in development at Nick, but he gives no details. Finally, he has a tip for any kid game show. "Try to create a show where [kids] get to do what they do every day at school, but get prizes for it." Legends did that very well, which is one of the reasons it's the best kid game show ever.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ratings: Craig comes back home

You didn't think that Celebrity Name Game would stay away from its traditional rating for very long, did you? Family Feud also had a good week for November 7-13. Otherwise there was little change. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.8 - up four ticks in that good week
Wheel of Fortune 6.1 - up a tick, the runs on GSN don't seem to be hurting
Jeopardy 5.8 - flat
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - up a tick, Craig's back home!

Paradise Run is racking up consistently good numbers for Nick. Hey guys, why not try a few more game shows? At least they're doing a Double Dare one-off, which could turn into a new run.

GSN slipped back a smidge in the November 14-20 week. 399K/258K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 38th and 36th in the windows. Window Whatnot didn't help with its terrible numbers.

Monday, November 21, 2016


I'm always causing trouble. The latest tiff occurred on Game Show Paradise.

Commenting about GSN's recent schedule shuffle, I said: "To be honest, I've never had much use for Card Sharks or PYL/Whammy. Both formats always seemed simplistic and dull to me. So if one show replaces another, I have no strong feelings about it." Another poster took exception and told me: "I suggest imagining yourself as one of the contestants on those programs as you watch them. You just might become as happy and excited as them and start enjoying those programs."

Which hardly seemed like the worst rebuke I've ever received. It wouldn't qualify as a rebuke at all on Game Show Forum, where I rank between pond scum and really smelly pond scum as an object of derision. But other posters piled in - for and against - and pretty soon a moderator had to warn everybody.

I summed it up this way...

"Sorry, but I just find the random button-pushing on PYL/Whammy and the acey-deucey on Card Sharks to be pretty boring. (I always make an exception for Michael Larson, who produced the most brilliant solve in game show history.) Other people obviously like the shows because they've both had decent runs in a number of different versions. No big deal, just different strokes."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cash Cab on speed

Imagine Cash Cab with Ben Bailey driving maniacally at 100+ miles per hour.

That's more or less Shotgun, NBCSN's new quizzer for the high-velocity set. Fearful civvie contestants ride in the passenger seat of a race car driven by a professional. They have to answer trivia questions as the car rolls at a fearsome pace through a twisty-turney course around the Irwindale Speedway. Which, by the way, looks like a low-rent facility. In fact, Wikipedia (usual caveats) says it's due for demolition.

The pro drivers don't have to ask the trivia questions. Instead, host Rutledge Wood sits comfortably in a booth above the track and radios the queries to the animated (and/or terrified) contestants. I watched a lot of footage on the NBCSN web site, and the show is enjoyable enough. You just have to get past the miscellaneous screaming and hollering as the cars careen around various obstacles.

After the ride the contestants usually say how great the experience was. I'll take their word for it. I'm just a game show blogger. I don't have to ride in those cars.

UPDATE: Shotgun did so-so numbers. 250K total viewers and a 0.05 18-49 rating. Way down from its NASCAR lead-in but not horrible.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

History lesson

Rummaging around the game show Interwebs, I ran across this YouTube history of the genre.

A fast-talking host runs through the early days of game shows, dating back to the radio quizzers and the '50s rigging scandals. We then skip to the '90s - gotta hurry here - and Millionaire. Then we get a dissertation on the difference between game shows and their bastard offspring, reality shows. Then we hear about risk-taking on game shows, with a comparison of Deal or No Deal and Jeopardy.

Then the video ends. For what it is, it's not bad. There are too many deep-think quotes from overthinking pundits (see the screenshot) but the video keeps up a pleasant pace. It's impressive how many words a minute that host Andre Meadows can spit out. The guy should be an auctioneer or a horse racing announcer.

Poor Charles Van Doren features prominently in the video as the poster boy for game show rigging. He'll never live down his notoriety, I'm afraid.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A GSN Christmas

Readers of this blog know that I've had a little fun with GSN lately.

For some reason the network has decided to stop sending me their advance schedules. So I've had to learn about coming attractions from ScreenerTV (formerly Zap2It). I've also been a little - well, a lot - harsh on the network's recent programming decisions: Hellevator, Scare Tactics, Window What-the-hey. Truth be told, the Nielsen Company has been really harsh on the decisions, too.

So I'm happy to report that one gentleman at GSN seems okay with me. Or at least he doesn't sound too upset. I won't mention his name, but he just sent me an e-mail with news about GSN's annual Christmas black-and-white stunt. Monday through Friday December 19-30, GSN will run What's My Line and I've Got a Secret in the 3:00 AM hour. The e-mail has details on the original run dates and guest celebs on the eps.

Of course, Buzzr runs WML and IGAS every weekday, along with To Tell the Truth. And there's always YouTube with its veritable plethora (R.I.P. Howard Cosell) of old game shows. But it's nice to see that GSN hasn't completely forgotten the ancient classics from the '50s and '60s.

Speaking of the GSN schedule, a commenter alerts me to major changes on weekdays. Wheel of Fortune expands to four airings 11:00 AM-1:00 PM. The Chase takes over the 4:00 PM slot. Whammy pops up at 10:00 AM, between Press Your Luck and 25K Pyramid. The biggest surprise for me is the heavy WoF use.

One other note: it looks like Catherwood Chain Reaction will get the 3:30 PM slot on weekdays, as GSN's Pyramid drops off the schedule. I hope both Michael and the Beast do well in the afternoon. That might persuade GSN to make new eps of both shows.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Comics do it best?

Billy Gardell is taking his standup act to Michigan this weekend, so he's doing the usual publicity interviews. Gardell actually strikes me as a thoughtful guy who has interesting things to say. I've watched him on Celebrity Name Game and he plays the game well. Very quiet and methodical, and usually ready with good clues.

In this interview with a Michigan site, Billy talks about his experience on Monopoly Millionaires Club. The show only lasted two seasons, but he did a fine job as host and garnered a Daytime Emmy nom. Gardell says one problem with the show was that they gave away too much money. Maybe even state lotteries - they sponsored the show as a vehicle to sell tickets to their associated lottery game - can only dole out so much cash.

He also comments on comics in our little genre. "Comics make the best game show hosts because it's second nature to us, joking around." He would get more than a little disagreement from some traditionalists on the game show Interwebs. These folks are usually unhappy with Steve Harvey on Family Feud, and they tend to be sour on comedians in general as game show hosts.

I'm more or less agnostic on the issue, though I agree that a game show host should be quick with a quip. But Alex Trebek has made a nice living as a host, and nobody would call him a comedian. So it may take all kinds.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Awkward pause

The Nielsen monster (or the cancellation bear) may be munching on another victim.

That Awkward Game Show has disappeared from the Spike schedule tonight. Instead the network will run Lip Sync Battle over and over. It's not hard to see why the awkwardness has halted. The Jeff Dye game got wretched numbers. 197K viewers for the last run on November 9. By contrast Spike averaged 514K/329K viewers prime time/total day for the November 7-13 week.

When you underperform your network by that much, you're in trouble. Personally, I kind of like the cheesy relationship show, but I can see the argument against. Things get a little (or a lot) smelly when parents and grown kids rat on each others' secrets.

At least Jeff Dye has some company. He can commiserate with the Soska twins after the Hellevator calamity on GSN.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ratings: Craig changes!

For the week of October 30-November 6, syndie game shows only saw small moves here and there. But the yuuuuuge news was that Celebrity Name Game changed at all. Too bad it was change in the wrong direction. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.4 - down four ticks, maybe they should add another daily run
Wheel of Fortune 6.0 - down a tick
Jeopardy 5.8 - up a tick to close in on the Sony soulmate
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.2 - down a tick and can you believe it moved

That 1.2 was a season low for Celebrity Name Game, of course. The show had locked in at 1.3 for several centuries.

After a bad October thanks to the Friday night fiasco, GSN's numbers are trending up in November. 405K/279K viewers prime time/total day for the week of November 7-13. The network ranked 37th and 31st in the windows. One show that won't help is Window Whatever. To nobody's surprise the non-game show flopped. 208K viewers and a 0.04 18-49 rating for the November 15 debut.

Speaking of GSN, a rerun of The Chase on November 14 got 313K viewers, retaining most of the Feud lead-in. That's a hit compared to new eps of Hellevator or Window Whatnot. But the show skews old, which is why GSN canned it. They only want young'uns.

Monday, November 14, 2016


A short thread on Game Show Paradise got squashed before it really got started.

The title is "Upsets in Game Shows," and the original post read: "Since the media has called Trump's win a monumental upset, what all upsets from game show history can we think of. Bruce Seymour winning the Super Jeopardy tourney was upset worthy." This got an immediate kibosh from a moderator: "First sentence: I'm going to throw the 'no politics' talk in the mix. That's as far as we're going to get in this thread. Anyone who wants to discuss this shall take it in the Debate board. If you didn't read the announcement, I'll ask that you do so."

I can understand why the mods don't want politics spilling over into every thread. (For the record, Trump only trailed by three points in the final RCP average before the election. And the state by state numbers looked even closer. So the upset wasn't that monumental.) Anyway, another poster chipped in one more comment: "First big upset that comes to mind is Ken Jennings' Jeopardy win streak getting snapped."

Yes and no. It was pretty unlikely on any given episode that Ken would lose. But sooner or later the streak had to end, barring a complete suspension of the laws of the game show universe. Nancy Zerg got lucky that Ken just couldn't nail that tax firm (see the screenshot). The moment, which is pretty impressive to watch, lives on YouTube.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rhyme me to the moon

Once in a while Game Show Newsnet really does cover game shows. You just have to find the items amid a bunch of stuff about reality shows, cookoffs, improv comedy, and whatever else the site wants to discuss that day. GSNN has started a new feature called "Games Gone By," which resurrects forgotten game shows from decades ago. The folks at Game Show Forum might be interested in this material.

This week's forgotten effort is Rhyme and Reason, a Match Game knockoff where celebs had to fill in the blanks with rhymes. No doubt the showrunners got the idea from Nipsey Russell's doggerel on Match Game and other game shows. Sure enough, Nipsey often (perhaps too often) graced Rhyme and Reason.

GSNN really likes the show, and it was hardly the worst comedy effort in our little genre. Bob Eubanks hosted with the required aplomb, and there were enough laughs to keep everybody happy. The show succumbed to tough competition, though, and only lasted for one season in 1975-76. You can watch a sample ep on YouTube.

GSNN also suggests a revival on Comedy Central. The network could do - and has done - much worse.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Schedule note?

As I've posted, GSN no longer sends me their advance schedules. But I noted an odd entry on the network's lineup at ScreenerTV (formerly Zap2It).

Divided, GSN's upcoming reboot of a Brit format, gets a Friday, November 25 debut, according to the site. I really don't believe this, because not even the programming wizards at GSN would schedule a debut on Black Friday. Also, I've seen promos for GSN's Thanksgiving weekend marathons, and there was nary a word about Divided.

So I tend to think this is just a blooper. Wish I could be sure, but I don't have the advance schedules any more. Hey, GSN, if you want some free publicity for your upcoming shows, I'm available!

ScreenerTV also says that GSN will burn off some new eps of Winsanity on Saturday, November 26. I do believe this, because I recall glimpses of the show in the Thanksgiving promos. GSN has to dump the new eps sooner or later, anyway. Though Winsanity got pretty good numbers compared to the Hellevator disaster.

UPDATE: Just saw a promo on GSN that said Divided is coming in January. So it's possible that they're slipping in a sneak peek in the middle of all the Feud on Black Friday. We'll see.

UPDATED UPDATE: From the game show Interwebs, it does appear that GSN will try a sneak peek of Divided on Black Friday. Maybe they figure the show will get good sampling amidst all of Steve's stuff.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New heights in social science

Social scientists say the darnedest things.

I never knew NPR had a social science correspondent, but they do. He's named Shankar Vedantam, and he recently reported on the latest breakthrough in his field. There's a trend in Jeopardy Daily Double wagering. Contestants tend to bet more when the DD pops up from a higher money amount. Yep, bigger bets tend to happen on $2,000 DD's instead of $800 DD's. They call it "anchoring" and you can read all about it at the link.

Nice to see that our little genre is providing fodder for academics who have to publish or perish. A while back I noted a study of the Brit game show Divided - soon to surface in a GSN version - that found no first-mover advantage. (In case you were thinking of moving first on the show.)

Even academics understand that a study of a popular game show will attract more attention than a technical treatise on an obscure seven-syllable subject. Just about everybody has seen Jeopardy at one time or another. We've all watched contestants furrowing their brows or curling their lips (see the screenshot) when that DD sign comes up. And now you know that anchoring is at work.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Matching the stars

Hadn't dropped in lately on my fan club at Game Show Forum. Not much to report, I'm afraid. The board simply doesn't get that many posts any more, at least in the areas they deign to expose to the prying eyes of outsiders.

One thread that has seen a few posts in recent days chatted about ABC's Match Game tapings. There were the usual catcalls about the show, which you would expect from the oldies board to end all oldies boards. The complaints seemed to center around the writing on the show, which sounded a little odd to me. I thought the writing was fine in the first season. A few of the celebs were less than ideal, IMO.

One poster got very enthusiastic about the taping he saw. He thought the panel - Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines, Joe Lo Truillo, Ellie Kemper, Wayne Brady and Caroline Rhea - was "great" and confessed that he hadn't "laughed that hard at a taping in quite awhile." Nice to hear. The show ran out of ratings steam toward the end of the first season, and it needs all the laughs it can get.

The thread also has a list of the celebs for the second season of To Tell the Truth. Betty White won't be returning, it seems.

UNRELATED UPDATE: As readers of this blog probably know, a commenter called "Michael Taylor" regularly spams the blog with asinine demands for ratings and schedules and even more asinine declarations of "technical wins." He's done this on other blogs, such as the now defunct Game Show Kingdom. From now on, I'm just going to delete all these comments as spam. "Michael Taylor," if that's his real name, is invited to post non-spam comments as much as he wants, like any other poster. But the spam will get trashed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The next item up for bid, er, on the checkout counter

Finally got around to watching the first episode of Save To Win, the CW's cut-rate answer to TPiR.

Hosted by Pat Neely, this shopping epic takes place in an oppressive atmosphere of Family Dollar product placement. Yes, I'm being too cynical. But the viewer is rarely allowed to forget who is sponsoring the show. Way back in the fifties, the networks got scrupulous about sponsor interference on game shows. As you probably know, there's a federal law on that subject now.

Two teams of hopelessly cute contestants (see the screenshot) play a bunch of games with various items of merchandise. Interestingly, they never guess prices. Instead they answer trivia questions, identify items while blindfolded, and try to remember everything that went into a big Family Dollar (there I go again) shopping bag.

That's the front game. The bonus round is a simple pure-chance try at five grand. In the first episode the winning contestants missed the "big" money and had to settle for $1,350. It's a CW budget, folks.

Pat Neely was a little high on sugar content but at least he seemed happy to be there. The contestants were chirpy and pleasant and the show moved along amiably enough. Nobody's going to put this thing on a list of the fifty greatest game shows ever. But it will do as an addition to the CW's "One Magnificent Morning" on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ratings: Steve hits a season high

I've often ranted and raved about the ridiculously unfair comparison between Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune in the weekly ratings. Steve gets to add up ratings for two or four (or even more) daily runs. Pat and Vanna have to generate all their numbers from one solitary run each day. But despite my rantings and ravings, Feud did hit a new season high in the week of October 24-30. TV News Check has all the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.8 - up three ticks to that new high
Wheel of Fortune 6.1 - up a tick and they usually beat Feud head-to-head, anyway
Jeopardy 5.7 - flat
Millionaire 1.6 - flat at its newly respectable level
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - flat for the last 99 years

Mentioned in an update to a previous post that Wheel of Fortune is suffering on GSN in the death slot opposite The Price is Right. The network should probably move the show to a better time. In the first week that Wheel of Fortune ran on GSN, October 24-28, TPiR averaged 4.84M viewers in its first half-hour and 5.50M in its second half-hour. That's tough competition for any show on our little game show network.

Overall, GSN averaged 369K/252K viewers prime time/total day for the week of October 31-November 6. The network ranked 39th and 33rd in the windows. Up a little in prime time from the October numbers. Ending the Friday night fiasco helped the prime time average.

SLIGHTLY RELATED (TO GSN) UPDATE: Just got a reply from GSN about this blog no longer getting the advance schedules.

We were asked a few weeks ago to only send listings to actual listings services, like Gracenote and Rovi, so you ended up being cut, along with Scott at GSNN, which as you also noticed, has decided to end his blog. I’m hoping to figure out a workaround, but for now, that’s the situation.

Me again: I have no problem with this at all. GSN has the right to limit the distribution of the advance schedules any way they see fit. I appreciate their courtesy in sending me the schedules for many years. I know that a number of my readers have enjoyed following changes in the GSN lineup. The listing services will do a very good job, I'm sure, in tracking the GSN schedule in the future.

Monday, November 7, 2016

SNL and more SNL

On the weekend when I scrounge around Google News for game show bits, I often run across a ton of stories about the latest Saturday Night Live game show parody.

SNL generates web traffic a lot better than it produces big viewer numbers. The latest ep got a five-something household rating. Which ain't bad by current broadcast standards, but it's not like a gigantic swath of the country is glued to the late night proceedings. The typical ep of Wheel of Fortune does a better household number.

But SNL still has some cachet for aging millennial TV critics, so the web stories pile up. The latest game show parody on the show was: "Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot?" This is not a question I've given much thought to. But this Bustle blurb is a typically admiring piece about the brilliance of Saturday Night Live's skit. It's one of many adoring raves about the segment in Google News this morning.

Maybe I should be happy that the genre can still attract some notice from self-consciously hip pundits, even if they're lauding a game show parody. Usually it takes a completely insane blooper on a real game show to garner such attention. Or a computer beating a Jeopardy champ.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

For Internet eyes only

Celebrity Name Game puts a bunch of videos on the web, like a lot of other game shows. Only they sometimes do web exclusives, with celebs giving each other clues. For instance, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow bounced back and forth on Friends trivia (natch). Now Lance Bass and AJ McLean do, what else, boy band trivia.

The linked Billboard story opines: "It's nostalgia at its finest." That might depend on how nostalgic you are for Joey Fatone. There are some more of the web-only celeb rounds on the CNG YouTube channel. They're marked "BONUS ROUND" for those (like Perez Hilton) who might confuse them with actual segments from the TV show. If you're not thrilled with Courteney and Lisa playing Friends trivia, you can also watch them try synonyms for sex. Courteney has trouble nailing "screw" but the light finally dawns.

No matter how many of these bonus rounds the show puts on the web, they don't seem to affect the ratings. I'm starting to think that a hydrogen bomb couldn't knock Celebrity Name Game off its 1.3 number. At least the show is probably safe for renewal with that rating in today's syndie world. As long as Craig Ferguson doesn't get tired of hosting the show. Let's hope all that dancing doesn't wear him out.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wheeling and dealing

Another weekend, another repost from Game Show Paradise...

Speaking of GSN promotion, I'm a little surprised by how heavily the network is plugging the Wheel of Fortune acquisition. I figured Sony would make them tone it down, just so people didn't get the idea that Wheel was available any time of the day instead of the hallowed access spot.

Which gets me speculating. Sony has watched Family Feud garner endless publicity as the "new number one" game show. That's just an artifact of Feud's multiple (up to four) daily runs in syndication, of course. Nielsen helpfully adds up all the ratings for those runs and Feud comes out with a big number. As local ratings from Atlanta and other markets show, in the time slot when Feud goes head-to-head against Wheel, Steve gets slaughtered. (5.0 for Wheel vs. 1.4 for Feud in Atlanta at 7:00 PM. But adding up all of Feud's four daily runs in Atlanta makes it a virtual tie. 4.6 for Feud vs. that 5.0 for Wheel. The same thing happens in markets around the country.)

Meanwhile, Wheel has to generate all its ratings from one (1) daily run. Maybe Sony has finally decided that it's time for a second syndie run of Wheel each day, just like all the other syndicated game shows. Under Nielsen's add-'em-up system, that would restore Wheel to the number one slot in the weekly ratings. The GSN acquisition may be a test to see how Wheel can perform in other time slots, even opposite the dreaded TPiR.

Oh, the desire for Amy Davis' scalp is amusing. She's produced the best numbers the network has ever gotten. She'll have to stumble a lot more to get the ax. Window Whatever will hardly be the deciding factor, though I agree it's a very likely flop. The promos look unbelievably dorky. People you've never heard of rummage through a lot of miscellaneous stuff. Wow, what a winner.

UPDATE: It's just one day but Wheel of Fortune isn't doing much for GSN. The Thursday, November 3 eps pulled 142K and 150K total viewers, and almost no 18-49 viewers. Lingo was performing about the same in the death slot opposite The Price is Right.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bye-bye blog

In the room the blogs come and go, talking of Michelangelo.

That's a highfalutin' T.S. Eliot reference, which is pretty much out of place on this blog. But another game show blog has come and gone, apparently. Game Show Network News, run by Scott Rahner for a number of years, has vanished along with the associated Twitter feed.

I guess Scott just got tired of writing a blog about a mid-level (at best) cable network. He had developed a decent-sized audience and a number of regular commenters, including me. But the subject matter was always pretty narrow, unlike the blog you're reading right now. I can cover anything in game shows I want to cover, while Scott was more or less confined to GSN.

He got in trouble early in the blog's existence, when he invented a fictional co-author. Game show pundit Chad Mosher called him on it and never let him forget about it. Scott also had the irritating habit of pretending to inside information when he was just offering speculation. This landed him in trouble with the Soska twins, when he predicted they would be dropped from the second season of Hellevator.

Considering the godawful ratings Hellevator got in that second season, maybe the Soskas now wish Scott's prediction had come true. Anyway, hail and farewell to Game Show Network News.

In a somewhat related item, it looks like I'm no longer getting the advance GSN schedules. I must have mouthed off about the network too much lately. Scott had mentioned something about this in his blog's final days.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A line of wine

For those who don't know - which is probably most of you, because the show gets viewer numbers like 115K - You're the Worst is a dramedy on FXX.

This week the show featured one of the most famous bloopers from Wheel of Fortune, the hilarious "I Have the Wine by Johnny Cash." The real solution, of course, was "I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash." But an unfortunate lady contestant earned permanent YouTube infamy with the crazy guess.

This prompts an Uproxx critic to float some humorous conspiracy theories about You're the Worst. The blooper happened on Wheel in early 2013, which means it's chronologically out of whack with You're the Worst in 2016. So do we have time travel going on? Or is the dramedy really three years old and just surfacing on FXX now?

I'm not sure and I don't care. One odd comment in the linked story: "Wheel of Fortune is not in the habit of running three-year-old reruns." Up until a few days ago, that was true. But then three-year-old reruns of Wheel turned up on GSN. I watched a couple of them today.

Hm, maybe there really is some gigantic conspiracy...