Tuesday, March 8, 2016

GSN upfront horrors (cont.)

Although the press releases haven't come out yet, the #gsnupfront twitter feed reveals a lot of info already about GSN's plans.

Despite the silly rumpus between the Soska twins and Game Show Network News over Scott Rahner's wild blue speculation, their show Hellevator will return and the sisters will be along for the ride. In fact, if there's any overall theme from the upfront, it seems to be that you better skew young (at least by GSN standards) or you're in trouble. Unless you're Steve Harvey, of course. Harvey Feud goes on forever - almost literally - at GSN.

Idiotest and Hellevator are both getting new seasons, and their total viewer numbers are modest at best. In fact, those numbers looked downright disastrous for Hellevator. But the shows get maybe half their audience in 18-49, so they survive. Meanwhile, The Chase and Chain Reaction, which get much bigger but older audiences, are in limbo. (Despite Rahner's constant assertion that The Chase is cancelled, GSN could obviously bring it back whenever Mark Labbett is available. But that won't be any time soon.)

There's also a spinoff special called Political Idiotest, some weird news/game hybrid. Kind of like CNN Quiz Show, from what I can figure. Donald Faison's Winsanity will soon arrive, along with a window dressing reality show similar to Skin Wars. If anything else develops when the press releases come out, I'll update this post.

UPDATE: Adweek has posted a piece about the upfront. I forgot to mention the Skin Wars spinoff, Fresh Paint. The window dressing reality skein is called Window Warriors. A couple other projects are in pilot. Breaking App is a competition to create, you guessed it, a computer app. The Investigation, which sounds like a bizarro import from Investigation Discovery, shows "detectives" (ha-ha) in a crime solving game.

The article says that GSN wants to keep "getting younger." No kidding (pun intended). Hellevator sure didn't get by on its rancid total viewer numbers, which were barely above 200K by the end of the first season. Meanwhile, The Chase - far and away the best thing on GSN - was still getting 600K+ total viewers, but it's in hiatus for now.

Pure guess on my part, but I think GSN will soften Hellevator in the second season. More humor and goofier stunts instead of fake blood and real bugs. Sure, the show skews young, but GSN can't tolerate those horrible (pun again intended) viewer numbers forever.

UPDATED UPDATE: The press release is out. It mentions three more projects in development. A couple of game shows, Divided and Run & Buzz, and a reality show, Glass Wars. The first makes three contestants agree on an answer, the second makes contestants run around the stage, and the third is about glass art. None of them sound like they'll get anywhere. But I'm being so negative, aren't I?


  1. If they're skewing toward younger viewers, it's only a matter of time for the classics block in the morning.

  2. People have been predicting the demise of that oldies block forever. Hasn't happened yet.

    GSN probably figures that Harvey Feud will keep the total viewer averages looking good, so they can try for younger demos with shows like Idiotest and Hellevator.

  3. I saw the clips for Divided on ITV & Buzzerblog. That show could be awesome-in a Trainwreck/Friend or Foe kind of way.
    Also, Run & Buzz (which sounds like the Whole 19 Yards pilot w/ Chris Hardwick from years ago) & The Investigation sound promising.

  4. We'll see if any of the shows ever get to air. I'm frankly not optimistic. By the way, I thought Friend or Foe was the opposite of awesome.

  5. Once in a while GSN knocks something out of the park, but every time they try this "go younger" thing their products suck. Why not track down Burt Luddin? Bring back Throut and Neck....GSN bombs more than the Pentagon.