Thursday, March 10, 2016

Heads, you lose

There's many a slip twixt development cup and on-air lip. Especially for game shows.

In our little genre development projects get shelved all the time. Some exec looks at some test audience data and decides the format just won't work. In fact, I'm starting to think that news of GSN developing a project is the kiss of death. Which is an exaggeration, of course. Some game shows do survive development hell and emerge into the light of on-air day.

Still, it's pretty rare when a developing show tapes an entire season of 65 eps and then gets dumped. But that's exactly what happened to Heads Up, the Loni Love-hosted spinoff from Ellen DeGeneres' word game segments. As a faux tweet noted, HLN has decided to pass on the project after the first full season was already in the can.

The reason is a change in programming philosophy at HLN, which has gone through more flipping philosophies than a liberal arts college. HLN started out as a headline news network (hence the initials) but has mutated into a bizarre blend of true crime, entertainment, and screechy talkers. Now its parent CNN apparently wants to turn the channel back to more hard news, especially the CNN variety.

Telepictures, the Warner Brothers subsidiary which produced Heads Up, may well shop it around to other networks. I doubt that GSN would be interested, unless the producers could prove that the show would skew younger than young. Maybe somebody else will pick it up. At worst the eps might land on a web service.

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