Sunday, September 4, 2016

Everything old is new again

Whenever I post about the game show oldies diginet Buzzr, I get the feeling - probably accurate - that I'm really talking to the hardcore fans.

I mean the folks who know exactly when What's My Line got rid of the free guesses for the civvie contestants. (I've watched a ton of WML but I couldn't tell you just when the free guesses disappeared. It was 1955 or thereabouts, I think.) Anyway, as these hardcore fans know, Buzzr changed their schedule on August 29. On weekdays the diginet now runs Match Game and Family Feud and the black and white trio - WML, I've Got a Secret and To Tell the Truth - for 18 of 24 hours. Let's Make a Deal gets three of the remaining hours and everything else gets squeezed.

To put it mildly, the new schedule is not a hit, at least with Facebook commenters. One viewer posted a long blog entry that reviewed Buzzr's scheduling issues and suggested possible remedies. These complaints added to the yelps about rerun abuse that have plagued the diginet since it first blinked into existence a little more than a year ago.

All I can say is, what did people expect? Buzzr doesn't buy Nielsen ratings because they would be so miniscule. But they must get feedback on the direct-response ads that litter the network. And apparently Richard and Gene and the B&W shows make the phones ring more than anything else. So you're going to see those shows more than anything else.

Buzzr did make good on its promise of "fresh" (to the diginet) episodes of Match Game. They're putting on some shows from very early in the run in 1973, when Match Game was still on its shakedown cruise. The questions were less elaborate (and less funny) and Gene's long mike was still well into the future. The show seemed a little stilted compared to the smoother-flowing eps later on when the cast hit their stride. But at least Richard Dawson was still the life of the party in those early days, instead of the grump he eventually became.

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