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

Ruckus

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

Upsetting

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...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Our little game show networks

This is getting to be a habit, I know. But game show news hasn't exactly been hot and heavy lately. The Candy Crush thing was the last major tidbit, and that was a while ago. So I'll just repost some comments of mine from Game Show Paradise about our genre's two little networks. First, GSN...

GSN's viewer averages for October were 345K/253K prime time/total day. Pretty bad compared to earlier this year. In the second quarter, for instance, the averages were 469K/311K. The disasters with Hellevator and Scare Tactics took a toll. If nothing else, just getting rid of those turkeys should help the November numbers, though Window Whatever looks like a loser.

Now Buzzr...

Buzzr rotates shows in and out of the slots that aren't taken up by Match Game, Family Feud, the black and white trio, and Let's Make a Deal. Even if there aren't many of those slots on weekdays (only four hours, in fact). In the interview with TV News Check, Fremantle exec Jennifer Mullin got a little defensive about how Buzzr uses the same shows for almost all of the weekday schedule. But the direct response advertisers want shows that make the phones ring, not obscurities that only a handful of game show fanatics remember.

As for Bob Barker and The Price is Right on Buzzr, Fremantle has all the eps in the world available. I'm sure they could put together a package for Buzzr that Barker wouldn't mind. CBS might be another matter, though once upon a time they did allow TPiR reruns on GSN. Again, it's hard to think of an old Fremantle game show (not already on Buzzr) that could boost the diginet significantly...except Barker TPiR.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ratings: syndies go ho-hum

Syndie game shows blahed out for the week of October 17-23. None of the shows moved more than a tenth of a point. Wish I had more to tell you but I don't. TV News Check has the yawner household ratings...

Family Feud 6.5 - down a tick
Wheel of Fortune 6.0 - up a tick
Jeopardy 5.7 - flat, really exciting
Millionaire 1.6 - up a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - flat, bet you weren't expecting it

I've ranted and raved enough about GSN's misguided October Friday nights. So I'll just give the final week's numbers with no comment. Courtesy Douglas Pucci...

GSN 10/28 in total viewers (adults 18-49)
8:00 Family Feud 390K (91K)
8:30 Family Feud 399K (59K)
9:00 Hellevator 155K (25K)
10:00 Scare Tactics 101K (31K)
10:30 Scare Tactics 122K (46K)

Overall GSN had a very so-so month of October. 345K/253K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 42nd and 38th in the windows.