Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ratings: syndies inch up and down

Not much goin' on for the week of August 6-13 in syndie game show ratings. No show moved more than a tenth of a point. The order of finish was also left unchanged. TV News Check has the household numbers...

Family Feud 6.3 - up a tick
Wheel of Fortune 5.4 - flat, what me move?
Jeopardy 5.2 - up a tick
Millionaire 1.5 - down a tick as the poor get poorer
Celebrity Name Game 1.0 - down a tick as we head out the door

It was more of the same for GSN, too, though maybe a little better in prime time. 365K/268K viewers prime time/total day for August 14-20. The network ranked 39th and 35th in the windows.

Wedding section

Something must be in the water at Google News. The oddest game show items keep turning up there.

The latest is a bunch of stories about Mark Labbett's marriage. For those who don't know, Labbett has developed an international reputation as "The Beast" on various versions of The Chase. We Yanks can watch him on GSN every weekday at 4:00 PM Eastern. Sadly, GSN hasn't produced any new eps of The Chase for quite a while. The show was still drawing large audiences in first-runs, but there were rumors about old-skewing demos and an outsized prize budget.

Mark got married in 2014, and I vaguely remember a few titters about the fact that he was marrying his second cousin. But the subject went away until recently, when he chatted about the rather distant consanguinity (how about that word!) on a British talk show. "It wasn't something we were aware of at the time. It's just one of those things that happened."

Well, um, okay. Nobody's saying that the marriage is illegal or even questionable. I checked the laws in my neck of the woods, and first-cousin marriage is a no-no but second-cousin marriage is apparently copacetic. I'm not sure about the U.K., but I'm not planning to marry my second cousin there. So it's not an issue for me.

Monday, August 21, 2017

More garbage

As I wrote a while back, Game Show Garbage seems to be showing intermittent signs of life. I thought the site had packed it in long ago, but once in a while there's an update. (The latest was August 12th, according to the front page.)

Meanwhile, the site is running its Patrick Wayne award for the garbage-est game show of the year. As usual, most of the nominees are hardly terrible, but GSG has to pretend that they're worthy of a Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.

In fact, a couple of good shows make the list of the supposedly shameful five: Divided and The Wall. About all that Game Show Garbage can say bad about the second show is that it's a Plinko ripoff. Well, BFD. Celebrity Name Game is a Pyramid ripoff, and it's a terrific show. In the game show world, a ripoff isn't necessarily bad. It all depends on what you do with the ripped-off idea. And The Wall has spruced up Plinko with plenty of interesting gameplay nooks and crannies.

I'm not sure what their beef is with Divided, because their criticism is just content-free, generic whining. Maybe they don't like contestant arguments. Who knows, who cares?

Survivor makes the list, and it's not even a game show. There's also a YouTube game I've never heard of. Finally, there's the show which is getting the most votes so far, Save To Win. Sure, this shopping game is one long Family Dollar plug, though again it's just a little dull but hardly a monstrosity.

Not many people are bothering to vote. 89 at the latest count.

UPDATE: In an ironic note Face au Mur, the French version of The Wall, just got a Rose d'Or nom as best game show. I don't know if there's a French version of Game Show Garbage.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Nutty professor

I don't want this blog to turn into the obit section, but comedy legend Jerry Lewis has died at age 91.

A confession: I thought Mr. Lewis had died years ago. He always seemed like a figure of the 1950s (and early 1960s), so it was a surprise to learn that he was still active into the new millennium. Another confession: I was never a big fan. His comedy always came off as a little hokey and juvenile to me. It didn't help that some hoity-toity French movie critics insisted he was a cinematic genius.

In at least one respect my image of Mr. Lewis as an iconic 1950s performer is correct. He turned up quite often on the iconic 1950s game show, What's My Line. His IMDb page lists seven credits on the show, as both panelist and mystery guest. You can watch all his WML fun and games on YouTube, thanks to the superb What's My Line channel.

Mr. Lewis also appeared on I've Got a Secret, which again seems only natural for a figure of black-and-white 1950s TV. Whatever my own opinion, many others thought highly of his movies and standup act. R.I.P.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Taxing times

I've occasionally written about taxes and game shows. The two seem to go together, because the IRS always wants its share of the winnings.

But an odd variant of the old win-and-pay story has cropped up in Google News. This time the IRS is making life miserable for somebody before a game show. The individual in question is Earl Simmons, better known as rapper DMX. The Feds are after him for $1.7 million in back taxes.

Simmons made bail in the case but then cleverly flunked a drug test. (Brilliant idea, DMX.) So the judge has put him under house arrest, more or less, which means he can't travel to L.A. for his scheduled appearance on Hip Hop Squares. That's VH1's rewind of Hollywood Squares, in case you missed it.

It's tough when the IRS wipes out your money from a game show before you even get the check. But Simmons could have laid off the illegal substances for a little while, no?

Friday, August 18, 2017

One time

British game show host and all-round TV celebrity Bruce Forsyth has died at age 89.

Usually, this blog deals only with U.S. game shows, because I have enough trouble keeping track of one country in our little genre. But Bruce Forsyth actually was part of U.S. game shows once upon a time. A very short time, unfortunately. Thirteen weeks, in fact, which is all that ABC granted to Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak in 1986.

Brutal competition and Mr. Forsyth's inability to appeal to American audiences doomed the show. But as we've discussed, old game shows never die. There's a surprising amount of Hot Streak available on YouTube. The show was a battle-of-the-sexes word game, which was sort of okay but nothing special.

Mr. Forsyth was a legend on the other side of the pond, of course, with a career that spanned almost the entire history of commercial television. Best known in his later years for Strictly Come Dancing, he hosted so many shows that it takes forever for IMDb to list them. R.I.P. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Syndication information

Rummaging around the game show Interwebs, I found some apparent bad news for Millionaire.

The syndie quizzer seems to have lost its slot in Atlanta, the nation's tenth largest TV market. Millionaire has been hanging on gamely (sorry) for the last few years, wining new seasons by the narrowest of margins. The syndie starts its sixteenth season in September, which is a nice long run by any standard. But how much further can it go?

Celebrity Name Game is already shuffling off this mortal coil. A new comedy game show, Funny You Should Ask, will debut in syndication this fall. (By the way, in Atlanta the show will get a 10:30 PM slot on an independent station. Good luck with that.) So for now there will still be five entries in my weekly syndie ratings reports.

Broadcasting and Cable has noted some very mildly encouraging ratings news for the tryout of iWitness in a few markets this summer. It's possible we might see the show in general syndication in fall 2018, though there's no guarantee. The numbers are far from overwhelming.

Will syndie game shows eventually dwindle away to just the big three? The depressing answer might be yes, but there's always hope.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More on Buzzr

A few posts ago I wrote about Buzzr's upcoming "Lost and Found" stunt in September.

I updated the post with news that Buzzr would run Richard Simmons' Dream Maker, of all things, as part of the stunt. I got the news secondhand from a commenter who seemed a little nonplussed that this non-game show would turn up on the diginet.

Well, Buzzr has now sent me the news directly. In my e-mail today...

A buzzer and a bell? What could this mean? That’s right, folks: Lost and Found is back September 11th until September 15th. BUZZR has searched every nook and cranny of its vaults to bring you some hidden gems, including never-before-seen programming like Trivia Trap with Bob Eubanks and Richard Simmons' Dream Maker. Stay tuned for more details! 

We’ve been listening to what you have to say; and, we’re doing something about it. Coming this Fall, we are adding more episodes and new game shows. Keep an eye out for updates and details from BUZZR in the coming weeks.

So the news looks to be real. As I commented in the update, word that GSN was running Dream Maker would produce wailing and gnashing of teeth on the game show oldies boards. As it is, the same news from Buzzr is getting passed over with embarrassed silence or a few chuckles. The double standard is nothing new, but it is noteworthy. (Okay, a few harsher comments have now appeared. But they're still nothing compared to the thrashing that GSN would receive for running Dream Maker.)

By the way, Trivia Trap is not a terrific addition, either. But at least it's a game show. Anyway, we'll see if this Dream Maker experiment means that Buzzr will try more non-game show stuff in the future. Game show oldies remain a narrow niche within a narrow niche.

UPDATE: Haven't seen the promo myself, but apparently the "Lost and Found" stunt will also include Winner Take All, Play for Keeps, Choose Up Sides, Play Your Hunch and Match Game.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ratings: Pat and Vanna get back to number two

Wheel of Fortune climbed back into the number two slot among syndie game shows for the latest week. Pat and Vanna didn't have such a great week, but Alex had a worse one. Otherwise, there was little movement in the genre. TV News Check has the household ratings for July 31-August 6...

Family Feud 6.2 - up a tick
Wheel of Fortune 5.4 - down a tick but back to #2
Jeopardy 5.1 - down four ticks in a tumble into third
Millionaire 1.6 - up a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - flat as it's almost over in syndication

Poor Candy Crush is wending its way to an early demise. On Sunday it inherited an audience of 6.2M from Big Brother and managed to turn it into an audience of 2.2M.

Not such a hot week in prime time for GSN. 347K/282K viewers prime time/total day for the August 7-13 week. The network ranked 41st and 33rd in the windows. GSN's persistent problem is finding another prime time staple besides Harvey Feud.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back and forth

Last night I found myself bouncing back and forth between GSN and Buzzr for an hour.

It was an interesting trip to a couple different corners of the genre. GSN was running Baggage, the Jerry Springer dating epic where would-be lovebirds open suitcases to reveal iffy details of their personal lives. Buzzr was running Double Dare, the cerebral Alex Trebek quizzer where personal lives don't exist as contestants try to figure out various conundrums.

I remember one Baggage ep had a guy who slept with 315 girls and another ep had a girl who slept with 121 guys. (I could be off a little on those numbers. But I'm in the ballpark. And what a ballpark it is.) Meanwhile, Double Dare was reviewing the political career of Nikita Khrushchev. There was no word on how many girls he slept with.

Just to show you where my allegiances lie, Baggage made my top 50 list while Double Dare sadly didn't. The great American unwashed seems to agree with me. Double Dare died a quick death on CBS while Baggage lasted for years on GSN. Sex beats Khrushchev any day. But you can still catch both shows late at night on weekends.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sudsy Wink

Some game show news items are just too deliciously strange. And being not so deliciously strange myself, I can't resist 'em.

I last glimpsed legendary game show host Wink Martindale in a literally spacey KFC commercial. That was odd enough, but it's nothing compared to Wink's next adventure, "the world's first faith-based soap opera." Hm, I always thought that every soap opera requires a leap of faith to be taken seriously.

But we're talking Christianity here, with an outfit named PureFlix creating Hilton Head Island, a 12-ep soaper that's "a Christian show in a format known for salacious storytelling." Soap operas are also known for ridiculous storytelling, but we'll leave that aside. The series will star Anthony Sabato, Donna Mills, Michael Swan and, yes, "renowned game show host Wink Martindale."

It's nice to see Wink at work on anything at age 83. I hope he gets to speak some lines, unlike his cameo in the KFC ad. I also hope things don't get too salacious.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I once was lost but now am found

Haven't written much lately about Buzzr, our other little game show network.

The diginet has posted a blurb for "Lost and Found" next month. Wondering where those obscure game shows went? You can claim them in our 'lost and found' starting in September! Only on Buzzr. The news has brought a bunch of predictable comments about Buzzr offering "new" episodes of various oldies. Buzzr has always drawn some flak about its overdose on a relatively few eps of Match Game and Family Feud.

One comment even commits the ultimate game show Interweb heresy of comparing GSN favorably to Buzzr (gasp!) There's more MG episodes GSN has in its lease than Buzzr's! On the mostly traditionalist Interwebs, where GSN is often the Antichrist for running shows with less than 30 years of dust on them, these are fightin' words.

A lot of commenters want non-Fremantle shows on Buzzr, which probably isn't going to happen any time soon. But if the diginet ever starts producing significant revenue, Fremantle might try sprucing up the schedule by leasing a few shows from other libraries. For now most fans would probably settle for some "new" eps of the usual Fremantle oldies.

UPDATE: A commenter says that, for some bizarre reason, Buzzr will run Richard Simmons' Dream Maker in September. This wasn't even a game show. Oh boy, if GSN tried something like this, the game show Interwebs would explode. Even Buzzr might catch some grief.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A summer shower of renewals

As a faux tweet noted, Love Connection has connected for a second season at Fox.

The show joins a bunch of recent renewals at the broadcast networks in our little genre. Celebrity Family Feud, 100K Pyramid, Match Game and Beat Shazam have also earned another round of eps. I'm happy that there's a little juice left in traditional game shows on the broadcasters. Candy Crush looks doomed at CBS, but you can't win them all.

It's not like these game shows are pulling huge audiences. Steve Harvey does best with Feud, which got 6.0M viewers and a 1.0 18-49 rating for its latest run. The ratings fall away for the other shows, but this is the world of a zillion channels. The linked Variety story says Love Connection's average numbers - 2.6M viewers and a 0.8 18-49 rating - make the show a "solid summer performer." By today's low standards of broadcast ratings, that's probably true.

Love Connection is a passable reboot of the Chuck Woolery chestnut. There's the usual titter and tatter about dating hijinks, which is what the format has always been about. Congrats on the second season.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Documentaries

Yesterday I wrote about a Game Show Paradise thread with an odd comment on game show rigging in the 1980s (which almost certainly didn't happen).

The actual subject of the thread was game show documentaries. This led to the somewhat fictional Quiz Show, and that led to the rigging discussion. Anyway, my personal pair of favorite documentaries on our little genre happen to be available on YouTube.

The first is the E True Hollywood Story episode about Family Feud. While no doubt overwrought at times, the episode is a delicious detailing of the adventures and misadventures of Feud's first three hosts: Richard Dawson, Ray Combs (see screenshot) and Louie Anderson. We get to hear all sorts of dirt and dish on the show, not to mention Louie's famous prediction that Feud would meet an early demise after his dismissal (wrong!)

The only problem with the 2002 show is that it stops short. What would they have made of the subsequent years with Richard Karn, John O'Hurley and, above all, Steve Harvey? Steve's tenure would have given them some pretty good material, I think.

A related documentary is GSN's Behind the Blank about the 1973-82 Match Game. Richard Dawson cuts a major figure in this show, too...as the bad guy. GSN portrays him as the ultimate prima donna who got to be unbearable to everybody else on Match Game. "Sexy as a snail" is how Brett Somers dismisses him.

This may be a bit unfair, but there's no doubt that Richard was visibly bored with Match Game in his last few years on the show. So far Alec Baldwin is still looking interested in the latest MG version on ABC. He gets paid well enough, no doubt.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rigged?

A thread on Game Show Paradise offers an odd assertion: "I have a feeling Mark Goodson may have been rigging shows such as Card Sharks and The Price is Right in the 1980s." As it stands, the comment is almost surely wrong. After the rigging scandals of the 1950s, game show producers in general and Mark Goodson in particular became very sensitive to anything that might remotely resemble rigging.

In fact, Goodson's squeamishness on the issue helped sink the 1983-84 Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. He forbade the practice of scripting the celebs on Squares, and that verboten helped turn the format into a dull, long-winded bore. (MG-HS had several other problems as well.)

As to whether Goodson ever tolerated practices that might be seen as rigging in today's world, the issue is a little cloudier. NBC news reader Tom Brokaw appeared on Two for the Money in 1957 when he was seventeen. In much later life he intimated the show was rigged. As I vaguely recall, this brought a screech from showrunner Ira Skutch, and Brokaw started backtracking quickly. In fact, in his memoirs Skutch tells a funny story of how the lack of rigging on the show cost the producers a lot of money. It was all about a question on words ending in "th."

It's hard to imagine why anybody would bother to rig Two for the Money, anyway, since the game was pretty much an afterthought. The show was mostly a monologue/interview vehicle for host Herb Shriner. You can sample an ep on YouTube.

There were some other practices on Goodson shows that fell short of actual rigging but wouldn't pass muster nowadays, like coaching contestants on possible freeze levels on the original TPiR. But once the scandals broke, Mark Goodson turned holier than thou about any kind of chicanery.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ratings: the soulmates tie

Wheel of Fortune pulled into a tie for second place among syndie game shows. It wasn't that Pat and Vanna had such a great week. Alex just lost a little altitude. In general, it was a forgettable week for the genre. TV News Check has the blah household ratings...

Family Feud 6.1 - down four ticks in a nasty tumble
Wheel of Fortune 5.5 - flat, which isn't bad this week
Jeopardy 5.5 - down a tick into the tie
Millionaire 1.5 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - flat as the hour approaches

GSN perked up for its best week in a while. 397K/290K viewers prime time/total day for the July 31-August 6 week. The network ranked 39th and 31st in the windows.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Snap chat

Just watched one of GSN's four - count 'em, four - debut eps of Snap Decision.

To spare you any suspense, I'll sum up the show in a phrase: a reboot of Street Smarts. Which doesn't mean that I don't like it. Street Smarts was one of my top fifty of all time, and this new version is by no means bad.

Okay, Snap Decision is not an exact copy. The three contestants don't have to guess which of the three strangers on the street know which trivia questions. Instead, they have to guess which of the three strangers wears cross-gender underwear (among other personal foibles).

But it's pretty much the same idea. You gotta figure out things about strangers from superficial clues based on appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, etc. At least showrunner Scott St. John doesn't bastardize his previous effort.

David Alan Grier, who has appeared on every game show in the last ten years, hosts with apparent enthusiasm, though you can never know for sure. I'm just making a snap decision.

UPDATE: Snap Decision starts out fine in the ratings, with 380K viewers and a 0.08 18-49 rating at 9:00 PM. But the numbers quickly go south afterwards.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Get ready to match more stars

It's been no secret for a while, but ABC's press release confirms that Match Game will return for a third season.

The network has also signed Alec Baldwin to a deal on possible new projects. I think this might be an iffy idea, because Baldwin is an iffy kind of guy. On a good day he draws as many detractors as fans, and his personal life has been turbulent, to say the least. But maybe ABC has some iffy and turbulent projects in mind, and Baldwin might seem perfect for them.

The show itself is okay. It won't make anybody forget the Gene Rayburn 1973-82 classic, but it's a pleasant way to pass the time. Ratings for the second season were only so-so, but ABC can't afford to turn up its nose at so-so numbers. Anything that doesn't stink to Nielsen's high heaven might get renewed at the alphabet net (Variety speak!)

I remember seeing "sometime in 2018" as the landing date for the third season. I assume the orange shag carpet will be back.

A commenter points out that Celebrity Family Feud and 100K Pyramid got new seasons, too. These shows have usually pulled better numbers and were pretty close to locks for renewal.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Contestants

Ah, contestant stories. Google News has plenty of them even on a slow weekend.

The first two entries that popped up in a "game show" search were items about contestants on Beat Shazam and GSN's upcoming Snap Decision. Yes, we even get contestant stories about shows that nobody has seen yet. It's never too early to read about players on a game show, even if they can't reveal the outcome.

The Beat Shazam pair were Amy Chiasson and Stacey Connors Noel, and their account appears in Wicked Local Waltham, a pile of local stories about Waltham, MA. By the way, how did that "wicked" colloquialism ever get started in New England? I'll never know (too lazy to Google it) but the pair won just over a hundred grand by naming their tunes. One of the pair even used the s-word: the show was a "wild and surreal" experience. It's always surreal in contestant stories.

The Snap Decision player was Conor Halbleib from Louisville. He got on the show when he was visiting a friend in California. He can't tell us how he did, but he liked host David Alan Grier. "Oh man, he's really sharp and made the experience a lot of fun." It's even more fun when you win.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Company lawyer

GSN has promoted from within for its new president. Exec veep and general counsel (that means "lawyer") Mark Feldman will replace David Goldhill, whose decade-long tenure was easily the longest of any GSN chief.

I wish I could tell you what this means for the network's future direction, but I don't have the foggiest. GSN has recently recommitted to traditional game shows, with none of the reality and other experiments that have come and gone over the years. The schedule has been all-traditional for so long, I'm starting to think Gene Rayburn is the network's patron saint.

I can tell you what GSN's biggest need is...another prime time hit to complement Steve Harvey's Family Feud. They've tried and tried with both originals and acquisitions, but Harvey Feud remains the tent pole of the entire operation.

At least the entire TV operation. GSN has a whole 'nother side, of course, the video game business. As to what Mr. Feldman's new job means for the gaming operation, I'm even more clueless, if that's possible. I can only offer the ultimate TV cliche: stay tuned.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The new Ernie

A while back I wrote about Ernie Kovacs, the often seen TV comic of the 1950s.

Ernie earned (sorry) a good critical reputation but never really broke through to major success. His act was a little too offbeat and in-jokey for the great American unwashed. With Celebrity Name Game trudging off the field toward the Nielsen showers, it strikes me that Craig Ferguson might be the Ernie of the new century.

Like Kovacs, Ferguson has not lacked for kindly critical notice, and he has a couple of Emmys to prove it. (Whatever I might think about show biz self-congratulation.) But his act has never really broken through to the kind of mass market acceptance that, say, Steve Harvey has won.

Maybe it's the accent (just kidding). The actual reason is probably Craig's oddball humor, which always seems rather disconnected from any reality except his own. Ernie might know what I'm talking about, though I realize I'm not expressing it too well.

Anyway, it's too bad that an entertaining game show will soon be only a memory, except maybe for reruns on GSN. (No, I haven't heard anything about the network acquiring the show.) Celebrity Name Game was good while it lasted.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Forgettable you

Continuing the old-game-shows-never-die theme, I ran across this Esquire story about an upcoming reality show on people in total darkness.

I don't care about the reality epic, but the story mentioned "a forgettable American game show where Jaleel White challenged contestants to a face a variety of Fear Factor-style challenges in the dark for a $5,000 prize." The show was so forgettable that the writer didn't even bother to Google the name. It was Total Blackout on Syfy in 2012-13.

We already know that old game shows live on and on, and YouTube proves it on Total Blackout. In fact, I didn't think the show was so awful. Besides the spooky stuff in the dark, losing players also dropped through trap doors, a la Russian Roulette. Syfy gave Total Blackout a second season, then dropped it through the Nielsen trap door.

Jaleel White hosted in a slyly humorous style. The stunts could be a little gross but they weren't too outlandish. I've seen worse.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ratings: not a bad week for syndies

In a generally bad week for syndication, game shows did pretty well. No big gains, but no losses, either. TV News Check has the household ratings for the July 17-23 week, which could have been worse...

Family Feud 6.5 - up a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.6 - flat
Wheel of Fortune 5.5 - up a tick to creep closer to the soulmate
Millionaire 1.5 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - up a tick, though it means nothing

Last night's run of To Tell the Truth scored 3.6M viewers and a 0.7 18-49 rating. Not too bad for summer stuff. In fact, a commenter points out that it's just fine for ABC on Monday at 10:00 PM. We'll see how the show does in the fall on Sunday night.

Same old same old for GSN in the July 24-30 week. 355K/272K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 42nd and 34th in the windows. A little more distance than usual between the two rankings.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Pyramid stuff

A commenter on this blog says that ABC seems to have renewed 100K Pyramid for a third season.

I haven't seen any independent confirmation of the news, but it wouldn't be a huge surprise. Although the show's numbers have slipped this year, they're still pretty good for summer broadcast fare, especially in this era of badly withered broadcast ratings. Not to mention that ABC can use any show which isn't an outright bomb.

Meanwhile, in the oldies section of the Pyramid community - game shows can have communities, right? - there's some buzz over the 25K Pyramid eps with Bill Cullen and Shelley Smith coming next week on GSN. I leaked this tiny bit of news a while back, but GSN's online schedule has now confirmed it. I wish I could tell you how I knew about the schedule in advance, but it's a deep dark secret known only to three highly placed CIA operatives.

Apparently, this week of eps hasn't been seen for a long time, according to oldies fans. On Game Show Forum a poster proudly announces: "I haven't been watching GSN in I don't know how long now." That's a badge of honor on the oldies boards. But even this poster might tune in for the long lost Pyramid episodes.

UPDATE: In other GSN schedule news, the network will run a tribute to Patti Deutsch with their Match Game eps on August 2.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

News from fake wrestling

One of the odder bits of game show news lately was word that the WWE (a.k.a. fake wrestling) was planning a game show with R-Truth (a.k.a. Ron Killings).

Sorry to disappoint all you fake wrestling game show fans, but the R-Truth project has apparently been scrapped. I know the news ruined my day, so I hope the sorrow won't be too intense for you. I just couldn't wait to see what the WWE would make of our little genre.

To get a bit less sarcastic for a minute, there was a glimpse of fake wrestling in Quiz Show, the very occasionally accurate movie about the game show rigging scandals. That glimpse was no doubt an ironic comment on game shows getting body-slammed for the same practice that pro wrestling had built into a show biz empire: rigging the outcomes.

It gets even better. The federal law that outlawed rigged game shows specifically applied only to "a purportedly bona fide contest of intellectual knowledge, intellectual skill, or chance." This was probably an attempt to exclude fake wrestling from the law. Everybody knew that TV wrestling was rigged, but nobody would mistake it for an intellectual contest.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The lower right seat

Just posted a screenshot from Match Game yesterday, and a sad occasion brings another screenshot today.

Patti Deutsch, the "weirdest of the weird" panelists on Match Game, has died at age 73 after a long battle with cancer. The critic who hung that label on her also called her "awesome" and ranked her third among MG's panelists, after only Charles Nelson Reilly and Richard Dawson.

I don't know that I would rank her quite that high. Brett Somers, McLean Stevenson, Betty White and Fannie Flagg would get my nod before Patti, the goofiest of the regular and semi-regular panelists. But her absurdist view of life in general and Match Game in particular was an important contribution to the show's zaniness.

Patti got her big break with the Ace Trucking Company - a comedy troupe, not a truck operation - but her most lasting work remains her loony answers on Match Game. You can watch them all the time on Buzzr and GSN. R.I.P.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another greatest list, sort of

An interesting post on BuzzerBlog asked readers: From the 70s to today, what game shows represent the decades best in your opinion?

I don't know why they left out the 50s and 60s, and a lot of readers didn't know, either. Several posted their choices for those two decades, with What's My Line the predictable consensus pick for the fifties. I would go with I've Got a Secret on personal preference and top ten Nielsen ranks in 1955-59, but that's just me.

Dating Game was the somewhat surprising consensus for the sixties, but maybe it really was a swinging decade, after all. To nobody's surprise Match Game won easily for the 1970s. It wins for the entire history of TV game shows, as far as I'm concerned. Press Your Luck got a lot of picks for the 1980s, which is just silly. Wheel of Fortune has to be the choice for the decade when it claimed the number one title among all syndie game shows.

Millionaire sort of straddled the 1990s and 2000s, though its run barely snuck into the nineties. Deal or No Deal also got a lot of notice for the 2000s. And in a decision that will not sit well with several game show boards, Steve Harvey's Family Feud was the consensus choice for the 2010s.

Yes, BuzzerBlog asked for the most representative shows, and not the greatest shows. But a lot of posters probably didn't quibble about the difference. By the way, Facebook bills BuzzerBlog as a "Media/News Company." Impressive.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Naked idiots

How did I miss this? Readers of this blog know about my undying prurient interest, but somehow I overlooked this thread on Game Show Paradise. The posters sniffed and clucked over the all-nude episode of Idiotest last year.

Amy Davis [GSN exec veep] better be ready for the inevitable backlash she'll receive for this. I'd be embarrassed working for her because she keeps giving the green light to nonsense like this. This will be one episode I won't be watching.

Hate to admit it, but I missed the episode, too. Not that I would have been too embarrassed to watch. One GSP poster - by the way, it's the admin who thought one of my posts was too impolite or something - put up a Playboy video of one of the contestants (see the screenshot). There's no actual nudity in the video, but it's mildly provocative. At my age, maybe mild provocation is all I can stand.

At least it gave me the excuse for a nice screenshot. Meanwhile, Idiotest has been cranking out okay but not great numbers in the 2017 season, its fourth. One ep last night got 303K viewers and a 0.07 18-49 rating. It will be a tricky renewal decision for GSN.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Good look

Remember when I said that old game shows never die? Sometimes even the shows that nobody remembers still live on.

Case in point: a DVD set of Take a Good Look, Ernie Kovacs' 1959-61 parody of the Goodson-Todman panel shows. For those less ancient than moi, Ernie Kovacs was a fixture on fifties TV. He got a reputation as a madcap comic genius, and once in a while he could actually be funny. But his material tended toward the coy and specialized, and he never really achieved major success.

Take a Good Look is a good example of his weaknesses and strengths. As Wikipedia notes: "The clues were presented by way of props and short video clips that had no cast, but eventually went exclusively to films of short comedy blackout gags (starring Kovacs and a regular cast of Peggy Connelly, Jolene Brand, and Bobby Lauher) that pertained only vaguely to the person about whom guesses were being made."

The show pertained only vaguely to the viewing audience as well, and it lasted just two seasons (well, more like one-and-a-half.) You can sample a bit on YouTube, sponsored by Dutch Masters. If they can make a DVD set out of this, you know that old game shows will always be with us.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ratings: the big three syndies jump

It was a good week for the big dogs in the syndie game show world. But steerage class felt some bumps and bruises. And Alex once again hopped into second place, though Pat and Vanna didn't have too much to complain about. TV News Check has the household ratings for the July 10-16 week...

Family Feud 6.3 - up three ticks
Jeopardy 5.6 - up five ticks to take over second place again
Wheel of Fortune 5.4 - up three ticks, and it's only got the one daily run
Millionaire 1.5 - down a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.0 - down a tick as the reruns play out the string

As a faux tweet noted, Candy Crush is getting crushed in the ratings, to use the obvious pun. 2.28M viewers and a 0.5 18-49 rating. The show won't get a renewal at these levels.

GSN racked up pretty normal numbers for the July 17-23 week. 385K/269K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 41st and 36th in the windows.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Alex's other gigs

Hard to believe, but Alex Trebek was not born hosting Jeopardy. He's actually had some other jobs over the years, and Parade tracked down a few videos. Seven of them, to be exact.

The site says that one of Alex's other shows, Double Dare, was "very short-lived." But as an entry pointed out a few days ago, old game shows live on and on, and Double Dare turns up on Buzzr on the weekends. The other shows are all relegated to YouTube for now, but you never know when they might see the light of cable again.

We have to make an exception for Wheel of Fortune, where Alex did his April Fools gig as host. He was a little too emphatic on the show, I thought, but it wasn't his usual job so I'll cut him some slack. Pat Sajak seemed a lot more relaxed on Jeopardy.

Parade doesn't note Alex's very first game show hosting gig, on the Canadian high school quizzer Reach for the Top. A bit of video shows him asking students about wombats. They're from Australia, if you didn't know.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The $111,237 Pyramid

A faux tweet noted that ABC enjoyed a nice boost in ad revenue for June, 2017.

The linked story credits a couple game shows for helping the cash infusion. Adweek says that a "unit cost" went for $116,498 on Celebrity Family Feud and $111,237 on 100K Pyramid. Which is a little surprising. Both these shows get okay ratings for summer fare, but neither is a runaway hit.

I'm not real sure what a "unit cost" entails. It seems like all that money would buy you more than just a 30-second spot on a game show with decent ratings. But somebody's got to pay Steve Harvey's no doubt handsome salary, so maybe the spot costs really are that high.

At any rate, broadcast TV remains the best way to get a big audience, even in the zillion-channel world. One odd fact from the article: the Academy of Country Music awards show was up 21% in ad revenue over last year. Somebody watches those show biz self-congratulation fests?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Old game shows never die

In fact, old game shows don't even fade away. They go on Buzzr, they go on GSN, they go on YouTube...and now they go on Twitch.

Twitch.tv will run a marathon of every episode of 1980s video game epic Starcade. It's due at the end of August, and the marathon will no doubt have a built-in audience of the now older and wiser contestants. Not to mention everybody else who wasted zillions of quarters on Pacman and other video delights.

"The Twitch community has a passion for video games and classic programmatic television," burbles a Twitch exec. Is "programmatic television" a highfalutin' way of saying "TV shows"? No matter, all 123 Starcade eps are about to run back to back to back to back to...

This might be the ultimate binge on "programmatic television" or whatever you want to call a bunch of episodes in a row. I remember a cable channel ran all 500+ eps of The Simpsons a while back. Maybe that gave Twitch the idea.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Really ticked

The Orlando Sentinel runs a funny column called "Ticked off!" Readers send in e-mail about their pet peeves. One of today's offerings...

As a teacher I am thoroughly ticked off that a certain TV game show host continuously butchers the English language by using incorrect grammar and by dropping the last letters of words. He may be charming but this makes him sound uneducated.

The object of the complaint probably has to be Steve Harvey. This really doesn't sound like Alex Trebek, does it? I've heard similar complaints about Harvey on the game show oldies boards, where he does tend to, well, tick people off.

The "charming" qualifier also makes me think the complainer is a little freaked about sounding racist about Harvey, even if Steve isn't mentioned by name. The power of p.c., you might say.

I don't know about the ticked off teacher, but I've always thought that Harvey's main problem on the oldies boards is that he's not Richard Dawson. Which makes those promos on Buzzr, where Steve talks about his admiration of the kissing bandit, seem ironic. By the way, Steve Harvey's grammar and pronunciation are impeccable in those promos.

SORT OF RELATED UPDATE: I mentioned the oldies boards. Right now Game Show Forum and Game Show Paradise are both tying themselves in knots over what's coming for 25K Pyramid on GSN. I can't tell you how I know this. But just between you and me, the August 7-11 week will feature episodes 271 through 280. Michael Spound and Rita Moreno on eps 271-75 and Bill Cullen on eps 276-280.

UPDATED UPDATE: A poster on Game Show Paradise is happy about the upcoming 25K Pyramid eps but grumps about the "rest of the drivel" in this entry. Like I said, the oldies boards get really ticked off over Steve Harvey.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Taxman cometh

Google News coughs up another comment on that perennial favorite: do I have to pay taxes on my game show winnings?

The short answer is HEY YES. The government always wants your money, now. Just because the moolah comes from a game show doesn't mean squat to them. Pay up, sucker.

The linked story says that game shows will allow contestants to refuse merchandise prizes if they don't want the tax burden. I think that's generally true except for trip prizes, which shows insist you take. Something about hotels wanting the occupancy.

There's another way out. Canada doesn't tax winnings on Canadian game shows. So maybe you can fool the IRS by using the term "hoser" and pronouncing "about" in a funny way. (I really don't think this will work.)

Finally, you can give prizes away - at least up to a certain limit - to dodge taxes. But giving away prizes sort of defeats the whole purpose, no?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scrabble, call home

Beat Shazam knocked off Name That Tune to find decent success on Fox. Now Words With Friends will try to knock off Scrabble and find decent success somewhere on TV. MGM TV is developing a game show based on the wordplay app. Wikipedia delicately says the Win With Friends app is "similar to the classic board game Scrabble." We'll see how closely the TV show based on the app resembles the old Chuck Woolery chestnut.

Truth be told, I have an undying fondness for the old Scrabble game show, which found a place in my recent top 50 list. Maybe MGM TV couldn't get the rights to the Scrabble name, so they found the next best thing in Words With Friends. GSN tried a couple pilots for a Scrabble revival, but neither got to air.

Apps seem to be the natural source of game show formats lately, with Candy Crush also joining the TV fray. Can Minesweeper be far behind? (That's a joke. Minesweeper wouldn't make much of a TV game show unless it had literal explosions. Oops, I shouldn't give anybody ideas.)

No word on when we might expect Words With Friends on our big-screen TVs. There's not even a hint of which network might be interested in the project. But they've got to fill the summer months with something.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ratings: bad week for syndies

There wasn't much good news for syndie game shows in the July 3-9 week. You don't expect the balmy summer months to produce great numbers, and you won't be surprised. TV News Check has the gloomy household ratings...

Family Feud 6.0 - down a couple ticks, but adding up all those daily runs kept it in first place
Wheel of Fortune 5.1 - down a couple ticks to a season low, but at least it climbed into a second place tie
Jeopardy 5.1 - down four ticks into the tie with the soulmate
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - flat as the shadows lengthen

TV Newser likes all the good news it can find for MSNBC. So it published both total viewer and 25-54 viewer numbers for the July 10-16 week. As a side benefit, we got a little extra info about GSN. The network scored 361K/269K total viewers and 103K/65K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day.

UPDATE: GSN's Emogenius pulls some better numbers on July 19. One run gets 315K viewers and a 0.07 18-49 rating. If the numbers keep improving, the show might survive to a second season.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Unsolved mystery

Game Show Forum spotted an odd item on eBay: an apparently long lost Goodson-Todman pilot called Make Your Move.

The same name as the TPiR pricing game is purely coincidental. Matt Ottinger is running a crowdfunding effort at GSF to buy the film. There's lots of speculation in the Game Show Forum thread about the host, the players, the date, most everything else. The eBay page offers only a few tantalizingly fuzzy screenshots (like the one presented here) to feed the conjectures.

No surprise, but the GSF thread eventually runs off into a flame war. It looks like the posters have gotten the money together, though, so I guess Matt will bid on the film. He probably won't have much competition. No bids have come in since the film went on sale July 12.

A long lost G-T relic would be interesting, in any case. It looks like the film will be exclusively Game Show Forum property for at least a while. The flame war erupted when somebody hinted at putting the film on YouTube. The word "douchey" got a workout.

UPDATE: GSF won the auction for the film. (The competition was not intense.) We'll see if the show ever surfaces on YouTube or another site.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Behind the crush

I've never cared much about game show sets. They could play Jeopardy in a bare concrete room, and I wouldn't mind. But a site called Newcast Studio, "the trade publication for TV creative pros," offers an interesting story about the massive Candy Crush set.

There's a bit of puffery involved. The linked story tells us that the set involves "some sweet technology, a dash of imagination and a sprinkling of whimsy." The production designer is a guy named John Gilles. The story praises his "two-story castle-like structure built from a slightly rough material that mirrors the look of poured concrete with a hint of sand castle."

Now that I look at it, maybe the set does look a little like a sand castle (see the screenshot). There's much more about every aspect of the set, including the "candy-cane striping" and "layered sculptural walls with integrated accent lighting." Ain't no lighting like integrated accent lighting.

If a show's gameplay stinks, no set can help much. But I like the gameplay on Candy Crush, so I can accept the sand castle.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

MTV plays it safe

Whatever anybody says about MTV - and plenty of trash has been talked - they do make it easy to watch episodes of their shows on their web site.

You just have to sit through some commercials, but a dollar is always a dollar. Especially for Viacom. So I stopped by the web site and watched the debut ep of SafeWord, the remake of the Brit format. MTV followed the original pretty closely. Celebs - in this case, Kevin Hart and Damian Dante Wayans - tried to embarrass each other. If they couldn't stand the pain, they yelled - you guessed it - a safe word.

Needless to say but I'll say it anyway, this was more improv comedy than game show. I suspected a lot of scripting, just as on the Brit version. Still, the format did have some gameplay rattling around the soundstage.

My main gripe was all the laughing at stuff that deserved not quite so many chuckles. But MTV probably required laughs at gunpoint from the studio audience. (All right, I really don't mean that.) Terrence J, a.k.a. Terrence Jenkins, hosted with lots of laughs himself, so he fit right in.

The show did okay numbers for MTV. 780K viewers and a 0.34 18-49 rating. The usual story for MTV: modest total viewer numbers but good (that is, young) demos.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Furniture history

Ran across a charming bit of pop culture history in Google News today. It's all about furniture and I've Got a Secret.

It turns out that the Daystrom furniture factory in Olean, NY made the chairs that the IGAS panel sat on for several years. A lady named Bertha Pierce who worked in the factory recognized the chairs when she was watching the show. So she wrote to the producers, and they decided to bring her onto the show as a contestant. Her secret, naturally: "I built the chairs that this panel sits on."

Wouldn't you know, Lucille Ball was a guest panelist that night, and her hometown was Jamestown, NY, which happens to be close to Olean. Lucy didn't guess the secret but she did get a laugh out of the word "tangible." Regular panelist Jayne Meadows finally guessed.

The Daystrom plant in Olean closed in 1962 and the company moved to South Boston, VA. The linked story says that "Daystrom pieces can now be prized examples of 'mid-century modern' furniture, offered on Ebay and other home collectibles websites." The story's right about that.

A few other notes. The entire IGAS episode is available on YouTube. You won't ever see it on Buzzr thanks to the Winston ads. And the linked story quotes Garry Moore addressing Bertha Pierce as "Ms. Pierce." As the video shows, he actually called her "Miss Pierce," of course. "Ms." is an obvious, clanking anachronism for the 1956 show. But I guess the site's p.c. manual requires it.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

More Shazam

It's not easy being green, or getting a renewal when you're an original broadcast game show. But The Wall survived to a second season, and now so has Beat Shazam. Fox has re-upped the app-based music fest.

I said it's an original game show, but Beat Shazam is really a kind of reboot of Name That Tune. Still, they didn't have mobile apps back then, so I guess we can call this a new format. The show has drawn decent numbers, and Fox particularly likes its social media presence. They didn't have social media back in the Name That Tune days, either.

I think the show is surprisingly watchable, though the guest stars seem a little superfluous. But the names might bring in some viewers, and that's what counts with the Nielsen Company. There's no word on when the second season will debut, though Jamie Foxx will return as host. There's also no word on a renewal for Love Connection, which has lagged behind Beat Shazam in the ratings.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ratings: Wheel slips into third

TV News Check made a big deal about Wheel of Fortune finishing third among syndie game shows for the week of June 26-July 2. Of course, the comparison is unfair because Wheel only has one daily run, while other game shows (Family Feud in particular) get to add up their ratings from two or four or more daily runs. But who said life is fair? The household ratings...

Family Feud 6.2 -down a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.5 - flat, so it slips ahead of the soulmate
Wheel of Fortune 5.3 - down a couple ticks into third place
Millionaire 1.6 - down a tick, it was a generally bad week
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - up a tick in a bit of sadly meaningless good news

The early news is so-so on iWitness. It got an overall 1.0 household rating in seven markets for its debut on July 10. But the New York City numbers were better at 1.3 over July 10-11.

UNRELATED UPDATE: As anybody who reads this blog knows, several trolls from alt.tv.game-shows (yeah, it still somehow exists) have bombarded the blog with nonsense and spam for weeks now. Much of their stuff is about excrement. That's not surprising because their board has an endless supply.

As a result, I've had to put comments on moderation. I know this is an inconvenience for my regular commenters. I enjoy your remarks and will review moderation requests several times a day. It's too bad that a few fools can make life a little more difficult, but what can we do?

MTV fun and games

Fear Factor produced nice numbers for MTV, so our ex-music-video channel has set a few more game shows for the summer.

In addition to the already announced SafeWord, a Dating Game descendant hits the screen with MTV Undressed. No, we don't get to strip MTV itself. Can a cable channel get naked, anyway? This dating epic features contestants undressing each other while "answering questions and performing simple challenges." Do the simple challenges include unhooking a bra? Eventually the two disrobers decide to break up or hook up. Sweet, no?

The pictured Rob Drydek is the showrunner for Win Big, a hundred grand game show that tries to break a cable budget by helping "young people take life to the next level." Not to mention their bank accounts to the next week. There aren't any other details, and Win Big is only a "working title," as opposed to a lazy title.

MTV Undressed debuts August 16. There's no date for Win Big except "September 2017." That means any one of thirty days, though I wouldn't bet on Labor Day.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kids vs. clock

A casting call has gone out for a kids version of Beat the Clock, taping in LA this September.

There's no word on which network is running the project. I've seen speculation on the game show Interwebs that NBC's renamed Universal Kids will be the outlet for the show, but nobody seems to know for sure.

Even by the standards of the current reboot mania, BtC is a venerable franchise. It dates all the way back to the B&W era: March 23, 1950 on CBS. It's so old, it's older than me by more than a year. Ancient history, friends.

As the Wikipedia link recounts in detail, the show's been through a bunch of rewinds over the decades. "Stop the clock" got to be a catchphrase back in my misspent youth. Beat the Clock looks like an ideal stunt format for kids, especially if they can work green slime into the proceedings.

We'll see what becomes of the project. I'd say it has a reasonable chance for success.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Emo-not-so-good-numbers

Despite mostly good reviews, including mine, GSN's Emogenius is struggling with the reviewer who literally counts.

The show fell as low as 201K viewers for its latest runs. That's about half of our little game show network's usual prime time average. The demos are still okay for the geriatric GSN, but for whatever reason, the network's audience doesn't seem to cotton to the emoji fest.

Sure, GSN's usual viewers might have only the foggiest as to what an emoji is. The show could be too blatant a demo play to work on the old-skewing, female-skewing GSN. The numbers look particularly bad compared to running mate Idiotest, which got as many as 354K viewers. That's not great, but the demo numbers are terrific for GSN.

A ShowBuzzDaily commenter notes: "I would've thought that Emogenius would have more viewers when paired with Idiotest. Shame. It's inspired madness." I don't know how inspired it is, but it's a good game show and deserves better from the bean counters.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crushing

CBS just premiered Candy Crush, and they decided to do some serious promotion.

They assembled four teams of ex-contestants from Big Brother and Survivor. At times I couldn't tell if I was watching a game show or a reality promo. But eventually I got the hang of the crushing antics, even if I heard way too much chatter about the two venerable reality franchises.

The teams romped through various physical stunts as they dangled, ran, hopped, spun, jumped, waved their arms, and yelled...all while playing, yes, Candy Crush on the world's largest (Guinness certified!) touch screens. Everybody sounded like they were on a sugar high (sorry, couldn't resist) including the studio audience and host Mario Lopez. In other words, the volume level was not set at hushed Jeopardy levels. It was more like The Price is Right on permanent roar.

All that said, it was pretty entertaining to watch the teams crush candy all around the studio. There was also a play-along app for Crushaholics at home. Eventually the two, er, surviving teams - they were both from Survivor, wouldn't you know - faced off in the ultimate Crushdown. To spoil the suspense, the team with the bleach blonde won. Bleach works sometimes.

UPDATE: The show turns in decent numbers for summer broadcast. 4.05M viewers and a 1.1 18-49 rating. It won the Sacred Demo in its time slot.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Paywall rant

So I'm scrounging around Google News for something to write about on a slow Saturday. This item pops up from the Lewiston Tribune. It's about a couple of Candy Crush contestants from Lewiston, Idaho. I figure that a contestant story about a brand new show might be worth a glance for gameplay tidbits.

Except the story is behind a paywall. That's right, the owners of the Lewiston freakin' Tribune seem to think that somebody in DFW - or anywhere else - would pay for their precious content.

This isn't to rip Lewiston, which I'm sure is a very nice place. Wikipedia tells me that the town of 32,000 is "located at the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River." The picture makes the area look beyond gorgeous. But a paywall on the local paper? The freebie suburban weekly that lands on our lawn each Sunday probably has more readers.

So I'll never know about the adventures of Christine Ferris and Stacy Connerley on Candy Crush. Somehow, I'll have to worry along without the information.

UPDATE: I managed to crack the paywall. I won't say how, but it involved some quick work on the keyboard. Anyhoo, the story is pretty interesting. The contestants had to undergo medical exams to see if they were ready for the stuntwork on the show. Plus there were the usual background checks. One odd demand: a contestant had to delete one of her Facebook photos, where she dressed up as an Indian for Halloween. Another bit of nervous Nelly p.c., it seems.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bob Barker update?

I'm a little hesitant to post this entry because of its serious nature, and the source story offers only anonymous quotes.

But Bob Barker's recent fall may have been more severe than first reported. Sure, any fall for a 93-year-old is potentially critical, but Radar Online (I know, hardly the most reliable source) is quoting "friends" of the TPiR legend as saying that Bob is getting more and more frail and they're fearful for his health. The site gets a medical doctor - who of course has never treated Mr. Barker - to intone that subdural hematomas can threaten elderly people who suffer head injuries in a fall.

Bob Barker has always seemed the picture of health, but any actuary (like me) can tell you that the survival curve is falling fast at age 93. I hope that Mr. Barker has many more years ahead of him, and that the Radar Online story is too alarmist or just complete hooey. But two falls in two years are not a good sign.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gossip column

Readers of this blog know that I have friends in low standards.

One of those friends is TMZ, and they're peddling a slightly salacious story about Drew Carey - The Price is Right, remember? - and his supposed new main squeeze, Amie Nicole Harwick. Of course, there's nothing scandalous going on. Drew's single and can date anybody he wants. But it does give me an excuse to post a photo of Ms. Harwick. After all, she posed for this picture because she wanted people to see it, right?

TMZ says that Amie has modeled for the TPiR live show. I've seen a lot of photos from the show and I can't remember her, but who am I to doubt TMZ? She's also a sex therapist and has authored The New Sex Bible for Women. Is there a different sex bible for men?

The site says that Drew and Amie met about a month ago. Good luck on the relationship. By the way, many of the comments on TMZ's story make the troll comments on this blog look intelligent.