Sunday, December 31, 2017

GSN's yearly report card

TV Newser has posted the cable viewer numbers for all of 2017.

By and large it was an okay year for GSN, a little worse than the two previous years but far from terrible. The network averaged 373K/269K viewers prime time/total day for the year. GSN ranked 41st and 31st in the windows. The total day rank means that our little game show network just missed the top 30, where they had landed in 2015 and 2016. The latest weekly report offered better ranks - a trend over the past couple months - so things might be looking up for GSN.

Of course, subjective evaluations of the network's year will vary from viewer to viewer. To nobody's surprise the oldies boards like what they've been seeing lately on GSN, namely, more old stuff. Not to mention a completely traditional game show schedule, which has been running for many months now.

As always, GSN skews very old. It's inevitable for the genre. But the whole country is skewing older, so this is not necessarily a calamity. A personal note: my guilty pleasure ID finished number seven in total day. Crime pays.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dating with Brad

With game show news sparse on the New Year's weekend, I tried my random page gimmick on U.S. Game Shows Wiki.

The article that came back was a brief bio of Brad Sherwood. One thing I didn't know (or had forgotten) was that Brad hosted the 1996-97 revival of Dating Game. Not even YouTube can provide much video of Brad's efforts on the show, but I did locate one episode. The showrunners tried messing with the traditional format, which didn't work so well. And it has to be said that Sherwood was not the most impressive host.

This guy is too over the top. Not a game show host. Good comedian, but not a host. Lange is retired. Let's call Chuck Woolery! The sarcastic YouTube comment is a reminder that Chuck did take over for the 1997-99 seasons, and the more usual format came back with him.

The morals of the story are that tinkering with a successful format is always risky, and it's not easy to be a good game show host.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Old-time revival

Fantasy revivals of old game shows have always been a staple of the oldies boards.

For some reason Tic Tac Dough is a favorite reboot candidate. I'm not sure why. I don't think the show was all that great in either the rigged or the honest varieties. If I had to pick a personal favorite oldie for the reboot treatment, I'd try Win Ben Stein's Money. Only I'd need a new know-it-all and a new wisecracking sidekick.

So why not Win Ken Jennings' Money? The Jeopardy maven has always been looking for something new to do, so why not have him answer questions? He's pretty good at it, after all. And he's such an insufferable nerd that audiences would enjoy rooting against him, a key ingredient in WBSM's success.

For the sidekick I'd try Scott Rogowsky, if I could pry him away from a few HQ eps. He's sarcastic and obnoxious enough, a natural inheritor of the Jimmy Kimmel role. Plus he comes with a built-in fanbase. As Ellen DeGeneres showed, an established fanbase doesn't hurt.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A theory of my own

Now that I've ranted about theories on the game show Interwebs, I'm going to float a theory myself.

Which shows that I'm shamelessly inconsistent. But I will label the theory as pure speculation, with no inside information to back it up. However, the theory does have a couple of established data points as a basis.

Point 1: Celebrity Name Game and two other relatively recent shows are coming to Buzzr.

Point 2: Steve Harvey's Family Feud is turning up lately on the Buzzr Facebook page, including here and here.

So the theory follows: Steve Harvey's Family Feud will show up on Buzzr sometime in 2018. In fact, some of the posters on Buzzr's Facebook page are tumbling to the same idea. As you can imagine, these posters are usually beyond horrified at the thought. That's because on oldies boards like the Buzzr Facebook page...

1) Steve Harvey is Satan,
2) Steve Harvey is the spawn of Satan, and/or
3) Steve Harvey makes Satan look like a lovable little fuzzball.

Again, it's just a theory. I have no private info from Buzzr to support it. If Mr. Harvey does debut on the diginet, though, it will make for a more, er, complex relationship between our two little game show networks.

SLIGHTLY RELATED UPDATE: While I'm talking about diginets, Decades is running some really old public domain stuff from the fifties, like Truth or Consequences and Beat the Clock. (By an odd coincidence, the 1950s BtC is returning to Buzzr in a couple weeks.) As many have noted about our little genre, it does provide cheap programming to fill in some hours.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ratings: Steve smiles

All those daily runs paid off for Family Feud in the December 11-17 week. Steve and his feuding families scored a season high and finished second only to syndie champ Judge Judy. TV News Check has all the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.9 - up two ticks to the new high
Jeopardy 6.5 - down a tick
Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - down a couple ticks for its lonely daily run
Millionaire 1.7 - flat at its apparently locked-in number
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat at its apparently chiseled-in-stone number

Ellen seems to have a winner in prime time. A repeat of Game of Games got 6.03M viewers and a 1.3 18-49 rating on December 26. It was the highest broadcast 18-49 number for the night. That's a repeat, folks.

GSN had some bragging rights against the competition for the week of December 18-24. The network ranked 25th in total day. That's the highest mark I can remember. Yeah, holiday weeks are unusual in ratings land. But it's still a nice number. Overall, GSN got 395K/271K viewers prime time/total day. The prime time rank was 34th.

A little extra info: GSN pulled 99K/61K viewers prime time/total day in the 25-54 demo. The network ranked 50th and 48th in the windows. Okay numbers for the old-skewing GSN.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

More and more HQ

From the lack of comments on my posts about HQ, I get the feeling that you, my loyal and wonderful and all-round swell readers, aren't very interested in the interactive game show.

Problem is, the Internet seems interested in little else. Stories about HQ and its burgeoning host of imitators are all over Google News. It's even noteworthy that HQ's Android version has apparently hit some delays. How will we ever sleep at night? Then there are breathless insights into host Scott Rogowsky's "cringeworthy" bar mitzvah. Scott, sometimes you just gotta cringe.

Through it all the show keeps growing. The Christmas ep drew 730K+ viewers. GSN execs would turn somersaults for those kind of numbers. (A lot of execs at other cable nets would follow with their own calisthenics.)

Cynics offer stories about cheating on HQ and how to stop cheating on HQ and whether or not prominent winners on HQ have cheated. Sometimes I think I'm back in the 1950s with the rigging scandals. Oh well, the saga continues, and your full-service game show blogger will dutifully report on it.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Don't preempt me

Wheel of Fortune fans are getting grouchy about preemptions of their favorite show.

I can't blame them too much. Some of the preemptions do seem capricious and motivated by little more than local station greed. One poster in the linked thread complains: As if we needed yet another way to sabotage Wheel's ratings this season.

In fact, Wheel's ratings aren't doing so bad this year. They just reached a season high in the latest Nielsen report. As I've often pointed out, the easiest way to un-sabotage Pat and Vanna's numbers would be another daily run of the show. That would almost certainly put Wheel back on top of the syndie game show ratings, with Nielsen's add 'em up method of reporting the numbers.

Another poster corrected a mistake about a preemption of Wheel in my home DFW market. While CBS station KTVT did preempt the show recently, Pat and Vanna appeared at their regular time on sister station KTXA. Of course, that showing of Wheel preempted the usual run of Millionaire on KTXA. You can't keep everybody happy.

Meanwhile, Wheel of Fortune has posted a nice Christmas greeting on YouTube. It's the Carol of the Ls. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Kids beat the clock in February

On a really slow Christmas weekend for game show news, the biggest item I have is the debut date for the new kids version of Beat the Clock. Universal Kids will roll out the reboot February 6 at 7:30 PM. Mark your calendars, mark your clocks, mark your walls with crayon. Okay, kids, don't do anything to the walls or your parents will really get upset.

Paul Costabile hosts, and if you've never heard of him, he seems most famous for being baby daddy to singer Christina Perri. He also does a lot of media stuff around New York City, which is probably where NBC ran across him for this game show gig.

BTC has been around forever in one form or another, so a kids version may have been inevitable sooner or later. My guess is that Universal Kids will do a decent job of adopting the format for the  young'uns. It's kind of hard to screw up, though you have to be careful the kids don't hurt themselves. (I always thought that the liability lawyers must have vetted all those kid stunt shows on Nick very carefully, by the way.)

Universal Kids is a mostly unwatched cable net, so far behind Disney and Nick that it's almost a joke. Good luck on rebooting a classic format.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Making headway?

Sometimes I wonder if this blog may have some influence somewhere.

Then I bring myself back to the truth: hardly anybody in the real world cares about this silly little game show blog. But maybe a few people are reading and taking note. For instance, there's this comment from a Game Show Paradise thread. Yeah, about those "theories": If you come up with one, don't post it unless it sounds reasonable.

They're talking about why GSN might not air certain episodes of old game shows. Theorizing about GSN and Buzzr and just about anything else is a favorite pastime on the game show Interwebs. I've sometimes ranted about the theory mongering as baseless fantasizing. Maybe folks are starting to realize that a lot (or almost all) of the theories are wild-blue speculation with no connection to humdrum reality.

This won't stop the theories, though. They're just too much fun for bored posters on the web.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mr. Larson returns

GSN has sent out the schedule for January 8-14. There are an intriguing couple of hours on Sunday night.

Cover Story: The Press Your Luck Scandal debuts at 7:00 PM. The two Michael Larson PYL eps follow at 8:00 PM (Eastern time). Did he cheat, or did he just outsmart Hollywood producers? In 1984, Michael Larson baffled game show executives when he somehow bested the Press Your Luck game board, evading the dreaded Whammy for over 70 spins, and amassing unprecedented winnings.

Why, yes, Mr. Larson did all of that, in the greatest solve in game show history. You might ask if GSN didn't previously run a show on this "scandal". Why, yes, they did in 2003, with Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal. I have no idea if this new show is just a re-edit of the old special, or if it's a completely original production.

As I recall, the 2003 show heavily promoted Whammy, the GSN remake of PYL. That's not going to happen this time, I assume, because Whammy is nowhere on the current schedule. Stay tuned for Sunday, January 14.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blogroll ruminations

An update to the previous post discusses some, er, material I noticed on Game Show Forum.

Readers of this blog know that GSF and I have had our differences over the years and over game shows, especially those beloved oldies. I really don't stop by Game Show Forum very often any more. The site seems to be withering away due to its longstanding ban on new members. So when I looked at the board today, I was genuinely taken back by a literal (and pictorial) comparison of game show host Chuck Woolery to Adolf Hitler.

No doubt I missed all the Nazi propaganda that Chuck pumped out on Lingo and Wheel of Fortune and that cesspit of anti-Semitism, Love Connection. Again, I'm trying to laugh at this stuff on GSF with a reference to the pictured gentleman. The moronic posters of such material really don't like getting laughed at. It bugs the hades out of 'em, in fact.

My experience this morning was similar to my look-in a few weeks ago at BuzzerBlog's Facebook page. I was again genuinely taken back by some racist, sexist and ageist slurs against older white men. Really? On a site supposedly about little old game shows? Again, I laughed about it here on the blog because I thought a few well-directed giggles might be effective.

Yeah, I know I'm sounding holier than thou. To state the obvious, I ain't perfect. I can barely claim to be imperfect. But I can honestly say that I don't have a loony prejudice against older white men - I'm one of them myself! - or an even loonier belief that Chuck Woolery is Hitler.

And then I got to thinking about the prohibition of libelous or bigoted material on this blog. It's right there in the Legalities and Technicalities, and it's been there for years. So what to do? Should I take BuzzerBlog and GSF off my blogroll?

To cut to the chase, I'm leaving the links in place. Both sites offer some game show information, and neither has sunk to level, despite the exaggerated comparison in my previous post. All I can say is: reader beware, and a link does not imply an endorsement.

UPDATE: To Game Show Forum's credit they have taken down the pictures of Adolf Hitler on the thread. But they've still left the ugly "14 and 88" reference. Maybe the moderators just don't understand the implication of Heil Hitler.

More sincerest flattery

Guess what, another HQ knockoff has joined the fray in live online game show apps. This new copycat comes from an outfit called, and the title is QuizBiz. Not the most original moniker, but it's not the most original show. In fact, QuizBiz is almost a clone of HQ, with the by now standard elimination string of multiple-choice questions. How creative can you get?

Twitter offers a glimpse of the show and a couple of the questions. I goofed on Rome, but it was a sneaky query. By the way, nasty rumors are making the rounds on the web about the two creators of HQ. To me this looks like a media black ops effort, designed to take down the original game show app. The rumors are long on innuendo and short on fact, which really alerts my b.s. detector. We'll see if anything comes of the ugliness.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of trivia freaks will play on. It looks like they will have a multitude of choices from various imitators.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED UPDATE: I shuffled through the game show Interwebs this morning, and I noticed this thread on Game Show Forum about a show called Question Jury. It's a Brit format, sort of a combination of Twelve Angry Men and a quizzer, and it will apparently show up at NATPE for possible syndication in the U.S. Not such big news, but somehow the thread runs crazily into Godwin's Law after only seven posts. That is...something, even for GSF.

It will no doubt come as a complete surprise to many of the deep thinkers on Game Show Forum that Chuck Woolery did not start a world war or exterminate six million Jews.  GSF is becoming an odorous landfill that makes look pristine.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Light lifting

Imagine Cash Cab in an elevator. In fact, you don't have to imagine it. The show already exists on Facebook, and it's called Cash Lift.

If the name sounds like, well, a lift itself, worry not. The show comes from Discovery, the network that gave us Ben Bailey and friends. So they can rip off their own titles. Not to mention their own concepts.

Cash Lift is an ambush quizzer where unsuspecting elevator riders suddenly get questioned over a hidden speaker by a couple of millennials named Alex Weber and Zainab Johnson. It's one strike and you're out, unlike Ben Bailey's more lenient three strikes. And the prize money is even cheaper than Mr. Bailey's offerings. But there's a money tree with a couple of lock-in stages, so even if you bomb you might still get a few bucks.

The initial ep runs about twelve minutes and includes two games, neither of which ends well. At least one relatively happy couple wins $150. Hey, it's a cheap online game show. What did you expect, a million dollars?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ratings: Pat and Vanna hit a season high

It's close at the top among syndie game shows. Only two-tenths of a ratings point separated the top three for the December 4-10 week. Down below there was no change at all for the less favored shows. TV News Check posts the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.7 - flat
Jeopardy 6.6 - up a couple ticks
Wheel of Fortune 6.5 - also up a couple ticks for the season high
Millionaire 1.7 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat and still behind the tabloid shows among the rookies

Cash Cab topped 900K viewers for its latest run. This would be a runaway hit on GSN but it's only so-so on Discovery. The show could be right on the bubble for renewal.

GSN scored its best numbers in a while, especially in prime time. 411K/278K viewers prime time/total day for the week of December 11-17. The network ranked 32nd and 30th in the windows. Sure, you expect better viewer numbers as cold weather closes in. But GSN is also climbing the ranks among its cable competitors.

A few GSN schedule notes. The network has released the lineup for January 1-7. Wheel of Fortune gets a six-hour marathon New Year's Day 8:00 AM-2:00 PM. Millionaire gets the 10:00 PM hour Monday through Friday. Divided is gone despite pretty good numbers at midnight. The oldies in the wee hours (1:00 AM-4:00 AM) say good-bye, but the Saturday prime time oldies block remains.

The world turned upside down

GSN goes retro with a block of oldies on Saturday night. So Buzzr goes new new new (by their standards) with a block of recent shows on Friday night.

Beginning February 9 Buzzr will run Celebrity Name Game, Temptation and Richard Karn's Family Feud 8:00 PM-11:00 PM (Eastern time) on Fridays. By my lights the addition of Craig Ferguson and friends is terrific news. I know older-is-better fans may be nonplussed, but Celebrity Name Game was the best new syndie in a long time. I'll definitely tune in for the lively Pyramid knockoff.

Karn Feud was a serviceable version of the venerable format. In my opinion the second Richard was a lot better than the first Louie, anyway. Buzzr hardly needs more Feud, but this is not terrible news. I'm meh on the addition of Temptation. The short-lived quizzer was not an abomination, but it was pretty run of the mill. At least these shows add variety to the network. Though on the game show Interwebs "variety" is usually just code for "more old stuff".

It's clear that Buzzr will no longer be only a museum for dusty relics of the genre. Maybe they're tired of a median viewer age of 139. Now that the dam is broken, I expect to see other recent Fremantle shows on the diginet. Good golly Miss Molly, the Antichrist (for the older-is-better crowd) Steve Harvey might turn up one of these days.

Monday, December 18, 2017

In case you didn't know, it's Ellen's show

Just watched the "sneak peek" of Ellen's Game of Games. Which is different from the official premiere. Because the peek is sneaky.

To sum up, Game of Games is a combination stunt show and quizzer, with the accent on the stunts. So there's a strong whiff of Beat the Clock along with the gentler parts of Wipeout. (There were gentler parts of that show, right?) The sneak peek also ripped off Russian Roulette's drop through the floor, right down to the slow motion replays.

The gameplay is silly enough, which I always like in my stunt shows. What's the use of serious stunts? You might as well watch sports for them. Now and then Ellen asks the contestants some questions, which are either ridiculously easy or impossibly hard, apparently depending on Ellen's mood.

You don't have to watch much of the show to understand that everything depends on Ellen. The show doesn't allow fifteen consecutive Ellen-off-screen seconds at any time. If a stunt is ongoing we get forty-two (slight exaggeration) reaction shots from Ms. DeGeneres. Sometimes we even get a cartoon Ellen during the few moments when the real Ellen isn't on camera.

NBC is pitching Game of Games at Ellen DeGeneres' built-in daytime audience, so it's not surprising that the goddess, er, host of the show dominates the proceedings. Your opinion of the show will inevitably depend on your opinion of Ellen. And on that ambiguous note, this review will conclude.

UPDATE: That built-in audience and a nice lead-in from The Voice carry Game of Games to very respectable numbers. 7.2M total viewers and a 1.7 18-49 rating. Looks like the stunts may be around for a while.

Mergers and acqusitions

By now you've probably heard about the sale of a lot of Fox assets to Disney. If you haven't heard about it, USA Today offers an okay summary. The only immediate impact on our little genre concerns oldies diginet Buzzr. It's carried on the subchannels of many Fox owned-and-operated TV stations.

But here's the thing. The Fox O&O's aren't going anywhere, because they're not part of the deal. (Sooner or later Fox will spin them off along with other assets into an independent company.) A commenter made a suggestion on this blog a while ago that the (then rumored) Disney-Fox deal might somehow jeopardize Buzzr. Not to worry, oldies fans.

I didn't think the sale would even happen at all, which shows what I know. But the broadcast assets were never going to be in the deal, because Disney already owns ABC. And there are all sorts of arcane regulations stopping a company from owning two or more broadcast nets. These rules and regs date from the Jurassic period, when broadcasters ruled like dinosaurs.

Now those networks really are like dinosaurs, and they're getting long in the tooth. Meanwhile, Buzzr will still find a niche on digital subchannels and cable/satellite services.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


There's no excuse for fantasy football, as this post on a golf or a football or a something site says.

But denizens of the fantasy world think their pastime is important for some unknowable reason. So on The Price is Right one poor guy just had to give a shout-out to his fantasy football team. The linked story praises the guy for this silliness, which is a lot like praising somebody for a gambling addiction.

The nutty shout-out has gone viral in the Internet junkosphere, with a surprisingly large number of stories in Google News about Matthew Driscoll. He's the guy who lives in the fantasy world, which (let's concede) may be as good as any other world to live in.

By the way, CBS or some other nefarious entity looks to have pulled the video clip of Matthew's shout-out. Maybe it will turn up on the official TPiR YouTube channel. In the meantime, you can watch Matthew's episode on, at least for a while.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Daring produce

With nothing much better to do on a slow Saturday, I sampled Facebook's new stunt game Do or Dare.

A confession: I only made it through the first ten minutes or so of the video. That's how long it took for them to complete the first stunt, which was rapper Usher shooting hoops with various items of produce. (Lettuce, watermelons, pineapples, etc.) He had sixty seconds to make ten baskets, and he just beat the buzzer.

For a silly celeb version of Beat the Clock, the stunt wasn't too bad. It just took forever plus an annoying music-video-ish buildup to get to the stunt. Didn't anybody tell Facebook about pace on game shows?

A comic named James Davis hosted. He seemed to think he was in a music video, too. He sure wasn't much interested in picking up the pace. At least some money went to charity.

Friday, December 15, 2017

GSN shuffles, and it's really...something

For the first time in a long, long time GSN is bringing oldies to prime time.

Each Saturday night beginning December 23, our little game show network will run a four-hour oldies block 7:00 PM-11:00 PM (Eastern time). The block for the first few weeks will be an hour each of Match Game, Press Your Luck, Jim Perry's Card Sharks, and Monty Hall's Let's Make a Deal. This is not just a holiday stunt, according to the accompanying GSN e-mail.

I'm starting to think that Game Show Forum has staged a coup and taken over the management suite at GSN. Okay, if such a revolution ever really happened, you'd see Whew in prime time on the network. But the oldies block is still a noticeable shift for GSN. It's the strongest indication yet that the new management team of Mark Feldman and Fran Shea is committed not just to traditional game shows - the schedule has been all traditional for quite a while now - but to old traditional game shows.

The natural question: is this prime time block a reaction to Buzzr? It's hard for me to believe that the oldies diginet is much of a concern to GSN at this point. There have been published claims of a growing audience for Buzzr, though, so maybe GSN is getting a mite worried. Or maybe Mark Feldman is a secret Game Show Forum member. (Just kidding, I think.)

Buzzr shuffles

As mentioned before, Supermarket Sweep comes to Buzzr on January 15. The diginet has released the entire schedule for the week, and there are some other comings and goings.

Supermarket Sweep slots into prime time at 8:30 PM, with the usual repeat at 11:30 PM (Eastern time). The schedule lists the year of the show as "2". I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean 2 A.D., though on the oldies diginet you can never be certain. Maybe they mean '02 (or 2002), which would make the show practically a young'un by Buzzr standards.

The network will do an interesting refresh of their B&W offerings. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the original Password, The Name's the Same, and the original Beat the Clock will get an afternoon run. It'll be nice to see something else in black and white besides the holy trinity of What's My Line, I've Got a Secret and To Tell the Truth. (The trinity will still get plenty of airtime on Buzzr.)

Exiting the schedule are Body Language, Blockbusters and Child's Play. None of them are big losses, as far as I'm concerned. And Louie Anderson's Family Feud resurfaces in the new year. Gotta admit, even the guy's voice irritates me, but somebody at Buzzr must like him.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


I rag on Game Show Paradise for the wall-to-wall oldies bias, but the board does come up with interesting threads. Now they're chatting about "Most Overrated and Underrated Game Shows."

You can probably guess the overrated shows are all modern-day efforts, while the underrated shows are all oldies. What a surprise! The one odd exception is a poster who dumps on What's My Line.

Maybe a few years ago I might have partially agreed. WML's Victorian formality got on my nerves a bit, and I preferred the helter-skelter, down-to-earth I've Got a Secret among the B&W panel shows. But old age has turned my tastes around a little, and now I can appreciate the crystalline clarity of What's My Line's timeless format. Even the tuxedos contribute to the effect, though I also like the more informal syndie.

The most ridiculous assertion on the thread is that Cash Cab is overrated. This is a common problem on the oldies boards, and I really don't understand the hate for Ben and friends except as crude bias against newer shows. You've got a great host, a tough quizzer, a brisk pace, enthusiastic and entertaining contestants, and the best set ever (thanks, NYC). What's not to like?

Oh yeah, it's a recent show. New eps are running right now! It can't be any good.

Sincerest flattery

With HQ pulling sizeable audiences every day, imitators would never be far behind.

The first with the sincerest form of flattery is The Q. As imitations go, well, it's a really, really close imitation. Practically a clone, in fact. The Q features the same elimination skein of trivia questions. The assembled multitudes (much less multitudinous than for HQ) try their luck on the increasingly difficult quizzer, hosted by the charmingly amateurish Joseph Monahan.

YouTube offers a few sample eps, if you want to see what the show is all about. The Q is not terrible, though the linked ep peters out when everybody gets eliminated. (And I got the final, fatal question right! But I goofed a lot of the others.) The show also offers oddball graphics, like a clumsy clip from Family Guy. But maybe that's more amateurish charm, depending on your point of view.

Right now HQ doesn't have to worry much about the competition, because The Q's audience is tiny compared to the hundreds of thousands for the established show. We'll see what becomes of this goofy sub-genre of interactive online game shows.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Product cycle

Things have sped up in lots of ways. Once upon a time, a product could enjoy a life cycle of centuries. Champagne's been around for a while, and it's still going strong, no?

Nowadays we go from a hot new product to a dull old has-been a lot quicker. Case in point: HQ, the live app game show. The app's been around for all of a few weeks now, and already a pundit (desperately seeking to be ahead of the curve) is whining that HQ isn't fun anymore. That's literally the title of the moan-and-groan blast. The article wanders on for 853 words - Microsoft helpfully counted them for me - but only a few are necessary...

This past Sunday night, HQ offered its biggest prize yet: $10,000. Around 400,000 people joined the game.

Yep, that's what really bugs the picky pundit. HQ was a lot of fun when only super-cool geeks like me knew about it. But now that the icky-poo masses are joining in, and there's a little more money at stake, the show has become so yucky.

All right, I'm being slightly unfair. The article does make a couple of semi-good points about scaling up the game and the possibility of Google cheating. But let's be honest, the pundit's real complaint is about those hundreds of thousands of uncool users logging in. Why, most of them have probably never even heard of The Verge, the site which published the elitist whine.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ratings: syndies gobble some good news

Syndie game shows bounced back from the Thanksgiving week blahs. All those big dinners cut into TV watching. TV News Check posts the household ratings for the November 27-December 3 week after the turkey was digested...

Family Feud 6.7 - up a whopping ten ticks
Jeopardy 6.4 - up seven ticks but falls out of the tie for first
Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - up seven ticks for its solitary daily run
Millionaire 1.7 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat

This has nothing to do with ratings, but I happened to see a bit of obstetrics game show history on Buzzr. Everything went fine with the birth.

GSN keeps pushing its viewer numbers higher as we head into the cold winter months. 388K/276K viewers prime time/total day for the week of December 4-10. The network ranked 38th and 31st in the windows. That's the best total day rank in a while. A bit of extra info this week: GSN got 94K/63K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day for the week. The network ranked 49th and 48th in the windows. GSN still skews old, folks. Though prime time skews a little less old than the rest of the schedule.

Monday, December 11, 2017

More holiday stunts from GSN

Maybe that death slot run of Deal or No Deal on GSN (opposite The Price is Right) is doing better than expected.

Or maybe the network just needs something for Christmas Day. At any rate, GSN has released the schedule for December 25-31, and Howie and the models get a six-hour marathon 8:00 AM-2:00 PM on Christmas. The following day Match Game also gets the six-hour treatment in the same time period. In a move that will thrill the oldies boards, Steve Harvey's Family Feud runs 2:00 PM-11:00 PM both days.

Meanwhile, the oldies fest continues on weekdays 1:00 AM-4:00 AM. It's all Daly What's My Line for the week, and mostly Moore I've Got a Secret. By the way, this scheduling means Match Game gets seven hours on December 26. What is this, a Buzzr clone? Cash Cab rolls for a five-hour marathon 11:00 AM-4:00 PM on December 30. Not to be left behind, Chris Harrison's Millionaire climbs the money tree for a four-hour stint 7:00 PM-11:00 PM on New Year's Eve.

GSN just has all sorts of fun and frivolity for the holidays.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Twitching with oldies

A commenter noted that Buzzr has put a stream on Twitch.

It's nothing special, just a loop of eps from the same old shows on the actual diginet. There are no stored videos available, and the Twitch channel is not a copy of the current feed on the network itself. But if you need oldies at all costs, you can dip into the stream. You do have to sit through some repetitive ads, but Twitch needs to make money somehow.

A massive audience of eleven viewers had tuned into the stream when I stopped by, but game show oldies have always been a niche within a niche. Match Game '75 was running as I watched, and it provided the screenshot. Charles Nelson Reilly was off doing his play, so Gary Burghoff was filling in. Richard Dawson hadn't yet entered his grump period. He was still the life of the party.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Contestant two-fer

Game Show Paradise has started a thread about civvies who turned up on more than one game show. As you might expect from GSP, almost all the entries are about contestants from decades ago. But the thread reminds me of a guy who played on a couple more recent game shows: Barry Lander.

Mr. Lander had a moment of fame when he copped $343,000 on 1 vs. 100 in 2007. That was a record until Jason Luna came along and won a million. Six years later Barry Lander was one of the first contestants on another NBC effort, Million Second Quiz. Sadly, he didn't last long on the 2013 quizzer. He still had his previous NBC winnings as a consolation prize, though.

Million Second Quiz demonstrates how broadcast ratings have tanked. The show debuted with 6.5 million total viewers and a 1.7 18-49 rating. These numbers would have have broadcast execs exulting today. Even in 2013 they were pretty good. The ratings for later eps went south a bit, but they would likely have gotten the show a renewal in today's TV world.

I liked the quizzer despite an 800-pound rule book. But NBC decided that the numbers didn't justify the expense of the ritzy set (among other items).

UPDATE: Speaking of contestants who bounce around a lot of game shows, a faux tweet noted Lisa Little. According to her Facebook page, she's been on Millionaire, Power of 10, 5th Grader, Wheel of Fortune and Celebrity Name Game. She gets around the genre.

Friday, December 8, 2017

People magazine is on the case

Readers of this blog may know that ID is one of my cable TV guilty pleasures.

Believe it or not, there's a show on the network called People Magazine Investigates. Yep, the celeb magazine does a true crime show with their crack staff of reporter sleuths. And I thought that the only thing People could investigate was which English prince was dating which model.

This is a long way around to a People story about a computer crime, which happens to involve our little genre. A faux tweet noted that Stephanie Jass has been charged with hacking into other people's computer files at Adrian College, where she once worked as a history prof. Stephanie was a seven-time winner on Jeopardy in 2012.

The story behind the charges is a little weird. Adrian College did a reset on their computer systems, which for a few days allowed anybody to hack into anybody else's files. Uh, really? The whole college was more or less on the honor system?

This sounds like an open invite to computer hacking. No matter, Stephanie Jass is back in court December 12 for a preliminary hearing on the charges against her.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

End of it all

We've still got a ways to go until December 31, but already the game show Interwebs are considering the highlights of the year.

Well, at least one poster on Game Show Forum is considering them. I don't take his suggested list of highlights too seriously, because he somehow overlooks the return of Cash Cab. Meanwhile, he celebrates the return of non-game-show trash sport format Battle of the Network Stars. Not to mention the future returns of non-game-shows Celebrity Big Brother and American Idol.

His game show "lowlight" is Candy Crush. Nielsen sure didn't like the show but I thought it was far from awful. Candy Crush was a lot more entertaining than Funny You Should Ask, anyway. In fact, for my own stinker of the year I would suggest the replacement of the superb Celebrity Name Game by the unfunny Funny among game show syndies.

My highlight of the year? Oh, maybe it was Austin Rogers' run on Jeopardy, which is also suggested by the GSF poster. Mr. Rogers certainly helped move Jeopardy into a better ratings neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ratings: November sweeps with the syndies

TV News Check does their November sweeps review this week. They list the changes for syndie game shows from the year-ago sweeps period. Alex had plenty to be happy about. Otherwise, there wasn't much to discuss. The household ratings for November sweeps...

Family Feud 6.5 - down a couple ticks from last November
Jeopardy 6.4 - up five ticks from last year, with an assist from the T of C
Wheel of Fortune 6.2 - flat
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - its first (and possibly last) November sweeps

A commenter notes that TV by the Numbers has the syndie ratings for the week of November 20-26. Family Feud and Jeopardy tied at 5.7. Wheel of Fortune trailed by a tad at 5.6 and Millionaire tagged far behind at 1.6. Turkey day took a toll on the numbers.

GSN continued to show some better ratings. The network got 352K/258K viewers prime time/total day for the November 27-December 3 week. GSN ranked 37th and 35th in the windows.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Google, bots, dating

Lots of news about HQ, the live app game show, keeps turning up in my web searches.

The show draws plenty of viewers for each day's trivia fest, but some are worried about bots infesting the competition. A smart (and no doubt nerdy) 19-year-old claims to have built a bot that can consistently google the right answer within the few seconds allowed for each response. He hasn't used the gadget in real time, but he says that it works on YouTube videos of past games. HQ warns that bots are verboten, so don't try this at home, kids.

Some players seem to be trying old-fashioned human googling on the tough questions. That's hardly surprising, and it's why HQ forces contestants to respond in a hurry. You gotta be really really quick, and there's no guarantee that you'll google the right way. (You can suffer serious bodily injury when you google the wrong way, in case you didn't know.)

Meanwhile, host Scott Rogosky has more immediate concerns. Like getting a date. The showtimes are messing up his love life.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Riding again

Let's get the one bad thing about the Cash Cab reboot out of the way. There are only two games per ep now, as opposed to the classic three. Discovery feels compelled to stuff every half-hour (or 31 minutes, to be exact) with ninety-nine commercials and promos.

Otherwise, everything is just fine. Ben is as masterful and acerbic as ever, the street scenery in New York still looks great, and the quizzer remains a genuine test of knowledge. Even the celeb guests - Gilbert Gottfried on the episode I watched - inflict no real damage and sometimes can actually help. The social media stuff is a little trendy, but you have to update something.

So welcome back to the only cab that pays you. I hope the numbers are good for the return, because I loved every minute. Well, I loved every minute of the show. The Gold Rush promos...not so much.

In other news, GSN has released the December 18-24 schedule. As a commenter noted, Chris Harrison's Millionaire gets a double run on weekdays at 3:00 PM. The show also gets a special Christmas Eve five-hour marathon. Welcome to our little game show network, Chris.

Oldies fans will like the 1:00 AM-4:00 AM weekday schedule for December 18-22. It's Match Game, Card Sharks, What's My Line and I've Got a Secret. That means seven hours of oldies each weekday. It's only for two weeks, but maybe GSN really is keeping an eye on Buzzr. At least a little.

UPDATE: Cash Cab draws okay but hardly spectacular numbers by Discovery standards. The two eps get 884K and 731K total viewers, with 0.33 and 0.25 18-49 ratings.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Heap of Feud

As I wrote in yesterday's entry, Buzzr and GSN are in an arms race to see who can splatter the most Family Feud on my TV screen.

Which got me thinking - dangerous habit, I know - just how much Feud is available per week, on cable and broadcast, in my hometown DFW area? The quick and dirty answer is, a lot. A more accurate answer takes a little digging at ScreenerTV. Buzzr runs the show 76 times a week, twelve each weekday and sixteen on the weekend. Not to be outdone, GSN runs Feud fourteen times each weekday and twenty times on the weekend, for 90 showings in all. And to top it off, the Fox duopoly station KDFI broadcasts Feud four times each weekday and another four times on the weekend, for a total of 24 runs.

If you're scoring at home, that's 190 episodes of Family Feud bombarding my humble household each week, or ninety-five hours of the stuff. Hey, there are only 168 hours in a week. That's a whole lotta feudin' goin' on.

The next most common game show is Match Game, mostly thanks to Buzzr. The oldies diginet runs Gene and friends twelve times each weekday and another eighteen times on the weekend, for a total of 78 showings. GSN tosses in four runs each weekday for a total of 20 per week, which makes 98 weekly runs between the two networks. That's 49 hours of the stuff, which is a lot but pales beside Feud.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sweeping up at Buzzr

It's not The Price is Right, but a shopping game will soon make its Buzzr debut. David Ruprecht's Supermarket Sweep comes to our little oldies network January 15.

By Buzzr standards this is modern-day stuff. In fact, it will be the most recent show on Buzzr, assuming that Louie Anderson's Family Feud goes away once and for all, which seems to be happening. Buzzr's parent Fremantle has already announced plans to reboot Supermarket Sweep, so maybe this is a test run to see how much viewer interest really exists.

Truth be told, Supermarket Sweep is one of the very few shopping games that I honestly enjoy. And that's only because of the mad dash final round. We'd all like to careen around a store and shoplift legally, wouldn't we? Buzzr will also make the show available on their Amazon Prime service.

One more funny note. The comments on the Buzzr Facebook site about the Supermarket Sweep announcement quickly run off into a trash-Steve-Harvey barrage. He really is the Antichrist on the oldies boards. Not so incidentally, Buzzr uses Family Feud almost as much as GSN. As I point out in a comment, each weekday it's six hours on Buzzr and seven on GSN. The difference for the oldies boards is the hated Steve.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Match Game is an Alexa skill?

All sorts of odd game show press releases land in my inbox. But this one also surfaced on a website.

A software outfit will release a Match Game "skill" for Alexa. I'm not sure exactly what a "skill" is in the Alexa world, but I think it's a game you play with the voice-activated gadget. This particular "skill" mimics the Super Match on the venerable game show. You try to match one of the top three choices in an audience poll.

I don't believe the "skill" allows you to ask Richard, Brett and Charles for their recommendations, unless it includes a link to the hereafter. Readers of this blog know that I think the 1973-82 version of Match Game is the greatest game show ever. So I don't mind the legendary format finding a place on Alexa (not to mention a place on ABC).

I still doubt that playing the Alexa game can match (sorry) playing along with the original on GSN or Buzzr. But that's a tough standard.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ratings: Steve and Alex tie again

It was another deadlock at the top for syndie game shows. Lifted by the final week of the T of C, Jeopardy tied Family Feud (of the many daily runs) for the top slot. Pat and Vanna were not far behind. TV News Check has the household ratings for the week of November 13-19...

Family Feud 6.8 - up a tick to a season high
Jeopardy 6.8 - up a tick to its own season high as Buzzy Cohen wins the T of C
Wheel of Fortune 6.4 - flat but not far behind the leaders
Millionaire 1.7 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat and still forlorn

Couple more numbers. Family Feud and Wheel of Fortune had 2.9 and 1.9 household ratings for their weekend versions.

A note about TBS's reboot of Joker's Wild. Snoop and friends broke the million barrier in total viewers for the latest run. I sense a renewal but you never know.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Originally posted this as an update on an earlier entry. But it deserves its own place, along with some sage comments on game show Interweb rumors.

GSN has released new schedules for the December 4-10 and 11-17 weeks. The oldies boards will be thrilled that the Antichrist Steve Harvey gets all of prime time on weekdays. One note may actually please oldies fans a little. It seems that GSN will run the usual late night black-and-white stunt for the weeks of December 18-24 and 25-31. I'm not sure about it, and I don't have any details yet.

I've also seen some rumors around the game show Interwebs that GSN's Snap Decision might get a second season. Anything's possible, but the show is nowhere in sight on the upcoming GSN schedules.

Stuff gets around the Internet a little slowly sometimes, as I pointed out with the "news" that Winsanity is not coming back to GSN any time soon (if ever). On the famous other hand, crazy ideas can often bounce around the web at the speed of phosphors. I still remember the prank about a supposed GSN show involving a giant pile of rock, which had the web in an uproar until cooler heads (mine included) nailed the obvious hoax.

More recently, one of the oldies boards got its knickers in a twist about GSN running Toddlers & Tiaras, based on a goofy misread of an Emogenius promo. Anyhoo, I try not to run with any news until I see some actual confirmation. And when I'm not sure - as with the GSN black-and-white holiday stunt - I say so.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

No respect, I tell ya (cont.)

I grumped in a faux tweet that I'm really tired of former Deal or No Deal model Meghan Markle and her prince boyfriend. So why am I typing a blog entry about her?

Because she has joined a long list of semi-celebs who feel compelled to dump on our little genre. Now that she's into royalty and alt that other silliness (I'm a small "r" republican when it comes to monarchy) she looks down her nose at DOND...

I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet. I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. It's run the gamut. Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing. So if that’s a way for me to gloss over that subject, then I will happily shift gears into something else.

The something else turned out to be prince bopping, which I understand pays well for minimal effort. But she does sound snooty about the game show. Too bad she had to hang around with those other 25 commoners, not to mention Howie.

Monday, November 27, 2017

News gets around, eventually

Posted this on my November 19 entry, but not everybody reads my blog. (What's wrong with you?)

Anyway, BuzzerBlog and Game Show Newsnet have finally realized that Winsanity is not coming back to GSN. Just to let you in on the secret, the show isn't in the lineup for this week or next week or the week after that. I don't have the schedules for any more distant weeks, but I don't expect to see Donald Faison back in the near or far future.

The reason is obvious. GSN decided not to scrap an airing of their best ratings getter, Steve Harvey's Family Feud, at 5:00 PM weekdays. Especially when Winsanity's ratings history is so-so at best. The show's numbers slid downhill as the weeks went by.

Funny thing, Winsanity's second season was a definite step up, in my opinion. On the famous other hand, BuzzerBlog dumps on season number two. They managed to fix some of the format, make other parts unbelievably dumb, and completely remove any fun or energy or excitement.

Oh well, opinions are like noses - we've all got 'em. But Nielsen, as always, has the only opinion that literally counts. And Winsanity didn't wow the sample.

A schedule note on our other little game show network. This week Buzzr will run an ep of Press Your Luck that hasn't seen the light since the show's original run. If I thought PYL was all that good, I might get excited.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ellen arrives on NBC

The game show Interwebs have noticed the first ads on NBC for Ellen's Game of Games.

Apparently the Peacock Net (warning, Variety speak) will run a preview of the show in December. Deadline Hollywood thinks that Game of Games might get its regular bow in January, maybe along with Genius Junior, the kids quizzer.

The show's official page on the NBC site doesn't give any dates, just a "coming soon" tag. Game of Games looks like a souped-up version of Ellen DeGeneres' daytime game segments, something of a quizzer-stunt combo. The NBC blurb promises Ellen's "mischievous and hilarious antics" and her "witty and comedic sensibility."

I've never been a big fan but Ellen does bring a built-in fanbase, which should at least help the show get decent sampling whenever it arrives. Game on.

UPDATE: NBC has announced that Game of Games will run a preview on December 18 and its regular debut will arrive on January 2. The new season of The Wall begins New Year's Day.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Comfort and joy

Sampling the various GSN Thanksgiving marathons, I couldn't help noticing the "comfort and joy" promos for the holiday season. Our little game show network is getting into a traditional mood this time of more ways than one.

The oldies boards are loath to admit it, but GSN has become wall-to-wall traditional game shows. In fact, they now use the "Game Show Network" moniker on their promos. Long gone are the demo-chasing experiments in reality TV, poker and trash sport. Now the network is so traditional, somewhere Mark Goodson may be smiling.

Sure, these are only early returns from the new team of Mark Feldman and Fran Shea at GSN. If the median viewer age ascends too rapidly toward triple digits, they might pull a hard left turn back to Skin Wars and similar fare. But for now GSN seems content to provide TV comfort food to game show fans, as the holiday promos literally point out. They're also not shy about running and promoting those famous oldies the game show Interwebs pine for relentlessly.

So far the total viewer numbers have shown an uptick in November. I don't know if the turn toward traditional fare results from GSN looking anxiously at the new competition from Buzzr. I doubt that the diginet is an enormous concern at this point, but Buzzr is GSN's first direct 24/7 network competitor. Or maybe the new execs have just decided that the whole country is getting older, so why bother with the unrewarding demo chase?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sweet stuff

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and I've decided not to be my usual cynical self. So this item about a seven-year-old superfan of The Price is Right is just the ticket.

Jackson Woodworth of Bangor, ME is the ultimate TPiR fanatic. He's built decent replicas of a lot of pricing games at his home, and he knows his stuff when it comes to valuing merchandise. "I've been to The Price is Right Live twice and once I got the showcase exactly right."

Jackson, I couldn't get the price of a postage stamp exactly right, so kudos to you. Jackson's personal Plinko board is particularly impressive, almost as good as the real thing. (It doesn't have all the electronic whizbangery of The Wall's knockoff, though.)

Our seven-year-old aficionado is also a Drew Carey partisan. He even commits the heresy - weep, Golden Road! - of preferring the incumbent host to the legendary Bob Barker. But Jackson admits he's not overly familiar with Mr. Barker. After all, Bob left the show three years before Jackson was born.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Griffin and Woolery all over again?

HQ is just getting hot as a mobile-app game show, and already the creator and host are tangling in a Griffin-Woolery spat.

It started with a Daily Beast article on the viral sensation, which is drawing live audiences of over 100K for each day's trivia fest. One of the show's creators, Rus Yusupov, went nuts over Daily Beast's chat with HQ host Scott Rogowsky.

It's not like Scott said anything revealing or even very interesting. But Rus got bonkers and even talked about firing the popular host. Which produced a yellfest on social media, where Scott happens to be very well liked as Quiz Daddy, among other terms of endearment.

Yusopov started backing down in a hurry, and everything seems smoothed over for now. At the moment it doesn't look like "Rogowsky left HQ" will replace "Woolery left Wheel" as a game show Interwebs catch phrase. But stay tuned for more drama.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

No respect, I tell ya (cont.)

Former teen idol David Cassidy has died at age 67. Which makes me reluctant to write this entry, because I'm about to criticize him.

Don't worry, I'll keep the criticism mild. When a well-known celeb dies, I usually check IMDb to see if there are any game show entries on the resume. Sure enough, there was a week on Hollywood Squares for David Cassidy in 2003. And there are photos (see screenshot) to prove it.

I might have made a faux tweet about the appearance and let it go at that. But then I ran across this interview with Mr. Cassidy in 2006. He had less than flattering things to say about Donny Osmond hosting Pyramid.

Cassidy points out that even Donny Osmond, who was perhaps the biggest challenger to Cassidy's teen idol throne in the 1970s and who also went on to Broadway with "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," is now a game show host. "Donny is a very talented guy, but ..." Cassidy says. "I've been offered to do things like that. It's not about TV and making money for me. It's about doing what I love to do, and I just haven't had any interest in doing things like that.

So it's okay for David Cassidy to do Hollywood Squares but not okay for Donny Osmond to do Pyramid. Our little genre will never get much respect, and we might as well live with it. R.I.P. David Cassidy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ratings: syndies get happy, especially Alex

The week of November 6-12 was a great one for syndie game shows. Jeopardy pulled into a tie at the top with the first week of the T of C. But Steve and Pat and Vanna were hardly disappointed with the numbers. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.7 - up four ticks
Jeopardy 6.7 - up a whopping seven ticks to a season high and a tie with Feud
Wheel of Fortune 6.4 - up five ticks to its own season high
Millionaire 1.7 - up a tick
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat in the basement

Paradise Run is down some in its third season, but still lands comfortably above the million mark. A fourth season doesn't look out of the question.

GSN continues to show better numbers for November. Maybe the consistent prime time lineup is paying off. The network got 356K/255K viewers prime time/total day for the week of November 13-19. GSN ranked 36th and 33rd in the windows.

Game of older life

Normally I try not to pay attention to legal disputes involving our little genre. But this case is something out of the ordinary.

Cable channel The Hub (now Discovery Family) briefly ran a kids game show in 2011-12 called Game of Life. Hosted by Frank Nicotero, far better known for the late lamented Street Smarts, the show originated from the familiar board game.

Since lawsuits never cease, there's now a legal case over who created the board game that spawned the TV show. But here's the kicker. The disputants are all very elderly. In fact, the judge in the case "ordered a bench trial due to the advanced ages of the witnesses."

On one side is Robert Klaman, 95, usually credited for inventing the board game in 1959. On the other side is Lorraine Markham, widow of Bill Markham, who she alleges should share in the credit (and his estate should share in the royalties) for the game. The linked story doesn't give Mrs. Markham's age, but I assume it's not much less than Mr. Klaman's.

The current owner of the board game, Hasbro, is siding with Mr. Klaman. But it's nice to know that lawsuits can go on right into your nineties. That's something for us all to look forward to.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kindly dentist

Usually I put contestant stories in the faux tweets, unless it's somebody who wins the T of C or just misses a million bucks. But this story about Ruben and Sandy Mora on The Wall caught my eye. Because Ruben is that contradiction in terms, a kindhearted dentist.

Yes, I'm only joking...sort of. I just got finished with a dentist appointment last week, which fortunately involved nothing worse than a cleaning. But we've all endured those wonderful life-changing moments in the chair of pain.

To be fair, Dr. Mora does a lot of charity work, and that's why The Wall picked him for minor fame and possible fortune. The charitable dentist allows: "My goal is to get people out of pain." Maybe he selected the wrong profession.

Of course, the Moras can't say how they did on the show, which runs this Wednesday. Sandy says their children's dream vacation is a holiday at a Nickelodeon resort in the Dominican Republic. Hope they copped enough money to give the kids their wish.

By the way, the linked story says The Wall will be back "officially" in January, after a couple eps over the next few weeks. NBC wanted to get the Moras on the air for Thanksgiving, because they couldn't resist the saga of a sweet-natured dentist.