Thursday, March 23, 2017
Geniuses at play
There are some differences. The teams wear college shirts instead of business clothes. There are four teams each episode and they play two preliminary rounds, with the winners facing off in the final elimination round. And Trey Wingo hosts instead of Robert Earle, who is 91 and probably wouldn't want the job.
There's no studio audience, which creates a hushed, library-like atmosphere. Wingo tries to liven things up with frequent wisecracks and exhortations to trailing teams, but the show does seem a little too studious and quiet. The set has a lot of faux red brick and decorated blackboards, including prominently displayed sponsors' names. (Hi there, Geico!)
The college kids are friendly and appealing, and it's impossible to root against any of them. One team will win a hundred grand at the end of the tournament, so good luck to everybody.
Even by the less than high standards of ESPN2, Bracket Genius went almost unwatched. 87K and 100K viewers for the two debut eps. By comparison, ESPN2 averaged 285K/179K viewers prime time/total day in the latest available week.
COMPLETELY UNRELATED UPDATE: A commenter asked for numbers on GSN's Cash Cab reruns. So I went to Douglas Pucci. The ratings are pretty good. 300K and 344K viewers for the March 20 eps. Starting March 27 GSN will give the show eight more runs per week at 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday.