Sunday, April 30, 2017

Labor of oldies love

An older-is-better poster on Game Show Paradise has been extracting episode number and original air date information from the source code for Buzzr's online schedule.

He's listed all the info for every show on the oldies diginet from July 22, 2015 through (currently) May 28, 2017. It's a huge file but it has all you could possibly want to know about Buzzr shows, almost from the diginet's inception.

Talk about a labor of love. Though I hope he's created macros that chew through the source code and update the file automatically. It's almost scary to think of someone so obsessive that he would create and maintain such a file by hand.

As you might expect, the file shows how often Buzzr reruns episodes. Match Game 78 ep #1145 has run no fewer than 32 times in less than two years, for example. The game show Interwebs have now and then slammed the diginet for such rerun abuse. Of course, they're far less harsh on the oldies subchannel than on GSN.

The strangest entries are the non-game kid shows on weekends. (Animal Outtakes and Walking Wild, for instance.) The FCC requires such odd programming because Buzzr uses the sacred airwaves.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Future shock

Several future shows in our little genre have gotten faux tweets lately. Time to sum up the coming attractions in a blog entry.

First, Mike Myers will host ABC's Gong Show reboot, due June 22. Only Myers will be playing Tommy Maitland, beloved British comedian who's actually a fictional character. Myers' face will look stuffed, as the screenshot indicates.

Game Show Newsnet points out that John Cervenka played a fictional host on Burt Luddin's Love Buffet. Let's hope that the ABC show is better than the worst original GSN ever inflicted on a suffering world. Or maybe the very worst original was GSN's own version of the gongers, Extreme Gong. I'll let you decide.

Meanwhile, BET will try Face Value, where contestants guess things about strangers based only on their appearance. As I said in the faux tweets, this looks like Identity, the short-lived NBC show hosted (poorly) by Penn Jillette. Except BET's press release sounds like they'll add some social justice warrior-ing to the mix. At least Deon Cole will host as himself, and not as a beloved fictional Brit comedian.

Finally, GSN is promoting Emogenius with a teaser that somehow makes emojis look interesting. It's a visual puzzle game reminiscent of Idiotest, a show that has served the network well. I was mostly hopeless on the sample puzzles, though I did nail Churchill Downs.

Friday, April 28, 2017

One way of looking at game shows

An automotive site has its own angle on game shows.

The linked story grinds its gears through seven "car-themed" game shows. It's a stretch to include The Price is Right, but the show does hand out a lot of automobiles. So does Let's Make a Deal, which could have made the list by the TPiR logic.

Cash Cab gets on the list, too. Well, the game did happen in a taxi. Shotgun was another variant of the game-on-wheels format. Contestants had to answer questions while professional drivers were steering them around a speedway at alarming velocity.

Pass Time was the closest approach to a truly car-centric show. The players had to predict on-set drag race times. Rounding out the list are three non-U.S. shows, which I never saw and really can't comment on. The Canadian children's show Kidstreet does sound like a cute format, though.

Needless to say but I'll say it anyway, a NEW CAR has always been the dream prize on game shows. There's just something about that new car smell.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Transition

Something of a surprise: David Goldhill is stepping down as CEO of our little game show network GSN.

Goldhill was only the third chief exec in GSN's more than twenty-year history. As the linked story notes, he oversaw GSN's most prosperous times, leading to the network's most watched and highest rated year in 2015. The following year was almost as good, so it doesn't look like Goldhill is getting pushed out.

After Michael Fleming was shown the door in 2001, Rich Cronin took over GSN and managed to steer the once dicey network to profitability. Goldhill started his reign in 2007, and the sailing was not too smooth at first. GSN finally started churning out better numbers on both the ratings charts and the financial books, and Goldhill seemed safe in his job.

But nothing lasts forever (clunking cliche alert) and Goldhill has decided to move on. Co-owners Sony and AT&T will start looking for a new chief exec to run both the TV and gaming operations.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ratings: bad week for the soulmates

Syndie game shows have seen better weeks. Pat and Vanna and Alex had a lot to complain about, and nobody else had much to cheer about. TV News Check has the household ratings for the week of April 10-16...

Family Feud 6.4 - flat
Wheel of Fortune 5.7 - down four ticks
Jeopardy 5.5 - down four ticks, again moving in tandem with Wheel
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.2 - down a tick as the days dwindle away

GSN didn't have much to crow about, either. 327K/245K viewers prime time/total day for the April 17-23 week. I assume Hollywood Game Night wasn't a big hit. The network ranked 42nd and 38th in the windows. Worst week in quite a while.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Outer space

Haven't seen Wink Martindale for a while, but he's now achieved a bit of commercial fame. A KFC commercial, to be exact.

Wink passes in a blink (sorry for the rhyme) so you have to be awake. The commercial itself is kind of sappy, a parody of JFK's "we're going to the moon" announcement from the '60s. The video has earned a lot of dislikes on YouTube and many less than glowing comments. "Dumbest f---ing advertising ever" is a typically elegant remark.

At least one alert commenter notes Wink's brief presence, so it's nice that some people out there remember him. The Winkster is well into his eighties now, and the last show he hosted was GSN's very forgettable Instant Recall in 2010. He did make a cameo appearance on The Chase in 2014, and that currently stands as his last recorded brush with our little genre.

Wink has his own YouTube channel, though it hasn't been updated for a while. There are some interesting game show oldies scattered among other videos.

Monday, April 24, 2017

More kids

Naman Shah looks like the ultimate nerd kid.

This is not a criticism, not at all. Naman just won twenty grand on Millionaire's kids week, so nerdiness literally pays off. The linked story details how Naman is the complete smart child package, right down to the impressive SAT scores. (Just for completeness, the story gives the scores on both the old and new scoring systems.)

Naman is also a member of every smart kid organization in the country, and has the predictably proud parents. His father served as his plus one lifeline on Millionaire, and helped on a question about parathogenesis. Which is something we should all know about, right?

Kids are all the rage in game shows lately, as I blogged a while back. But if our little genre gives a bit of fame and fortune to smart youngsters, that's not so terrible.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hostess with the mostest

A faux tweet noted that YouTube person SSSniperWolf will host an online game show called Clickbait for pay site Fullscreen. The teaser video in the linked story makes Clickbait look like the usual cheap, silly online game show. Which doesn't mean it will be bad, just silly and cheap. Much like me, in fact.

Turns out that the host might be more intriguing than the show. Video game maven SSSniperWolf (the SS stands for "super sexy," not the Nazi secret police) has a checkered past, to put it in very mildly checkered terms. She's gone through a name change, bouts with the law, gazillions of booty-shaking YouTube videos, and at least one bad boy lover. All this heavy traffic, plus a most pleasant appearance, has earned her millions and millions of YouTube subscribers.

It's also garnered her some highly catty criticism, especially from her fellow female gamers. This take-no-prisoners video trashes her every which way, for people who like their polemics scalding hot. There's a quote about no such thing as bad publicity, so Fullscreen probably appreciates such efforts.

Good luck with the show, Lia. Or Alia. Or Wolfie or whatever.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Math wizard

Found an odd video series on YouTube called the Math Missus.

Her real name is Sarah Smellie - honest, that's her name - and she does little math thingies for the great YouTube unwashed. The linked video goes though a couple of math (and physics) problems related to The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal.

The LMAD segment is just another rehash of the Monty Hall problem, and I've had enough of those. But the TPiR bit is more enjoyable. Sarah sets up a small version of the Plinko board and drops a bunch of ping pong balls down the center chute. This turns out to be the best way to win the ten grand, but also the best way to win $0. Moral of the story: high reward involves high risk.

Sarah doesn't mention another thing about her experiment because the math would get too involved. But the resulting distribution of the ping pong balls in the various slots looks alarmingly like a Gaussian normal distribution curve. Sure, the small sample size knocks the curve a little off-center. But all you Gauss fans - and I know you're out there - will get a small smile.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Another chapter closes

One by one the leading figures in the game show rigging scandals are dying. Another sad note: Albert Freedman, producer of Twenty One, has died at age 95.

Freedman sort of admitted to the rigging on the show and got a second-degree perjury conviction for his pains. (He served no time, of course, like all the other people involved in the scandals.) He was never overly repentant. A statement from his family says Freedman always thought that the scandal was a "witch hunt" concocted by politicos and newspapers.

You can blame lots of things on politicians and the news media, but neither forced Freedman and friends to rig game shows. Blacklisted from TV, Freedman found another job with Bob Guccione of Penthouse, of all people.

Hank Azaria played Freedman in Quiz Show, the sometimes accurate 1994 movie about the scandals. He is survived by no fewer than ten grandchildren. R.I.P.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stunts

A faux tweet noted that Comedy Central will try a stateside version of the Brit format Taskmaster.

It's pretty much a comedic Beat the Clock, with funny (we hope) people trying funny (we hope) stunts. There's some YouTube debris from the British original if you want to get a taste of the hopeful funniness. The host will be Reggie Watts of the electrified hair and James Corden's late night show.

An honestly funny note from the linked story: the show will have nine, count 'em, nine executive producers, plus three more Executives in Charge of Production - an august title, no doubt - from Comedy Central. That makes twelve poobahs bossing around the underlings. I never knew that silly little stunts required so much high-powered supervision.

No debut date yet. Maybe the twelve showrunners haven't agreed on one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Two guys on game shows

A couple interviews with game show hosts - one current, one future - cropped up in Google News.

We'll take the current guy first. Ben Gleib has now run GSN's Idiotest through a couple hundred eps. That's more than most people (including me) would have predicted. He tells Inquisitr: "Somehow, in the midst of an intellectually challenging brain teasing show, I get to go nuts and use it as a comedic playground. I love it." He also likes the contestants to be nervous, because it makes for good TV. He ensures they get more nervous with large doses of host sarcasm.

One cautionary note. Ben says he wants to host a late night talk show. Just what we need, another yakfest. Don't do it, Ben.

Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx sounds like a party guy in his interview with Billboard about Fox's upcoming Beat Shazam. He does not talk about making the contestants nervous, though he doesn't mind dancing in the audience. He also thinks he could beat the music app that inspired the show.

He then name drops a game show host he admires: "Richie Dawson." Richie?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Highlarity on the game show Interwebs

The game show Interwebs are always good for some laughs, especially the unintentional ones.

An older-is-better poster on Game Show Paradise yelped that GSN had just acquired Toddlers and Tiaras. I confess I had never even heard of the show, which ran on TLC (not my fave network). Wikipedia tells me it was a reality show about child beauty pageants. Obviously, those pageants are ultra-controversial after JonBenet.

The thread was soon ringing with denunciations of GSN for this crime against humanity. A sane poster finally stepped in and pointed out that GSN was just running a promo for its new Emogenius game show, which included a question about the old show on TLC. There's no evidence anywhere that GSN is actually acquiring Toddlers and Tiaras itself.

Of course, GSN's real crime in the view of Game Show Paradise and similar boards is that it runs game shows with less than three decades of dust on them. That's why the boards are so willing to believe any nonsense about the network. In fact, GSN hasn't run any kind of reality show for quite a while now. The network even emphasized a return to traditional gamers in its upfront. Recent acquisitions like Cash Cab show the trend.

But don't confuse the older-is-better crowd with facts. The GSP thread got even more highlarious when an admin briefly locked it because of  "the bulls--t." (She spelled out the word but I've got stricter rules.)

Except the b.s. wasn't the idiotic rumor about GSN. The supposed bovine excrement was my polite - honest! - reply to a couple slams on me about other subjects in the thread. (She deleted my entire reply, by the way.) Note to that admin: check other posters for the real b.s. on your board.

UPDATE: I sent the admin a private note that I wouldn't bother her with any more posts on Game Show Paradise.

UNRELATED UPDATE ABOUT ANOTHER GAME SHOW OUTLET: Buzzr is now running a couple hours of infomercials each day. Expect the ads to expand. Fremantle wants to make some money off the oldies diginet.

Ratings: syndies blah out

It was mostly a week of small dips for syndie game shows, though there was one (sadly irrelevant) gainer. TV News Check has the bland household ratings for the week of April 3-9...

Family Feud 6.4 - flat
Wheel of Fortune 6.1 - down a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.9 - also down a couple ticks, ever notice how the soulmates tend to move in tandem?
Millionaire 1.6 - down a tick
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - up a tick in the only plus for the week, as if it matters any more

Douglas Pucci posts prime time GSN ratings now and then. Total viewers and 18-49 ratings for last Friday April 14...

Family Feud (Harvey) 8:00 PM 389 0.05
Family Feud (Harvey) 8:30 PM 481 0.06
Family Feud (Harvey) 9:00 PM 436 0.07
Family Feud (Harvey) 9:30 PM 428 0.07
Family Feud (Harvey) 10:00 PM 337 0.06
Family Feud (Harvey) 10:30 PM 365 0.06

Even after all these years, Steve averaged 406K viewers and a decent (for GSN) 0.06 18-49 rating. Now all the whiners on the game show Interwebs know why Harvey Feud gets so many runs on the network.

Overall, GSN got 396K/265K viewers prime time/total day for April 10-16. The network ranked 38th and 36th in the windows. Usual numbers for recent weeks.

One more bit of GSN news. Cash Cab did fine in prime time on Saturday April 15. About as well as Harvey Feud in the same 10:00 PM time slot the night before. Ben got 340K viewers and a 0.07 18-49 rating. The cab rolls on.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Football prediction

The Boston media - and the sports media in general - are having fun with a contestant's prediction on Wheel of Fortune.

The real solution to the pictured puzzle is "Patriots win their fifth Super Bowl." But the contestant said "sixth" instead. Which had people (including Pat Sajak) wondering if  he knew something about the future of the big game.

I don't follow football, so I wouldn't have had the foggiest on how many Super Bowls that team in Boston has won. I can see that the "s" had already been picked, so I might have landed on "fifth" by process of elimination.

Off topic, but while I'm on the Boston sports media, I'm very, very tired of their glorification of hometown "hero" and steroid user David Ortiz. If he gets into the Hall of Fame - as the Boston scribes ardently wish - Bonds and Clemens better get in there, too. Of course, after Ivan Rodriguez's induction this year, there's no longer any justification for the anti-steroids hysteria at the HOF.

Back to game shows: when I first glanced at the puzzle in the screenshot, I had a fleeting thought that the initial word was "idiots." Maybe I've got Idiotest on the brain.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Once more with Carmen

A faux tweet linked to one of the gazillion stories about Gina Rodriguez voicing the storied title character in Netflix's new animated version of Carmen Sandiego.

Too bad, but this looks like Nick's reboot of Legends of the Hidden Temple. A game show will come back as something other than a game show. Netflix's show seems like just another cartoon, with some Geography 101 tossed in to impress the children's TV groups.

Rueful confession: I was never a big fan of the old PBS game show, anyway. Lynne Thigpen was afflicted with Overacting Syndrome, and the educational TV load loomed way too heavy for my frivolous taste. Even the legendarily catchy theme song left me less than spellbound.

But it was still a game show, and it's mildly irritating to see a non-game version instead of a genuine revival. But maybe we've got enough classic game show rewinds for now.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Some things are more important

Even a game show with a Peabody award is still just a game show. There are some things a lot more important than Jeopardy.

Pat Greiner, a contestant from Caspar, WY who ended up winning $16,800 on the show, had more important things on her mind when she got the call for her Jeopardy taping. Her husband was set to have a lung transplant at about the same time.

Things worked out okay. The operation could be delayed without danger for a few days so she could go to L.A. for the show. And she got some help from a friend. Pat explains...

When it came right down to it, there was no question in my mind. One is my husband's life, the other one is a game show. The game show was out the window if there was any question. As it turned out, he recovered quickly, I had a friend who could step in and help take care of him, and the doctors actually encouraged me to go. They said it's good to get away for a little bit if you have someone you trust to step in and take care of him.

All's well that ends well, but sometimes real life intrudes on a little answer-and-question game.

Friday, April 14, 2017

ABC bangs a gong, gets it on

A critic notes that ABC's newly announced summer schedule promises "a whole bunch of game shows." This is a true statement.

Celebrity Family Feud and 100K Pyramid debut their new seasons on Sunday, June 11. In between there's a non-game show hour of Steve Harvey's Shark Tank knockoff, Funderdome. The Pyramid reboot is so faithful to the original that it's even gotten plaudits from the game show Interwebs. Steve Harvey will never get such plaudits, of course, but the celeb version of Feud is just fine.

To Tell the Truth returns Wednesday, June 14. The random questioners and amiable host Anthony Anderson will quiz more impostors and truth-tellers. And in a strangely affecting tribute to the late Chuckie Baby, the Gong Show reboot premieres Thursday, June 22.

Yes, by my own picky standards Gong Show is just a comedy talent contest, not a real game show. But it's gotten grandfathered into the genre, so for once I won't quibble.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fear again

You can't kill fear.

After NBC revived Fear Factor in 2011, MTV will try a reboot starting May 30. There's always been a pleasant argument about whether the stunt epic is a real game show, but I tend to fall on the inclusive side here. At least there's an objective standard (more or less) for winning, and the series doesn't wander off into multi-ep whine-fests between the contestants.

The linked story calls the show a "reality competition series," which seems to be the latest catchphrase for "we're not sure if this is a game show or a reality show, so we'll straddle the difference." Ludacris will host the MTV version, which sounds like it will downplay the really gross stuff. Instead of eating worms, the contestants will try stunts like couch surfing at 300 feet. This could be another Wipeout, minus the big balls.

The order is for twelve episodes. The prize money is fifty grand per ep.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The kids are alright

Yes, the Who reference in this entry's title dates me horrendously.

The song is more than a half-century old, and it's still not as ancient as grumpy moi. But the title is apropos because legions of cute children are descending on our little genre. Nickelodeon has already mined Nielsen gold with Paradise Run, and Millionaire is plowing through its umpteenth Whiz Kids week. ABC has announced the upcoming Child Support, and NBC will roll out Genius Junior.

As a faux tweet noted, USA Network will join the kiddie crusade with Big Star Little Star, debuting May 31. A stateside reboot of the U.K. format, the show will appropriately feature Cat Deeley as the host. She's English, after all, and she recently added a little star of her own.

From the trailer in the linked story, the show borrows from Newlywed Game, Pyramid, and God knows what else. Celeb parents play games with their photogenic young'uns, and the money goes to charity. The kids will no doubt steal most of the audience's attention, as W.C. Fields could have predicted (another reference that dates me badly.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ratings: Pat and Vanna and Alex rebound

The NCAA moved on and the Sony soulmates rejoiced. Freed from hoops preemptions, the dynamic duo rebounded (sorry) smartly for the week of March 27-April 2. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.4 - down a tick
Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - up seven ticks as college basketball goes away
Jeopardy 6.1 - up five ticks for the same reason
Millionaire 1.7 - up a couple ticks, a nice percentage move
Celebrity Name Game 1.2 - flat as the shadows lengthen

Steve stayed just a tenth of a point ahead in the race for number one. Of course, the race is unfair for reasons which I hope you know by now.

GSN had another so-so week. 376K/264K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 38th and 36th in the windows.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Aspiring game show contestant

There have been a few aspiring actresses who tried their luck on game shows. I remember Kirstie Alley turning up on Match Game and Password Plus several decades ago, for instance. This was long before Cheers, when Kirstie was still just an interior designer in Los Angeles.

I have no idea if Emily Rutan will follow Kirstie's path to show biz prosperity. But she is an aspiring actress and she did appear on a game show, Idiotest. As anybody in the business can and will tell you about a nascent acting career, "It's really hard, as everyone says. It's kind of like anything else. The longer you're around and the more people you meet, things come together."

Unlike Kirstie, who took home some money from her game show appearances, Emily bombed out on GSN's visual puzzle fest. At least she gave it a real try, with lots of practice online. "I was pretty stressed-out because it was so hard. It's mostly the timer that's stressful." Idiotest is hard for me when I'm just watching at home, so I can sympathize.

I checked Emily's IMDb page. Wouldn't you know, she's graced my guilty pleasure Investigation Discovery. She was one of the reenactment actors on a True Nightmares ep. Good luck on her career.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Peaceful hamlet

I've blogged about this before, but how can you get tired of a town that changed its name to a game show?

Okay, maybe you can get tired of it, but I think it's good for one more entry. The town, of course, is Truth or Consequences, NM. Previously known as Hot Springs - a depressingly generic label, no doubt - the town changed its name to match the radio game show in 1950. (This was before the network TV version.) You can read all about it on Wikipedia.

A columnist from South Bend, IN visited the town on a recent trip through the Great Southwest. He ran into an elderly gentleman who grumped: "Silly name, as far as I'm concerned. Most people just say T or C anyway." He was one of the people who wanted to keep the blah "Hot Springs" moniker. No sense of humor.

Though now that I think about it, maybe the old codger had a point. Would you want to live in Deal or No Deal, MD?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Easy predictions

It's another lazy weekend for your lazy game show blogger.

In the faux tweets I've pretty much covered whatever game show news there is. Hip Hop Squares gets another season and Wheel of Fortune gets another contestant goof. So I'll just reprint some more of my drivel from Game Show Paradise. I supply a lot of drivel to that board...

Other poster: I don't watch GSN much anymore.

This should be the motto of the game show Interwebs. I have to smile whenever I see it, which is pretty often. A lot more people in the real world are watching GSN now than back in the supposedly good old days. In 2007 the network averaged 256K viewers for prime time. Nowadays GSN averages more viewers in total day, even in a bad week.

Well, I always knew that the game show Interwebs don't have much to do with game show viewers (or anything else) in the real world. If the Interwebs ruled, Steve Harvey would have been out of the business a long time ago. And we'd all be watching the wall-to-wall reruns of old Match Game and Family Feud on Buzzr.

Speaking of which, I dropped by Game Show Forum for the first time in a while today. There was actually a thread about a modern-day show, ABC's remake of Match Game. Before I read the comments, I thought there would be a slam on Harvey Feud and a bash on ABC's Match Game compared to the good old days of Gene and friends.

I was right and right. Though I admit these were very easy predictions.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jeopardy bar

There have always been sports bars. Now we've got a Jeopardy bar in Wikes-Barre, PA. It's called Elmer Sudds (golly, a worse pun than my own.) The linked story tells how it happened...

The game show has become a daily staple at the Northampton Street establishment. Bar owner John Yencha said the ritual came from a former bar patron, Klaus Lietz, who died last year. Lietz loved trivia, bartender Melanie Socash said.

Trivia love is what Jeopardy is all about. The tavern was particularly interested in Wilkes-Barre native Abigail Myers, who copped forty-one grand from a three-day run this week. She eventually lost when she nailed the clue but bet too little in Final Jeopardy, which is a tough way to lose.

Bar patron Susan Socash says she has tried out for Jeopardy herself. "'Some nights I could win,' she said, touting her knowledge of literature and Spanish questions." You've got to have a little attitude to win on the venerable quizzer, after all.

In case you want to know, Abigail Myers got seventy-one right and six wrong on Jeopardy. A pretty good ratio.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hollywood hijinks

As announced in GSN's sort of upfront, Hollywood Game Night begins its run on the network April 17.

GSN is certainly going big on the show. It gets the plum 9:00 PM prime time hour on weekdays and twelve hours per week in all. Cash Cab has already expanded to fifteen hours per week, so network execs must figure that their recent acquisitions are worth a lot of time.

Basically (or not so basically) GSN has to find another show to lessen the network's dependence on Steve Harvey's Family Feud. While Feud continues to get good numbers - if Douglas Pucci's occasional reports are any indication - the ratings have softened a little. Which you would expect after all those hours on the little game show network.

Cash Cab seems to be doing well, but I'm not so sure about Hollywood Game Night. It's a fun show but it wore out its welcome on NBC pretty quick. (Though the peacock net - Variety speak! - will burn off some remaining eps this summer.) The Hollywood gamers focused so obsessively on pop culture that I almost yearned for one of those obscure Jeopardy categories. We'll take nineteenth century European fiction for $400, Jane.

Still, the show should at least help freshen GSN's aged demos. In one other (rather odd) switch, GSN's reboot of Minute To Win It with Apolo Ohno will return to the schedule on April 10. Ohno was a tepid substitute for Guy Fieri, but his version wasn't a terrible remake.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Good book

Just sprung $0.99 for an episode of National Bible Bee Game Show.

I'm cheap so I passed on the $24.99 for the full season. Anyway, the easiest way to describe the show is American Bible Challenge on steroids. Four hopelessly likeable teenagers compete in the toughest Bible quizzer you'll ever see. They even have to recite long passages from the Bible on demand, which is a lot more than I could do. About all I could manage is "Thou shalt not steal."

I don't mind the show. It's always nice to see contestants who know their stuff and can strut their stuff, on any subject matter. There are a few quibbles. The music is annoyingly repetitive and overdramatic, the proselytizing is heavy (but nobody makes you watch the show), and the pace tends to be leaden. Kirk Cameron hosts competently, and the semi-celeb panel that quizzes the kids is okay.

Of course, the show has attracted a bit of controversy, given the topic. One particularly ugly racial swipe: "It's like the Spelling Bee, but with fewer brown people." Some critics - I confess to the offense myself - are just going to be nasty now and then.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ratings: bad news all round for syndies

The week of March 20-26 was a forgettable one for syndie game shows. They all declined in the ratings, with Millionaire taking the biggest percentage hit. Cheer up, guys, there's always next week. TV News Check brings the bad tidings on the household ratings...

Family Feud 6.5 - down four ticks
Wheel of Fortune 5.6 - down a couple ticks
Jeopardy 5.6 - also down a couple ticks, this is getting depressing
Millionaire 1.5 - down three ticks, a big drop at this level
Celebrity Name Game 1.2 - down a tick as the curtain falls

Match Game came back with so-so numbers at best, though the show did improve on Time After Time, the flop it replaced. 2.5 million viewers and a 0.6 18-49 rating. At least it was better than the time travel turkey.

GSN had a bad week by recent standards for March 27-April 2. 360K/266K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 40th and 34th in the windows.

Monday, April 3, 2017

GSN chat

Lazy today so I'll just repost some stuff from Game Show Paradise. The board is developing a severe case of older-is-better. Maybe they caught the disease from Game Show Forum...

Other poster: You're joking. GSN really stuck Cash Cab in the late evening spot? 

Uh no, I'm not joking. GSN gave Cash Cab another run at 11:00 PM in addition to its current run at 6:00 PM. Ben and friends now get nine hours a week. I asked Douglas Pucci for some numbers on the show, and it's been doing pretty well. So it's not a big surprise that the network gave the show four more hours.

By the way, Discovery is bringing Cash Cab back for new eps. Apparently without Ben Bailey, though, which has him somewhat upset.

Another poster: Lol yeah the gameplay on GSN's Pyramid was cringe-worthy. Rounds of 3-4 points, which were (literally) laughably rare on the Clark versions, were commonplace...plus a good number of 2s or worse. You'd be pining for even just 5 in a round.

You're overstating the case, but this was a feature for me, not a bug. Perfect rounds got to be so routine on the old Clark versions. GSN toughened up the clues - partly to save pennies, of course, because perfect rounds increased the winners circle prize money - and that made perfection something of an event again, instead of a boring custom.

Yet another poster: As I said before, I bet it's pretty common for viewership to be pretty solid during the first quarter of any year - given the abundance of blizzards and cold spells that shut down workplaces and schools, forcing people to stay home and watch GSN to pass the time away.

Nobody's "forced" to watch GSN instead of the zillion other cable channels. GSN ranked 37th and 33rd in the prime time and total day windows for the quarter among all cable nets. Certainly respectable by the network's historical standards. Don't hold your breath until Buzzr gets that kind of audience. Buzzr can't even get into most U.S. households.

UPDATE: Starting April 8-9, Cash Cab is getting a lot of runs on the weekends (twelve, to be exact). The show must be performing well for GSN. Now we'll hear a lot of complaints about too much Ben, to go along with all the complaints about too much Steve. Cash Cab is up to fifteen hours a week on the new GSN schedule.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Todd steps in

A while back I posted an entry about Jerry Springer on The Price is Right's live show.

Maybe I jinxed the poor guy. Now comes word that "a bad case of the flu" has knocked Jerry out of his scheduled TPiR show in Orlando, FL today. Get well soon, Mr. Springer. His replacement is Todd Newton, who has done the live show a zillion times himself. Todd is a familiar game show host, of course, with credits ranging from Whammy to Family Game Night to Monopoly Millionaires Club.

Todd is notoriously competent and can handle any game show format. In fact, the knock on him has always been that he's a little too competent, a little too slick. Roger Dobkowitz, famously former producer of The Price is Right's studio show, says that's why Todd failed to get the host gig after Bob Barker retired.

My favorite Todd Newton moment is when he played the unctuous game show announcer on the April Fools Lingo ep. You could tell he was loving every minute.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Smart kids again

Not to be outdone by ABC's Child Support, NBC will unveil their own smart chillun on Genius Junior.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the show will feature teams of brainy kids competing in "spelling, mathematics and memory, among many other subjects." Memory is a subject? I thought it was more of an ability, but I'm quibbling. Anyway, Harris also hosted the short-lived Best Time Ever, which offered some game show segments. So he's not exactly new to our little genre.

As the linked story says, the new show "bares [sic] striking similarity to the scrapped Fox game show Our Little Genius." You might remember why that quizzer never made it to air. Showrunner Mark Burnett apparently found out that some of the little geniuses were getting a little help under the table. This prompted several sites, including this blog, to dust off the iconic Time portrait of Charles Van Doren (of 1950s rigging notoriety.)

This new effort probably won't suffer a similar fate, if the S&P people can help it. The first (and NBC hopes not the last) season will run for ten eps. No word yet on a debut date.