Monday, July 31, 2017

Pyramid stuff

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

News from fake wrestling

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The lower right seat

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another greatest list, sort of

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Naked idiots

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Good look

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ratings: the big three syndies jump

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 24, 2017

Alex's other gigs

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The $111,237 Pyramid

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Old game shows never die

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Really ticked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Taxman cometh

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scrabble, call home

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ratings: bad week for syndies

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

Unsolved mystery

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Behind the crush

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

MTV plays it safe

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Furniture history

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

More Shazam

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ratings: Wheel slips into third

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

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

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

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

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

MTV fun and games

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Kids vs. clock

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Emo-not-so-good-numbers

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crushing

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Paywall rant

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bob Barker update?

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

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

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gossip column

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ratings: syndies get happy, with one exception

After a grim week of season lows, syndie game shows bounced back for June 19-25. There was one sad exception, and you can probably guess it. TV News Check has the mostly happy household ratings...

Family Feud 6.4 - up five ticks
Wheel of Fortune 5.5 - up three ticks
Jeopardy 5.5 - up four ticks
Millionaire 1.7 - up a couple ticks, is everybody happy?
Celebrity Name Game 1.0 - down a tick to a season low, as the unhappy show plays out the string

Big Star Little Star limped off USA Network with sorry ratings, dropping as low as 408K viewers for the 10:00 PM run on June 28. That would be okay for GSN but it's really bad for USA.

GSN got pretty much their usual numbers for the June 26-July 2 week. 364K/261K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 41st and 36th in the windows.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A radio show notes TV game shows

A radio show on WGN talks about anything and everything, including the recent glut of game show reboots.

The game show stuff starts at about 24:15 on the tape. One of the guys loses me right away when he deep kisses the ABC rewind of The Gong Show. I trashed this revival a while back, and I haven't changed my opinion. But everybody's got their free speech rights on the Fourth of July.

The chatterers ramble onto other shows like 100K Pyramid, which they think is too easy. At least it's a real game show, guys, unlike the Gong crud. (For what it's worth, I think ABC's Pyramid reboot is just fine.) They also dump on the new Match Game for the standard Miss Manners reasons. Eek, it's so bawdy. Oh, get over the prudishness. Then they review The Wall, except the rules seem to befuddle them.

The show eventually runs a Richard Dawson meltdown on the original Match Game when Gene Rayburn just wanted him to shut up. A cute reminder of Richard's later difficult days on the show.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Good for my brain

Got a mild surprise today when I plugged "game show" into Google News. This is how I rustle up various tidbits for the faux tweets and sometimes for full entries. Today I learned about an app - called, not too imaginatively, Game Show - which can improve your brain. Honest.

My brain needs all the help it can get, as several commenters on this blog would agree. British scientists designed the app to assist people with early signs of Alzheimer's disease. (Yeah, some commenters would say that I'm well past the early stages myself.)

The researchers worked to make the memory exercise entertaining. They came up with “Game Show,” a memory game that simulated a television game show with cash prizes. Results are strong enough to justify further research.

Maybe the results could justify lots of Jeopardy watching for old people like me. Trying to remember all that trivia might exercise some parts of my cerebral cortex which could use the work.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Daytime fun and games

Rambling through the game show Interwebs, I came across a post wondering why CBS doesn't try a game show block in the daytime.

To point out the obvious, The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal run for two hours every weekday on CBS. Those two hours would have been a pretty good block back in the old days of half-hour game shows.

A response to the original post suggested a reboot of Password as an addition to CBS daytime. I'm not sure where the show could fit in, given that CBS regularly renews all its current daytime shows. CBS already tried Million Dollar Password in prime time, of course. The show pulled plenty of viewers - ten million for some eps - but the demos were too old. Or at least network execs didn't like the median viewer age.

A funny note from the linked story. In 2010 a 2.2 18-49 rating on broadcast TV was "weak." Nowadays that would be a runaway hit in the demo.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Buzzr musings

Haven't written much lately about Buzzr, our other little game show network. So I rustled up a comment from Game Show Paradise...

Also, regarding Buzzr's classics, there seems to be very little variety of new classics to launch on Buzzr as of lately.

Sorry, but Match Game and Family Feud bring home the most bacon, so you're going to see a lot of them. Not to mention that Fremantle won't give the diginet a bunch more shows and episodes until some more revenue rolls in. This is as close as the oldies boards usually get to a complaint about Buzzr's relentless rerun abuse. Complaints of all sorts about GSN are much more frequent, of course.

One fresh series that I know hasn't aired on Buzzr as yet is Bill Rafferty's Blockbusters, assuming classic TPIR is mostly banned due to fur coats, animal products and issues with certain cast members, and NBC is forbidding Classic Concentration from being rebroadcast. Wordplay and Trivia Trap can also be a candidates for a fresh new classic, since they were two of six choices in the Pick and Play Sunday night block.

Blockbusters was an okay quizzer, a little poky but passable. At least Rafferty moved things along a bit quicker than Bill Cullen. The oldies boards seem to be developing lots of theories on why Buzzr doesn't run certain shows. The Price is Right is the most glaring omission from the diginet's lineup. I'm sure that Fremantle could put together a package of eps to dodge the mentioned issues. Maybe CBS really is antsy about TPiR appearing anywhere except the Eye Network (Variety speak).

On the famous other hand, does anybody at NBC even remember Classic Concentration, much less care about it running on a sparsely distributed diginet? Wordplay and Trivia Trap would not be great additions to any schedule, in my opinion.