Monday, May 28, 2018

When the FCC tried to shut down game shows

If you've never heard of the FCC, it's a bunch of bureaucrats looking for a reason to exist.

The FCC is a hangover - a bad one - from the 1930s, when radio waves were cutting edge. The world has moved on a bit into the zillion-channel universe, but the FCC still lingers. Government agencies are tougher to kill than kudzu, no matter how much reality changes around them.

A little known chapter of FCC history is the agency's attempt to stop game shows as a form of gambling. As I rambled though Game Show Reddit today, I found a link to a somewhat goofy YouTube video on the case. In 1954 the Supreme Court told the FCC to get lost, and they allowed game shows to exist on the sacred airwaves.

A few years later the rigging scandals hit, and the government got involved again. That's another story, though, which the 1994 movie Quiz Show told in heavily fictionalized form.

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