Sunday, June 13, 2021

Toilet humor

A faux tweet mentioned this, but it seems to be the latest obsession in game show news.

Upcoming NBC stunt show Ultimate Slip 'N Slide has halted production due to an outbreak of "explosive diarrhea" among the crew. More than three dozen crew members have, er, come down with the condition.

The culprit seems to be giardiasis, which Wikipedia tells me results from an infection by ugly micro critters. The photo of one of the critters looks yucky enough even without having them swarming in your gut. Several crew members have blamed the water supply on the slipping and sliding stunt epic.

By and large, news sites have tried to keep a straight face about the outbreak. But then they break down and start making the predictable jokes. For instance, the AV Club story starts with solemn caveats about disease outbreaks but quickly moves into comments about "a new and profoundly unpleasant understanding of how all those water slides probably feel."

The New York Post doesn't bother with preliminary solemnity. Their lead sentence: "It was a crappy situation." Yes, it was.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Radio days

All quiet on the game show front. Which meant another weekend trip to the random page button on U.S. Game Shows Wiki. Back came a blast from the distant past, even more distant than my birth and that's way off in the mists of time.

Hard to believe but a little box with no pictures once ruled the media universe. Mr. Marconi's device eventually lost to that newfangled TV thing, but radio did put up a fight. By the late 1940s the writing was starting to form on the wall, but huge national radio networks still tried lots of new shows to compete with that dagnabbed television.

ABC Radio, born when NBC had to divest one of their national chains and the parent of the still running TV operation, tried a game show called Chance of a Lifetime in 1949. I have absolutely no memory of the effort because I was not even a gleam in my father's eye, or anybody else's eye.

The format was simplistic, according to the wiki entry. Players picked letters and a bell or buzzer announced whether they had won a really nice prize or a less nice prize. Deep thinking was not required.

Radio game shows still live on here and there, though the taxpayers have to subsidize the NPR shows. In fact, radio itself still survives but nobody, not even Howard Stern, would call it the king of all media. Once upon a time, though, that's exactly what it was.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Cubic functions

A few posts back I grumped that I'm not the biggest fan of stunt game shows. After watching some of The Cube on the TBS website, well, I'm still not the biggest fan.

Not that The Cube is bad. It's a fully competent stunt show with teams of two trying to climb a money tree by completing tricky tasks. If you've seen Minute To Win It, you've basically seen this show.

In fact, something of a ruckus developed on the game show Interwebs about whether Minute was better or worse than the Brit Cube original, and which show was ripping off which other show. I didn't much care because I thought both shows were knocking off Beat the Clock and a raft of other stunt epics over the decades.

Former NBA player Dwyane Wade hosts with a minimal level of ability. He's just not a TV professional and it shows. But he does try some of the stunts himself now and then, and he seems friendly enough with the contestants.

I do think The Cube gets overly dramatic with slow-motion shots and 360-degree angles. Otherwise the show is an okay effort in the stunt sub-genre, if you like the stunt sub-genre.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Old reliable

In the previous post I mentioned that Spoiler TV has picked up the slack left by Show Buzz Daily when it comes to ratings for original cable shows.

Sorry to quibble, but Spoiler TV is not quite as quick to publish the cable numbers as the late, great site from Mitch and Mitch. So we had to wait awhile before getting the full picture of how America Says performed on GSN in the first week of its fourth season.

The new run debuted with a bountiful 617K viewers on Monday, May 31. Michael and his survey matchers only fell below the half-million mark once in the week, and then not by much. The show averaged 545K viewers for the full week, which is really, really good by GSN standards.

Anybody who glances at the GSN schedule can see how America Says has come to dominate the lineup. The show is on all the time, it seems. The syndie run put up numbers that were as good as 25 Words or Less, but for some reason Sony canned the trial after one year. Maybe they were afraid of extreme overexposure.

Not too many people saw all of this coming when the Family Feud knockoff winked into existence on June 18, 2018. But the format - essentially Feud with everything made into the fast money round - and the surprisingly expert hosting by the unheralded John Michael Higgins succeeded way beyond expectations. The show has become one of the dominant productions in GSN's more than a quarter century of fun and games.

They're now up to 400 episodes and counting. Keep those survey questions coming.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Museum piece

Once upon a time Bob Boden was producing originals for GSN as the network bounced back from the near-death experience in 2000-01. Now he will curate a game show museum along with fellow producer Howard Blumenthal.

The museum will be part of the Strong National Museum of Play in Buffalo, NY. I had no idea that we had a museum of play, but the operation also hosts collections for toys, video games, and other playful items. The linked article quotes Ken Jennings lauding the effort...

I've often said that game shows, like jazz and comic books, are one of the great American art forms, but they have always been considered by many to be a disposable genre. I am delighted by this new effort to take game shows seriously and to archive and preserve their history.

I'm not too sure about such a highfalutin' effort for game shows. I like our little genre to be a bit raffish and "disposable." But the museum is on the way, for all you museum-goers out there.

A note about the blog over the next few days. We're off to California for our son's graduation from grad school. I'll try to keep blogging as usual, but there might be a few hiccups along the way.

UPDATE TO THE RATINGS POST: Spoiler TV has stepped in for Show Buzz Daily when it comes to cable ratings. In fact, they do better with the top 200 cable originals instead of just the top 150. The site confirms that the new eps of America Says and Common Knowledge are doing good business for GSN. Both shows are consistently drawing over a half-million viewers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Ratings: GSN is moving on up

Nielsen is still snoozing after Memorial Day, so the syndie ratings aren't out yet. But TV Newser does have the cable network ratings, and last week was a very good week for GSN.

Our little game show network drew 445K/348K viewers prime time/total day for the week of May 31-June 6. Those were the biggest crowds in a while. GSN ranked 23rd and 16th in the windows. On the kinder and gentler household rating list, the network landed at 17th and 10th. Yep, they built a top ten network in total day on game shows.

More data for people who just gotta have more data: GSN lured 77K/56K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day. I assume the new eps of America Says and Common Knowledge goosed the ratings, but I can't be sure. Show Buzz Daily has gone belly up, so I don't have numbers for individual cable shows any more. Sigh, I miss Show Buzz Daily.

ABC's Sunday night game show block returned with good ratings. Celebrity Family Feud, The Chase and To Tell the Truth got five, four and three million viewers, respectively. Those numbers will keep the shows around in summer time.

Nielsen finally put out the syndie ratings. Not much change, as the second week of the Jeopardy T of C did nothing for the numbers. TV News Check has the household ratings for the week of May 24-30...

Family Feud 5.4 - down a tick but still led all of syndication
Jeopardy 5.1 - flat, no bump for Buzzy and the champs
Wheel of Fortune 4.8 - down a couple ticks
25 Words or Less 0.8 - flat, things never change much down here
Funny You Should Ask 0.4 - flat as usual

Monday, June 7, 2021

Scandals, we get scandals

The Things seems to be a site devoted to pop culture listicles. One of their latest efforts is a top ten countdown of the biggest game show scandals ever.

Readers of this blog have probably heard of most of the incidents. In fact, a lot of the items aren't really too scandalous, just controversial things that happened on game shows. The (genuine) 1950s rigging scandals do get a mention, but rather far down the list.

There's also that distant echo of the 1950s, the pulling of Our Little Genius in 2010 before the show even aired (see screenshot). You might call this a scandal averted. The endless lawsuits on The Price is Right get a notice, though The Things only discusses one legal rumpus: Brandi Sherwood's now-settled suit. There are a lot more legal conniptions where that one came from, guys. As I've said before, every model on The Price is Right should get one free lawsuit as a fringe benefit.

A few incidents in non-U.S. shows get onto the list. The Brit Bullseye killer is the most serious. It was the British version of the Rodney Alcala appearance on Dating Game.

OFF-TOPIC UPDATE: Just saw the new Buzzr logo in the online feed. Looks like the old logo only a little sleeker. I wonder how much Buzzr paid for this makeover. Not too much, I hope.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Comments, we get comments

I had posted this as an update to the previous entry. But that made the previous post awfully long. So I'll make a separate entry...

Wow, that was fast. The commenter at Game Show Paradise saw the previous post on my "crappy blog" and responded. Problem is, the response doesn't make much sense. He seems to think that the contestants at the ends of the podiums on the new season of America Says wind up "sticking out" more than the contestants in the middle. I've watched several eps of the new season and I haven't noticed that at all. In fact, GSN seems to have designed the spaced-out podiums cleverly so that all the contestants are clearly visible from both the front and side cameras.

He also says that the team names are obscured. Again, I haven't seen that in the new episodes. In the previous entry's screenshot, for instance, the team names are clearly visible from the front angle. Of course, the names are also visible from the side angle as well.

Besides not deigning to use my name, calling me a "grumpy old man," and whining (twice) about my "crappy blog" - dull insults but what do you expect from Game Show Paradise? - the poster complains that he can't come to this blog and post responses. He says that I wouldn't accept the comments. That is flat-out wrong. I accept and post comments that disagree with me in the most vehement and personal terms. See the comments from KC if you don't believe me.

I'll admit that I expect commenters to adhere to the very loose guidelines in "Legalities and Technicalities" at the bottom of this blog. But I accept critical comments - even harshly personal remarks - if they adhere to the generous guidelines.

Another set

For a blogger who doesn't care much about game show sets, I've been posting a lot lately show sets.

I happened to see an odd comment on Game Show Paradise. The poster ripped the set in the new season of America Says. The lockdowns are waning but the show still went through the virtue signaling exercise of spacing the contestants. I thought they did a good job with the teams of four. You can judge for yourself from the screenshot.

I realize that Game Show Paradise is an oldies board, so you can't expect many nice comments on new game shows in general and GSN originals in particular. But the comment about the set on America Says is odd even allowing for those biases. In fact, the commenter can't even describe what is so bad about the set...

The podium for the main game however, they [sic] look awful. The design looks horrible. It's just one big podium and the design for it looks really weird. It's hard to describe.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what is indescribably bad about the set. But if you gonna rip anything about a game show - especially one as good as America Says - you should probably offer some specifics. Even on an oldies board.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A big set of set photos

Another quiet weekend, another trip to the random page button on U.S. Game Shows Wiki. Back came a large photo collection of Jeopardy's set over the decades.

As I've written before, I would watch Jeopardy if they taped the show in a room with bare concrete walls. Game show sets just don't mean that much to me. A garishly ugly set is not pleasant to look at, of course. But by and large I judge game shows on more important things like the gameplay and the host.

The linked article offers a lot of nice pictures of Alex Trebek through the years as he ran the show on different sets. He kept plugging away at that host gig for a long, long time. I've used a photo from the 1996-2002 section of the entry.

In an unrelated note, I've expanded the favorite posts widget in the sidebar from six entries to ten. It's a little silly but I've gotten to like that goofy widget. I've sure put enough coding work into it.

Friday, June 4, 2021


Everybody wants to produce a game show nowadays. You get a game show, you get a game show, you get a game show...

Now show biz site IMDb is getting into the genre. The Amazon-owned company - didn't I mention a few posts ago that Jeff Bezos owns the world? - will launch a live interactive online quizzer June 8. The show will feature movie trivia (duh) and a couple of flick mavens named Ian de Borja and Alex Logan will host.

The first episode will advertise, er, center on Marvel comics movies. (It's not true that every flick now comes out of a comic book. It only seems that way.) Marvel's Disney+ series Loki will sponsor the show as a cheap promo. Pepsi tried the same thing with Cherries Wild.

There's a registration site for people who want to play. The linked story recommends heavy study of the IMDb trivia pages on Marvel films. That seems like a good idea if you want to win on the show.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

More people puzzling

No surprise, but GSN has renewed People Puzzler for a second season.

Back in olden times when Show Buzz Daily was still running, we could track Leah Remini and friends as they piled up good viewer totals by GSN standards. The demos were also a tad less geriatric than usual for our little game show network, so a renewal seemed like a foregone conclusion.

Nowadays Mitch and Mitch are out of the ratings posting business, so we don't know how cable shows are doing beyond the GSN averages from TV Newser. Life is tough for a ratings seeking game show blogger.

Although I usually like quizzers and word games, People Puzzler isn't exactly my fave. Maybe the answers are a little too easy and the pop culture gets a little too cloying. But I've seen a few eps and the show is a passable half-hour. Leah is a better host than I expected, with a coolly sarcastic approach to the proceedings.

The linked story from - where else? - People magazine is happy happy joy joy about the renewal, as you might imagine. The show is an infomercial for the celeb news rag. More infomercials are on the way.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Ratings: Jeopardy T of C doesn't goose the numbers

Odd but true. Jeopardy slipped a little in the first week of the T of C. I thought Buzzy and the champs would push the numbers up. Shows what I know. There were slips and slides elsewhere in the genre. But Pat and Vanna held steady. TV News Check has all the household ratings for the week of May 17-23...

Family Feud 5.5 - down a tick but still leads all of syndication
Jeopardy 5.1 - down a tick, too bad for Buzzy
Wheel of Fortune 5.0 - flat, which is good this week
25 Words or Less 0.8 - down a tick, there's a pattern here
Funny You Should Ask 0.4 - down a tick to the bottom of the range

Wouldn't you know, a rerun of Celebrity Family Feud got the best numbers for any prime time broadcast game show lately. 3.87M viewers and a 0.55 18-49 rating. Steve and the celebs are strong even in repeats.

Soap Opera Network makes noise about how Let's Make a Deal's ratings are down from a year ago. True enough, but that was back in the bad old days of the lockdowns. People needed fun and games more back then. Wayne and friends still drew 2.47M viewers for May 17-21. Not bad by current broadcast daytime standards. The Price is Right got 3.88M viewers to lead all of broadcast daytime.

GSN drew 412K/320K viewers prime time/total day for the week of May 24-30. The network ranked 24th and 18th in the windows. The nicer household rating list put GSN at 18th and 11th. Demo data for you demo fans: the network got 64K/45K 25-54 viewers.

TV Newser keeps dribbling out more charts. GSN lured 402K/320K viewers for the entire month of May. The network ranked 23rd and 17th in the windows. Do the household rating thing, and GSN hopped up to 11th in total day for the month. Pretty good for a little game show network.