Friday, August 12, 2022

Jeopardy clue crew gets, er, the ax

The strangely named Uproxx reports that the Jeopardy clue crew will be no more. One member of the crew, Kelly Miyahara, left in 2019. The remaining two members, Sarah Foss and Jimmy McGuire, will work on other gigs at the show but won't be reading clues in the upcoming season.

Jimmy is a stage manager and Sarah is a producer on Jeopardy, and that won't change. I always thought the crew was a little gimmicky, so their demise doesn't bother me much. And as the linked story notes, the show will probably still have celebs read clues now and then.

The story links to a tweet from Jimmy that he was proud to have been a clue crew member for 21 years. Has it been that long? Of course, the ancient quizzer has been around forever, so the years do pile up.

This sounds like yet another shakeup by new Jeopardy showrunner Michael Davies. He's been switching a lot of things up, sometimes for the sake of just switching. I still think he goofed his biggest decision by splitting the host gig, but that's water over the dam now.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Guess along

Finally remembered to sample Person, Place or Thing on my local Fox duopoly station. This amiable guessing game is getting a four-week tryout on selected Fox stations.

Fox has done a few of these game show tryouts in recent years. Sometimes they work, as with 25 Words or Less and Pictionary. Sometimes they don't, as with South of Wilshire. If I had to guess, I'd say Person, Place or Thing is right on the bubble. The show is far from terrible but it's rather low-key and uninvolving.

Three contestants get a crack at identifying - you guessed it - a person, place or thing by asking yes-or-no questions and listening to clues. The final round in the front game and the bonus round run on the clock to speed things up. Melissa Peterman hosts pleasantly enough. She's been on a zillion game shows, so she knows not to overpower the gameplay with hamminess.

The show was an okay time passer for a stray half-hour. But the format does not exactly grab the viewer with urgency. Person, Place or Thing just seems to saunter along casually. To repeat myself, it's probably a coin flip on whether the show gets a full-season pickup.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The password is fine

Just watched the Password premiere on NBC's web site. The show is a good adaptation of the ancient format. It's also a little heavy on the decibels.

Permanent player, showrunner and all-round star Jimmy Fallon played against Jon Hamm. The civvies were cute and attentive, which is important. Everybody seemed to play the game pretty well.

The format is a blend of the original edition (cut down to a six-clue maximum) and elements from Password Plus and Super Password. In particular, the five-word ladder and the ten-word bonus round showed up from those later versions.

I'm a well-known sucker for word games, and this reboot was watchable and enjoyable. Things did seem a bit overhyped and Keke Palmer hosted with a big voice that got on my nerves after, oh, nine or ten seconds. But I'm a little ashamed of picking these nits. Congrats to NBC for a fine version of the Old Word Game.

One more poignant note: the episode offered glimpses of Betty White on the original and a few other nods to the legendary game show doyenne. It was a nice way to remember the first lady of Password.

The rewind scored big numbers by summer broadcast standards. A lot of folks must have wanted to sample the debut. 4.21M viewers and a 0.48 18-49 rating.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Ratings: Another flip-flop at the top for syndies

TV News Check is getting into the fight between the top syndie game shows. The site notes the "see-saw battle" between the two leaders in our little genre. Elsewhere, there wasn't much going on with the syndies. The household ratings for July 25-31...

Jeopardy 5.2 - up a tick to lead all syndies
Family Feud 5.1 - down a tick in the see-saw battle
Wheel of Fortune 4.4 - down a tick
You Bet Your Life 0.7 - flat, now the flatness begins
25 Words or Less 0.7 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.4 - flat to complete the flat parade in the lower tier

Generation Gap keeps drawing more than 3M viewers. The cutesy show should get a second season. Press Your Luck looks good for another renewal, too. But Final Straw is down around 2M and dropping a lot of its lead-in. Things don't seem swell for the toppling towers.

GSN got their best total day number in a while. 373K/280K viewers prime time/total day for the week of August 1-7. The network ranked 26th and 15th in the windows.

Those nicer household ratings put GSN just outside the top ten in total day at 11th. Pyramid, People Puzzler and 25 Words are helping. Demo doodads: GSN drew 75K/43K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day.

Spoiler TV has posted the top 400 cable shows (by 18-49 rating) for August 1-7. That demo ranking doesn't serve the old-skewing GSN so well. But the network still managed to place all five episodes of both People Puzzler and 100K Pyramid on the list, and seven of the ten eps of 25 Words or Less.

I'm running out of ways to say it was the usual thing in daytime broadcast. The Price is Right led the parade with 3.93M viewers for the week of August 1-5. Let's Make a Deal found its normal fourth place with 2.45M.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Big news

This is a full service game show blog. So my sworn duty is to report all the really important game show stuff. Like Press Your Luck's Elizabeth Banks is not pregnant.

TV sites have to fill space but the linked article is a doozy. Apparently some social mediots thought that one of Elizabeth's outfits on PYL was "loose fitting." So they started the pregnancy rumor. At least that's the story from Reality Tidbit, which maybe should be renamed Reality, What's That?

Elizabeth Banks herself has confirmed that she can't carry a baby to term. So she has two children by the controversial surrogate method. This is not a legal blog so I'm not even going there on surrogate motherhood.

Anyway, we can all sleep more soundly knowing that Elizabeth Banks is not preggers.

One more thing: I had meant to review Person, Place or Thing, a guessing game hosted by Melissa Peterman. The Fox stations are giving the show a tryout in selected markets including my DFW area. Too bad but I forgot to watch the show today. Your game show blogger is getting foggier in his old age.

I'll try to catch the show sometime this week and write a review. These game show tryouts on the Fox stations are getting to be a thing.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Wedding bells

Another quiet Sunday sent me to the random page button on U.S. Game Shows Wiki. Back came one the most obscure entries yet, The Wedding Game.

The wiki says this was an unsold pilot that basically knocked off Dating Game. I have to take their word for it because a diligent Interwebs search turned up almost nothing else about the show. I couldn't even view the entry's linked video because it was private.

According to the wiki Molly Gilford and Jill Smith hosted the failed effort. I did find a weird book by Molly Gilford on the Internet, The Official Hottie Hunting Field Guide. The subject matter sort of connects to the game show pilot, so I assume that the Molly Gilford of the book and the show are one and the same. The photos from U.S. Game Shows Wiki and the book web site seem to match up, anyway.

I can well believe that somebody tried a failed pilot based on Dating Game. The ancient Chuck Barris confection has spawned zillions of knockoffs with desperate daters looking for love. But Wedding Game, if it existed at all, seems to have vanished with hardly a trace. This pilot never got off the ground...or even very far on the Internet.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Will America say any more?

The episode guides say that America Says has said its last for season five. A lot of blanks have come and gone over the years.

The show has now piled up about 480 episodes, depending on which source you check. So the network has a bunch of surveys on the shelf. The question is whether GSN wants to tape any more new eps.

For the final week of season five the show averaged 300K viewers. That's not exactly terrible by GSN standards, but it's nothing to get excited about. After a long strange trip of four years, has the show finally run its course?

Even if the story is over, John Michael Higgins and friends have nothing to be ashamed of. They racked up almost half a thousand episodes. That's downright impressive for GSN, where a lot of shows have perished after one or two seasons.

The sped-up version of Family Feud winked onto the air on June 18, 2018. America Says even got a crack at syndication for a season, where it drew respectable ratings. If the road ends here, it was still a memorable ride.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Scan that code

You know those QR codes that pop up on You Bet Your Life? This fall they'll be appearing on Pictionary, too.

I've never scanned a QR code - or SQR code for Sequential Quick Response - in my life. But someone out there must be a scanning the codes off their TVs. The idea is not just to give home viewers a chance to play along. The scans also produce lots of marketing info for sponsors, which is where the money is.

Maybe I'm just paranoid but the codes look a little Orwellian to me. It's like they're picking up information better left private. Which is silly, I know, but the codes do seem a bit cryptic and creepy.

Despite my odd misgivings the codes are coming to one more game show this fall. Jerry O'Connell will be telling us about them, just like Jay does now. Get ready to scan if you want to.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

One more chance

Jeopardy has announced plans for its rumored second chance tourney. A stunt like this is pretty old hat in the genre. GSN shows like Chain Reaction and America Says often invite back players who didn't quite score big the first time around.

But it's a new twist for the ancient quizzer. Eighteen contestants will compete over two weeks starting October 17. The show will winnow down nine players each week to one winner, who then gets an entry into the only Jeopardy stunt that matters, the Tournament of Champions.

A notable player will be Sadie Goldberger, who got a tough loss on a tricky call by the judges. They said she hadn't finished writing "Harriet Tubman" on the final clue. I blogged about this hoohah a while back.

Sadie and seventeen others will get another bite at the Jeopardy apple. Let's hope they all write their final clue responses in time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

More bummed-out oldies freaks

I've already heard from one grumpy oldies freak about how the new Wheel of Fortune channel on Pluto TV only has - ick! - eps from the last five seasons.

So I decided to drop by the heartland of the grumpy oldies freaks, Game Show Forum, to see if there was any more whining. Sure enough, the board did not disappoint. A typical comment...

I know press release quotes are usually something that sounds like it would come from the company rep, but I can't think of a single classic Wheel moment from the last five years. At least the shopping eps would invoke a sense of nostalgia for Gen-Z or millennials who stumble across the channel, kinda like Classic Concentration and $ale do on Buzzr.

Oh, get off it. In the latest season alone there were an unprecedented seven $100,000 winners. If something like that had happened in, say, 1983 the oldies fanatics would be cooing over this wonderful memory of yesteryear.

I've gotten slams from all over the Interwebs on this, but I really don't understand the oldies freaks' mindset. Our little genre is enjoying a wonderful renaissance right now in broadcast, syndication, cable and streaming. It's easier than ever for fans to binge on entertaining and well-made game shows whenever they want.

But no, the oldies freaks congregate on the Internet and complain to each other about how game shows are crummy nowadays and the genre's last good year was 1978 or 1985 or 1993 or whenever. It sure doesn't sound like a great way to greet the morning.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Ratings: One syndie moves

The week of July 18-24 was not a thriller for syndie game shows. Everything was flat except for Family Feud. But Steve and friends did creep up a tick to take the number one slot among all syndies. Otherwise it was flat, flat and flatter. Every week can't deliver lots of surprises and thrills and chills. TV News Check posts the gripping household ratings...

Family Feud 5.2 - up a tick, someone had to move
Jeopardy 5.1 - flat to begin the parade
Wheel of Fortune 4.5 - flat
You Bet Your Life 0.7 - flat in the second tier, too
25 Words or Less 0.7 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.4 - flat and I'm done with flatness

As a faux tweet noted, Weakest Link has won a third season of twenty eps. The linked story notes that the show improved NBC's 10:00 PM Monday slot in both demos and total viewers. Jane's pointed quizzer had been struggling on Sunday before the move to a new night.

GSN has been counting the days until People Puzzler returned with new eps. Leah and her crosswords did not disappoint with 515K viewers and a 0.06 18-49 rating. GSN's word game pickups also turned in good numbers yesterday. 482K viewers for 100K Pyramid and 411K and 380K for 25 Words or Less.

Our little game show network looks to be building a really strong afternoon and early evening lineup. I talked about other possible additions like Press Your Luck and You Bet Your Life. We'll see if there are any more pickups in the near future.

Overall GSN drew 367K/264K viewers prime time/total day for the month of July, though there was a notable uptick toward the end of the month. The network ranked 24th and 19th in the windows. Those sweeter household ratings put GSN at 13th in total day. Demo doohickies: our little game show network got 68K/42K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day.

Usual stuff in daytime broadcast for the week of July 25-29. The Price is Right led the world with 4.07M viewers. Let's Make a Deal took fourth with 2.49M.

Dowager queen of game shows

Pat Carroll, the self-described "dowager queen of game shows" has died at 95. Although she eventually tired of our little genre, she appeared on countless game shows from the 1950s through the 1980s. Her IMDb page even lists her turn on Jackie Gleason's doomed You're in the Picture in 1961.

Her last game show credit was Family Feud in 1989. If anything, she was a word game specialist with many appearances on Password, Pyramid and You Don't Say. The linked obituary says she finally quit game shows because she wanted to be a more, ahem, serious actress. She did a one-woman show about Gertrude Stein and turned up as Falstaff (!) in a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Her most famous role, though, was the voice of Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Not exactly high culture but you can't always do Shakespeare.

In more sad news Nichelle Nichols has died at 89. Her signature role, of course, was Uhura in Star Trek. But she did make a few appearances in game shows such as It Takes Two, Super Password and Weakest Link. R.I.P. to both these ladies.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Pat and Vanna and Alex land on Pluto

I originally wrote a comment on the previous post but I decided to be thrifty. So I'm using the comment for a full blog entry. Waste not, want not.

The Sony soulmates started their run on Pluto TV today. An older-is-better commenter said that the Pluto episodes of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are a "letdown." Well, we all know what that means. As I replied...

Vahan is the ultimate older-is-better guy. So what he means by a "letdown" is that the Wheel and Jeopardy episodes on Pluto don't have decades of dust on them. As I type, the Wheel ep is from 2019 and the Jeopardy ep is from 2013.

For most viewers, of course, the relative freshness of the episodes is a plus. They resemble the current shows much more. But for the oldies freaks, I guess it is a letdown.

Not much more to add. This is the problem when you lock into a fondness for old stuff. It starts to distort your judgment of what works in today's market and what doesn't. Pluto TV execs know that they already offer the Buzzr live feed and the Barker TPiR channel for the oldies crowd. So why not offer fresher stuff for everybody else?

UPDATE: All is not lost for oldies fans. Joseph Adelian, an oldies freak himself, says that Pluto will run a mix of older and newer Alex Trebek Jeopardy eps. The service will only run the last five seasons of Wheel of Fortune, though.