Saturday, March 25, 2023

Feud continues

A while back I mentioned the on-again, off-again feud between Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. The feud is back on.

Streaming service Pluto TV is running a popularity contest for some of their big shows. So naturally they ran Jeopardy and Wheel against each other. Why anyone would take this seriously is not obvious, but Jeopardy posted an Instagram dig at its Sony soulmate (see screenshot).

Wouldn't you know, the dig worked. Jeopardy won the vote and moved on to the second round of the titanic contest. Of course, a few spoilsport fans grumped about the silliness...

What is, "Jeopardy Would Be Nothing Without Wheel of Fortune?"

Wheel is better by a mile.

Lol this is petty (since Jeopardy is going head-to-head with WoF in the bracket).

Yes, it is petty but it's also kind of fun. The nerds at Jeopardy can't resist a few shots at the big spinning object. As usual, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Friday, March 24, 2023

ABC's fun and games summer

Oh, those low production costs for game shows. They really pay off in the summer.

ABC will run a scad of game shows during the low-rated warm months this year. Well, every month is getting to be low-rated for the broadcasters, but summer is really tough for them. The one sort of new show on ABC is Jeopardy Masters hosted by Ken Jennings. That's the six-player tourney with proven experts from the ancient quizzer. It debuts May 8.

ABC is bringing back a bunch of game shows for new seasons. Press Your Luck, Generation Gap and The Chase return on June 29. 100K Pyramid and Celebrity Family Feud come back on July 9. There don't seem to be any changes in formats or hosts.

The new go-round for The Chase surprises me a little. The show has not been churning out great numbers, but maybe the alphabet net (hi, Variety) thinks the quizzer can prosper as part of an all-game show night. It would be nice if they wanted Brooke Burns to host, but no such luck.

As the linked story and a faux tweet note, Final Straw has bitten the dust after its one and only season. Bad ratings and a monotonous format doomed the stunt show. To Tell the Truth's fate looks to be still up in the air.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Real not fake game show

Once upon a time they rigged game shows. You probably know how that worked out.

They still rig wrestling matches, and for the longest time our little genre wanted nothing to do with fake, er, pro wrestlers. But the 1950s are now far enough in the rear view mirror that game shows don't mind using the prearranged grapplers as celeb contestants. Next week the WWE comes to Wheel of Fortune. They try to wrestle some loot out of the wheel for their civvie partners.

I like the publicity photo of Pat Sajak and WWE friend (see screenshot). Hope the arm wrestling wasn't real. Pat does not need any of that Jay Leno broken bone action. As the linked story notes, the grapplers have also turned up on Deal or No Deal and Weakest Link. I recall a few of them on 25 Words or Less.

I get the feeling that somewhere Mark Goodson is frowning. After he survived the rigging scandals he couldn't abide any hint of fixed outcomes. He wouldn't even script the celebs on Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour. Would he have enjoyed fake, er, pro wrestlers on his shows? Probably not but times change.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Ratings: Syndies blah out

The week of March 6-12 was forgettable for syndie game shows. There were no gainers and a couple of small losers. Some weeks are just not much to write home about, or to write a blog entry about. But I'm here to give you the so-so news, anyway. TV News Check has the household ratings...

Jeopardy 5.5 - flat but still led all syndies
Wheel of Fortune 5.2 - flat but somehow lengthened the lead over #3
Family Feud 4.9 - down a tick, not a great week for Steve
You Bet Your Life 0.7 - flat
25 Words or Less 0.7 - flat to stay tied with Jay
Pictionary 0.4 - down a tick as the second loser
Funny You Should Ask 0.3 - flat and the cellar dweller as usual

Like the syndies GSN has seen better weeks. The network drooped for the week of March 13-19. 345K/264K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 27th and 17th in the windows. Demo delphiniums: GSN drew 52K/41K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day.

One bright spot for our little game show network. For the first time Switch crept over the half-million mark on Monday March 20. Maybe that's a harbinger of better averages to come.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Remember that mysterious Internet search show that GSN was cooking up?

It's not so mysterious any more. The show is Hey Yahoo and it's due early this summer. Actor Tom Cavanagh will host as players try to figure out what people searched for on Yahoo. I guess Google wasn't interested in partnering with our little game show network.

Yahoo is an Internet 1.0 site that has lingered on and still gets respectable traffic. But other search engines, especially that dratted Google, have long surpassed Yahoo's scouring of the web. Still, GSN will take their partners where they can.

The linked Deadline story quotes some verbiage about the format...

The half-hour game features two teams of three players which compete to guess what millions of people are searching for on Yahoo. Contestants are given the first half of a search, and then have to fill in the blank based on what they think America is searching for. For each correct answer, the dollar value of that answer is added to the team's bank.

It's GSN's usual three-round front game plus the ten grand bonus round. The network has been doing okay with that formula and doesn't want to upset the game show apple cart. Tom Cavanagh doesn't have any game show hosting experience, but neither did Jeff Hephner. He's done okay on Switch.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Working and sporting

Another day, another rumpus about a clue on Jeopardy. This time the show has gone to the dogs.

As you can see from the clue, Jeopardy mentioned a "working breed" of dog and looked for a response of "golden retriever." Except a lot of fans complained that the American Kennel Club classifies goldens as a sporting breed, not a working breed. Ken Jennings replied online that the clue was about working dogs not a working breed.

Well, the clue actually specified "breed," so Ken was technically incorrect. It was really much ado about little because none of the contestants even tried to respond to the clue. So the wording didn't affect anybody's score. But it still gave people something to complain about. Lately, that seems to be the most important thing on Jeopardy.

When you're running the top game show in the country, people scrutinize every tiny detail. I'm no dog expert so I won't quibble about whether goldens are a working breed or not. Maybe we should ask the canines themselves. They might have an interesting point of view.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Scoreboard shenanigans

What's with the scoreboards on the Sony soulmates lately?

A little while ago Jeopardy somehow leaked an episode's final scores right at the start of the show. Now Wheel of Fortune bollixes up contestant Carla Sartori's scoreboard in the middle of a round. Somebody's having trouble editing these eps, it seems.

Things turned out pretty well for Carla, though she didn't make it to the bonus round. She still relieved Wheel of $24,399 in loot including a vacation in Hawaii. Of course, fans took to Twitter to express their befuddlement...

I don't understand tonight's show. The gal on the end had $6,750, spun and asked for a "d" which wasn't in the puzzle. So she should have still had the $6,750.

What happened tonight with the woman in yellow's money?

Now that you mentioned it, something seemed off to me as well. It's like they deliberately rigged the score.

I'm pretty sure Wheel didn't rig anything. As Pat Sajak likes to say, he's not going to jail over a refrigerator. But somehow the editing got ragged and the scoreboard was off for a while. Carla still did okay for herself.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The crossover

A quiet weekend brought out the usual remedy, the random page button on U.S. Game Shows Wiki.

Back came an entry about the only crossover on the greatest game show ever, the 1973-82 Match Game. Brianne Leary was first a contestant and later a celeb panelist on the show. She's the only person who ever moved across the stage on the classic version.

Kirstie Alley was also a contestant on the old Match Game and later sat on the panel on the Alec Baldwin reboot of the show. The amount of Match Game trivia I know is alarming.

Brianne Leary had an okay career as an actress, though it pretty well fizzled out after the 1980s. Odd fact: she got a patent in 2007 for a gadget that cleaned animal paws. By the way, she was a successful contestant on Match Game and earned over nine grand in prize money.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Wheeling and dealing in prime time

After getting good numbers for The Price is Right in prime time, CBS will try their other daytime stalwart at night. Let's Make a Deal gets four prime time eps starting in April.

LMAD has always been the junior partner in daytime, with a little more than half of TPiR's audience. But Wayne and friends have been a pretty good ratings draw at night. Meanwhile, Lingo is crashing and burning to barely two million viewers. (The eye network renewed the show, which means they must not be paying RuPaul anything.) So CBS will try a proven veteran in the nighttime wars.

Let's Make a Deal will trot out some goodies in the four eps including clips of, wait for it, Monty Hall and Carol Merrill. The show will try to give away as much loot as possible without breaking the bank. Hm, that may not be the best metaphor right now.

It'll be interesting to see if TPiR and LMAD make any appearances on summer nights. The shows are just waiting there to occupy some prime time over the warm months.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

I've got a pilot

Embassy Row, Werner Entertainment and Game Show Enterprises Studios, GSN's production arm, are cooking up a pilot for the umpteenth version of I've Got a Secret. None of the IGAS reboots have lasted nearly as long as the original 1952-67 CBS show. But hope springs eternal in our little genre.

Sports person Katie Nolan will host the pilot, with a panel of Nikki Glaser, Colton Dunn, Cristela Alonso and Matteo Lane. The format is hour-long and the showrunners will pitch it for network TV or syndication.

Back in the ancient black and white days, IGAS was sort of the raffish little brother to the hoity-toity What's My Line. Though I've Got a Secret actually got better numbers than its more elegant panel mate in the Goodson-Todman club. Garry Moore hosted for most of the original run. The most famous panel was Bill Cullen, Bess Myerson, Henry Morgan and Betsy Palmer.

Who knows how the new host and panel will fare? I'm a little skeptical of the hour length, which seems overblown for the simple guessing game. But the show would be dirt cheap, which is a powerful selling point in this era of tiny audiences. Hey, even Lingo got a renewal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Glitchy goo revisited

In a way I'm glad that Jeopardy keeps screwing up because it gives me so much to write about.

The show has been a comedy of errors since Alex Trebek's death. The host parade is only the most obvious goof. A few days ago I wrote about how Jeopardy spoiled the final scores of an episode by revealing them at the top of the show. Now showrunner Michael Davies has groveled with an apology...

Right off the bat, apologies to the entire audience, we totally blew it at the top of the show. We made a horrible error, where we revealed the final scores at the end in the opening cutaway shot during Mayim's monologue. It's a series of errors that it's somehow remarkable that they all happened.

Oh, errors aren't that remarkable on Jeopardy any more. But as long as the Nielsen Company remains forgiving, who cares? It's the top game show in the country, after all.

To get technical, the show did a reshoot of Mayim's intro because of some foul up. Then they forgot to set the podium scores back to zero. Then nobody caught the error in post-production. And then everybody's working too much on all the spinoffs and specials.

Got all that? Short version: stuff happens, especially on Jeopardy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Ratings: GSN edges down

GSN moved down a tad in the latest week. It was hardly a big drop, though. Maybe the lack of new eps on Friday is taking a small toll. Or it could just be random fluctuation. Random things do happen in this world.

For the week of March 6-12 GSN drew 371K/273K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 22nd and 15th in the windows. Demo doopsies: GSN got 65K/44K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day.

The syndie ratings aren't out yet. Nielsen has been getting poky with those numbers. I'll post them when they emerge.

TV News Check now has the syndie household ratings for the week of February 27-March 5. Family Feud took a hit and the second tier also drooped...

Jeopardy 5.5 - flat but still good enough to lead all syndies, not just game shows
Wheel of Fortune 5.2 - flat but got into second place
Family Feud 5.0 - down three ticks into third
You Bet Your Life 0.7 - down a tick but Jay Leno stayed healthy during the week
25 Words or Less 0.7 - down a tick
Pictionary 0.5 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.3 - down a tick and has Byron Allen sued anyone else lately?