Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ratings: syndie soulmates slide

Pat and Vanna and Alex have seen better weeks. After big jumps in the previous week, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy both gave up part of their gains during January 12-18. On the plus side, Millionaire got some badly needed good news. TV News Check posts the household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 7.2 - down eight ticks after a jump of sixteen ticks the week before
Jeopardy 7.1 - down five ticks after its own jump of eight ticks the previous week, to land just behind the Sony compadre
Family Feud 6.6 - down a tick
Millionaire 1.9 - up a tick to an eight-week high, as a press release gushes
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - flat

Pat and Vanna still led all syndies in viewer average, so it wasn't all grim news. And Jeopardy's weekend repeat got into the top 25 chart at TV by the Numbers. Wheel of Fortune 11.8M (weekend repeat 5.2M), Jeopardy 11.1M (weekend repeat 3.7M), Family Feud 9.8M, Millionaire 2.7M. That's a pretty good number for Terry, and he'll take it.

Pawnography gets a marathon tomorrow (Thursday 1/29) on History. The numbers keep coming in just fine. 1.8M for the latest new eps to lead all cable game shows easily.

GSN enjoyed a nice January. 403K/328K/452K viewer averages prime time/total day/extended weekday prime time. Got all that? The network ranked 38th, 31st and 34th in the windows.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ridiculous finishes

So I settle in to watch the soulmates tonight, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

And absurd things occur at the finish on both shows. On Jeopardy an obviously superior contestant blows away the competition and is heading for an easy runaway win...until the final Double Jeopardy clue. It's a Daily Double, and one of his competitors (the defending champ, by the way) hits a true daily double to make Final Jeopardy meaningful.

FJ is a ridiculously tough clue about the Oscars. None of the three gets it right. So what happens? The defending champ bets $0, which wins the game by one (1) dollar over the guy who had stomped the field throughout almost all of the show. An utter swindle.

As if that wasn't enough, a contestant then comes from behind in the speedup round on Wheel of Fortune when Pat Sajak hits $5,000 on the final spin. She goes to the bonus round and faces this puzzle after picking her additional letters: ----L- S-A-.

Piece of cake, right? Out of nowhere she guesses "bubbly soap." And naturally the wild blue guess is right. She takes home almost eighty grand in cash and prizes.

Sometimes I think the shows are rigged. They're not, of course. Pat Sajak has said that he's still too young and pretty to go to jail. But jeez louise...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ancient rumor finally comes true

The rumor has kicked around forever, but Chain Reaction is finally returning to GSN with a new 40-ep season. They haven't announced the host. I'd say there's a 100% chance it won't be Dylan Lane, who I actually think got dumped on a little unfairly. Vincent Rubino, with some game show cred, is the showrunner.

The repeats of the two old seasons have always gotten good numbers because the show is highly resistant even to GSN levels of rerun abuse. I used to plead for a new season on the GSN board. Even got to be a cranking bore about it. So I'm a happy camper right now.

I hope they don't screw around with the front game at all. It's pretty near perfect, IMO. The bonus round has always been a problem, so maybe they can come up with a few good tweaks (as opposed to a few good men). Rapid-fire speed chains might be one possible format.

This show has a surprisingly long and complicated history, dating all the way back to the Bill Cullen original in the 1980s. Nice to see it get another chance, especially after the rumors have swirled and swirled.

UPDATE: A casting call has gone out. Teams of two instead of three. Hm, hope this doesn't mean a lot of mucking around with the front game.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GSN and Buzzr, cont.

A few more thoughts on the announcement last week of Fremantle's own game show network, Buzzr. I quote from my maunderings at Game Show Paradise...

Other poster: Obviously [Buzzr] is still not going to be all oldies all the time, and I do hope nobody seriously believes this will be the case. That's simply not going to happen.

Absolutely agree that it won't be all oldies all the time. The channel wouldn't do enough business. The question is what Fremantle can put on the channel and will put on the channel.

We've got a pretty good idea that Harvey Feud will show up sooner or later, and I wouldn't be floored to see fairly recent TPiR and LMAD. My guess is that these shows, if and when they do turn up on Buzzr, will easily outrate the oldies (duh) and Fremantle will go the GSN route of more and more new stuff. But I may be a tad cynical here. Anyway, I expect mostly the old library at Buzzr's debut.

Oh, one other thing. This idea has been percolating for a while. In a story from 2009 Fremantle exec Cecile Frot-Coutaz talked about using the library: "Fremantle also is mining the company’s vast Goodson-Todman game show library. GSN has the rights to air a few titles, but Frot-Coutaz’s team is working on a separate project to make classics available to viewers."

The talk picked up over last summer as Fremantle put the Buzzr channel on YouTube, with a modish Family Feud. So the idea has been kicking around for years. The availability of digital subchannels made it feasible.

I posted at Game Show Network News that this is the biggest thing to hit GSN in a long time. It's obviously not the most pleasant thing. Who really likes competition? But it may spark some change at the network to fend off the upstart. Trouble is, I don't think the change is necessarily going to be popular with classics fans.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winding down

It's been a while since I checked the What's My Line YouTube channel.

Quite a few episodes have accumulated since the Dorothy Kilgallen memorial that I wrote about a while ago. We're into 1966 now as the CBS original heads for the Nielsen afterlife. I watched the March 13, 1966 ep, which was mostly memorable for a bearded Robert Preston as the mystery guest. That guy could raise some facial hair.

The panel guessed everybody after suffering though one of Bennett Cerf's worst-ever puns during the introductions. Don't ask me why, but the second guest, a maker of horseradish, got the most laughs.

Although the show would end the following year, there were still a bunch of episodes left by current standards. Almost seventy, in fact. Just shows how prime time TV has changed. But our little genre can still pile up a lot of eps in a short time, thanks to its famously low production costs.

Newscaster Jeanne Parr, who had previously appeared as a civvie contestant on the show, took Dorothy Kilgallen's place on the panel. She was okay, nothing special. It just wasn't the same without the incisive Dorothy around.

Friday, January 23, 2015

More love?

It's been revived before, but Warner Brothers is reportedly shopping a new version of Love Connection.

The host would be the suitably named Loni Love, currently seen yakking on The Real. I guess she could keep the chatter going with the contestants, because she never seems at a loss for words. Over the years Love Connection has been the subject of a goofy dispute about whether it's "really" a game show. I don't much care about that argument. But a comment in the linked Broadcasting and Cable story caught my eye.

This remake might be "a possible replacement for Let's Ask America, a game show that airs on several Scripps-owned stations." Hm, I thought Let's Ask America was safe, but the sands could be shifting under Bill Bellamy's feet.

Paige Albiniak, the author of the B&C story, doesn't just make stuff up. So is time running out for the Skype survey epic? The show has never really moved into national syndication, so maybe Scripps is giving up on it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ratings: syndies go happy happy joy joy

Syndie game shows finally shook off the Nielsen holiday blues in the week of January 5-11. Big ratings jumps were common, as the top three all racked up season highs. TV News Check spreads the good cheer and happy talk...

Wheel of Fortune 8.0 - up a whopping sixteen ticks to lead all syndies
Jeopardy 7.6 - up fourteen ticks to keep the soulmate company
Family Feud 6.7 - up ten ticks as Steve joins in the fun
Millionaire 1.8 - flat, every party has a pooper
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - up a tick and Craig will take what he can get

Pat and Vanna also led all syndies in total viewers, as usual. The stats from TV by the Numbers: Wheel of Fortune 13.0M (weekend repeat 3.4M), Jeopardy 11.9M, Family Feud 10.0M. Nice audiences for the big three.

GSN enjoyed another good week for January 12-18. 370K/324K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 39th and 28th in the windows. The total day rank is the highest I can recall.