Sunday, February 18, 2018


Rummaging around the game show Interwebs, I came across a minor announcement that Buzzr is back on WBXZ, a low-power station in Buffalo.

You might ask, what's the big deal? Well, it's not a big deal, though the station has a somewhat colorful history. WBXZ has had a tough time even staying on the (low-power) air. The station dropped Buzzr a while back, and then WBXZ went dark completely for a couple months. But now it has returned to broadcasting with the game show oldies diginet as part of the lineup.

The reason I noted the item is that it sparked The Slogan on the Buzzr Facebook page. I hate Steve Harvey. That was the reaction of one poster on the oldies board to the Buzzr announcement. This incantation has become the Cathago delenda est of the oldies boards. Almost any subject, no matter how unrelated, eventually comes back to the Horribleness Of Steve.

It even happens on this blog. Yesterday I jokingly referred to the "gazillions" of runs of Cash Cab on GSN. Full disclosure: the network will run Cash Cab "only" thirty-eight times this week. Let's be numerically correct!

A commenter complained that I never trash GSN for all of the Horrible Steve they run. I pointed out my "Heap of Feud" post last December when I did ridicule GSN, Buzzr and syndication for the heaping helpings of Family Feud they serve.

Of course, what the commenter really wanted was a dump on Harvey himself. I hate Steve Harvey. Sorry, but I think Harvey is a fine host and has done a good job of reviving Family Feud. So sue me. (And, psst, I think that Horrible Steve will even show up on Buzzr one of these days.)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Something to blog about

My wife and I were watching one of GSN's gazillion runs of Cash Cab today. A solo passenger named Sam Meyer started piling up lots of loot on a double ride.

And he kept piling it up, despite a couple strikes along the way. Shameless brag: I guessed "pasha," the correct answer to one of the questions he goofed. Finally, he was faced with the double or nothing bonus question on a kitty of $3,100. Another shameless brag: I knew the bonus answer: "Bonneville Salt Flats". So did Sam, and he walked away with $6,200. Ben Bailey intoned loudly that it was a new record for Cash Cab.

My wife turned to me and said that the win was something worth blogging about. I said that the show was from 2009 (according to the onscreen channel guide), so it was a little late to blog about it.

But then I thought, why not? What else to I have to write about today? Especially when Wikipedia says that Sam's record still stands on Cash Cab. You can watch the bonus question on YouTube.

Cash Cab was notoriously stingy with its payouts. Nobody would ever accuse the show of mo' money syndrome. Match Game used to give away a lot more than $6,200 in pre-inflation money, and the rigged shows of the 1950s ladled out tons more cash.

But Sam still deserves a blog entry. The one great scorer asks not how much money you won, but how you played the game. Right, Grantland Rice?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Plinko stats

Dropped in at Golden Road, the discussion board for The Price is Right. Amid many love letters to Bob Barker - the board is still grieving over his retirement - there was a link to all the stats you could ever want about the show.

Well, you know me. This retired actuary couldn't resist the urge to download the numbers on TPiR's pricing games, and then I started playing games of my own. I rather naively thought that Plinko would be the most played game in TPiR history, and I was naively wrong. Plinko didn't even make the top ten.

Which is a little surprising. After all, Plinko is the iconic game on the show. When they were building The Wall, they didn't say: "Let's knock off Double Prices." But Double Prices is the most played game ever on The Price is Right. Who woulda thunk it?

Plinko did have quite a run from the show's 17th season through the 33rd. It was often the most played game in those years. Even as late as the show's 42nd season it was still the top game for the year. But its use has dwindled over the past few seasons. Maybe the showrunners are getting tired of the bouncing chips.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Enter to win!

If you watch GSN at all, you're probably aware of the network's latest foray into home game interactivity, Daily Draw.

According to the network's web site, the weekday raffles will continue until April 9. It's always a little odd to see anything live (or almost live, as Gong Show would say) on GSN, home of endless rewinds of game shows from near and far. The host of the show is Trish Suhr, who looks vaguely familiar. Wikipedia, ever helpful on pop culture, tells me she's "an American stand-up comedian, actress, television personality, and lifestyle expert best known for her portrayal as the 'Yard Sale Diva' on Clean House."

Have to admit that I never watched, or even heard of, Clean House. The show ran on Style Network, which eventually became Esquire Network, which eventually became kaput. But maybe I've seen Trish somewhere else.

I'm almost tempted to enter the sweepstakes, just to see if GSN would disqualify me as a game show blogger if I ever happened to win. After all, GSN once sent me a bottle of wine as a Christmas present. Conflict of interest! Scandal!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


By an odd coincidence I ran across a couple of game show scandal stories this morning.

Game Show Garbage, which I hadn't checked in a while, has posted a commentary on supposed scandals in our little genre. A lot of the items concern non-U.S. shows and are thus outside this blog's purview. Some of the items are mildly scandalous and some are just weird or quirky. The writer awards a "scandal or not" prize to each one, if you're interested.

A site called International Policy Digest - an award winner for Most Pompous Site Title - offers pictures from Quiz Show as part of a long-winded denunciation of, believe it or not, fake news bots on social media. I'm losing sleep over this massive threat to the world, the galaxy, the universe. Not to mention that Quiz Show was laughably inaccurate in its deification of Richard Goodwin as the hero of the 1950s rigging scandals. If you're gonna denounce fake news, you probably shouldn't refer to the heavily fictionalized Quiz Show.

By the way, GSN is promising more scandals and mysteries in its Cover Story series next month. I'm sure we'll all be scandalized to the max.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ratings: not so hot for syndies

The week of January 29-February 4 was a dreary one of syndie game shows. There were no gainers and Steve lost a few ticks. The numbers were about as cold as the weather. TV News Check has the less than lively household ratings...

Family Feud 7.1 - down three ticks but still in first
Wheel of Fortune 6.8 - down a tick
Jeopardy 6.8 - down a tick to maintain the tie with the soulmate
Millionaire 1.8 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat as almost always

Speaking of dreary news, Child Support crashed to a series low against the Olympics. 2.2M viewers and a 0.4 18-49 rating. At least ABC wasn't expecting much against the winter games.

GSN turned in pretty normal numbers for the February 5-11 week. 381K/292K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 39th and 29th in the windows. Also, GSN got 106K/70K 25-54 viewers prime time/total day.

Our little game show network has given up on oldies in prime time. The ratings must just not have been there. In a move that will thrill the usual suspects, GSN prime time will now be all Harvey Feud. Meanwhile, Millionaire gets eight more runs on weekend afternoons. Cash Cab gets an hour on weekday afternoons.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A day in the life of my inbox

My e-mail inbox sees a fair amount of traffic from our little genre. With not much else to discuss today, I decided to blog about a typical piece of incoming mail. It comes from a nice person (no doubt) at Fremantle Media, and it announces a sweet February 14 event on Let's Make a Deal.  LMAD has renamed the day...

Forget Valentine's Day! Let's Make A Deal is celebrating all of those who are looking for love this year! On Wednesday, February 14th, Let's Make A Deal will feature the most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes out there in a special Single's Appreciation Day special!

I've noticed that press releases tend to go heavy on exclamation points. Tasteful understatement isn't a common feature.

The e-mail includes a pleasant photo from the show, which I've edited down a bit for this entry. I'm sure the "bachelors and bachelorettes" have a good time getting on TV and making deals. Let's hope there aren't too many unromantic zonks along the way.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A night with GSN

After a night of more recent shows on Buzzr, I spent some time with the Saturday night oldies block on GSN.

John Davidson hosted, and I'm sorry to say that most of his comments were, to be charitable, not so insightful. He did get off one good remark about how classics are great because they don't get old. Speaking of which, his own long-ago appearances on What's My Line and I've Got a Secret were just fine, especially the latter. He brought out baby pictures of the panelists and had a lot of fun with them.

The rest of the block was Match Game '77. Richard Dawson was pretty deep into his grump period by then, though he hadn't turned as completely sour and silent as in his last days on Match Game '78. It's always easy to date Match Game 7x eps from the length of Gene's hair and the depth of Richard's grumpiness. (By the way, Richard was his smiling life-of-the-party self on the John Davidson IGAS episode.)

While we're on grumpiness, one poster on Game Show Paradise complained about the "film look" of the WML and IGAS eps. I don't have any idea what he's talking about. GSN's video quality for both shows looked really good to me, especially with material nearly a half-century old. And I've seen a lot of truly bad video quality on YouTube oldies. Oh well, Game Show Paradise will always find something to complain about with GSN.

The oldies block will now shrivel to just a couple hours of Match Game. GSN is still desperately trying to find something that works in prime time besides Harvey Feud.

UPDATE: Over at Game Show Forum they're grumping about audio issues on the WML and IGAS eps. Again, I had no trouble at all with the sound. Sometimes I think that GSN can't win with the oldies boards. Other times I'm sure of it.

GSN dusts off rarely seen oldies - Buzzr never runs syndie What's My Line or color I've Got a Secret - and gives them prime time exposure. They bring in John Davidson to host and give the shows a lot of promotion. They do everything the oldies boards supposedly want, right? Then the boards whine and moan about, well, everything. No good deed goes unpunished.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A night with Buzzr

Buzzr's foray into less dusty shows began last night. So I dropped in for some of the fun and games.

Celebrity Name Game was as good as I remembered, and that's very good. These were early shows from the series and Craig Ferguson hadn't quite hit his stride yet. But you could see the ability that would carry him to his first two Emmys. (Whatever show biz self-congratulation might be worth.) The lively Pyramid knockoff did not disappoint in the least.

Richard Karn was his usual smiling and ingratiating self on Family Feud. He won't make the game show host Hall of Fame - if one ever gets built - but he was certainly competent enough. The format, of course, was as rock solid as ever.

The surprise was Temptation. What was supposed to be so terrible about this show? From the game show Interwebs, you'd think it was an abomination before the Lord. The Sale of the Century reboot may not have been the greatest thing ever, but it was a passable quizzer/shopping combo.

I think the show suffers from nostalgia neuralgia. Sale of the Century has a passionate Internet fan base, especially on the oldies boards. So people have to pick endless nits - none of them really significant - to prove that Temptation falls way short of the Beloved Original. Sorry, I don't think SotC was all that great to begin with, so I don't need to find fault with the reboot.

UPDATE: Some of the comments on the Buzzr Facebook page are funny (unintentionally). One guy calls Celebrity Name Game "this unspeakable thing." Like it's a mass murder. The oldies boards are usually good for a few giggles.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Demo-lition derby

In the rather tangled Game Show Paradise post I quoted today (see below) the writer referred to the "18-45" demo. I think he meant 18-49, the famous sweet spot that all TV shows supposedly aim for. Yes, this demo obsession has long been the target of critics and even some TV execs, but the obsession persists. ShowBuzzDaily, among many other sites, tracks every wobble in the Sacred Demo for every show. Sometimes you even get color-coding (see screenshot).

Speaking of the screenshot, you can see that Chicago P.D. was the second-most watched broadcast show on February 7. But its numbers betrayed the dreaded OLD SKEW (boo, hiss). That green "11" in Adults 50+ is not what execs want to see, according to conventional wisdom.

So what does all this have to do with game shows? You probably know the answer: ever since the 1960s TV execs have known that traditional game shows tend to skew old. And I mean really old. GSN reportedly has a median viewer age up there with the cable news networks, and that's old older oldest. I've already speculated that Buzzr's median viewer age is somewhere in the hereafter.

Funny thing, GSN doesn't seem to mind the old skew any more. Demo-chasers like Skin Wars are long gone from the schedule, which has been wall-to-wall traditional for quite a while now. In its promos GSN is even boasting that its "comfort food" game shows are designed for elderly types like moi. (Well, they don't make it quite that explicit, but the pitch is pretty obvious.)

The secret is that the entire country is getting old, especially as the baby boomers move into their seventies. And, after all, there are advertisers who want to reach aged folks like your friendly blogger. So if you can't beat the demos, why not live with them?

Sex and crap

Hadn't checked Game Show Paradise for a while. But wouldn't you know, I'm a topic of conversation on the board. Sort of like the good old days on Game Show Forum, when people still posted on that site. At least GSP gets a little traffic. Anyway, one of the admins (not the one who keeps threatening posters with banishment or worse) got into the usual trashing of Steve Harvey. But he managed to trash me, too...

Someone [guess who - ed.] or some people on another website [guess which site - ed.] can say how on websites, such as this one, Harvey is like the antichrist all they want. In a way, I wonder how most of Harvey's hardcore viewers that watch him religiously and give it the ratings it gets on GSN, I wonder how they feel about older game shows like Dawson or Combs Feud, etc. I wonder if those viewers (probably around 18-45, and maybe it attracts some older viewers since GSN does skew mostly old) think that Dawson or Combs are antichrists? Karn, O'Hurley? 

Look, I don't mean to get off topic here. I know this is a schedules thread. But we're sort of talking about Dawson Feud. But when I was watching Dawson Feud last Saturday, and before on Buzzr too, I just realize how much better it is. It was mostly about the game, and they didn't have to include sex and crap into the questions or answers usually, at least not like they do with Harvey.

Of course, the "anti" reference is to how I laugh about the oldies boards dumping on Steve Harvey as the Feud Antichrist, compared to the holy holy holy Richard Dawson. I do have to smile when the older-is-better crowd hits Harvey for being too sexual compared to the, wait for it, kissing bandit. Come on, if Harvey tried to get away with the same stuff that Dawson pulled, Steve would get pulled...right off the show. Not to mention that GSP would go ballistic, bonkers and bananas about the "perverted" Harvey kissing every woman contestant.

Just be honest, guys. You accept anything from Dawson because you think everything on old game shows was just swell compared to those rotten new shows. You're arguing a laughably weak case for the lip-locking Richard as some kind of blushing virgin on the original Feud. Even Dawson himself cut out the smooch fest when he came back in 1994-95.

Let's see, what else. The "18-45" reference is just weird. (I don't even understand what point he's trying to make.) Harvey Feud does skew a tiny bit younger than most other stuff on GSN, based on the published 25-54 demos for prime time. But everything on GSN skews very old compared to most other cable nets. Check the TV Newser demo numbers if you don't believe me. As for Combs, Karn and O'Hurley, I think they were all competent Feud hosts, and Combs was a lot better than competent. Karn arrives on Buzzr today, by the way.