Monday, September 1, 2014

Ancient ratings history

A thread on Game Show Paradise got around to GSN's 2009 Game Show Awards. This was a cut-rate Emmys for our little genre, hosted by Howie Mandel. He was big on GSN back then with Deal or No Deal reruns.

It's a quiet Labor Day, so I chipped in a bit of ratings history about the show...

For some unknown reason I happened to keep Douglas Pucci's list of GSN ratings from June 1-6, 2009. Game Show Awards got 425K total viewers. Not bad but hardly a runaway success. The show ranked 28th for GSN that week.

You'll never guess the top show for that week. Catch 21! It got 639K viewers for a 6:30 PM run. By the way, GSN averaged 377K/296K viewers prime time/total day for the week. Very good numbers by the network's historical standards. Since Game Show Awards barely performed better than the prime time average, I can see why GSN didn't try any more of them.

Of course, It Takes a Church recently performed pretty much the same as the network's prime time average, and it got a renewal. But that show has an enthusiastic sponsor in Christian Mingle.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Big bank of bucks

A Buy a Vowel poster suggests a Whammy transfusion for Wheel of Fortune.

In particular, the poster wants a "Big Bank" (or "Vault") wedge where all the bankrupt cash and goodies accumulate. If a contestant lands on the wedge and calls a correct letter, all the cash and goodies are showered upon the lucky spinner. Given how much the bankrupt wedge devours on the show, this could be a ginormous payout, much as it was on Whammy.

As always with any suggestion for gameplay changes on Wheel, naysayers swing into action on the thread. They mention three problems: the wedge would be too expensive, it might crush the competition in the game, and it might hurt the show's pacing.

I really don't understand the third objection. It's just another wedge and guess, after all. Why would the show's pace get hurt that much? The other two objections are more serious, though Wheel makes a mint (as some posters point out) and could afford the extra payout. As for the competition on the show, I've already said I don't much care about the horse race. I just want everybody to win something.

A Big Bank wedge might actually be an interesting addition to Wheel's gameplay. I don't expect to see it any time soon, though.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stuff I didn't want to read

Browsing game show boards can turn up some material I wish had stayed unturned. This thread on discusses a very unsavory story about one of Jeopardy's five-time winners. You can read it for yourselves.

The contestant involved is presumed innocent, of course, as the saner posters note. (The thread's title is almost as unsavory as the alleged crime.) The whole story is just a reminder that a string of wins on Jeopardy is no guarantee of, well, just about anything in the non-game-show world.

There is one touch of gallows humor in the thread. "It will make for an awkward interview segment when Alex asks him what he's been up to since he was last on the show." The interviews are often awkward enough already.

The worst story I can recall about any game show contestant was the serial murder spree of Dating Game contestant Rodney Alcala. Hate to say it, but Alcala looked all too normal on the ancient show. Except what is a "normal look," anyway? Just about anybody can seem harmless for a few minutes on a game show.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Coming soon

Google Celebrity Name Game, and the first entry (of course) is the show's Wikipedia article. You've arrived when Wikipedia takes notice. That means you're "notable," to use Wiki-speak.

The article does a decent job of describing the show's development, from the original idea to base a TV game show on the Identity Crisis board game. So far there's no detailed description of the gameplay. But the show hasn't seen the light of flat screen yet, so we'll wait for those paragraphs.

Meanwhile Zap2It offers some glimpses of the game. It looks and sounds like a high-volume Pyramid, as desperate civvies try to get celebs to guess the names of other celebs. Craig Ferguson appears to be enjoying himself, which doesn't hurt. The set is homey and bright, almost as if they rented out the Hollywood Game Night digs.

The show is something of a late arrival on the fall syndie schedule, with a September 22 debut date. At least I'll have a new entry for the weekly ratings reports.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

You bet

Haven't done this for a while because I don't post as much on game show boards as I used to. But I'll recycle a comment I left at Game Show Paradise.

The thread asked for the best classic never shown on GSN. Most posters picked 1970s and 1980s shows like Scrabble. My reply...

Let's go way back. You Bet Your Life. You'd think that Groucho could sneak onto those Christmas B&W weeks one of these years.

By the way, I always thought You Bet Your Life would be a natural for Turner Classic Movies, especially mixed in with Marx Brothers pictures. But the fans would probably scream bloody murder. "What are you doing with some game show instead of our beloved classics???"

Hm, sounds like game show fans on the Internet...

Funny thing is that GSN has shown Two for the Money, the G-T knockoff of You Bet Your Life. But they've never shown Groucho's original.

Wikipedia (usual caveats) says most YBYL episodes are now public domain. I've heard that from other sources, too. But I'm not a copyright lawyer and I don't play one on game show boards.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game show non-garbage

Lots of people rag Game Show Garbage for their negativity. Well, what do you expect from a site with that name? But even at GSG they want to show some love now and then. So they've put up a five best shows video.

One of the shows is British, so it's outside this blog's usual purview. One is a comedy show, which is okay for laughs but has no real game. One is a cooking show.

Which leaves...drumroll, please...Jeopardy and The Chase. Which also leaves little room for disagreement. What am I supposed to say? These two shows are bad?

The whole idea of GSG going nice is a little unnerving, even if their choices for niceness are impeccable. I like it when they rip on something that's just mediocre but which they make into a crime against humanity. But when it comes to good shows, they really don't have much else to say except they like it. All right, I like The Chase and Jeopardy, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ratings: Wheel and Feud gain a bit

It's tough to make ratings hay in August, despite (or because of) all the sunshine. But Pat and Vanna finally worked themselves back into a clear lead among syndie game shows. Steve Harvey also got a little good news. Otherwise, not much happened in the August 11-17 week. TV by the Numbers has all the household ratings and viewer averages...

Wheel of Fortune 5.7 - up a couple of ticks and back to the top
Jeopardy 5.5 - flat
Family Feud 4.6 - up a couple ticks
Millionaire 1.9 - flat for the departing Cedric

The viewer averages also gave an edge to that little version of hangman. Wheel of Fortune 8.9M (weekend repeat 4.0M), Jeopardy 8.5M, Family Feud 6.8M, Millionaire 2.6M. The numbers look okay compared to just about anything else this time of year.

GSN continues to roll in prime time with three originals performing well. 389K/265K viewer averages prime time/total day for the week of August 18-24. The network ranked 42nd and 40th in the windows.