Sunday, April 20, 2014

Internal matters

With a slow Easter weekend for game show news upon us, I did a little housework on the blogroll.

One decision was easy: the BuzzerBlog twitter feed is gone. I had barely looked at it for the last few months. When I did take a peek, I saw lots of entries on improv comedy, bar bands, late night TV hosts...just about anything and everything except game shows. Good-bye.

Another cut was the blog with gameplay summaries for The Price is Right. This site was certainly game show related, but it simply duplicated information already available on Golden Road. Pretty soon I'll also delete the TV Without Pity game show forum, when TWOP finally closes its cyber-doors.

Meanwhile, three new entries appear: the wikis for Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and The Price is Right. These wikia-powered sites offer endless tidbits about the two top syndie game shows and the top broadcast game show. They're updated regularly and should provide some interesting reading.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Before he was legendary

With all the conniptions in late night TV recently, I ran across a What's My Line episode featuring the man who's synonymous with late night comedy. Johnny Carson was the guest panelist on WML's May 28, 1961 episode. Jack Paar was running the Tonight Show at the time, but Johnny would succeed him in 1962. The rest, as they pompously say, is show biz history.

The superb WML episode guide points out a weird and somewhat morbid connection between Johnny and the ep's final contestant. That last contestant was Andy Paretti, whose line was given as "Buys Turtles." Time ran out, and John Daly revealed that Mr. Paretti ran the Bon Vivant Soup Co., makers of (among other things) turtle soup.

In 1971 the company would crash into bankruptcy when it was the source of a botulism outbreak. Johnny Carson would then lampoon the company's problems in one of his Carnac the Magnificent skits. Carnac's answer: "The Last Supper." The question in the envelope: "What do you get when you have Bon Vivant vichyssoise for dinner?"

Johnny was pretty low-key though competent on this WML episode. He did get to ask Sophia Loren if she was busy that night. She said she was.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Foxworthy does Game of Thrones

As most of you probably know, GSN is readying the third-season debut of its top-rated American Bible Challenge on May 22. Host Jeff Foxworthy has been making the media rounds to plug the Bible quizzer. He stopped by a Denver TV show to do the usual stuff about how American Bible Challenge helps people and is really fun, etc.

Normally, I wouldn't bother with these promos. Don't get me wrong, I've got no problems with Jeff doing his job. You gotta promote your merchandise, even if it's Bible-based. But this particular appearance led to a funny bit. The hosts challenged Jeff with three quotes and asked whether they came from the Bible or Game of Thrones.

I never noticed, but some Thrones pronouncements do sound vaguely Biblical. Jeff was up to the quiz and correctly identified the source of each quote. He took a clich├ęd swipe at his mother-in-law along the way, but nobody's perfect. I just hope the little game didn't give the producers of American Bible Challenge any ideas. The show should probably leave Game of Thrones severely alone.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The anti-Arthur

Her run just ended on an excruciating triple stumper in Final Jeopardy. But Sandie Baker has earned some media notice for not being Arthur Chu.

The six-time Jeopardy champ didn't slam the buzzer, glare at opponents, interrupt Alex, or jump around the board. Her only possibly irritating feature was a permanent smile that sometimes seemed a little odd (at least to mean old me). But there are worse things than a smile.

The linked story predictably points out that she is one of the very few female contestants to make it past the old limit of five straight. (The story offers a feminist explanation that will convince nobody not already indoctrinated.) The funny thing is that Sandie never seemed dominating. Maybe it was her modest manner and soft voice. But she usually won big.

She will definitely make the next Tournament of Champions. Who knows, she may play against Mr. Chu. A bit of game show karma?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bam wham

This week TBS debuted their Wipeout knockoff, Bam's Bad Ass Game Show. Hosted by known jackass Bam Margera, this stunt epic puts four trash talking contestants through three rounds of fun and frolic. As you would expect from Margera, the show tries for a street cred atmosphere of graffiti and asphalt. We don't want none of that Disneyland technicolor cutesy-pie Wipeout decor.

Funny thing, the stunts on the debut ep weren't really all that painful. Wipeout doles out many more bumps and bruises. But no matter, one contestant was ejected each round until the winner was left un-bammed and ten grand richer.

Truth to tell, the episode was pretty ho-hum until a watermelon crashed into Brandon Novak's tenderest body area. He deserved it for hanging around with Margera. The show also did a few parody game show bits with Burton Richardson playing Smarmy Announcer. And they snuck in some Match Game-ish background music.

The show got miserable ratings by TBS standards and probably won't live long and prosper. That will be no great loss for the happiness of the nation, but BBAGS (love the acronym) wasn't quite as annoying as I expected. Just wish the cute girl had lasted longer in the competition.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ratings: Alex whoops it up, others not so much

Ken Jennings and his fellow champs did just fine in the ratings. So Mr. Trebek had much to cheer about for the week of March 31-April 6. Other syndie game shows had much to jeer about. TV News Check posts all the split-decision household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.8 - down a nasty six ticks
Jeopardy 6.7 - up a tasty five ticks, almost ties the soulmate
Family Feud 4.9 - down three ticks, ouch
Millionaire 2.1 - down a tick, the poor get poorer

Despite nearly getting tied by Alex and his answer-questioners, Pat and Vanna once again led all syndies in total viewers. TV by the Numbers has the viewer averages for the top three, as Cedric again just missed the top 25 list. Wheel of Fortune 10.6 million (weekend repeat 4.4 million), Jeopardy 10.4 million (weekend repeat 3.4 million), Family Feud 7.3 million. Alex earns a few in-house bragging rights at Sony with his battle of the decades.

Bam's Bad Ass Game Show got some numbers that were just plain bad by TBS standards for its debut last night. 1.1 million total viewers and a 0.5 18-49 rating. Those were the network's worst numbers in prime time.

TV Newser says GSN had a so-so week for April 7-13. 304K/244K viewer averages prime time/total day. The network ranked 46th and 38th in the windows. Not a disaster by GSN's historical standards, but not all that great, either.

Monday, April 14, 2014

GSN's morning shuffle

Haven't gotten any new pdfs from GSN to confirm the changes. But from TV listings around the web it looks like a significant shakeup is coming April 21 for GSN's weekday morning window. Given the viewer numbers, this is not a huge surprise. That 20-hour window is a significant part of GSN's entire 138-hour programming week. Sooner or later the network was going to want better ratings (and demos) for those hours. The new weekday lineup:

8:00 AM Match Game
8:30 AM Match Game
9:00 AM Password Plus
9:30 AM Whammy
10:00 AM 25K Pyramid
10:30 AM Sale of the Century
11:00 AM Super Password
11:30 AM Woolery Lingo

I've gotten slammed from pillar to post for pointing out the obvious, but this only continues the very long-term trend on GSN away from (really) old material. One other nice note for a personal fave: Chain Reaction returns on weekdays at 2:30 PM. It should never have left.

The shakeup does blow a little dust off weekday mornings, though Whammy and Chuck's Lingo are hardly young'uns by normal TV standards. Will the new schedule perform any better? Only Mr. Nielsen and friends will provide that answer.

UPDATE: The GSN online schedule confirms the changes. If I get new pdfs, I'll post them in the sidebar. Okay, I just got 'em and posted 'em. Check the sidebar for the gory details.