Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The word will make you safe

Yet another Brit game show format gets a U.S. version. MTV debuts SafeWord July 13.

As it happens, plenty of the UK show is available on YouTube, so I sampled a few minutes. SafeWord is really more of an improv (?) comedy show than an actual game show, but there's enough gameplay to snuggle this beauty into our genre. (The reason for the question mark is that I suspect more than a bit of scripting for the celeb players.)

Terrence Jenkins, a.k.a. Terrence J, will host and a bunch of the usual MTV suspects will show up as panelists. It looks like insult comedy for millennials, which is also a pretty good description of the Brit original. In fact, one of the UK panelists got into a snit over the mean-spirited format. Maybe MTV can engineer a similar rumpus to bump the ratings.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ratings: lots of season lows for syndies

Syndie game shows have seen much better weeks. The top three all crashed to season lows for June 12-18. TV News Check blames breaking news stories for preempting a lot of time slots. For whatever reason, the news was grim in the household ratings...

Family Feud 5.9 - down five ticks to that season low
Wheel of Fortune 5.2 - down a couple ticks to its own low
Jeopardy 5.1 - right in line with the soulmate, down two ticks to a new low
Millionaire 1.5 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - flat

100K Pyramid perked up to its best numbers of the new season on Sunday June 25. 5.2M viewers and a 1.1 18-49 rating. Should be enough to keep the show around.

GSN's second quarter wasn't great and it wasn't terrible. 368K/262K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 41st and 35th in the windows.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Facebook fun and games

Call me one on the Neanderthals who has never really gotten Facebook. Oh, I've got a Facebook account because it's often necessary in the online world for commenting on web stories. And I like to comment, as many have noted.

I've also put some Facebook pages in this blog's sidebar because the social media site is just about unavoidable. But I leave the heavy-duty use of Facebook to my daughter, who's a fanatic about the thing.

Still, I may have to get slightly more familiar with Mark Zuckerberg's creation. (He did create it, right? I know there was a legal rumpus with the Winklevoss twins.) As a faux tweet noted, Facebook is getting into the TV business. They'll be creating "TV-quality" - an oxymoron? - shows for the site.

One of them is a game show called Last State Standing, which may be about a new war between the states. Or it might feature a battle between states of consciousness, states of awareness, or states of drowsiness. Looks like I'll have to review it whenever Facebook drops the project on a waiting world.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Wanna be a contestant?

TV Insider enlightens us on the perpetual human quest to become a game show contestant.

For the most part the advice sounds like common sense. If you want to get on The Price is Right, be "upbeat and interesting" with the show's contestant pickers. It's better than being downbeat and uninteresting, no? For Jeopardy and Millionaire, brush up on general knowledge so you can pass the contestant exams. For $100,000 Pyramid, know the rules and dress for TV.

Some shows require videos of wannabe contestants, like Beat Shazam. Recent photos are enough for Hollywood Game Night, and pop culture knowledge is also recommended.

All in all, it sounds like you should watch the shows and see if you'd be good on them. You want to win, don't you?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Doing my duty

First, a confession. I never much liked the original Gong Show. It was icky-poo and stupid when it wasn't downright cruel to some of the performers.

Second, a review. I don't much like ABC's revival of the show, either. I won't go into a long dissertation on how Gong Show isn't a real game show, though of course it's not. It's just a talent contest gone nutty. But the show got grandfathered into the genre a long time ago, so I did my duty and watched the reboot's premiere.

Truth be told, I watched ten minutes of it. Mike Myers hosted in an artificial face that didn't move very well. The panelists were three guys who wandered in. The three acts ranged from mildly entertaining to gross to weird.

The sort of entertaining guy played the piano in unusual bodily positions. At least I could recognize the tune. The gross girl put a tarantula in her mouth and played a harmonica. No tarantulas were harmed in the making of this act. The weird guy rode wore an ape suit, rode a unicycle and played the bagpipes...all at once. What talent!

Nobody got gonged, as I recall. For those who like the weird, the gross and the mildly entertaining, this show might be for you. I'll stick to game shows.

The Nielsen Company wasn't overly amused, either. 3.9M viewers and a 0.9 18-49 rating. That might be enough to save Gong Show from the gong, or it might not be. I'm not worried either way.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wall construction

Variety tells us that The Wall has become something of a franchise.

At least it got a second season. As the linked story says, this is "a rarity in U.S. broadcast — a shiny-floor primetime game show that has earned a second season without being a revival of a classic title." (Since when did "shiny-floor" get to be an often used adjective? I see it all the time now. I'm even starting to use it myself.)

In fact, The Wall returned last night with okay but hardly spectacular numbers, even by the shriveled standards of summertime broadcast. 4.5M viewers and a 1.0 18-49 rating. Sure, anything that doesn't go fractional - another new coinage in show biz speak - in 18-49 is sort of okay nowadays. And The Wall barely managed to avoid that.

Variety notes that the show has spawned several international versions, so no doubt the showrunners are making decent money off the project. One funny line from the story: an exec says The Wall is "an all new, created-from-scratch format." Of course, the show was created from Plinko, but why get persnickety?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Brief history

A web site called Paste considers the critical question: Are We in the New Golden Age of Game Shows?

The quick answer is no, because game shows never really went away. But there have been a lot of reboots of ancient formats lately, so deep thinkers everywhere on the web are considering the history of the genre. The linked story goes sort of wrong right away, when it announces: "There was a time when celebrity game shows had an air of high class."

The example they give is What's My Line, which admittedly maintained an almost Victorian air of elaborate politesse. But at the same time I've Got a Secret was putting its celebs through goofy and definitely non-high-class stunts. Today I watched an ep on Buzzr when the panel sang a rock and roll song. Betsy Palmer was very good on the falsetto "yie-yie-yie-yie-yie-yie-yie's."

The story is correct about the genre's famously low production costs, which have always helped game shows appeal to execs looking to trim expenses. But Paste runs hilariously off the rails when it identifies Talk Show the Game Show as a genuine part of the genre.

The story then settles into a long plug for Hollywood Game Night. At least it's a real game show, even if the pop culture obsession gets annoying.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Renewed vigor

To nobody's great surprise CBS has renewed all their daytime shows, including The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal.

The one tiny morsel of speculation bait is the one-year renewal for LMAD, as opposed to two years for TPiR. CBS helpfully points out that Drew draws a lot more viewers than Wayne. 4.84/5.51 million as opposed to 3.05/3.47 million, by the network's calculations.

Does the shorter leash on Let's Make a Deal mean anything? Probably not, because three million daytime viewers in today's gazillion channel universe are nothing to sneeze at, or to cancel over. But CBS execs may be signaling that they would like to see LMAD draw more TPiP-ish numbers.

The talent is all coming back. Drew and Wayne and showrunner Mike Richards will be pricing and dealing for a while longer. Now that I think about it, Mike's Divided will also be returning to GSN.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ratings: syndies barely budge

The week of June 5-11 was almost a non-event for syndie game show ratings. The numbers hardly budged as the summer really kicked in. TV News Check has the boring household ratings...

Family Feud 6.4 - up a tick
Wheel of Fortune 5.4 - up a tick, and now for the really exciting news
Jeopardy 5.3 - flat
Millionaire 1.5 - flat
Celebrity Name Game 1.1 - guess what, flat

ABC won Sunday night with its game show reboots. Celebrity Family Feud led the way with 6.3M viewers and a 1.4 18-49 rating. Feud looks like a staple of summer TV for many summers to come.

For June 12-18 GSN backed off from the previous week's big numbers. 363K/261K viewers prime time/total day. The network ranked 38th and 37th in the windows.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Did this help him host the live TPiR show?

Didn't have much else to do, so I rummaged around the game show Interwebs and found one of the oddest items ever.

IMDb credits Todd Newton, host of Whammy, Family Game Night and countless runs of The Price is Right's live show, with a role on Charmed. For those who don't remember or never knew, Charmed was a Shannon Doherty vehicle on the now defunct WB network. It was a fantasy series about three yuppie witches who stumble through various goofball adventures.

The show was about as far removed from my demo and interest range as possible, so I never saw a minute of it. Until today. I found the episode with Todd's supposed appearance on DailyMotion and blitzed through it, looking for Mr. Newton.

I didn't see him but I did see the role he is credited for. The character's called "Yama" (see screenshot) and he's a demon with a nasty attitude, a black horse, and lots of growls and heavy breathing. I have no idea if that's really Todd Newton on the horse, or if he just voiced the breathing and growls, or if he was actually in the show at all. But would IMDb lie to me?

Well, maybe. But I must admit, it would be nice if this role really is on Todd's resume. He should do one of the TPiR shows in that get-up.