Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ratings: syndies go splat

TV News Check headlines the story, "Syndies fall down, go boom." They aren't kidding. It was a rough, rough April 7-13 week for syndies of all kinds. The four game shows were not immune, as each fell from the week before. The dreary household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - down five ticks
Jeopardy 6.2 - also down five ticks to keep the soulmate company
Family Feud 4.8 - down a tick
Millionaire 2.0 - down a tick as Cedric barely holds in the twos

Since all syndicated shows were down, Pat and Vanna still led in viewer average. TV by the Numbers posts the averages for the top three: Wheel of Fortune 9.7 million (weekend repeat 4.4 million), Jeopardy 9.5 million, Family Feud 7.0 million. The numbers soften as the weather warms.

GSN perked up a little in the week of April 14-20, TV Newser reports. 309K/277K viewer averages prime time/total day. The network ranked 44th and 36th in the windows. A bit of improvement from the week before.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quiz a pawnbroker

Reality Wanted - do they truly want reality, or do they already have enough? - wants you for a Pawn Stars quizzer.

I watched a few too many Pawn Stars episodes and finally got tired of the haggling in the Gold and Silver shop. Rick Harrison, the know-it-all owner, has called his TV effort "sort of like a game show because everyone wants to know if they win in the end." Well, now they seem to be making a real game show, or at least one episode. The Harrison clan wants contestants for a trivia contest.

The casting call puts it this way: "Go head to head against Rick, Corey and Chumlee in a simple trivia game show for a chance to win coveted items from the world famous Gold and Silver pawnshop." (World famous? Wowie-zowie.)

I'd take my chances against Chumlee in a quizzer. He doesn't look like he would trouble Ken Jennings too much in a test of knowledge. I'm not sure about Corey and I really don't want to mess with Rick. He appears to have picked up reams of useless trivia from his dealings with the pawned artifacts of western civilization.

For instance, I got the screenshot from a YouTube lecture of Rick's on king cobras. If he knows that much about snakes, I'm not competing with him in trivia.

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.