Sunday, December 10, 2017

Twitching with oldies

A commenter noted that Buzzr has put a stream on Twitch.

It's nothing special, just a loop of eps from the same old shows on the actual diginet. There are no stored videos available, and the Twitch channel is not a copy of the current feed on the network itself. But if you need oldies at all costs, you can dip into the stream. You do have to sit through some repetitive ads, but Twitch needs to make money somehow.

A massive audience of eleven viewers had tuned into the stream when I stopped by, but game show oldies have always been a niche within a niche. Match Game '75 was running as I watched, and it provided the screenshot. Charles Nelson Reilly was off doing his play, so Gary Burghoff was filling in. Richard Dawson hadn't yet entered his grump period. He was still the life of the party.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Contestant two-fer

Game Show Paradise has started a thread about civvies who turned up on more than one game show. As you might expect from GSP, almost all the entries are about contestants from decades ago. But the thread reminds me of a guy who played on a couple more recent game shows: Barry Lander.

Mr. Lander had a moment of fame when he copped $343,000 on 1 vs. 100 in 2007. That was a record until Jason Luna came along and won a million. Six years later Barry Lander was one of the first contestants on another NBC effort, Million Second Quiz. Sadly, he didn't last long on the 2013 quizzer. He still had his previous NBC winnings as a consolation prize, though.

Million Second Quiz reminds me of how broadcast ratings have tanked. The show debuted with 6.5 million total viewers and a 1.7 18-49 rating. These numbers would have have broadcast execs exulting today. Even in 2013 they were pretty good. The ratings for later eps went south a bit, but they would likely have gotten the show a renewal in today's TV world.

I liked the quizzer despite an 800-pound rule book. But NBC decided that the numbers didn't justify the expense of the ritzy set (among other items).

UPDATE: Speaking of contestants who bounce around a lot of game shows, a faux tweet noted Lisa Little. According to her Facebook page, she's been on Millionaire, Power of 10, 5th Grader, Wheel of Fortune and Celebrity Name Game. She gets around the genre.

Friday, December 8, 2017

People magazine is on the case

Readers of this blog may know that ID is one of my cable TV guilty pleasures.

Believe it or not, there's a show on the network called People Magazine Investigates. Yep, the celeb magazine does a true crime show with their crack staff of reporter sleuths. And I thought that the only thing People could investigate was which English prince was dating which model.

This is a long way around to a People story about a computer crime, which happens to involve our little genre. A faux tweet noted that Stephanie Jass has been charged with hacking into other people's computer files at Adrian College, where she once worked as a history prof. Stephanie was a seven-time winner on Jeopardy in 2012.

The story behind the charges is a little weird. Adrian College did a reset on their computer systems, which for a few days allowed anybody to hack into anybody else's files. Uh, really? The whole college was more or less on the honor system?

This sounds like an open invite to computer hacking. No matter, Stephanie Jass is back in court December 12 for a preliminary hearing on the charges against her.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

End of it all

We've still got a ways to go until December 31, but already the game show Interwebs are considering the highlights of the year.

Well, at least one poster on Game Show Forum is considering them. I don't take his suggested list of highlights too seriously, because he somehow overlooks the return of Cash Cab. Meanwhile, he celebrates the return of non-game-show trash sport format Battle of the Network Stars. Not to mention the future returns of non-game-shows Celebrity Big Brother and American Idol.

His game show "lowlight" is Candy Crush. Nielsen sure didn't like the show but I thought it was far from awful. Candy Crush was a lot more entertaining than Funny You Should Ask, anyway. In fact, for my own stinker of the year I would suggest the replacement of the superb Celebrity Name Game by the unfunny Funny among game show syndies.

My highlight of the year? Oh, maybe it was Austin Rogers' run on Jeopardy, which is also suggested by the GSF poster. Mr. Rogers certainly helped move Jeopardy into a better ratings neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ratings: November sweeps with the syndies

TV News Check does their November sweeps review this week. They list the changes for syndie game shows from the year-ago sweeps period. Alex had plenty to be happy about. Otherwise, there wasn't much to discuss. The household ratings for November sweeps...

Family Feud 6.5 - down a couple ticks from last November
Jeopardy 6.4 - up five ticks from last year, with an assist from the T of C
Wheel of Fortune 6.2 - flat
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - its first (and possibly last) November sweeps

A commenter notes that TV by the Numbers has the syndie ratings for the week of November 20-26. Family Feud and Jeopardy tied at 5.7. Wheel of Fortune trailed by a tad at 5.6 and Millionaire tagged far behind at 1.6. Turkey day took a toll on the numbers.

GSN continued to show some better ratings. The network got 352K/258K viewers prime time/total day for the November 27-December 3 week. GSN ranked 37th and 35th in the windows.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Google, bots, dating

Lots of news about HQ, the live app game show, keeps turning up in my web searches.

The show draws plenty of viewers for each day's trivia fest, but some are worried about bots infesting the competition. A smart (and no doubt nerdy) 19-year-old claims to have built a bot that can consistently google the right answer within the few seconds allowed for each response. He hasn't used the gadget in real time, but he says that it works on YouTube videos of past games. HQ warns that bots are verboten, so don't try this at home, kids.

Some players seem to be trying old-fashioned human googling on the tough questions. That's hardly surprising, and it's why HQ forces contestants to respond in a hurry. You gotta be really really quick, and there's no guarantee that you'll google the right way. (You can suffer serious bodily injury when you google the wrong way, in case you didn't know.)

Meanwhile, host Scott Rogosky has more immediate concerns. Like getting a date. The showtimes are messing up his love life.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Riding again

Let's get the one bad thing about the Cash Cab reboot out of the way. There are only two games per ep now, as opposed to the classic three. Discovery feels compelled to stuff every half-hour (or 31 minutes, to be exact) with ninety-nine commercials and promos.

Otherwise, everything is just fine. Ben is as masterful and acerbic as ever, the street scenery in New York still looks great, and the quizzer remains a genuine test of knowledge. Even the celeb guests - Gilbert Gottfried on the episode I watched - inflict no real damage and sometimes can actually help. The social media stuff is a little trendy, but you have to update something.

So welcome back to the only cab that pays you. I hope the numbers are good for the return, because I loved every minute. Well, I loved every minute of the show. The Gold Rush promos...not so much.

In other news, GSN has released the December 18-24 schedule. As a commenter noted, Chris Harrison's Millionaire gets a double run on weekdays at 3:00 PM. The show also gets a special Christmas Eve five-hour marathon. Welcome to our little game show network, Chris.

Oldies fans will like the 1:00 AM-4:00 AM weekday schedule for December 18-22. It's Match Game, Card Sharks, What's My Line and I've Got a Secret. That means seven hours of oldies each weekday. It's only for two weeks, but maybe GSN really is keeping an eye on Buzzr. At least a little.

UPDATE: Cash Cab draws okay but hardly spectacular numbers by Discovery standards. The two eps get 884K and 731K total viewers, with 0.33 and 0.25 18-49 ratings.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Heap of Feud

As I wrote in yesterday's entry, Buzzr and GSN are in an arms race to see who can splatter the most Family Feud on my TV screen.

Which got me thinking - dangerous habit, I know - just how much Feud is available per week, on cable and broadcast, in my hometown DFW area? The quick and dirty answer is, a lot. A more accurate answer takes a little digging at ScreenerTV. Buzzr runs the show 76 times a week, twelve each weekday and sixteen on the weekend. Not to be outdone, GSN runs Feud fourteen times each weekday and twenty times on the weekend, for 90 showings in all. And to top it off, the Fox duopoly station KDFI broadcasts Feud four times each weekday and another four times on the weekend, for a total of 24 runs.

If you're scoring at home, that's 190 episodes of Family Feud bombarding my humble household each week, or ninety-five hours of the stuff. Hey, there are only 168 hours in a week. That's a whole lotta feudin' goin' on.

The next most common game show is Match Game, mostly thanks to Buzzr. The oldies diginet runs Gene and friends twelve times each weekday and another eighteen times on the weekend, for a total of 78 showings. GSN tosses in four runs each weekday for a total of 20 per week, which makes 98 weekly runs between the two networks. That's 49 hours of the stuff, which is a lot but pales beside Feud.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sweeping up at Buzzr

It's not The Price is Right, but a shopping game will soon make its Buzzr debut. David Ruprecht's Supermarket Sweep comes to our little oldies network January 15.

By Buzzr standards this is modern-day stuff. In fact, it will be the most recent show on Buzzr, assuming that Louie Anderson's Family Feud goes away once and for all, which seems to be happening. Buzzr's parent Fremantle has already announced plans to reboot Supermarket Sweep, so maybe this is a test run to see how much viewer interest really exists.

Truth be told, Supermarket Sweep is one of the very few shopping games that I honestly enjoy. And that's only because of the mad dash final round. We'd all like to careen around a store and shoplift legally, wouldn't we? Buzzr will also make the show available on their Amazon Prime service.

One more funny note. The comments on the Buzzr Facebook site about the Supermarket Sweep announcement quickly run off into a trash-Steve-Harvey barrage. He really is the Antichrist on the oldies boards. Not so incidentally, Buzzr uses Family Feud almost as much as GSN. As I point out in a comment, each weekday it's six hours on Buzzr and seven on GSN. The difference for the oldies boards is the hated Steve.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Match Game is an Alexa skill?

All sorts of odd game show press releases land in my inbox. But this one also surfaced on a website.

A software outfit will release a Match Game "skill" for Alexa. I'm not sure exactly what a "skill" is in the Alexa world, but I think it's a game you play with the voice-activated gadget. This particular "skill" mimics the Super Match on the venerable game show. You try to match one of the top three choices in an audience poll.

I don't believe the "skill" allows you to ask Richard, Brett and Charles for their recommendations, unless it includes a link to the hereafter. Readers of this blog know that I think the 1973-82 version of Match Game is the greatest game show ever. So I don't mind the legendary format finding a place on Alexa (not to mention a place on ABC).

I still doubt that playing the Alexa game can match (sorry) playing along with the original on GSN or Buzzr. But that's a tough standard.