Friday, April 17, 2015

TPiR goes to college

The bane of game shows is the dreaded old skew. So it makes sense for The Price is Right's live show to play some colleges. Might as well attract a few fans who are under 60.

Todd Newton took the live TPiR extravaganza to Penn State last night, and a good time was had by all. As the story in the local newspaper says:
"Even though I wasn't picked to play a game, I still felt like I was involved throughout the whole show," said Francesca Marchese, a Penn State sophomore who isn't a longtime fan of the show. "It was definitely worth every penny."
Maybe Francesca will turn into a longtime fan one of these days. That's the idea of the live show, after all. It's why they've been towing the show around the country for twelve years now, since its debut in Reno in 2003.

By the way, Todd Newton was in the mix to succeed Bob Barker on the TV version. But according to an interview with then showrunner Roger Dobkowitz, the TPiR powers that be thought he was a little too set in his ways from hosting the live show. Oh well, he's still got a lot of the live gigs, along with Jerry Springer and Mark Walberg.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Poker players play games

Former poker player and current securities trader - at least that's what he says on his bio - Alex Jacob has now rolled up five wins on Jeopardy.

Poker websites have begun to take notice. Though he's no longer active on the poker circuit, Alex still ranks among the top 400 players in cash winnings with $2.6 million. His Jeopardy money hasn't grown to such levels yet.

This story reviews a few of Alex's biggest poker wins, like his eight hundred grand at the 2006 U.S. Poker Championship main event. The story goes on to mention some other poker players who have graced game shows over the years. They remember all the way back to "Phil Gordon's awkward stint on The Dating Game several decades ago." People always recall those awkward stints on Dating Game.

The story also says that Annie Duke's turns on game shows - I watched her long run on 1 vs. 100 - may have been "financed by [now defunct online poker operation] Cereus in an example of guerrilla marketing." Don't know if that's true, but Annie was a very good 1 vs. 100 mob member. She nailed a long string of questions.

UPDATE: It looks like Phil Gordon may have done Blind Date, not Dating Game. We've got to get these vital details right.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Game shows all over

As a faux tweet noted, HLN will try another game show, Heads Up. It's an Ellen Degeneres production hosted by Loni Love, due sometime next year. But HLN isn't the only offbeat network where game shows are cropping up. SyFy will debut Geeks Who Drink July 16.

In a case of appropriate casting Zachary Levi, the ultimate geek from Chuck, will host. News about this show has circulated for a while. An adaptation of the pub trivia game, Geeks Who Drink will feature teams of (naturally) geeks who "will battle it out each week in rapid-fire quizzes that cover topics ranging from pop culture to science fiction." Two civvies and a celeb will make up each team.

I guess the sci-fi questions are natural for SyFy. The network has programmed other game shows like Exit and Total Blackout, so our little genre is not a complete stranger in the neighborhood. This is the first traditional quizzer for SyFy, though.

We probably won't see any actual drinking. Maybe a more honest title would be Geeks Who (Metaphorically) Drink.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ratings: Alex ties Pat and Vanna

TV News Check says that Jeopardy snuck up a few ticks to tie Wheel of Fortune in household rating for the week of March 30-April 5. But Pat and Vanna still led in total viewers, so I'll give them the tiebreak. Meanwhile, Terry Crews is posting record low numbers as he gets ready to depart. All the household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.6 - up a couple ticks
Jeopardy 6.6 - up three ticks to tie for the top slot
Family Feud 6.3 - up a tick
Millionaire 1.6 - down a couple ticks to a season and series low, ouch
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - flat

As I said, Wheel still got the edge in viewer numbers. TV by the Numbers has the averages: Wheel of Fortune 10.5M (weekend repeat 4.1M), Jeopardy 10.1M, Family Feud 9.3M. It's tight among the top three. We'll see if Chris Harrison can stop the bleeding in Millionaire's numbers. If he can maintain something like the season-to-date 1.9 household rating, the show should survive.

TV Newser says that GSN cooled a little from its torrid pace in the first quarter. But the network still put up decent numbers for the week of April 6-12. 386K/310K/435K viewer averages prime time/total day/extended prime time. GSN ranked 40th, 30th and 35th in the windows.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ongoing saga goes on

My blog entry didn't have anything to do with it, but the Millionaire situation has clarified. The show will go on but Terry Crews won't. Chris Harrison will take over for the syndie's fourteenth season.

Gotta admit I didn't see anything like this coming. Bringing on the host of The Bachelor? That's an offbeat move, to say the least. Harrison is certainly competent enough but I figured the producers would sink or swim with Terry.

The press release says that Crews will leave due to the demands of other projects. While I'm sure those other projects are demanding, the news from the Nielsen Company has not been kind. The show's ratings have continued to erode.

Will Chris Harrison be able to reverse the steady decline in the numbers? Well, he probably won't yell at the audience, which may come as something of a relief. But the franchise may just be getting tired. It's been a long, long run in broadcast and syndication, and the format has been tweaked almost beyond recognition. Still, it's nice to see the quizzer get one more chance.

So with the exception of Let's Ask America, all the syndie game shows will return this fall. My ratings posts will still have a bunch of shows to cover.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

It was just a wrong answer

Sometimes the social network gets weird...really, really weird. Like when Tom Imler gave a wrong answer on Jeopardy.

The clue was: "In common law, the age of this, signaling adulthood, is presumed to be 14 in boys and 12 in girls." Poor Tom blurted out: "What is the age of consent." Which almost immediately got the game show Interwebs in an uproar that the father of three was a sexual predator looking for consenting 12-year-old girls.

He just made a wrong guess, for crying out loud. In an NY Daily News interview, Tom blasts his Net critics, calling them "trolls" (which is accurate enough) and dismissing the whole hoohah as "utterly ridiculous."

He got thrown by the phrase "common law," which evoked thoughts of common-law relationships. Tom blames a "poorly worded" question for the kerfuffle. In fact, the wording was fine. Jeopardy wants to lead the contestants astray sometimes. It's supposed to be a hard game to play.

Tom's had his uncomfortable fifteen minutes, and life will go on. He finished third on his ep, so it's not like he'll be around for a while to catch even more silliness.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ongoing saga

It's turning into a game show cliffhanger. Will Millionaire last another season?

On the plus side the show still rates higher than Celebrity Name Game, which got a renewal. On the not so plus side, the numbers continue to erode with the leather-lunged Terry Crews at the helm. And on the who-the-flip-knows side, the show will hold an open audition for contestants later this month in New York. The casting call doesn't necessarily mean a renewal, but it's a slightly hopeful sign.

Just on general principles, I'd like to see any entrant in our little genre survive. Millionaire remains an iconic brand, after all, even if the audience has shriveled and the gameplay bears only a vague likeness to the Regis classic of oh so many years ago. I'm a sucker for quizzers, and Millionaire is one of the toughest ones around. All the random nonsense in the current version bugs me a little, and Terry wears on the ears after five minutes or so, but I hope the syndie squeaks through for a fourteenth season.