Wednesday, May 4, 2016

O Canada

One of the weirder stories in game show history looks to be nearing an end. You might say our long Canadian national nightmare is almost least for Jeopardy.

Earlier this year Jeopardy closed its online test to Canadian citizens. Nobody ever really explained the move all that closely. There was some muttering about Canada's online privacy law. But fear not, the show seems to have figured out a way to comply with the law and avoid those $10 million fines. None other than Alex Trebek now says that Jeopardy will reopen the online doors to the great white north later this year.

I wasn't losing any sleep over the rumpus. And that's not just because I live about as far away from Canada as you can get in the lower 48. Sooner or later I thought sanity would prevail and Canadians would rejoin the answer and question fest. By the way, Alex is now the honorary head of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. Maybe he passed an online test about the Yukon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ratings: syndie slide

April is proving to be the cruelest month for syndie game shows, ahead of May sweeps. Most of the shows slipped for the week of April 18-24. TV News Check has the tumbling household ratings...

Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - down three ticks but still number two among all syndies
Family Feud 6.1 - down four ticks, it's a dismal week
Jeopardy 5.9 - down a tick, not so bad
Millionaire 1.3 - flat, good for this week
Celebrity Name Game 1.3 - down a tick and back into a tie for last

GSN enjoyed a pretty good week for April 25-May 1. 465K/303K/455K viewers prime time/total day/extended prime time. The network ranked 35th, 32nd and 36th in the windows. The prime time and extended prime time averages are almost all Harvey Feud now.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Did something happen?

If a Daytime Emmy falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it...

My sour attitude toward showbiz kudofests is well known to anybody who reads this blog. But even grumpy moi is starting to have a little sympathy for the Daytime Emmys. When a TV awards show can't even get on TV, you gotta feel a bit sorry for it. The Daytime Emmys also produced near-zero buzz in the online world. The event did generate a few stories because Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan won an awkward Emmy for their soon to be dissolved partnership. Neither showed up at the ceremony.

The game show awards went to Craig Ferguson (Celebrity Name Game) for best host and The Price is Right for best show. That's number two for Craig and number I-don't-know-how-many for TPiR. I think Alex Trebek said a while back that he would like to win one more Emmy. Sorry, Alex, but Mr. Ferguson looks to have cornered that award for now.

General Hospital also won a lot. That is all.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Just to be upfront about it, this entry contains Family Feud spoilers. So don't read any further if you don't want to be spoiled.

A faux tweet mentioned the Hare family of the Louisville area. Actually, they're from Oldham county, which Wikipedia says is the wealthiest county in Kentucky and in the top 50 nationwide. The family's main claim to fame is their appearance on Family Feud, which the local media have chronicled. This story is a much longer and more detailed account of their time on the show than the link in the faux tweet.

That's all very nice. But both stories about the clan's Family Feud adventures say that they were on the show for three episodes: April 29, May 2 and May 3. Which, of course, is a major spoiler about the outcome of those eps. I assume the spoiler wouldn't have appeared without the show's consent. I've seen similar Feud spoilers over the years in other contestant stories.

I guess Feud's producers think the show's main appeal is comedy and Steve's general goofiness, not the outcome of the game. No doubt they're right, and Feud's ratings will hardly suffer from the released info that the Hares won two eps and then lost the third. Other shows guard their outcomes much more zealously, though even Wheel of Fortune has been known to leak the news about a million dollar winner or three.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Handle this

I've ranted about this before. But I never let repetition stand in the way of a good rant. Today I came across this comment on Game Show Paradise: "The only show I can handle on GSN as of lately is The $25,000 Pyramid, since I've gotten tired of so many airings of Eubanks' Card Sharks and Press Your Luck and I am hoping fresh episodes of fresh classics occur later this year."

So I dug out the GSN schedule for this week. These are the game shows that are running on the network: Match Game, Card Sharks (Eubanks), Press Your Luck, Card Sharks (Perry), 25K Pyramid, Whammy, Family Feud (Harvey), Family Feud (O'Hurley), Catch 21, Pyramid (GSN), Chain Reaction (Lane), Deal or No Deal, Newlywed Game (Sherri), Baggage, Idiotest, Chain Reaction (Catherwood), The Chase.

Now out of all that, the poster can find exactly one (1) show worth watching? I realize this particular poster is an oldies fan who regards every game show since 1990 as beneath notice and beneath contempt. But puhleeeeze.

This is why I have more than a sneaking suspicion that many self-proclaimed oldies fans don't really like game shows very much. What they do like is typing on the Internet that the genre in general and GSN in particular have gone to hell in a handbasket.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Our friendly competitor

Mike Brannen, an exec producer on an Albuquerque morning TV news show, copped $117,500 on Wheel of Fortune last night.

Congrats to Mike for the big win, but here's the thing. He works for KOB, the local NBC affiliate in Albuquerque. And Wheel of Fortune runs on KRQE, the CBS affiliate. So the folks at Mike's station were in the strange position of plugging a show on their crosstown competitor. They did their duty by Mike nonetheless. After all, it had to be the biggest thing to happen around KOB in quite a while.

I guess Mike only got onto the show because he didn't work for a TV station that carries Wheel. Otherwise, hints of a fix would have been too obvious in an industry still haunted by all that unpleasantness back in the 1950s.

By the way, Mike Brannen had a viewing party with family members in Chicago and Wisconsin via FaceTime. "They were serving Vanna White Russians and Pat Sajak and Gingers." I'll drink to that.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ABC revives 'em all

I'm starting to think that ABC believes their real competitor is GSN, or maybe Buzzr. After reviving Pyramid and To Tell the Truth, now comes news that ABC will reboot Match Game with Alec Baldwin (?) as host.

The network has ordered ten eps for a June 26 debut after Celebrity Family Feud and the Pyramid rewind. I'm not sure about Baldwin as the host, but maybe he'll keep his less likeable qualities under control. He's donating his salary - supposedly one of the highest ever for a game show host - to his wife's art charity.

No post-1982 revival of Match Game has ever worked well, for the obvious reason that the 1970s version casts such a huge shadow. We'll see if this effort by ABC fares any better than the 1983, 1990 and 1998 shows. The 1973-82 Match Game is my favorite game show ever, and that includes everything. It's great to see ABC try the ultimate revival. Good luck to them.

Renewing the world

In what has become a stylized annual ritual, CBS has renewed its entire daytime lineup, including game show stalwarts The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal.

About the only variation this year is Not Safe for Daytime, "an edgy new series of digital videos on its YouTube channel that highlights and promotes CBS Daytime's popular programs." So far the channel has produced seven videos, including this parody of a Carl's Jr. hamburger ad. I'm sorry to report that the parody features a soap star - and not Drew Carey - taking off his shirt. But sooner or later Drew will probably show up in one of the videos (with his shirt on, most likely).

LMAD and TPiR are up slightly from last year in total viewers, so both shows may well be around forever and ever, or at least for quite a while. Kind of hard to believe that Wayne has been doing his show for seven years now, and Drew for nine years. Time flies when you're having decent ratings.

The soaps and the talker also got renewals. They keep sudsing and chatting along, too.