Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ratings: Nice numbers for new syndie seasons

The big three debuted new seasons in the September 15-21 week. And they all got rewarded with better numbers compared to the reruns. Sadly, the news wasn’t so good for Millionaire. TV News Check has the household ratings

Wheel of Fortune 6.3 – up five ticks, as a million dollar win doesn’t hurt
Jeopardy 6.1 – up four ticks, as the mustache doesn’t hurt
Family Feud 5.1 – up a tick
Millionaire 1.9 – down a tick in Terry’s second week

I’m starting to fret about Millionaire. It’s only been two weeks, though. Let’s see how things develop over the next couple months. Next week we get the first weekly numbers for Celebrity Name Game.

Only the top three made the syndie list at TV by the Numbers. The viewer averages: Wheel of Fortune 9.7M, Jeopardy 9.2M, Family Feud 7.4M. Healthy numbers for these shows.

TV Newser changed their usual ratings chart. First, they covered all of third quarter, but only for Monday through Friday. Then they gave prime time, total day, and extended prime time numbers. Bottom line, GSN's viewer averages were 385K/263K/386K in those three windows. The network ranked 40th, 34th and 38th in the windows, respectively. Got all that? Long story short, it was a pretty good quarter for the network.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Deal with it

At the board formerly known as Matt Ottinger's, the aficionados discuss Wayne Brady's Let's Make a Deal.

In case you were in suspense, they don't think Wayne's show is as good as Monty's old versions. Wow, this is a major surprise from that board. Okay, sarcasm off. Anybody at all familiar with the game show Interwebs would be astounded if posters on that board suggested that Wayne's show was better than or even equal to Monty's in any way.

Truth be told, I've never been a huge fan of any version of LMAD. It's my usual sour attitude toward shopping shows, which stems from my usual sour attitude toward shopping itself. But I couldn't help noticing a press release from CBS gurgling with joy over Wayne's Let's Make a Deal setting a viewership record in the 2013-14 season. The show averaged around 3.2 million viewers, which ain't bad at all by today's daytime standards. Especially when you consider our genre's famously low production costs.

With the show well set in its sixth season, a decade on the air looks very possible. Can Wayne beat Monty's 1963-76 record for a continuous run? That other game show on CBS daytime has lasted for a while.

IRRELEVANT UPDATE: There are a couple of housekeeping issues. A few e-mailers have complained that the GSN schedule in the sidebar for the current week (Sep 29-Oct 5) is only the one-page version. Sorry, that's all I have. If I had the multi-page version, I would post it. The multi-page versions are up for the next two weeks (Oct 6-12 and Oct 13-19).

Also, I do not delete comments unless they violate the guidelines I've listed at the bottom of the blog. In fact, I've only deleted one comment in the entire history of this blog, and that was for gross obscenity.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Kookie, Kookie, lend me your vowel

Today I scrounged up a failed pilot from 1966 called Crossword and posted it in the sidebar. As you should do for info on any game show pilot, I headed over to The Game Show Pilot Light, a funny site with more than you could ever want to know about pilot tapes for our little genre.

While I was there, I stopped by the site's entry for Wheel of Fortune, which discusses the show's now legendary pilots hosted by Edd ("Kookie") Byrnes of 77 Sunset Strip fame. Edd has fessed up that he was drunk during the two pilot tapings, and he definitely seems to be in a happy mood during the second of them. "Whee!"

He also had a funny habit of reading from cue cards with painful obviousness. All in all, "Edd was hilarious. Unfortunately, he was not trying to be," as The Game Show Pilot Light notes with some understatement. You know how the story turned out. Merv Griffin brought in a fellow named Chuck Woolery, Woolery left Wheel, and the rest is hangman history.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


So I'm watching the U.S. trail in the Ryder Cup this morning, when I decide to also take in one of the latest uploads (the July 26, 1964 ep) on the YouTube What's My Line channel.

It must just be a golf kind of morning. The first contestant on the episode signed in as Mr. X, and turned out to be pro golfer Bobby Nichols. The panel quickly guessed him. He was something of a one-hit wonder, winning the 1964 PGA Championship with a record score that stood for 30 years. A couple guys named Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus tied for second.

To be fair, Bobby Nichols won eleven other PGA tournaments and once finished second in the Masters and third in the U.S. Open. Which is a lot better than I'll ever do in golf. (It also doesn't help that I haven't played since high school.) Peter Lawford was the mystery guest on this episode, and he lasted for quite a while with his French answers. And sorry to say it, but Dorothy Kilgallen was looking worse and worse as the 1964 eps went on.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bet on it

Jeopardy has its first four-time winner of the still young season, North Carolina's Catherine Hardee.

But tonight she barely scraped by as a co-champ. That's because challenger Alan Lange bet only enough to tie. Which has set off the usual palaver on JBoard.tv about betting strategy on that last, fateful clue. Several posters are predicting that Alan may regret not getting rid of the resourceful Catherine when he had the chance. We'll see on Monday.

This chatter was last heard during Arthur Chu's reign, when he bet for a tie with challenger Carolyn Collins and achieved exactly that...a tie. He then beat Carolyn very comfortably on the next show. Supposedly game theory says it's wise not to bet one dollar more than necessary to win another go-round. If that means a tie, so be it.

I'd bet the extra dollar myself, but then I'm never going to beat anybody on Jeopardy with any kind of bet. Anyway, it should make for an interesting rematch.

UPDATE: In something like poetic justice, both Alan and Catherine lost on Monday. By the way, Alan is an actuary, like moi. He's also almost forty grand richer (before taxes), despite his loss.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Answer for the question

A poster on Game Show Confessions reminds me of That's the Question, one of my old favorites from GSN. Sadly, the show never really performed that well for the network. It did get a second season but then disappeared without a trace.

I disagree that the stingy prize money killed the show. It was just a little too quiet and cerebral for your typical game show viewer. (I'm a typical viewer, which should give you pause.)

The gameplay was challenging but not impossible, and there was plenty of play-along value. Bob Goen did his usual faultless job in mastering the ceremonies, and the contestants were generally alert and capable. I'm a sucker for word games under any circumstances, and the circumstances were mostly favorable in this format.

But the frosty and studious nature of That's the Question probably doomed it. A little more fun and frolic was needed. Maybe some trash talk between the contestants might have helped. I dunno, some spice of any kind would have made the puzzle-solving more attractive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jock jep

I'm not the best reviewer for Sports Jeopardy because I'm a hopeless Jeopardy fan. As long as they don't screw with the format too much, I'm going to be an easy mark.

Well, they didn't screw with the format too much, and I'm down with the show. The only real departure was a six by four board instead of six by five. The money was cheaper, of course, since this is online streaming, not national syndication. But that format can survive cheaper payouts with no sweat.

Dan Patrick was a competent and witty host, though I thought he betrayed just a hint of nervousness. With the Specter of Alex hanging over him, I can see why he might be a bit tentative. Kelly Miyahara of the clue crew played Johnny Gilbert, and some girl from mixed martial arts looked drop dead gorgeous in one of the categories, as Dan noted repeatedly. (I shamelessly used a shot of her in a faux tweet.)

Not a huge sports fan myself, I still nailed the clues on baseball and golf (typical old guy sports, right?) The sports bar set was a little tacky, and the post-game interviews went a little long. But those are quibbles. Good luck to Crackle on the venture.

FUNNY UPDATE: Over at BuzzerBlog Cory Anotado bitches and bitches about the contestant interviews on the show. Cory seems to think the only thing that happened on the show was the interviews. But then he says that he actually liked the post-mortem palaver, which I thought went on too long.

Can't please everybody (wink).

New line?

Readers of this blog know about my addiction to old black-and-white What's My Line videos. Well, maybe, just maybe, I might be getting some new color videos one of these days.

Game show announcer Randy West is teasing on Facebook about the possibility of a new WML version. A while back there was some hubbub about a Whoopi Goldberg edition of the classic game, but nothing seemed to come of it. Randy has posted the picture of what looks like a WML set, right down to the familiar looking question mark.

Over the past decade or so we've seen attempts to revive To Tell the Truth with John O'Hurley and I've Got a Secret with Stephanie Miller and then Bill Dwyer. None of these efforts lasted very long. So the granddaddy of all the Goodson-Todman panel shows, What's My Line, might not fare so well itself. But I wouldn't mind seeing somebody try their luck with the format.

The gameplay would probably have to be tarted up a little to avoid losing today's short attention spans. But people still have jobs (some of them, anyway) and you could still make a show about guessing them.