Wednesday, April 25, 2018

From both sides

Our little game show network can't get any respect. Rodney Dangerfield, you're always remembered.

A reality TV site has finally tumbled to the obvious: GSN has gone all traditional game shows for a long time now. The site is kind of bummed about this. In 2017, GSN didn’t air any original reality competitions, though it debuted three new game shows. That's true, and the site blames the departure of Amy Davis, one of the more venturesome programming veeps in the network's history.

But it's not like GSN gets any credit from the game show Interwebs for going all traditional all the time. A poster on one of the oldies boards sums up the general attitude. Just when you couldn't think gsn couldn't go in the crapper more. There's a weird double negative in there, but you get the idea.

The real issue is whether GSN can go in the penthouse more with the Nielsen Company. The network has been flying high in the ratings for many weeks now. Like all cable networks GSN has felt the sting of cord-cutting and OTT alternatives. The network now claims to be available in only about 75 million households, down from a peak of 79 million.

Game shows do tend to develop strong fan loyalty, though, so GSN has prospered relative to its cable peers. That's why it now lands regularly in the top 30 cable nets. Right now network execs don't seem inclined to upset the apple cart. No big changes look imminent.

UPDATE: Just as I say that, GSN sends out schedules with Catch 21 replacing Cash Cab on weekday afternoons. Odd move.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ratings: syndies slip a little

The top three syndie game shows gave up a little ground in the latest week. But the losses were small, so don't panic. TV News Check has the household ratings for the week of April 9-15...

Family Feud 6.4 - down a tick
Wheel of Fortune 6.1 - down a couple ticks to slip into a tie with the soulmate
Jeopardy 6.1 - down a tick
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat forever

Joker's Wild and Hip Hop Squares both returned with decent numbers. Good 18-49 ratings and total viewer numbers in the 700K-900K range. See the sidebar for more details.

GSN keeps piling up nice ratings. 468K/306K viewers prime time/total day for the week of April 16-22. The network again landed in the top 30 for both windows: 29th and 24th. GSN got 128K/72K viewers in the 25-54 demo. Steve Harvey is so sad about the nasty remarks he gets on the oldies boards. To nobody's surprise GSN keeps putting out unchanged pdf schedules for future weeks.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cable networks run shows that get ratings!

Stopped by Game Show Paradise for the first time in a while. I noticed some new activity on their most honest thread: "Why Hate Harvey Feud".

Guess what, it's all a massive cable conspiracy! GSN isn't the only network who runs the same show over and over for 4-5 or more hours each day, however. It seems to be a new trend in cable now, on TV Land for example on weekends, Food Network at times I notice, TBS, and I'm sure there are others.

Yes, cable networks have all suddenly started running shows a lot...when they get good ratings! Why, TBS is running Family Guy for hours and hours as I type! Who knew that such a terrible thing just started happening?

All right, I'll stop the sarcasm. The deep thinkers on the oldies boards can't really be that dumb. They know that GSN runs Harvey Feud a lot because Steve gets plenty of viewers. About a half-million for GSN in prime time, on average. Other cable nets do the same thing with their top performers, and they've always done it.

It's just that posters on the oldies boards chat back and forth with a couple dozen other posters who all hate Harvey Feud. So they get the idea that everybody hates the show. Or they'd like to get that idea.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Before there was Buzzr there was Buzzr

Don't often get to the Reddit game show board, but I stopped by today. And I got reminded of the "original" Buzzr.

A Reddit poster asked about this online survey for some Family Feud answers. Another poster replied that Fremantle probably used the survey for the rewinds of classic formats on their old Buzzr YouTube channel. That has to be correct, because the B! logo on the online survey was the signature for those YouTube efforts (see screenshot).

The reply gave a link to one of the YouTube Family Feud eps, with the usual millennials and the sped-up gameplay. To be honest, I thought those YouTube versions were pretty enjoyable. They were faithful to the original formats but designed for young'uns with short attention spans. The linked video has pulled over 250K views, so somebody watched the Buzzr shows.

After a while Fremantle lost interest in the YouTube channel. There might have been a plan to use the videos on Fremantle's later Buzzr diginet, but nothing came of that. The diginet remains strictly an oldies outlet, especially after the Friday night "new-ies" block got canned.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Making plans

Rambling around the game show Interwebs on a slow news weekend, I came across this commentary on Game Show Garbage.

The title is "The Plan For The Rest Of Season 9 At Game Show Garbage". An evil confession: the title reminds me of the classic groaner Plan 9 from Outer Space. The GSG article is less fun, though. It's just a prediction of what should happen at the site over the next several months.

There's a lot of verbiage about copyright problems at YouTube and how the site will deal with them. Most of what GSG posts isn't worth arguing about, so I won't get too concerned. It's not like they're operating the What's My Line YouTube channel, after all.

The site also promises new inductions for May, July and August. I shouldn't prejudge, but these will probably be, as usual, mediocre shows that hardly deserve GSG's overheated rhetoric. Though as I wrote a few weeks ago, Game Show Garbage may be mellowing a little. The site got all gushy about some kid shows.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The kids are all right

I've been such a grumpy old fart about Jeopardy's various stunts that I made sure to watch the finals of the college tournament.

Wish I could report that the finale was a barnburner, but Dhruv Gaur of Brown University made a shambles of the contest. He was clearly the class of the tournament, and he put away the hundred grand top prize with ease. He didn't need to wager anything on the last clue, but he still bet nineteen bucks. He's nineteen years old, you see.

As it happened, he got the final clue wrong. He wrote: That's all folks. With a smiley face. A bit of a cheeky sort, to use a Brit expression. William Scott of Tufts University took second and Hannah Sage of the University of Central Florida finished third. They still went back to campus with nice money.

It's not the worst thing in the world to give air time to smart college kids. Lord knows that jock collegians get plenty of media exposure. Jeopardy's college tournament has a pleasant revenge-of-the-nerds quality.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rhyme time

The funniest game show items turn up in Google searches. Like this article from a Maine site about game show creator William T. Naud.

With all due respect to Mr. Naud, his name does sound a little...odd, maybe? Anyway, his main claim to game show fame is creating the short-lived Rhyme and Reason. This was sort of Match Game with every celeb playing Nipsey Russell. In other words they tried to fill in the blanks with excruciating and (they hoped) humorous doggerel.

Of course, YouTube has some remains of the show for your viewing pleasure. Mr. Naud is apparently trying to revive the game or some similar format, and good luck to him. He's also known for a few low-budget flicks from the '70s and '80s that fall into the so-bad-they're-good category. Like Ricky 1.

His wife is trying to do something with a Davy Crockett story. Maybe they could combine the projects into Davy Gravy, the Rhyming Game Show.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Didn't know nothing

We all need more Kardashian news, right? The world is starved for information on the reclusive, rarely seen family.

So Steve Harvey of Celebrity Family Feud has answered the crying need. Appearing on Ellen DeGeneres' chatfest, Steve talked about the Kardashians' appearance on Feud. He was downright bubbly about Kanye West. He says Kanye did the show a great favor by smiling a lot. Gee, I'll smile for just about anybody any time. I smile on this blog (see my picture).

The family was competitive as all get out, according to Harvey. At least they wanted to win, which is a good quality for game shows. Kim Kardashian was somehow clueless. Kim didn't know nothing. Nothing. That's surprising. I always thought she was nuclear physicist material.

Steve is hopeful on one point. It's the best episode. We're going to get the highest ratings we ever had. I don't know about that. Celebrity Family Feud's numbers are still okay, but they've wilted some since the first season.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ratings: Pat and Vanna creep back to number two

Wheel of Fortune took back the second slot among syndie game shows. Of course, with another daily run Pat and Vanna would put away the number one rank every week. Maybe one of these seasons Sony will try it. It was tight at the top for the big three, as TV News Check tells us for the week of April 2-8...

Family Feud 6.5 - up a tick
Wheel of Fortune 6.3 - up a couple ticks to take second
Jeopardy 6.2 - flat
Millionaire 1.6 - flat
Funny You Should Ask 0.5 - flat, a lot of flatness going around

GSN keeps rocking down the highway. 479K/309K viewers prime time/total day for the week of April 9-15. The network ranked 29th and 24th in the windows. Another week in the top thirty for both prime time and total day. GSN got 132K/70K viewers in the 25-54 demo.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lightening up

For the last few weeks on this blog, it seems like I've been beating up on Buzzr a lot. Don't really mean to sound so grumpy, because I honestly want the diginet to succeed. The more outlets for our little genre, the better.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the Buzzr Twitch channel and found 320 viewers watching a Blockbusters ep. Okay, that's hardly an enormous throng, but it beats the 70 or 80 that have usually shown up in the past. Maybe it was just a group of lonely insomniacs at the witching hour (including me). But viewers are viewers are viewers.

I still think that Buzzr has to modernize its lineup with, say, reruns of the current versions of The Price is Right and Let's Make a Deal. Otherwise the diginet will always be a tiny sub-niche oldies outlet in the already small niche of game shows.

Speaking of which, I found an old Q&A column from a Washington Post TV critic that reflects most pundits' view of game show classics. Somebody complained to WashPo critic Hank Steuver about too many reruns on Buzzr. Steuver groused in reply: May I ever-so-respectfully suggest that if you're encountering the same 40-year-old game-show reruns over and over on Buzzr that you either join us in the television present or find something else to do.

Not an oldies kind of guy.