Hi, there. This is a long overdue update, and I’m sorry I’ve kept you waiting. I’ve been keeping busy working at a local public television station on the production crew of North Carolina Now. I did that from late May to mid October, and then I was put with someone else packing boxes for a project for The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. All of this was volunteer work and unpaid. But now, I’m back on the job path.
But enough about me. I know this page hasn’t been updated in forever, so let’s review what’s happened since last I updated:
* The biggest thing to happen was The Million Second Quiz, supposedly “the Olympics of quiz”. (Um, no, that would more accurately describe a Jeopardy! International Tournament.) It was promoted everywhere and anywhere by NBC Universal (now owned by Comcast). I qualified to be a line jumper, but little did I know that I was supposed to continue playing after I signed up to qualify. Here is how the ratings stood over the 10-night event (courtesy of Wikipedia).
|No.||Title||Original air date||Rating/Share
|1||“Day 1”||September 9, 2013||1.7/5||6.52|
|2||“Day 2”||September 10, 2013||1.5/5||5.83|
|3||“Day 3”||September 11, 2013||1.3/4||5.17|
|4||“Day 4”||September 12, 2013||1.1/3||4.16|
|5||“Day 5”||September 13, 2013||0.8/3||3.97|
|6||“Day 6”||September 14, 2013||0.7/3||3.03|
|7||“Day 7”||September 16, 2013||1.0/3||3.59|
|8||“Day 8”||September 17, 2013||1.1/4||5.22|
|9||“Day 9”||September 18, 2013||1.1/4||4.87|
|10||“Finale”||September 19, 2013||1.3/4||4.95|
So, the ratings never rose above a 2, the share never went above 5, and aside from a momentary spike on Day 8, the number of viewers stayed below 7 million.
Here’s what I think of it. NBC promoted the living daylights out of this thing, claiming it was non-stop trivia. Well, it wasn’t. Ryan kept pausing between bouts to talk about the format, the rules, who was sitting in Winner’s Row, what Subway product they were consuming, etc. etc. So, we got three bouts in all each night. One contestant brought in from the audience in New York, a Line Jumper from somewhere in the country, and the “Winner’s Defense”, where one contestant from Winner’s Row risks everything in a winner-take-all bout.
The format’s OK. Ryan asks a question and the two contestants secretly lock in their answers on a touchscreen before revealing them at Ryan’s request. If a player doesn’t know it, or thinks the other player doesn’t have a clue, (s)he can pass it to his/her opponent for double the points. But be careful, that question can be doubled back for four times the points. At which point, the contestant….. has five seconds to answer the question, because there are no physical challenges.
When the million seconds run out, the top 4 players at that point keep what they’ve won and go on to the final three bouts. The winner of that third bout wins $2,000,000. In this case, the winner Andrew Kravis got his winnings amped up to a total of $2.6 million, officially knocking out Ken Jennings as the all-time biggest regular-season winner on a single American game show. Boo! (Interestingly enough, Ken was offered a spot on the show, but was told an hour later he’d have to fly himself to New York [but could jump the line].)
So, in an essence, we have a supposedly fast-paced quiz with the doubling mechanics of Double Dare (the Nickelodeon version, not that other one). Apparently, we were sold something that was not necessarily so. I recorded the series but later lost interest after noting how slow everything went in order to get more commercials in (with the Money Clock still running, no less!).
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you cannot trust NBC with a primetime game show. They spoil it, they pad it, and they run it every night. It’s the same with Minute to Win It, Take it All, and Who’s Still Standing?
* On September 27th, a full episode of The Price is Right was dedicated to Plinko. Yes, all six pricing games were the exact same, with center spots and $1,000 spots being replaced by prizes. Take a look (courtesy of WhammyRules).
I thought this would be cool, but it wasn’t.
* One of the biggest things to happen on GSN is The Chase. It’s hosted by Brooke Burns of Dog Eat Dog fame (which coincidentally is also rerunning Saturday nights at 8 PM on the network) and is actually pretty good. There’s only one Chaser, Mark “The Beast” Labbett, who actually keeps the winnings very low. The banks hit at least $40,000; with two entering the six-digit figure. However, there have only been two wins in the seven episodes that have run. One of those, being episode two, is rather notable as it features fellow game show blogger Cory Anotado leading his team to a $180K victory.
That win tops probably every GSN game show’s budget ever (including Russian Roulette).
* On October 26th, we lost Marcia Wallace of The Bob Newhart Show and The Simpsons. GSN ran a marathon of her highlights on Match Game, Password Plus, and The $100,000 Pyramid. We will miss you, Carol Kester.
* Speaking of GSN, there’s some good news coming this Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Thanksgiving is a Family Feud marathon, featuring an hour of each of the pre-Harvey hosts (including Louie Anderson and Al Roker), followed by 6 hours of the oft-run Steve Harvey version. I’m particularly excited about Black Friday, though, because starting at 8 AM, they’ll be running the first 8 episodes of the 1985 syndicated version of $ale of the Century. After that, 12 whole hours of Steve Harvey’s Feud. While I could obviously care less about Harvey, I am excited about $ale. These episodes have not been seen in over 20 years. This is a dream come true for a number of classic game show fans, myself included.
Overall, there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks and months. Bob Barker will be returning to Price for his 90th birthday. That’s something I’m looking forward to. I’m fully expecting Bob to pawn Drew, even at 90 years old. I’m sure Roger would agree.
They’ll be more to come eventually. I’ll try to keep you posted as the time comes.