Minggu, 11 Agustus 2013

A cup full of chess

With not much to report about traditional game shows, I'll post another entry on Internet chess broadcasts. The big one running right now is the 2013 Chess World Cup.

This is a monster knockout tournament - no, they don't literally knock out monsters - with 128 of the world's best players. They're running the thing in Norway, which has experienced a chess boom thanks to a fellow named Magnus. (He's one of the very few top players not in this particular tournament, by the way.) The organizers have scraped up a total prize fund of $1.6 million, which is big money by chess standards. By my standards, too.

The Internet commentators are GM Susan Polgar and IM Lawrence Trent, both of them experienced hosts on the net. The problem is that, at least in the first few rounds, they have so many freaking games to cover. So they tend to miss some interesting happenings. But they hop around the boards as fast as they can, and they conduct postgame interviews with the players intelligently and tactfully. It helps with the English-impaired participants that they know a bunch of languages.

The two finalists get places in next year's candidates tournament to select the challenger for the world championship. They also get a fair amount of money.

Sabtu, 10 Agustus 2013

Ya hockey puck

With game show news slowed to a trickle, it's time to rummage through the black and white archives on YouTube.

To Tell the Truth was never my favorite Goodson and Todman panel show. But the format did manage to last through many versions spanning six decades. No less than Mark Goodson himself allowed that it was his personal favorite among all his shows. YouTube offers many clips from the show, but I couldn't resist this one with NHL legend Jean "Le Gros Bill" Béliveau. Maybe it's because I vaguely remembered one of the impostors telling the panel that, if we had any brains, we wouldn't be hockey players.

As the comments on the YouTube clip point out, an NHL star like Béliveau couldn't appear "in the open" on a contemporary version of TTTT. After all, the NHL has gained in popularity in the U.S. over the decades. And sports cable channels have metastasized to the point that athletes in all sports are media celebrities as never before.

One other comment points out that the $500 earned by the three players on the show would have meant something to Béliveau, considering the salaries in the NHL back then. Times have changed in that regard, too. Sidney Crosby will earn $12 million for the 2013-14 season.

Jumat, 09 Agustus 2013


GSN once called traditional game shows "shiny floor shows."]. Well, now BuzzerBlog is running pictures of The Price is Right's new set. And it's got, wait for it, a really shiny floor.

Which sets off much chatter on Golden Road. I dunno, my TPiR-indifference truly kicks in over a floor. But I'm sure that many fans of the show will note the shininess and argue about it at length. The discussion has already started and the new season hasn't even debuted yet.

Jeopardy also gets a new set for its upcoming season, though no pictures have surfaced. JBoard.tv will probably talk about the new set a lot whenever we get the first glimpses. The show already has a blindingly shiny floor, so I doubt that things will get too much shinier.

Did I ever mention that I don't much care about sets? I thought Cash Cab had the right idea. Just put the whole damn show inside a car and forget about it.

Kamis, 08 Agustus 2013

Trivial casting

Reality Wanted interviews the casting crew for Million Second Quiz. They say they want smart people. Okay, how smart is smart enough? The interviewer, a guy named Mark Long, apparently falls short of whatever the standard might be as he flunks his trivia audition. Axl Rose, sad to say, was not the original drummer for the Beatles.

The crew will be touring the country looking for contestants who want to be cooped up in a big hourglass for twelve days. Ryan Seacrest will torment the hardy souls with trivia until somebody finally wins some money. There will be a zillion and one social media tie-ins.

The casting folks say there will be no lifelines. Those cooped-up folks will be on their own. What if fights break out, like on Jerry Springer? Ah, don't worry. My guess is that everybody will get too worn down with trivia questions to care enough for a fight. It all starts happening September 9.

Rabu, 07 Agustus 2013

A well-run chase

Although it barely made a ripple in the general entertainment media, GSN's version of The Chase has generated a lot of noise in the game show blogosphere. That's because a lot of the British show's U.S. fanbase hangs out on, you guessed it, game show blogs. So there was intense interest in how well our little game show network would import the challenging quizzer.

Well, Chase fans, you can rest easy. GSN didn't screw this one up at all. Their version, which debuted last night, is fast-paced, entertaining, often witty, and thoroughly competent.

Lots of worries centered on host Brooke Burns, not known for game show chops, at least on a show that requires intense, blitz-speed questioning. Brooke did fine, even if her repartee isn't Cullen-level. She got in a few jabs at the hulking Beast, Mark Labbett, who responded with astringent comments about everybody else on the show.

Without plodding through a tedious explanation of the format, The Chase comes down to a nuclear-level (slight exaggeration) trivia war between the Beast and three civvie contestants. On the debut episode the Beast ultimately triumphed. Like Ben Stein, he's a tough guy to beat. But a good time was had by all as the confrontation played out.

Douglas Pucci delivers the review which means everything, from the Nielsen Company. The Chase debuted with 511K total viewers and 168K 18-49 folks. More than acceptable by GSN standards. The second run didn't do quite as well but still performed decently. And GSN's Minute To Win It really romped and stomped last night.

Selasa, 06 Agustus 2013

Ratings: good news for Steve and Meredith

Family Feud and Millionaire picked up a bit in the week of July 22-28, but Jeopardy fell back a little. Still, Alex's weekend repeat made the top 25 list at TV by the Numbers, in what I'll call a consolation prize. I've got all the household ratings from TVNewsCheck...

Wheel of Fortune 6.0 - flat
Jeopardy 5.6 - down three ticks, as it falls back from the soulmate
Family Feud 4.5 - up a couple ticks
Millionaire 2.5 - up a couple ticks as Meredith says the long good-bye
Baggage 1.0 - flat

As mentioned above, Alex made the list at TV by the Numbers twice, so game shows filled six of the 25 slots. The viewership averages: Wheel of Fortune 9.2 million (weekend repeat 4.8 million), Jeopardy 8.3 million (weekend repeat 3.5 million), Family Feud 6.9 million, Millionaire 3.4 million. Decent numbers all round for the genre.

GSN enjoyed a nice week for July 29-August 4, according to Media Insights. The network averaged 389K/278K viewers prime time/total day. Not bad at all, especially in prime time.

Senin, 05 Agustus 2013

Helpful hints

Once in a while, how-to stories turn up for wannabe contestants on game shows.

Today we get some tips from LAist for would-be Let's Make a Deal winners. The first hint is obvious: dress accordingly. Which means dress in something weird and noticeable. This show does not award brownie points for tasteful understatement in the garment department. The other hints sound like lots of tips I've read for lots of other game shows: be personable, be decisive, and listen carefully to the host.

There's also a hint to follow the show on Twitter, which might actually make some sense. Might as well check out the kind of deals the show is making lately.

The story also quotes a happy-sounding Wayne Brady. Does the busy schedule get him down? Not at all. "I don't have to keep my energy level up because this is my gig. There's no real work to keep up my energy because that's part of the job." This is a nice change for Wayne, who occasionally sounds uncomfortable in interviews about getting pegged as a game show host.