After the Greater
Seattle area was beaten down by a winter storm twice in
two months, I remembered back to the good days, when a
snow day meant staying home and doing one of two things:
either inviting the neighborhood chums over for a day of
the unhealthiest of snacks and Nintendo gaming, or me
keeping the snacks all to my self and the watching of
copious of game shows. Clearly, those were the good old
days, and today's kids aren't nearly as lucky as we were
Take a trip back to either the 1970s or 1980s, depending
on your own age. For me, the Golden Age was the late
1980s. CBS and NBC both had their mornings filled to the
gills with game shows. If you didn't like The Price is
Right, you could flip over to Sale of the Century. Not a
fan of Card Sharks or Family Feud? You've got Super
Password and Wheel of Fortune. Go farther back to the
1970s, and all three networks were putting game shows on
their morning and early afternoon schedules.
late afternoons were spent with the USA Network, a sort
of poor man's Game Show Network before it existed.
Having the Pyramids, Press Your Luck, and others made
for a great transition after coming home.
I hate to drag you back from that wonderful dream, but
our time is up. Take a look at the networks today. One
game show on the schedule. If you're lucky, Millionaire
or Family Feud is on at a convenient time. If not, it's
TPIR or nothing. It's not hard to see how this has come
about. For some inexplicable reason, network executives
decided that we wanted multiple versions of The People's
Court. (Don't ask me, I think just the one is plenty.)
Paying a handful of people scale is cheaper than getting
prizes, contestants, stage hands, talent, and other
stuff. It's really a bottom line issue.
If that wasn't bad enough, we've gotten to the point
where any D-list "celebrity" who can hold an index card
and look into the right camera light can host a talk
show. In television's constant quest for the Next Big
Thing, we have constant turnover as many of those shows
premiere in September and are gone by June. There's a
place for shows like The View or Oprah, but after that
you start to reach a saturation point where the hosts
become little more than talking heads.
The sad thing is that I don't think anything less than
some massive schedule overhaul by a stoned-to-the-gills
executive will bring game shows back to the morning.
That's too bad, because during the early days of summer,
and those random snow days, kids would almost surely
rather watch a game show than Martha Stewart trying to
interview someone while baking a pie. I know that's what
Travis Eberle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you can think of a morning game show that he's
forgotten. Good luck finding one.