What Did The Survey Say
survey has long been a staple of the game show. Match Game used them to
determine the payoffs for the Audience Match, and out of that was
created the perennial classic Family Feud. A couple of years later we
were treated to the entertaining questions of Card Sharks. And thirty
years after that, the big money, low concept Power of Ten advertised a
$10 million prize for someone who could correctly predict the outcome of
four nationwide surveys.
All fine and good, but the kind of surveys I'm going to rant about this
week pertain to game shows, instead of being used on them. Two, in
particular have caught my ire: The Price is Right and Game Show Network.
The Price is Right had a survey on their website where guests could
answer all manner of questions pertaining to the on-air talent, the
games, the prizes, the look...everything under the sun. If we're to
believe the higher-ups, if the show gets a significant response in one
direction, the show would be molded that way.
What concerns me is the things they didn't ask. For example "Do you like
it when the host barnstorms his way through the one-bid rules, to finish
with 'there I said it!' or something else?" "Do you like it when none of
the six on-stage players win their pricing game?" "Do you like it when
the player misses all four chip chances in Plinko and wins $0 with his
free chip?" I sure don't.
The show has been so focused on fantastic prizes and making the
atmosphere into a rockin' party that they've forgotten the fundamentals:
that people like to see the host doing his job, that we like to see
people actually winning stuff, that we like games that go together and
don't look like they were chosen at random three minutes before the show
On the other hand, Game Show Network is once again trying to change
direction. Apparently they've had enough with the classic game shows and
are looking to move into the "reality" domain with Survivor, Amazing
Race, Biggest Loser and others. Their survey reflects this as well,
asking which shows we'd rather see.
Dear GSN: I watch for the game shows. I come for the Hollywood Squares
from my college years, and I stay for the $25,000 Pyramid from my early
days. If I want to watch reality shows, there are plenty of them that I
can see any day. At this point, I watch roughly three hours each day. If
you were to junk Millionaire, Jeopardy, Squares and the Pyramid hour, I
would cancel that level of my cable service without a second thought.
The problem I had with the surveys is that it seemed those who were
doing the asking had an idea of what they wanted already, and just
wanted the respondents to confirm that new direction: the equivalent of
"tell me how awesome I am."
The problem, at least right now is that neither TPIR or GSN are
particularly awesome, and I don't like the way that either entity is
Do ya wanna take a survey? Grab a clipboard at firstname.lastname@example.org,
but bring your own ballpoint pen.