A Lesson in Risk Management
When "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" launched its syndicated edition
last year, we harped on it for its use of the three-fingered attack: traditional
syndication, MyNetwork TV, and CMT. At the time, it just seemed like too much
show for too little a time, with an early season ending. You try recapping five
episodes on a Tuesday. In the long run, though, it proved most successful. The
show is coming back next year, and both MyNetwork TV and CMT are reporting gains
It worked so well that 20th Television is trying it again with "Don't Forget
the Lyrics!" when it launches in the fall. Every morning on your local outlet,
every evening on VH1, and Tuesdays on MyNetwork TV. Which means for me, extra
work. But I welcome it, because it's a growth not only for the business, but for
the networks that engage in the business.
It's what you call in the business "win-freaking-win."
So it begs the question... Why hasn't the likes of GSN taken notice yet?
One of the things I've learned since graduating from Carolina in 2002,
joining the workforce as a hired science thug for the healthcare industry, and
working on this site is the importance of assessing whether a certain venture is
worth the risk. This peaked when "Deal or No Deal" launched, but that's another
Think of the whole of risk as a fraction... Numerator as "what you would
stand to lose". Denominator as "what you would stand to gain". If the resulting
number is less than one, then you would be pretty stupid not to at leave give it
a try. In short, any venture is worth it if you stand to gain more than you
stand to lose.
Now this is not going to be one of those "Chico rags on GSN for making yet
another stupid decision." This sort of thing is past its prime and frankly I've
run out of voice on that subject. Now we get to the point where we try to make
GSN suck less... and possibly even suck-free.
Follow me here. We're coming to March Madness. Millions upon millions of
college basketball fans are going to be watching game after game. If "Wheel" and
"Jeopardy!" are on a CBS station, though... You're going to have to find an
alternate route or an out-of-market friend to tape it for you.
BUT if GSN were to strike a deal to air same-day reruns of the two most
popular game shows on television today, it could remedy both your problem (lack
of "Wheel" and "Jeopardy!" for basketball) and GSN's (lack of anything worth
giving a damn about). GSN is partly owned by Sony Pictures, which owns the two
properties (and "Millionaire" for that matter). So that's three half-hours in
primetime programmed on the cheap, boom, right there. SoapNet based its entire
business model on this premise, rerunning all of ABC's "Love in the Afternoon"
block (and even some of CBS and NBC's lineup) during primetime. Both SoapNet and
ABC are owned by Disney, and both have come out on the sunny side for this
So what's the deal, GSN? We've seen you do more (Big Saturday Night) with
less (again, Big Saturday Night) and come up in the hole. And right now, with
"Instant Recall" getting a return that's not even remotely worth the amount of
pub you spent on it, your best gambit would be to try something with as little
risk as possible instead of once again cutting off your nose to spite your
already bruised, beaten, and battered face.
You own the properties, Sony. You write the ending.
Game Show Alphabet Redux
This one comes from eagle-eyed reader Tammy
Warner, who has, since the days of ATGS, done her best to keep me on the
I've been following your "Game Show Alphabet,"
but it appears you skipped "M" and went right to "N." But then, you probably had
both "L" and "M" covered on 2/18/2010 with Love Me, Love Me Not ("L") and M'ama
Non M'ama ("M").
Just in case, though, here's a link to an "M" show you might still consider:
http://mysite.verizon.net/reszuh21/musicalgames.html Mind you, it's
under "Side 1".
Forgive my "nitpickyness....."
Forgiven. "Music Bingo". "M" entry.
Your Days That
Rocked the Game Show World
This one comes from Paul Reese...
"My best game show moment was being a
contestant on the Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play It! attraction at MGM
Studios. Not only was this a fun event, my turn in the hot seat was a comedy of
errors. I made it through the first eleven questions no problem, but the twelfth
I answered incorrectly. The funniest part about it, though, was that the warm-up
comedian forgot to ask the audience to turn off their cell phones - I got a call
from my parents during the taping. Needless to say, I had to ask my mom to call
Keep your game show stories coming. I'm
Chico Alexander wrote this ending: E-mail him at