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April 14, 2005

This is starting to become a scary column.  Last week, I spent a large period of time agreeing with my colleague Gordon Pepper.  This week, I'm going to be agreeing with "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell.

That's later, but first...

The Price is Right...for great ratings.
A little inSite on the only game show on television that universally appeals to all age groups, all genders, all races, all everything:  "The Price is Right."

At the risk of getting into the "Numbers Game," the first in the latest series of "Million Dollar Spectaculars" produced excellent numbers for CBS last Saturday.  Keep in mind that we are now in Daylight Saving Time, and it's still daylight at 7/8pm on a Saturday night, a night when an increasingly-large number of people are not at home watching broadcast TV.  

TPIR pulled a 10 share, meaning that 10% of TV viewers were watching.  Compare that to the last non-basketball Saturday night CBS had, when it ran "Cold Case" in the TPIR slot and got approximately two million fewer viewers.  TPIR had approximately 7 million viewers.  By comparison, last week's "Amazing Race" episode had around 12 million, "Survivor" garnered 20 million, and "American Idol" reached out to 24 million.  Those latter three shows are highly-promoted, in great time slots, and on every week.

I don't think I saw one promo for hasn't been on in primetime in months...and it still got out to 7 million viewers (plus, arguably, a lot more in college dorms that will never be counted).  

CBS needs to make the primetime TPIR a weekly staple, even if it's on Saturdays (although it would, as we've seen before make a perfect Thursday replacement this summer in-between "Survivor" editions).  Making the show appointment viewing -- as it's been in daytime forever -- would likely only make ratings increase...and give CBS an easy hour to lead into "CSI" reruns and "48 Hours"...or into "CSI" reruns and "Without a Trace" reruns, depending on the night.

Word came down this week (see GSNN's front page or here) that "The Apprentice" contestant Chris Shelton was arrested for disorderly conduct, after a casino disturbance.  

Just days later, "Apprentice" boss Donald Trump announced that the season finale would be just one hour, down from last season's grossly-excessive three.  Could the drop to one hour be because Shelton is one of the final two, and would not be hired after this incident?

Probably it is just a coincidence...I, and possibly 3/4 of America, would be completely shocked if Chris made it to the final two.  But I think we'd all be begging for the Martha Stewart version of "The Apprentice" if he won.

My opinion's changed...
I'm not sure if I ever stated it in a Prime Time Insites column back in the old days, but I had a very skeptical opinion of the Game Show Congress when it was first developed and envisioned.  I was invited to be a part of the event that first year and declined, quite frankly thinking the idea sounded "kinda hokey."  But like all upstart events, the idea has grown, expanded, and improved year-to-year, and a number of staff members of GSNN attended GSC3 last year.  I'm actually quite sorry I didn't attend the first one now.  

GSC4 will be August 20th and 21st in Glendale, CA.  Will this columnist be there?  Maybe...we'll see.

Since this column's rapidly turning on the link to go to part two.


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